Her story yamasimba

619 views | Wed, 5th of September, 2018

The current state of hip hop has been giving me sleepless nights more especially, the feminine voice. I am uncomfortable by the feminine representation that has been forced down my throat. I was groomed by the hip hop underground scene in the 2000s. I am in the forefront with my male counterparts from Slaghuis, 1808, StreetPop and Splashjam. Being a street poet (and closet emcee) I shared the stages with all the men you call Hip Hop today. The original version of Urongo was a hip hop track which was rejected by my misogynistic community. When uRongo was released on Hype Sessions vol 3, my counterparts still did not want to recognise the feminine voice in Hip Hop and all it amounted to was me getting radio interviews to discuss women in hip hop. Because that’s what my male counterparts do is to talk. They hold very high standards for female rap flow, but they do not hold the same standards for themselves.  I can think of many male rappers who actually can’t rap but became famous. When it is time for a woman to take the mic suddenly there is a lot of pressure. I know many women who know this experience. I also know women who have never made it but have better flow that some of your male artists who have reached the highest level.

 

I feel the need to speak out because our local hip hop industry is being orchestrated by misogynistic men.  What local rappers have taught me is that you can only be a female rapper if your flow sounds American or if you are half naked in a weave. Hip Hop brothers have taken the video hoe image and they are writing lines for her and calling that a femcee. I don’t think I have ever felt so insulted in my life.

 

Men in hip hop continuously suppress the feminine voice. The female voice can only exist with male approval. I look at the contemporary industry and all our celebrated female rappers look like sex kittens and have an Nicki Minaj/Cardi B flow. That is the face of Her Story.....unoriginal raps dressed in lingerie.

 

We cannot have an industry that is dictated by male terms and behaviours. Men and women do not rap the same, why is male aggressive rap the standard? All our female rappers behave like boys but dress like strippers- what is going on?

 

Where are our versions of Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Young Ma and def Loaf? Why do we only get the Nicki and Cardi range? This situation where female emcees have to go through a male judging panel is diluting our power. It is leading to a situation where female rap is being modelled and is not authentic. It has become a beauty contest and no longer about lyricism and issues that affect women. If you truly understand the ideology of hip hop then you will know that it is based on black consciousness. Hip Hop is about expression and channelling energy to better the situation for our people. Hip hop is more than just male rap. Hip Hop is an entire community however we have a select few gate keeping the local hip hop market and keeping conscious female voices out.

 

We have reached a record low where male emcees with platforms are ‘putting on’ their ‘crushes’ and writing for them. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper who does not put on costumes and gimmicks. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper who has been working on her lines for years, even decades. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper who understands her writing process and flow and has taken years to master them. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper who has been denied the microphone at hip hop sessions. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper with books and books and books of rhymes, someone passionate about words. Somewhere out there is a real female rapper getting her demo rejected by the industry because she doesn’t look a certain way.

 

I look at the state of female rap, these women that have been put on by men, these women that are saying nothing to me. These women who should represent me but they don’t. And men are clever neh? Because they chose the women for us, and when we women say they dont represent us- they say we hate other women. Smart.