Last night at this Hip-hop showcase of local talent, the only female MC to grace the stage made a poignant statement about Hip-hop—“it can’t just be a room full of sacks, let the titties in too” or in the words of the enslaved Africans on Amistad “Give us free.”
No no men, I’m not saying give up ur your thrones because its hard enough to survive as a minority in this crackpot called America, I merely want the powers at be to acknowledge the female spirit in Hip-hop, respect it, and honor it.
Hip-hop stands for promotes empowerment for the oppressed people, acts as voice for the silenced, and an legitimate avenue for the jailed former felons to find work and move up socially. But there’s a catch. The genitelia has to match the persona stereotypically and socially associated with grit, strength, and power.
As stated previously, some women have broken through the breast plate and all praises for their diligence and true talent, but where is the longevity? The return to the instrument that lead them to our hearts and made us say, “DAYUM, she’s a beast?”
Lets recap the most influential women in Hip-hop and see where they are now..(I have a feeling this is going to be devastating but I digress). The Queen, first lady of Hip-hop, got a breast reduction, lost her brother and went Hollywood. Lauryn Hill, hands down the most beloved female MC married a Rastafarian—which is an oxymoron in itself—and is fighting with her own demons so much so that rapping could no longer be a release. Kim just got out of prison and is now Dancing with the Stars, Eve is singing, Foxy is deaf and locked up (I think), Left Eye died, and we aint seen MC Lyte since VH1’s Hip-hop Honors, and from there it just gets more depressing borderline suicidal.
Now, let us take some of their male counterparts and see the difference. Jay-Z is almost on Russell Simmons’ status and probably picking out his next island. The man Hova has retired more times than Jordan, and is still a beast, Jermani Dupri is purchasing million dollar China sets wit Janet, Kanye lost his momma and rightfully so lost his mind but is still putting out bangers. Nas is on some next level, Weezy could touch a trash can from Skid Row and make it a #1 hit right now, LL Cool J is selling cologne, Will Smith is gearing up for his starring role as Barack Obama in the upcoming film, Yes We Can, and Eminem is slowly coming back out of the shadows.
There are some similarities, but for the majority, the men are the stockholders, presidents, and central focus. How is the movement supposed to continue to survive if half of our population is excluded? How is it supposed to grow and change and evolve if the female perspective is silenced? Its very simple: Its not. It won’t. If it does, it will continue to be one-sided and fully focused on the Man’s world –losing female support in the end.
During wedding ceremonies, I’ve heard ministers say this joke over and over. “When God made Adam, called him man. When Adam woke up and saw Eve, he said ‘Wo, man!'” You can infer what you want from this statement, but if you look past the physical, Adam was awestruck by Eve, an action that I don’t believe many men feel towards women mcees. Sure, they have talent, but they’ll always be second best, if that.
In my lifetime, I’ve only heard of one woman’s name being mentioned in the infamous Top Five MC debate on more than one occasion, Lauryn Ms. Hill. And since her journey away from Hip-hop and the public eye, these men have never seen her in the same light. Its almost as if she took a piece of them when she left. So, is that it? If we make the squad and then leave before we are kicked out or replaced or forced to retire, then we’re might possibly hurt our male constituents? Is that really the answer? I’m going to go with no, because if it is, isn’t that the same thing that has transpired against women mcees? To silence or not value the female emcee is just as hurtful as to take a piece of someone’s soul when you leave from their presence. (Need an ending)
Hip-hop generationers need to learn from the successes and the failures of its /political predecessors—the Civil Rights movement. Though those at the forefront of the movement were men like Martin and Malcolm, the movement functioned structurally and metaphorically on the efforts of the women who supported them at every level. And in most cases women like Rosa Parks and Coretta were more fearlessly ardent crusaders for the cause than their male counterparts. But the designated leaders were men partly as a political necessity and definitely because of institutional sexism that permeated religious institutions that ran those movements. There was no room for women at the very top, just in supporting roles. So when Malcolm and Martin were assassinated, though the movement was internally being ran by competent, intelligent women, they did not have the political capitol nor did they have the social respect to pick up the ball when they lost the two top leaders. If we as leaders in the Hip-hop generation fail to bring women into the debate, we run the risk of failing to sustain ourselves. Like lauryn Hill once said, “If your not growing, your dead.”