Jun 30, 2010, 11:12AM

XX Success

From the obvious to the not-so, the current iteration of hip hop culture has more examples of female rappers outshining their male counterparts than ever. 

For a variety of legitimate and mystifying reasons, hip hop has always been dominated by men.  The female emcee has been something of a novelty as a result and more often than not you’ll find the fairer sex on the hook, not the verse. I might be sensing a sea change where there’s really just a slight shift, but this might be more than just a trend.


Nicki Minaj is a challenge to nail down, but it’s her outsized personality and unpredictability that keeps her from being a Lil Kim parody. She can rap for sure, (no ghostwriter for her) but its her energetic cadences that turn so-so punchlines into the most memorable part of a song.  The video above looks a little like a Lady Gaga parody, but to me, it shows a little more self-awareness than Gaga has to this point. Sure Minaj’s Harajuku Barbie act is hypersexual, but its so direct and honest in a this is so fake its really real sort of way. Additionally, Nicki has rapped about getting with girls enough at this point that she might have a claim as the least homophobic rapper, or at the very least, the gayest rapper that gets played on the radio.


Elsewhere, Baltimore has produced a few talented female artists that seemed primed to go bang nationally. Rye Rye has been killing it since she was a teenager rapping over Blaqstarr beats (check “Shake it to the Ground”), and now M.I.A. has thrown her weight behind the duo. Their sound has evolved symbiotically and Rye Rye has the sort of deft lyricism that can make a song about Mary Jane seem more substantial than a cloud of smoke. 


The Get ‘Em Mami’s are the other intriguing Baltimore artists, and a slightly rarer bird at that – a female rap group without even a hint of r&b. They aren’t supporting characters in someone else’s story, and they blend regional club music with swag that wouldn’t be out of place in Queens. 


Pink Dollaz is sort of the Los Angeles equivalent of the Get ‘Em Mami’s. Instead of club, they rep Jerk, and don’t give an inch to their male counter parts, The Rangers. Once again, sexuality is a portion of their identity, but its not the most important element of their appeal. Basically, they own their style and don’t act like they owe anyone anything.


And who knows – I ‘d profer that the best is yet to come. Just check out these girls knocking out a beat on a table in the libary and breaking off an a cappella that’d make Beyonce jealous. 


Register or Login to leave a comment