Sexism in Hip Hop: Why Must Female Emcees Be Philosophical, But Male Emcees Don’t?

We can never have enough ignorant male rappers, but all female rappers must uplift? Who made these rules?

By: Amanda Anderson

Hip Hop has never been an equal playing field for the female emcees. For the penis equipped, there’s no mold that they are required to fill, as long as they are making asses shake in the clubs, they can establish a huge following, despite lack luster lyrics and substance less material that promotes the hood rich mentality, that will only keep most black folks poor and in the projects wearing designer gear they can’t even afford. While we may have a variety in male emcees from the conscious and deep minded to the many thousands of soulja boys, not once have we ever required that every one of them come to the music industry with a strong message that could perhaps uplift the black community. We never encourage them to be gentleman, pull their pants up, or keep abreast of international relations…yet we require just about every female emcee to be a role model, a community activist, a philosopher, and in a nutshell…a Lauryn Hill.

This isn’t anything new, since before Lauryn Hill, we had Queen Latifah calling for unity, MC Lyte comparing the strength of women to rocks, and Salt N’ Peppa who managed to break the mold and use sex appeal to convey a message of girl power. They rocked, inspired little girls to become women, and still managed to have success in a dirty business controlled by the boys.

We must have been spoiled because although we’ll allow the most ignorant of people to become male emcees and even damn near drive our race into ignorance captivity (when will we ever break free?), for some odd reason, we have a problem with any female emcee who lacks a message and a willingness to be a role model.

Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown managed to break the mold of the conscious female emcee, and abandoned the super hero cape in exchange for mini skirts, thongs, more cleavage, and raunchy lyrics. Immediately, without even so much as debut albums, we questioned their ability to be role models and their contribution to the black community. Meanwhile, male emcees had managed to permanently stamp the word bitch and hoe to just about every black man’s consciousness, permanently turning them into male chauvinist women hating creatures, hence, ruining them forever.

But somehow we missed all of that while we were complaining about Lil’ Kim’s lyrics poisoning the minds of our young black girls, and Foxy Brown’s continued failure to put a damn bra on, and make a truce with gravity.

While it somehow became acceptable to answer to bitch and hoe, and lay on our backs with “men” who develop trophies out of criminal charges, we’ve now set our sights on our latest victim: Nicki Minaj.

Now I am no where close to being a Nicki Minaj fan, and even further from being a barbie, but I must call out the double standard that we as women have created for the female emcees.

Why the hell must every female rapper be deep when there’s a whole industry of idiots with penises? And why is it acceptable to have a whole industry of penis toting idiots and unacceptable to have one idiot with a vagina?

Nicki Minaj may have an insane fan base, and even more insane following composed of young black girls in search for an idol they unfortunately found in the young money barbie, but can we honestly say it’s fair to require Nicki to be the second coming of Lauryn Hill when we don’t seem to mind that Lil’ Wayne is nothing more than a stereotypical black man with four kids by four different women, drug addicted rapper who only raps about money, sex, and violence; and a criminal record that he promotes more so than his successful romp with college?

Lil’ Wayne is damn near dancing around in black face while sitting lovely on some white executive’s pay roll, yet the minstrel show is only offensive when a woman is playing the lead role?

Now by no means am I excusing cooning from any artist in a time when black folks need as many positive images as possible in a world dominated by a biased media with an agenda that involves an unbalance of fairness between the majority and the minority, but I do find it quite hypocritical for us to continue to have high standards for every black woman in the industry, while turning a blind eye to the black men who have only promoted stereotypical images that only hurt our cause.

Why must we continue to have higher standards for the female emcees, but develop crushes on male emcees who can’t stay out of prison?

Wayne has how many baby mommas, yet he probably has the hearts of 90% of black women. Rather they are college educated or hood survivin’, Lil’ Wayne is a sex symbol who can really do no wrong. And some of these same college educated women still have the nerve to talk about the let down of the female rappers. Why?

It makes you wonder rather we are willing to accept the whole view verses the limited perspective we’ve been holding on to since the downfall and abrupt exit of Lauryn Hill.

The truth is simple, every female emcee cant be and won’t manage to get close to becoming Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, or Salt N’ Peppa. Hip Hop hasn’t really managed to give us an industry with more than one celebrated female emcee at a time, although, we’ll have quite a large roster of male emcees go platinum, album after album, and manage to find their own image and carve out their own space in the industry.

All women ain’t the same, so it’s just not possible for one female rapper to represent every single woman. It’s a hard burden to ask one woman to carry, so one can’t be too disappointed that Nicki Minaj continues to fall short of her civil duty to the hip hop heads and their offspring. What we can do is allow Nicki to be what she wants to be, and make the decision of rather or not we want to support her, and if we choose rather or not to turn in our wits to become plastic.

And just maybe, we could finally begin to understand why we have to be more supportive of other female emcees who are trying to grab a piece of the industry. Every woman deserves a female emcee she can relate to. Can’t we all be represented finally? Yes, the moment we start to allow multiple female rappers to have a crack at the music business. Minaj isn’t my cup of tea, but she is a favorite to some. I won’t tear her apart completely because somewhere out there, there’s a budding female emcee who I can relate to…and dare I say it, another sighting of Lauryn Hill to look forward to.

But what really needs to happen is the cut off of these double standards we force female emcees to endure at the hands of women. If I could have my wish, every rapper would be positive, and rap about something productive; verses sex, violence, drugs, pimping, hoeing, and spending money on bullsh-t. But until then, I don’t let poison into my soul regardless of whether the maker has a penis or a vagina. The problem is greater than just one emcee who sold out for mainstream exposure. Wait, don’t they all do that?

So let’s be fair in our Hip Hop bashing.


  1. I absolutely loved this. I am not a Nicki Minahj fan, but I do think it's unfair to hold her at such high standards but yet applaud Weezy for being paid millions to be a buffoon.

  2. I can't stand Nicki MInaj, but I do think it's unfair to always demand that female rappers be role models, and not require the same from the men. It's the men who have been the most influential to the hip hop culture, yet we have more contempt for the female emcees who don't fit that mold.

  3. I don’t think it’s a matter of holding her up to some unreasonable standard, it’s a matter of the lack of a variety of female voices. While there are Many idiot male rappers, there are some (meaning more than one) very gifted ones… On the other hand women and girls are given One. I wonder if those who see her as a role model do so because she is the only one highly visible.

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