In his recent posting entitled “Where My Ladies At? The Mystery of the Missing Female OGs,” DJ Louie XIV explores what he believes is the lack of presence of the female musical OG in the hip-hop/rap industry.
He points out that artists like Nicki Minaj are more inclined to follow the blueprint of female pop artists due to their seemingly sustainable longevity:
“Moreover, it is safe to say that Minaj — all colorful wigs, eccentric outfits, and her nagging insistence on singing into auto tune — seems to be modeling her career more closely after largely white, female pop stars rather than any female hip-hop artists that preceded her.
For a hip-hop fan, this is disappointing, as it seems more pertinent for Minaj to be showcasing her ample rhyming ability than regurgitating yet another shaded rendition of “California Tik Tok on Last Friday Night’s Domino.” On the other hand, who can really blame her? Indeed, when taking stock of the current landscape of music, Nicki really has no established female hip-hop role models on whom she can base her career. One look at the now-dormant solo pursuits of Lil Kim, Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill and it is easier to see why Nicki may be apt to follow the more sustainable careers of pop stars as her paradigm: each of these female MCs of yore, not yet 40 years old, hasn’t released new material for the better part of a decade”
Furthermore, DJ Louie XIV ponders on why other hip-hop artists like Jay-Z are still formidable artists past the age of 30:
“While this lack of contribution by mature women in hip-hop could once be chalked up to a genre-wide focus on youth, male Hip Hop artists like Jay-Z, 42, have proven that rappers can maintain artistic relevance and commercial viability well into their 40s.”
Lastly, he points out that the lack of career longevity for female hip-hop/rap artists is detrimental to the music form as a whole:
“Regardless, the bottom line is the lack of noise from the older female voices in hip-hop is, at best, sad for music lovers who crave new sounds from their lifelong idols, and at worst detrimental to the genre which they each helped to establish and sustain. “
You can read the article in its entirety here.
While I agree with the points that DJ Louie XIV makes, he fails to fully acknowledge how female hip-hop/rap artists are often overlooked if they are not visually appealing. There is a continuous thread that runs through the fabric of our society that women have to be both youthful and sexy in order to remain relevant–so of course, this seeps into the images of current female hip-hop/rap artists. I can name several female artists that are hot spitters and don’t play into sounding commercial, but unfortunately most people don’t know them because they to use their beauty as their main asset to promote themselves and sell their art. Oftentimes, men don’t need to be sexy in order to sell records. I could be wrong, but I never got the impression that Jay-Z needed to be sexy in order to sell records–in fact, I’m sure most folks would agree that Jay-Z isn’t the most sexy person around, but he has had the support of his peers for so long. This is what most female artists lack–so they often turn to their visual appeal because of some of society’s detrimental expectations.
Weigh in on this discussion and let me know what you think. Do you agree with me and/or DJ Louie XIV? Will female hip-hop artists be able to enjoy the musical career longevity and respect that many of their male counterparts are able to obtain?