This International Women’s Day, amidst all the talk of Nicki and Remy, I had the time to reflect today on the role women have played in hip hop. Since the 90s hit of Roxanne Shante’s Roxanne’s Revenge, we’ve had many female artists come through and change the game. With such names like Salt n Pepa, Queen Latifah, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Trina, and the list goes on, women have added extra flair and style to the industry that was formerly male dominated.
Since the early 2000’s we’ve seen somewhat of a drop in female recognition in the big leagues. There have been less and less of women’s names brought into the spotlight since the infamous Trina’s quick rise to fame and the work of Foxy Brown dropped off. A quick flash of light shined through the sky when we were introduced to Remy Ma from the Terror Squad and many thought the tide was changing when we got Nicki Minaj in the game. But, what about the bigger picture?
Since XXL’s Freshman class started in 2007, the magazine has only given four women the honor of a seat at that table: Iggy Azealia (2012), Angel Haze (2013), Dej Loaf (2015), and Tink (2015). That’s four women in the past 10 years and it seems they’ve had to establish themselves very well; more so than their male counterparts. Women in hip hop have had to do it all. They’ve been the boss, they’ve had to be sexy, they’ve had to be role models, etc. They’ve played a major role in socializing young women. They’ve molded the minds of girls to learn that being asexual, hard, a boss – all these different attributes – is okay; if men can do it, we can do it too. In 2017, it seems that female voice that was once shouting these affirmations, has become a dull whisper among a sea of men yet again.
The sound of hip hop is changing. It’s evolved from our typical trap beats we’ve known since artists like T.I. and Ludacris pioneered the industry. We have new artists like Lil Uzi and Lil Yachty that have redefined the terms of hip-hop with music like “Minnesota” and “Money Longer”. However, the question still remains: where my girls at? Of course Lil Yachty has his close friend Kodie Shane as part of the sailing team and there are other female rappers in the world such as Kashdoll, Megan thee stallion, Molly Brazy, etc, but what is it that is keeping their names out of the same circles as Nicki and Remy? How do we get their names to that level?
Ladies, I think we need to step it up. The industry needs a major comeback.