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).

  • Enlightened

    There is a lane…

    it’s called MCing. Just being true to real life situations and not worrying so much about the image.

    One of the best examples I can think of is Mia X. She wasn’t quite the lyricist as a Lady of Rage or a Jean Grae, but she had the hard ass Beats by the Pound beats and she rapped about real situations.

    So, she wasn’t trying to rap about the same things as the “thug” ass niggas, she rapped mostly from the perspective of the down ass girlfriend who held her nigga down.

    The best example in my opinion would be MC Lyte. She was hood enough but you still would want her for your old lady.

    Niggas bumped her.

    But as far as Nikki Minaj being “so talented” as you put it. I don’t see that shit at all. That bitch is average talent wise to me and with her annoying ass delivery she becomes below average to me.

    • valdez

      cosign everything enlightened just said.

      on another note, at least she is something really nice to look at. but the way she raps is too annoying to sit thru a few songs, let alone a whole album.

    • http://xxl gside

      Rember M.C. Lyte she had the #1 spot male or female M.C. .

  • http://whoisclifsoulo.blogspot.com Clif Soulo

    Plain and simple, women need to stop trying to get a man’s approval. I mean, it goes beyond just women, but to keep it specific, I just wanna hear women talk about their experiences. If all she is about is sex, then rap about that. It may not work, but atleast they are being honest. Honest Music > anything else, man or woman.

    • Sincere

      I’m going to be honest I want my female MC to be hot and be able to put a couple lines together. And Nicki got that covered. Am I going to buy her album probably not. Will she sell albums absolutely niggaz don’t buy albums chics do. She has female teen demographic eating out of her hands right now. Ask your daughters, nieces, younger cousins etc., I guarantee they are listening to her and they are the ones making Soulja boy platinum.

  • Von

    Eve did it.

  • Russ

    I only want to listen to a female MC spit if she’s in that Lauryn Hill lane. She’s the best female to ever do it.

  • John Cochran

    I feel bad for talented female MCs, becuase people cant wait to put them in a box. There will never be another MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, or Lauryn Hill. As far as Niki Is concerned, I heard her say herself in an interview that she’s not a rapper, she’s an entertainer. I can’t take her seriously enough to download her mixtape, let alone buy her album. She’s more fergie than foxy.

  • P. Harris

    co-sign Enlightened, Nicki is average…

    I’m not a fan of her music and I tune into her ass ets more then what’s she’s saying.

    I was the same way with Lil Kim, but at least Kim had some lyrics, which later turned out to be Big’s, but yet in still… Kim was spittin and had voice with it… Nicki sounds like, I don’t know what, but it’s annoying as hell… kinda like shut da fuc up? Nonetheless she has hella fans?

    With that being said…

    True question is will she be able to repeat the high times that Kim and Foxy had back in the late 90′s???

    I just don’t see Nicki having that kind of impact on female MC culture. She needs to drop some more solo joints. A video that can be on BET or MTV or something. Because other then that she’s not going to get past her current status…

  • Worley

    The first thing she needs to do is get out from under Lil Wayne. Second, stop with the annoying voices. I have never gotten through more than one minute of a Minaj track. That voice annoys the sh!t out of me.

    • yoprince

      the voice kills me too.

    • valdez

      “The first thing she needs to do is get out from under Lil Wayne.”

      ^^that’s really the main thing she has going for her. i don’t like wayne, but it’s safe to say whoever is down with him at this point has the potential to get hot. drake anyone?

      • Sincere

        CO-sign

        as much as people hate on Wayne, there’s nothing hotter than Young Money right now between him and Drake. I mean Baby just sold 35,800 copies because drake and wayne are on his singles and he might be the worst rapper ever.

  • yoprince

    we liked lauryn hill cause she was… NICE.

    you women have got to realize that we, as men, are relatively simple-minded. meaning that, if you go the sex sells route, we won’t forget it. and that’s all we’ll really check for. a career can be built off that, but the question is… how long? women can’t look like girls forever (case in point lil kim and her surgery debacles).

    women are different, more complex. you can see ms. minaj dressed like a common whore, and still care to listen to tracks like still i rise.

    for us, her name is nicki minaj… menage trois… threesomes… sex… she calls herself lewinski… she dresses like a stripper.

    she could be nice like nas… and we’ll still be trying to look down her shirt, or hoping she’ll turn around.

    female emcees need to think long-term about how they want to be perceived 2 years, 5 years, 10 years from now.

    OR..

    just take your clothes off, and cash in for that quick buck

    put it like this:

    if you leave just ‘a little’ to the imagination (like nicki has done w/ her pics and image) then we’ll always be checking for that ‘little’.. and if we don’t get it.. fuck you!

    if you leave ‘a lot’ to the imagination… we’ll actually listen to you.

    you don’t have to strip down to your panties for us to know your sexy. we can tell through some jeans and a t-shirt.

    oh.. and at the end of the day.. if you’re gonna be a rapper, you have to be… NICE.

    • valdez

      ^^another great point!

  • Curtis75Black

    The unfortunate aspect of the current female emcee is that Lil Kim and Foxy Brown blew up on that superficial shit. Getting ghostwritten by hotter emcee and basically getting judged by their looks, lyrics and beats became secondary. If I’m wrong, Bahamadia and Jean Grae who blow the previously mentioned out the water, would’ve been more known and appreciated. It’s easy to look down on Nicki in today’s market but she came up listening to what you all now despise about Hip Hop. In the late 80′s to 90′s all a female had to do was spit and hold their own with a male counterpart and she was in !! Mc Lyte, Latifah, Boss, Rage, Mia, Monie, Lauryn as well as others did it and did it well to gain that respect. Tits and Ass fucked up the female emcee.

  • Chilly Willy

    One of the problems femcees face nowadays, along with the tits and ass theorie (I see you Curtis) is the fact that previous prominent femcees are hard acts to follow. Difference with male MCs is that there’s not many femcees, so every average girl rapper coming up will be put in the spot all the time. Why do you think every obscure rap label wanna have a first lady ? ‘Cause they’re all nice ? No! That will get the label some shine, some publicity. Because femcee is a rare commodity. So how exactly is that a problem for girls? Hiphop nation can take great MCs and average rapsters, but refuse to settle for any average femcee, since there ain’t too many of them.

    Bottom line, BGP (ha!), if you talk competition (sans sale) and respect, there is a lane if the femcee is talented. Plain and simple. I’ll take Jean Grae over Jim Jones any time. Nicki Minaj, my mind ain’t made up yet, but she seems to be a Kim surrogate (about the voice, it annoys me but so is Wayne’s gremlin grunts).

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxprofit Max Profit

    I like Nicky she focuses on being witty and funny.

    A true MC entertains the crowd. She don’t gotta be a thug or a princess just interesting .

  • DV8

    other then that one picture where she took a que from Lil Kim circa 96 what exactly is the big deal with Nicki Manaj?

    When she 1st came out it was obvious (at least to me) that Wayne was “helping” her with her rhymes. Now it seems shes doing on her own. But above all that her voice is fucking annoying and her lyrics are sub-par.

    Give me Jean Grae, Lauryn Hill, and Lady of Rage any day. These women are some real MC’s

  • http://www.incilin.wordpress.com Incilin

    You gotta respect yourself to be respected. Nearly every female rapper raps about sex and how gangsta they are. The only females I ever loved listening to were Jean Grae and Lauryn Hill because they were real WOMEN and they didn’t brag about being a bitch nor use sex appeal to raise their profile.

    “Showing off your ass ’cause you’re thinking it’s a trend, Girlfriend, let me break it down for you again, You know I only say it ’cause I’m truly genuine, Don’t be a hardrock when you’re really a gem, Babygirl, respect is just a minimum….”

  • ed-hova

    Nicki look good!!!!!!!

  • CrunchyBlack187

    Lauryn Hill is the best female to ever do it in my opinion. Listen to The Score and try to prove me wrong.

  • http://www.twitter.com/showalasomelove Slash

    As a female, I can say that the lack of respect for women (artists) in hip hop is due to the lack of quality music that will stand the test of time.

    Nicki may throw in the occassional “conscious” song but hell, even Plies has the occasional “conscious” song. It’s just like making the club song and the street single. She’s still known for superficial music and nothing authentic.

    Women need to be better songwriters & storytellers like all of the male counterparts that are worth listening to. The woman with relatable real life experiences that can put that together with wordplay (not just punchlines but actual wordplay)and quality beat selection will be very rich because male and female hip hop fans really do want it.

  • Oshanae

    Well over all guys may not want to hear a female to busting guns…..But lets be real folks who wants to keep hearing male mc talk about thug shit when alot of them have never touch a gun, moved coke or stood on the block more than ten minutes. I want to give Nicki Manaj chance to grow cause she actually has potential but it would be nice to see a female mc come on her own, with out being apart of a crew….

  • guttaman

    i really dont get the appeal of nicki…
    shes a rap lesbian.
    shes always talking bout getting with a bad chick. also she sounds goofy as hell.
    http://www.candidBACKshots.com

  • http://www.twitter.com/foxbrownfox Fox

    Sure – there’s a lane for females in male dominated hip hop.

    It’s called REAL.

    Ladies – it’s a lose-lose anyway, so spit for yourself.

    Fact is they don’t wanna hear what you gotta say if you ACTUALLY have something to say – and your booty has an expiration date if you’re claiming fame on your sexiness as an emcee.

    Spit for yourself. Raise your own damn levels…

    OR – you can rap for sistas like me…who really are listening.

    Either way… one hit wonder or sitting on the shelf next to the legends. Your choice.

    That’s me over there – shaking my damn head. Either way.

  • Mr. North

    I always fucked with Gangsta Boo. Her first 2 albums with 3-6 Mafia but dont really listen to her new stuff though I still support and have mad love for her. Her and Mia X from the south thats it.

  • dbys12

    damn yall what about my girl missy elliot she one of tha big dawgs!!

    • http://eatsomebreakfastfirst.blogspot.com script

      consignment.. missy is the last female rapper to do any kind of numbers and is still one song away from blowing right back up.. i could see her fuckin wit nicki minaj on a song too.. if you make an argument as to who’s the best you can’t leave missy out because thats like the argument about jay big and pac.. jay was still alive so he got that crown.. lauryn stopped making music so i feel that goes to missy even though she went into that club music phase she still a beast.. drake and 40 know what it is they sampled that “friendly skies” on so far gone

  • http://www.facebook.com/thedubspot DubP

    I agree that Lauryn and Missy did it bigger and better than any other female WITHOUT the guns busting or tiddays poppin out on their tracks or videos. You must have true talent to make that happen. I personally think Rah Digga is really nice and she also offers somewhat of a balance.

    Nicki will make some bux, but I really dont think she will blow or have any type of longevity. She’s novelty item like Billy Bob teeth…ya know? It’s entertaining at first, but quickly loses it’s appeal. I’m disappointed in Young Money. I think a strong first lady could take them OVER the top.

  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    Lauren Hill….. *turns on Ex Factor*

  • Milliano

    I WANT CHEESE LOTS AND LOTS OF CHEESE

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

    Lmao @ B.Gip (c)

    As far as the mainstream appeal that EVERY rapper chases, female-wise, basically Nick is following footsteps left by:

    La
    Lyte
    Fox Boogie
    Kim
    L-boogie

    Now, that’s just mass appeal. She has to outshine a truckload of very good, but unappreciated ladies before she can even dream of achieving what those five did. That would mean finding a lane where she’d only moderately be compared to any/all of them.

    That’s a big ass pair of Manolo’s to fill. The sexiness, Fox & Kim took it to the bank. The royalty, Latifah got that in her trophy case. The skill, L-Boogie all effing day, even though she’s 7:30 these days, word to her talking guitar. The realness, Lyte, hands down. What exactly can Nicki do to make her stand out?

    Not to be a caveman about it, but there’s a reason we don’t have “that” female rapper/MC right now. Nicki ain’t the first chick to try & do her thing this century. Won’t be the last. All she can do @ this juncture is make it harder -or- easier for the next young lady trying to make it. Niggas are struggling to garner success & identity in this industry, so just imagine how it is for a female in a male dominated competition.

    If she was smart, she’d let Wayne knock her up. Just saying.

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

      One more point…

      I didn’t look @ her picture before, I just started in on the drop. So, I got to the pic after I commented, & immediately I noticed that I can see her big, brown, silver dollar pancake areolas through her shirt. That observation just backed up about 85% of the comments on the thread.

  • caino

    Shit, if she spits hot bars like Lauren hill then she will be good, l mean l still bump the Mis-education , which is an awesome album.

    If she goes the ‘sex’ route then she will burn out pretty quickly !

  • Ryan Proctor

    there are still ladies out there following in the footsteps of shante, bahamadia, lauryn hill etc and coming with skills first and foremost – nyc’s jean grae, canada’s eternia, chicago’s rita j, detroit’s invincible – talented females emcees are still around but unless they’re talking about sex, showing skin or being co-signed by an already successful male artist they’re sadly falling under the radar – people need to stop being spoonfed and dig a little deeper if they want to find good music nowadays….

  • What The ?

    Lauryn Hill was below average in male standards at rapping, great sanger though, Bahamadia was the only female spittin anything half ass. I mean look how many dope ass male mcs are out there a billion times better than Nicci and still don’t get paid or recognized, in fact you could look at it like this, she only gets any attention at all because she is a female if she was a dude with the game she has no one would give a fuck. Sure Layla Alli is a dope female boxer but the worst professional male in here weight class would still knock her the fuck out same goes for every sport or anything really this is fact call it prejudice or male schovanizm or whatever but it’s still the truth. Rap is a game where some extrememly talented Men fail why should we give a rats ass about female rappers with less talent than a shitty male rapper ?

    • Vic De Zen

      Lauryn Hill was average? By what male standards? back in the day, Hill could have ate most rappers that were out when she was actually rapping:

      my circle it can’t be broken/open/cutthroatin provokin/record promotin/tokens/chokin on they words like smokin/cause we so smokin/doesn’t mean that we forgot/and you booty smell rotten/and one day you will be gotten.

      Most rappers today would be hailed as having the lyrics of the month with that and that was just lyrics she wrote during a group song. Bahamadia was nice, but you defintely cannot call Lauryn Hill average.

  • REAL6

    *Coughs* BAHAMADIA *Coughs*

  • capcobra

    nikki minaj is official…she been had a buzz..this ain’t no fluke…she from Queens {home of the best mc’s and the most succesful mc’s}…she write her own shit…she fucking with the best niguz downsouth…it’s an open lane for female rap..she rocking the buttpads and the bigger cups..i guess it’s safe to say that she gon sell some cd’s…especially since young people buy the most cd’s and she’s the princess of young money…no disrespect to my baby mother shawnna tho’…nikki.shawnna.trina.eve….and then the rest.

  • Vic De Zen

    More people should mention Lauryn Hill. She’s the best female rapper to ever do it. Period. No questions and that shouldn’t even be a debate. She proves that females can MC. Females can pick up a mic and talk about things other than sex and helping their man thug. People are too caught up in this Lil Kim/Foxy Brown formula that they think there’s no other way.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Fuck all dat bullshit. IMO MC Lyte is the best to ever do it. It was so raw. Especially during that time period. Lauryn got more exposure cause of the worldwide success of “The Score”. Never a B.I.G. fan of K.I.M., but Fox Boogie always had lyrics herself.

    Lyte
    Lauren
    Jean Grae
    Foxy

  • Shawn Blaze

    I’m not feeling Nikki at all…I feel she is a female version of Wayne…like Wayne auto tuned his voice to sound like a chick…MC Lyte is hands down the greatest female rapper of all time…No one can touch her but Lauryn comes close…I’m so surprised no one has said anything about Remy Ma, she was so dope, she spit harder than these dudes out here and she killed Fat Joe on every record

  • El Tico Loco

    No frontin Nikki does have all the tools to take over the game (although lyrically she a 3.5) but where all female rappers fail at is that when they get big commercially they leave hip hop all alone as if that was just a stepping stone for other things acting or whatever, so they practically shit on their original audience that helped them blow up, then they try to crawl back in the booth and fail *cough*Eve*cough* and it’s always been the case. The ones like Rah Digga, Lady(replace Joe Budden in SH with her)Luck, or Jean Grae probably would do the same if given the chance.

  • Brooklyn

    nicki minaj is aight as a raptress, i actually thought she was pretty good before she got with lil wayne and ‘nem. after she joined them niggas she started rapping like wayne, and it’s so fucking eerie, looking at a bad bitch like that and hearing lil wayne’s cadence flow from her, like he possessed her or something. lauryn hill was nice in her day, but i think mc lyte takes it as the best female to grace the mic. i’m surprised no one mentioned nonchalant, she was nice too.

  • DV8

    I forgot about Da Brat she was good too.

  • megulito

    lauryn hill missy eve foxy rah diggah mc lyte mary j. all great female mc’s in that order for me miss jade was ok too

  • balaramesh

    @Enlightened says: ,

    you nailed it.

    lyte is probably the best to do it. you can add lauren to the mix too. oh yeah, the queen latifah.

    but as far as chicks that spit harder and maybe better than the men do, i would say either rah digga or remy ma. they kill at least 80% of the dudes out.

    i tried to listen to a couple songs on her. it was unbearable at best. nikki might get the hood rat chicks. but selling mainstream records, i doubt it. much success to her anyway.

  • chillin mayne

    dayum, why i be mad late always??.. i need to stop chillin mayne…regardless, good finish to the post, i was diggin how u put it all together, that technique u mentioned sounds enlightning…

    regardless, Lauren Hill and Rah Digga, my 2 favorite female MCs… nicki minaj once said “u be harry ill be hermoine”…that line made me think she absolutly sucked

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  • Denis

    Where the hell did you learn English?