Ladies First: Females Vs. Hip-Hop Industry

Ladies First: Females Vs. Hip-Hop Industry

If chivalry is not dead, then the rule “ladies first” should still apply in today’s world. Hip-hop is a race and men have always been in the lead. Despite being a male-dominated genre since its inception, female rappers have proven that women are fearless, strong and when united are not only capable of being a tough competitor, but more than able to outshine most men. Many female emcees from Queen Latifah to Nicki Minaj have shattered expectations and become legends in their own right. In one form or another, female rap has defined values of generations. It shaped a new way of activism by questioning sexism and racism in the industry and used the genre to empower women. Female rappers solidified a movement that helped mold together popular culture and feminist action. Take a moment to listen to the powerful words from the mouths of some of the most influential female rappers from back in the day and today on Females Vs. The Hip-Hop Industry.


MC Lyte Mc Lyte

“Truth be told, I don’t think many labels understood the difference between each female MC. They thought one female MC should cover the gamut of all female MCs.” – MC Lyte


Angel Haze Angel Haze

“There’s no competitiveness between women rappers now, though people say there is, because we all do it differently. We’re all in different lanes. But the male ego is easily damaged by that. If they can only focus on one woman they will.” – Angel Haze


Shawnna Shawnna

“At this point in time, in hip-hop, the list goes on and on with successful male hip-hop artists; but you can count the successful female hip-hop artists with one hand. Males don’t have a problem working with each other or creating opportunities for each other. We have to break the stereotype that women can’t do that either. It’s a stereotype that’s holding us back.” – Shawnna


Yo-Yo Yo-Yo

“Some women are intimated. It’s a confidence thing. A lot of cliques play on that. I think a lot of women downplay their strength to be friends with other women. But those who are confident in who they are and know where they are going won’t have that problem, but those who don’t, will.” – Yo-Yo


Da Brat Da Brat

“I was criticized for not wearing tight clothes at first or not being girly enough, but it didn’t bother me because it was me. When people started seeing me wear something tight – people were like ‘Oh my God, you got a body under there.’ I started to like the attention and that’s when I decided to do shoots more girly. That was my own decision, not anyone else’s. It was because I liked it not because I was forced to.” – Da Brat


Monie Love Monie Love

“Back in the day, we (female rappers) were easier to find. We were plastered all over the Right On Magazines, the Rap Pages, and The Source. Now, most of the girls are seen, but it’s difficult because they don’t get the attention they deserve. The ladies that do get the light are following a similar trend of being scantily clad. Everyone’s naked, showing their boobs or ass. That doesn’t describe every woman in hip-hop, but unfortunately that is what’s pushed to the forefront. Little girls don’t get to see anything else unless they’re pushing and searching for it. All of us, with the help of some brothers, can shed light on what’s missing and bring back the balance for women in hip-hop.” – Monie Love


Gangsta Boo Gangsta Boo

“We didn’t grow up in a social media world, so my grind was completely different. It was way harder. Now a woman can come up easier, with the right team and the internet. I’ve been rapping for 20 years, so I have some loyal fans. I wonder if the ones (female rappers) now will have loyal fans like that.” – Gangsta Boo


Rah Digga Rah Digga

“I feel like I was so strong in every other aspect of my career except for trusting my own judgement. I disregarded a lot of my own personal concerns out of loyalty to others and trusting other people’s judgement. At the end of the day, I was right and I knew what I was talking about. At the time, the sentiment was that female rappers couldn’t make it without a crew or a man at the helm. I don’t regret anything but I wish I could tell myself ‘Fuck that shit, you’ll be fine. Just stick to your guns and you’ll probably be doing better than most of the guys anyways.” – Rah Digga


Amil Amil

“My story is not everybody’s story. Being a female rapper is not going to create my happiness. Being in the media or fame alone is not going to create my happiness. I need more. I need to have control over my life; everything that goes on in my life. I won’t be happy otherwise. If you’re going to be in the music industry you need to be prepared. Be the best you can be, live that life the best you can. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing what you want to do.” – Amil


The Lady Of Rage The Lady Of Rage

“It wasn’t a situation where they treated me differently or disrespected me. I didn’t even have to fight harder because my talent spoke for itself. Yes, I was in a league of extraordinary gentlemen, but I was on the same level they were. It wasn’t like they had to write my rhymes or hold my hand. I held my own. And that’s how it was my entire journey in hip-hop. I competed with guys, so it was nothing to me.” – The Lady Of Rage


Roxanne Shante Roxanne Shante

“A lot of people want me to say I did ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ to speak out so women can have a place in hip-hop, but that’s not the case. They didn’t have the title ‘female rapper’ back then. I was just considered a great rapper. So, I didn’t see the need to show and prove to them that I’m great just because I’m a girl. I was great anyway. It wasn’t until the late 80’s that they came up with that title, ‘female rapper,’ because they had women like myself  who were ready to battle anyone and go after anyone. They were like ‘Shante, we just want to let you know that you are one of the greatest female rappers.’ I really wasn’t satisfied. I never accepted that title. I was a great rapper. Period. I was ready to prove it.” – Roxanne Shante


Trina Trina

“The industry is not glitter and glam; it’s smoke and mirrors, so you can be left behind or caught up. You can’t really hate the players, though, you have to hate the game. As a woman, you have to work twice as hard and twenty times harder in the paint than guys. I have gone to male artists’ shows and I can honestly say my show is better. But, I don’t get credit ’cause I’m not a guy.” – Trina


Missy Elliott Missy Elliot

“I was always different. I wasn’t a follower. When I got into the music industry, I did what I would normally do. I didn’t pay attention to any trends. They felt like I was refreshing. I always think that if you can walk in with confidence, then you can convince the masses. I came in and did what I knew how to do.” – Missy Elliot


Salt-N-Pepa Salt-N-Pepa

“We got a lot of slack when our songs were crossing over. Back then they’d call you a sell-out. That’s what we went through. It’s like we were outcasts. It was cool to be hardcore and underground, starving. It was all about street credibility.” – Salt-N-Pepa


Princess Princess

“I think females can do anything males can do, except the physical stuff. We’re a force to be reckoned with once we get those insecurities out of our head. Thinking that there can only be one female rapper at a time or there’s only room for two or three, won’t let us get past that – because we’re the only ones holding ourselves back. We can do more female records. There can really be all females, or just more females reaching out and doing stuff. But we’re so scared of being out-shined by the next person, or we worry about what everyone says on the blogs and them putting us against each other. We will never grow that way and it will always just be one or two.” – Princess from Crime Mob


Lil Kim Lil Kim

“I think females make really great music and they need to be acknowledged. We don’t get the acknowledgement that men get. Sometimes we don’t get the acknowledgement that men get and we sell more records. Sometimes we don’t get the same push as male artists.”- Lil Kim


Nicki Minaj Nicki Minaj

“Life is about growth and I don’t want to remain the same my whole life – I want to be able to change. I have to be true to me – I started seeing different things, going to different places, eating different things. It would be fraudulent to rap the same way and look the same way, because I’m not the same. Period.”- Nicki Minaj


Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill

“I entered into my craft full of optimism, but immediately saw the suppressive force in which the system attempts to maintain control over a given paradigm. I’ve seen people promote addiction, sabotage, black listing, media bullying and any other coercion technique they could, to prevent artists from knowing their real value, or exercising their full power. These devices of control, no matter how well intended, can have a devastating outcome on the lives of people, especially creative types who must grow and exist within a certain environment and according to a certain pace, in order to live and create optimally.” – Lauryn Hill


And remember… pussy is power.

Kaycee Rogers

A.K.A. Vanillatrilla enjoys making mixes, copping sneakers, collecting vintage sportswear, reading biographies & napping.

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