Women In Hip Hop, Have We Evolved?

December 2, 2007
By Adriana Ortiz, Bronx, NY

Hip hop has evolved. It has grown from street corners to be bopping; from battles to shoot outs, hip hop has evolved and we’ve evolved with it. Ask anyone who has grown up around hip hop, or with hip hop intertwined into their life, hip hop has changed. The style, the culture, the language. Hip hop has always been a predominately man run game, yet women have sneaked and earned their way into it. Emcees like Lauryn Hill, Eve, Lil’ Kim, Queen Latifah, and MC Lyte have opened the doors for other emcees who have changed the way women are viewed but recent emcees have taken a step back in the progress these women had done..

Female MC’s like Lauryn Hill, Eve, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte all used their voice, their drive and their artistic talent to paint pictures of their life and to open paths for other women. They talked about their own lives, they were respected for their content and their subjects, they were respected for their lyrics and flow. Songs like “Heaven Only Knows” by eve and “I am a woman” by MC lyte , expressed views a lot of girls could relate to. In “Heaven only knows” Eve tried to let express that you could stay positive. "But I never really had someone tell me what to do/ Teach me that I'm better than just p***y that's true/ Teach me that the future was written already /waiting to respect my self in/ life not to be someone would hate me/ Do positive and positive will happen/ Stay positive and positive was rapping/ It was like my brain was clouded with unnecessary s**t/ But I chose to see through the negative and make hits uh." Her song wasn’t only real, it was a way to tell little girls who looked up to her, that even if they didn’t have certain role models in their life it did not mean their life had to be a struggle or in anyway a negative environment. She told them that there were other ways to go about in your life and to make something of yourself. MC Lyte was proud to claim herself a woman, especially in her song “I am a woman,” "I am woman, hear me roar/ When I grab the mic it's never a bore/ When I'm on stage, sayin' a rhyme/ I often wonder what ya think of mine." She took her womanhood and did what every other man did while rapping, she spit her rhymes. She was a positive role model for all the little girls who wanted to aspire to be something. She stated how as a woman she did what she did, and she did it well.

The first female rappers, like Hip Hop, were new. They were raw. They spoke about subjects that mattered to people. Not only did they not degrade themselves, but they tried to convey issues that women could relate to. At times these women were considered to be like men, they were not lady like, their vulgar language was not acceptable; yet their messages were passed. Songs like “do whoop (that thing)”by Lauryn hill, “love is blind”by Eve, “unity”by Queen Latifah, “single black female”by Lil’ Kim, “don’t cry big girls”by MC Lyte, & “Lessons of Today”by Rah Digga, were used as inspiration, accepting, realistic views. With the use of their lyrics, their personalities, their sexuality, their experiences and their bluntness, all these MC’s expressed voices that were heard and admired.

Now in the 21st century, female MC’s have taken a turn; and not a good one. They have stopped spitting rhymes just for their flow and content, but have showed us that they only way they are able to get a record out there is by using their sexuality. They have stopped being positive role models for little girls. The songs female MC’s like Remy Ma, Trina, Lil’ Kim, Khia, Shawnna, have all put out have had to do with sex and sexual acts. Songs like “Getting Some” by Shawnna, “Everyday im F******g Him”by Remy Ma, “My Neck, My Back”by Khia, “I need” & “69 ways” by Trina as well as “Magic Stick” by Lil’ kim, have become the songs that girls listen to, the songs girls look up to. These songs have lost the positive demeanor that Eve tried to provide, they have lost the sense of being a strong woman that MC lyte tried to express. These songs have become about blow job techniques, literally whore-ing around for money and about sex, sex, and some more sex. The girls who listen to these songs not only lost their positive role models but they now let men view them like this. Little boys who grow up listening to these songs have certain views about women, and they have them because of the way women portray themselves on TV.

Hip Hop might have evolved, but has this evolution been a positive one? We use to have girls who aspired to do great positive things in their life and now we have women who can only view themselves as sexual figures. More female MC’s like Eve, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, and Lauryn Hill need to step up into the lime light. We need to see more positive female role models and then maybe not only can we change the way little girls view themselves but the way men view us as well.

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This article has 1 comment.

Runner GOLD said...
on Nov. 17 2010 at 1:08 pm
Runner GOLD, Amherst, Massachusetts
15 articles 0 photos 30 comments

This is well written and a great topic. Good lyric examples and good artists.

We need strong women in hip-hop and i'm not talking about Nicki Minaj.


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