In the book Games black girls playthe author Gaunt is inextricably linked the rhythm of hip-hop music and the rhythm of a black woman’s childhood, consisting of hand clapping, rope games and rhyming songs. Thus, hip-hop began as a mixture of female sounds; women form an essential part of its culture, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. A relevant and significant portion, for better or worse; beyond the origin of sounds as such, in fact women they played an important role in hip-hop culture, both for the way men spoke about (and treated) women in their lyrics and outside of the score, and for the innovative aspect of much hip-hop music. made by women.
Love your body according to Sarah Ventura, Julia Peditto and Tanya Loski.
Women at the Origins of Hip-Hop
Additionally, the surge in hip-hop music currently being created by women demonstrates how the genre has evolved. from a tool of misogyny to a tool of self-determination. All this, even through sexualization personality that passes from the hands of others into ours (obviously, not without the usual criticism).
The sexualization and objectification of the female body has actually taken a complex turn within the musical genre, which largely follows what the rest of society has done.
If we consider how certain sex work tools (such as OnlyFans), often associated with themes of exploitation, have become strategic for women’s self-determination and sex positive (while maintaining its gray areas), we see that hip-hop music has followed the same path.
Sexualization and music: when did it start?
That the (tendentious) sexualization of black women’s bodies began after 2 Live Crew’s victory in court, this is not accurate; however, this incident gave rise to emulators that were repeated over time. 2 Album Live Crew 1989, How nasty they want to be, was accused of hypersexualizing the image of black women and was found obscene; However, after the arrest, the crew members won the case, proving that both charges were not only unpunished, but also traceableopening the door to glute-focused music videos and rhymes with “hoe” and “bitch.”
Given the focus on women in the most popular hip-hop videos and lyrics of the era, according to Michelle Wallace, author of the 1990 article, Women rap in responseIt’s natural to notice how many women have decided to use this genre for develop critique and develop musical forms of feminist resistancetalking about sex as a political act, rebelling against gender-based violence, making room for innovation body positivity.
Self-determination is the way
let `s talk about Let’s talk about sex From Salt-N-Pepafrom music videos Missy Elliot and overtly sexual lyrics Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, For example. Political queries that led to real uprisings and, unfortunately, real news cases. For example, when rapper and journalist Dee Barnes became a victim of violence at the hands of a famous rapper. Dr Dre; like Faith Evans, who often spoke of the “turbulence” of her marriage to The notorious BIG Two male rappers who, compared to the women they were known to abuse, have had much more success.
In fact, according to African feminism and culture expert Msiya Kibona Clarke, the women of the hip-hop world of the 1980s and early 1990s were “practically invisible”, with the difficult task of navigating a system riddled with sexism and sexism of all kinds; artists were mentioned who tried to fight this system, but also, for example, Latifah and Chante were forced for many years to deal with the idea that, as women, they should understand stay “in your place.” But things didn’t go quite that way (fortunately)
The director of New York University’s Center for Black Visual Culture explains that history books feature women in rap as exceptions to the rules, those who went against those (men) who actually created hip-hop culture. Nothing could be further from the truth: “Hip-hop cannot tell its story from subculture to scene monopoly without acknowledging its connection to the genre,” despite its obvious misogynistic component.
Unlike what Lil Wayne said in an interview with Billboard (in which the rapper justified the lack of women on the charts with the line: “I don’t think they ever considered rapping as something they wanted to do or make a living from.“), however, this has never limited female artists from finding success in rap or falling in love with this musical language.
Proof of this is the explosive growth of female rappers in the United States, despite all the obstacles these artists still face in our generation. let `s talk about Missy Elliot, the first woman in rap to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; From Cardi Bthe first rapper to receive this award as Best Rap Album To Grammywith his debut album in 2019. But also Megan Thee Stallionsecond hip-hop award winner after Lauryn Hill. Best New Artist. And also Nicki Minajconsidered the matron of the American rapper and a true active legend who, with the single Super freaky girl (2022) entered the chart Billboard Hot 100.
But what has changed since then in the depiction of women’s and female bodies, both by men and by German artists?
The body is mine and I sing it
Researcher Christine Smith explains that sexualization of treatment victims took possession of it to make it their own gaming tool. While female rappers were already talking about sex positivity in the early days of hip-hop, it wasn’t until artists like Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown that the dialogue about sexuality became more open and personal, reflecting controversy and hypocrisy.
Their songs, in fact, were often considered “too sexy” (not when their male counterparts said the same about them). The problem, as is often the case, was not sexualization, but that these women they did it on their own. The evolution of hip-hop (also) in this sense reached its peak around 2000–2010, with the arrival of Nicki Minaj and the development of technology that allowed hyper democratic hip-hop will become even more accessible to everyone. Again, thanks to technology, the rapper spreads and becomes part of other systems: fashion, advertising.
From WAP and Beyond: The Future of the Women’s Rap Game
The red thread remains the same: women empowerment. But while this used to happen despite the sexualization of others, now the situation has changed, and rappers are telling their own story. sexual and economic freedom through the lyrics and videos of their songs. For the first time, women control the narrative created about them using the same tools of dominance: not the first, but the rapper who did this most effectively and opened the door for future colleagues was Lil Kim again with her solo. debut Hard core.
This “feminist manifesto” expresses the artist’s desire to obtain the same power, the same vices and luxury and the same leadership role as his male counterparts.
However, the position taken by women in this sense does not mean that the problem is solved. In a sense, this has intensified and saturated the media; criticism of rappers’ songs on today’s charts has focused on how self-celebration his sexuality is excessive and vulgar. This topic turned out to be especially hot after the release of the single. WAP (wet ass pussy) in 2020 they signed contracts with Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. Debates that rarely opened up to texts hypersexualization their male colleagues.
50 years after the birth of the hip-hop genre, despite all its transformations and against the backdrop of the obvious popularity of the performers of this genre (which, let’s remember, have always existed), we have only one great hope. left: that the race does not stop and indeed can stereotypes are increasingly being undermined rap and demonstrate how women in music and beyond can tell and present themselves in their most numerous nuances, self-determination without any restrictions or distinctions.