Ear High 003: Female MC Edition
There’s something so inspiring about female MCs. I have to admit that I’m not particularly satisfied with the term “femcee.” Doesn’t it alienate women? Aren’t they just women who emcee? Although I’m not in love with the term, it’s being widely used to define a female who raps, which means that this notion in itself is growing- more women are joining the movement and picking up the mic, so at least that’s worth celebrating.
Hip-hop is more than just a male-dominated industry. Hip-hop is a huge breeding zone for misogyny. To this day, it’s one of the few art forms that largely supports the demoralizing and objectifying of women. I think that’s why hearing women enter the fighting ring and spit with proficiency is such an inspiration. There are parallels that can be drawn between cannabis and female rappers; both are largely under-estimated and on the brink of changing their given industries for the better. Both have been devalued and even degraded by the masses. And although I also really enjoy hearing a man rap a dope verse, something about a woman sailing against the wave of debauchery gets me going.
Today’s Ear High is dedicated to these lyrical goddesses. Light up an energizing sativa (try Nebula or Jack Herer), get in your underwear (for comfort purposes), and vibe out to these lady emcees.
This emcee is one of pure lyrical integrity. She boasts an extremely unique, raspy tonality to her voice that pairs perfectly with her witty, well thought out lyrical depictions. She speaks openly about addiction, spirituality, and day to day life. This Chicago-born rapper is one of my favourites. She can sing, she can rap, but most importantly, she can write. Her songs end up sounding much like poetry, which is probably largely due to her original roots in slam poetry performance. Her first bout of recognition came from her feature on Chance The Rapper’s song, Lost, on his well-received mixtape Acid Rap. Not long after that, she released one of my favourite bodies of work–an 8 track jazz-rap project that proved being a female is completely irrelevant when it come to rhyme skill. Telefone was her debut mixtape, she released independently and gained substantial praises for it, and with good reason. My suggestion? After lighting up, hit up www.rapgenius.com and read the lyrics to follow along with her poetry as you mellow out and listen.
Till. I. Die. And when I do, I hope they play Missy in heaven. If you’ve forgotten about Missy and decided to revisit her today, you’re welcome. Missy is Queen B–everyone knows it. She came out with the sassiest bars of all time. When the degrading of women in hip-hop was at an all-time high, Missy refused to accept the norm and revolutionized the way women were presented in hip-hop. Not only was she a closet-activist, she was an extreme innovator, with some of the most unique flows, videos, and concepts. Many of her rhymes are hyper-sexual without being self-degrading. At the time, men in the industry were preaching “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks”, and then she came out with sexy, empowering lyrics that proved she could bite back and be sexy without being a hoe. Her discography is full of bangers, she’s had over 30 songs make the Billboard charts. And it’s obvious that she’s laced with so much style, you can’t help but feel second-hand steezy when you listen to her. This song is a prime example of how Missy stood her ground as a talented, motivated woman with kinky desires.
True hip-hop heads likely know of Bahamadia, but she may not be so familiar to the mainstream. She’s featured on tracks with people like Guru, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Jedi Mind Tricks, and so many more, proving she can definitely ride with the boys. Her laid back, almost nonchalant style of rapping screams “listen if you want, but I don’t need you”. It feels like butter melting on medium heat. The Philadelphia-born artist has released 2 full-length albums and 1 EP, the most recent being Good Rap Music in 2006. Her later works, however, are my favourite. This song has a banging video full of powerful women who spit serious BARS! It’s not hard to tell that this is an old-school track. The boom-bap production and relentless flows are what make this 1996 release one of my favourites. She’s another one you might want to lyric site while you listen!
Weed and women in hip-hop go together perfectly. They share common grounds in that they have been disregarded and underestimated, but somehow still manage to exceed expectations and thrive. Things are changing for both! People are waking up and accepting new norms. Smoke up and enjoy these awesome lady-centric tracks.