What’s a Girl to Do? (Ladies in the Back, Where Ya At?)
In eleventh grade I had a teacher who announced at the beginning of the school year that he was going to teach our class using the Socratic Method, which is basically a learning style in which an instructor asks questions to challenge students. It would usually result in the recipient of the questions being led to a particular conclusion through their own rational thinking as supported by his or her own knowledge.
So for instance, if my teacher asked, “Who’s the greatest rapper alive?” The class would probably say Jay-Z and he’d follow up with another question: “Why not Lil Wayne?” In order to answer the question we’d have to really know our shit because he’d keep hitting us with more challenging questions. At the end you’d come up with not only an answer to the original question but also a pretty cohesive argument as to why your answer is the right one.
Since that course, though, I’ve adapted this argument style, playing Devil’s Advocate in all of my conversations because you can learn so much more about a person or a topic when you challenge everything they say. It’s annoying to some but enlightening all around. However, every once in a while I get caught up with a conundrum that I just can’t ask myself into an answer. Here’s one that maybe you guys (and gals) can help me with.
The conversation: My boys said that there’s not enough pink hair weave and clever non-sequiturs in the world to sell a Nicki Minaj album.
However, I predict that her buzz is so big now and that she’s so talented that whenever she does come with an album (or a song for that matter) she’ll be the biggest thing since Kim. Perhaps bigger because she has more widespread appeal.
Their argument: No one wants to hear a female rap because if she raps like a dude it’s a turn off.
Their exact words were, “No one wants to hear a girl talking about loading and cocking back, she can pass us the gun if anything but no one wants to hear a girl being a thug on a track.” On the other hand, if she gets too girly—rapping about glue-ins and trips to the mall—a dude is not gonna even wanna listen to that. And the selling sex thing only gets you but so far.
So what’s a girl to do?
The conversation took many obvious turns and ended with me forcing them to listen to songs like “Can Anybody Hear Me?” and “Still I Rise” that feature Nicki going in on less superficial topics, a recap of Kim and Foxy’s sales figures, and a bunch of questions because, at the end of the day, all I really wanted to know is; How they wanted their female rappers, if they wanted them at all?
Or, better yet, I wanted (and still want) to know how a female could rap and still earn her respect? Even if she ain’t thuggin’ on the track, will most rap “fans” listen to 16 “Nicki Lewinsky”-themed songs about dildos and her putting her “pussy on your sideburns”? And if you do, will you respect her at the end of the day? Being that hip-hop is a male dominated genre with mostly male artists and listeners, is there even a lane for females to both compete and get equal respect?
Meet me in the comments section cuz I got follow up questions. —Brooklyne Gipson (aka BGP, B.Gip, Baby Got Pac… LOL).