Not many people are thrilled about Nicki Minaj being the only female rapper in the game but if these other lady MC hopefuls don’t start spending more time writing rhymes instead of responding to every little thing someone has to say about them, things are going to stay that way for a while.
Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea are two 20-somethings that are supposed to be the next big thing in rap, the trouble is I’m not sure anyone could name a song by either one of them—if they’ve even released their first official singles yet. The only time they’re featured on any website or are the focus of a news story it’s not because they’re doing anything musically, it’s because they’re throwing shots at each other or harshly defending themselves against critics. What’s even more troubling is rappers like Eve who shouldn’t even be involved in this drama, considering how long she’s been out the game, keep adding fuel to the fire making it seem as though the only way for a female MC to get a little shine is to throw shade on someone else.
To be fair, male rappers have had their share of beef. I’m pretty sure we won’t ever know what the emo-drama Drake and Common were battling each other over was really about, Jay-Z and Nas had years on top of years of diss tracks, and of course Biggie and Pac put rap beef on a whole different level. The difference is they were at least fighting over something and they were established enough in the game to really have something to call out. Pac thought Biggie set him up to get shot, Nas was mad Jay-Z didn’t ask permission to sample his song, and we can use Serena as the basis for Drake and Common’s situation. For the most part, the issues have been over some sort of betrayal, a real-life circumstance that led to them taking shots in music to express how they felt about the situation—and in doing so they capitalized on the talent that made them famous in the first place. That is not what’s going on with the women.
Female rappers are beefing the way a woman would talk behind another girl’s back at the club, like “oooh girl, do you see what she’s wearing?” It’s pretty baseless and bitter. When Azealia found out that Iggy made the XXL freshman cover a couple months back—and she didn’t—a Twitter tantrum ensued and things haven’t calmed down since. She tweeted that “Iggy Azalea on the XXL freshman list is all wrong,” and backed it up with a supposed lyric of Iggy calling herself a runaway slavemaster. Now that comment does certainly raise eyebrows, but her anger seemed to be rooted in the fact that a white girl got the cover instead of her, as evidenced by another beef she has going with “Gucci Gucci” white rapper kreayshawn. I certainly understand the issues of white girl’s appropriating so-called black culture and being celebrated for it, but the same way she spoke on Nicki Minaj and said, “The butt, the hair, the this, the that…we’ve seen you do this already, what else can you do?” I say to her, we’ve seen the rants, the angry tweets, the whining, and the fussing, what else can you do, like rap?
This issue doesn’t have to be as deep as I’m about to make it, but when I look at this whole display of rivalry from Iggy, to Eve, to Azealia, to Kim, and Nicki, I just see girls reinforcing the stereotypical cattiness women are known for. There’s room for everybody is such a cliché statement, but when there’s only one woman out here doing anything in this genre, we could certainly bring a couple more to the table—and respect what they do. I wouldn’t even be so mad about the beef if these ladies were translating it into songs and demonstrating their lyrical prowess, but instead they’re basically talking a lot of stuff without laying any tracks to prove why they’re any better. That’s how you get respect as a woman, as a rapper, as anything. I could care less about you saying, I don’t give a f*** what you think, as Iggy did when Eve said she’s not buying what she’s selling, why don’t you put it in a song and prove her allegation that you’re wack wrong? Not that any of them have done anything for a substantial enough time to consider themselves great, but rap battling is at least one thing Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim managed to get right—as far as the execution, not so much.
I hardly expect the female rap game to be a kumbaya, hold hands around the camp fire, girl power movement, but if this crabs in a barrel, pink ceiling is what we have to look forward to in terms of female rappers, count me out. I’ve always looked at female rappers as some sort of hybrid between women and male MCs. That they had a tough enough interior to let their raps speak for themselves while displaying a feminine exterior that allowed them to flow between both worlds. All these ladies seem to be interested in doing is engaging in juvenile banter about who’s better than who with no effort to back it up. That time is fully wasted because all they’ve ended up doing is turning a bunch of people off who could watch Basketball Wives if all they wanted to see was women run their mouths. And low and behold here we are, left with nothing but Nicki Minaj reloading Roman.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
Do you think female MCs think fabricated rap beef is the only way to get on today or are they just exposing their truly catty nature?
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