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Author Topic: Sam Listens to Female Rappers  (Read 104 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Sam Listens to Female Rappers
« on: April 20, 2020, 09:57:33 AM »
My new job involves a lot of sitting at a computer so I've been occupying my ears with music and podcasts so I thought I should start a music project. I've had this idea in the back of my mind for a while and now the opportunity has struck.

One common critique of rap is its treatment of women and the fact it is male dominated. While I certainly agree there is a lot of misogyny in the genre, I think there are also a lot of extremely sympathetic portraits of women in rap music. Obviously, a good number of these come from women artists in the genre who are often marginalized and overlooked. I seek to rectify that for myself with this project.

Contrary to most top rap albums of all time lists, female rap doesn't begin and end with Lauryn Hill's Miseducation. In that vein, this is the honorary Miseducation of Lauryn Hill exploration of female rappers because I know there are good ones out there and plenty more I haven't heard of yet that I haven't heard. Almost everyone has heard Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and I won't be covering it in this project. It's an all-time favorite of mine but this is about discoveries for me.

I'm not making an outline for which rappers I will cover as I will reserve the right to quit a rapper at any given time for any reason I deem fair. Starting out I want to be open-minded but music is very subjective and I don't plan on wasting my time listening to lots of music from an artist I despise.The only female rapper I know right out of the gate I'm blacklisting is Cardi B. I can't stand her as a rapper or a person so I won't be listening to any of her music.

Starting off I thought I'd listen to some MC Lyte, who I've listened to in the past but don't think I've ever listened to a full album.
"It's all research." -roujin

MartinTeller

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Re: Sam Listens to Female Rappers
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2020, 11:25:51 AM »
A big gap in my knowledge as well. MC Lyte, definitely. I highly recommend Georgia Anne Muldrow. Lizzo, obviously (just because she's everywhere now doesn't mean she's not worth listening to).

It all starts with Sha-Rock:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVxk9PW62Vk

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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Listens to Female Rappers
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2020, 11:32:19 AM »
MC Lyte - Lyte As A Rock (1988)

I'm more of a '90s/'00s rap guy so this gets into that era of rap where I find things a bit too light (pun intended). Dan Harmond once made the joke that back in the '80s you could be an amazing rapper as long as you just rhymed as much as possible. While not entirely true, he's on to something when it comes to how much focus is put on writing as many rhymes as possible instead of focusing as much on the musical craft.

The music is decent enough but it's obviously in service of the rhymes, which is fine because the lyricism here is great. The clever wordplay is superb but a lot of the subject matter is about how great the rapper is and how wack everyone else is which feels rather tedious. I like the confidence but it's extremely surface level. I suppose you could say it's an affirming album about being yourself and not letting the world get you down but is that enough to sustain an entire 38 minute album? I don't think so.

The songs run together after a while. The two standout tracks are Lyte as a Rock and Paper Thin. I've, of course, heard Paper Thin before and it's no surprise that Lyte as a Rock is the album's other popular song on Spotify. I say listen to those two tracks unless you truly want an in-depth, historical understanding of rap. I'm not sure I'll go any deeper with MC Lyte. She's more of a historical context listen to me although I will be making a playlist for this series and both of the above tracks will make the list.
"It's all research." -roujin

colonel_mexico

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Re: Sam Listens to Female Rappers
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2020, 02:22:10 PM »
Cardi-B is interesting to me because she does come off as pretty trashy, but I wondered if that was not my own gender bias?  Like because she raps about enjoying sex and where she comes from, being a stripper, and is not ashamed about it, but instead embraces it, does that mean I can only appreciate a female rapper that is more "clean cut."  I remember really enjoying HUSTLE N FLOW and for the male pimp coming out of that life, I found myself celebrating it and enjoying Terrance Howard's portrayal.  Her music is raunchy and does tend to be a lot about extremely explicit sexual themes, but there is also plenty of themes about her rising from nothing into something-a theme that should be embraced.  Her personal life is nothing I would subscribe to, but the hooks, rhythms, and lyrics are pretty damn good.  I can appreciate a bad-bitch and the music she creates, even if I don't necessarily subscribe to her lifestyle brand. 

To each his own though, just something I thought about as I started to listen to more female hip hop artists.  I too love Lauren Hill, the Fugees were great! 
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Sam Listens to Female Rappers
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2020, 02:49:40 PM »
Well, I like Nicki Minaj a lot (At least her early stuff. I haven't listened to her last two albums.) and I think there's some overlap there in terms of both of them singing a lot about enjoying sex although Minaj obviously never worked in the sex industry like Cardi B. It's Cardi's style of rap and the fact that basically it seems she always has to sing about sex and money to the point that there seems little beyond her music than that (at least from the songs I've heard).

Also, Cardi B is a legitimately terrible person. She bragged about drugging and robbing men, assaulted Minaj at an event, and was indited for assaulting two bartenders. I know lots of rappers have rough pasts and do bad things and maybe at some point there's a discussion to be had there but what Cardi B has done as a famous person makes me personally not want to engage with her work.
"It's all research." -roujin

colonel_mexico

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Re: Sam Listens to Female Rappers
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2020, 02:59:05 PM »
I think that's totally fair criticism and I don't disagree
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