Black Women in Rap Essay

Black Women in Rap Essay

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Back That Ass Up: A Discussion of Black Women in Rap

…You can put it in your mouth
I said your mothafuckin mouth
I said your mothafuckin mouth
And you could just eat me out
What do ya choose to lick?
You could eat me out

Pussy or dick?

Within the booming business that has become the rap world, certain musical themes and issues are more prevalent than most. In addition to such topics as drugs, alcohol and police brutality, a dominant theme within rap music is the denigration and derision of women. Indeed, as the above lyrics to Akinyele's song “Put It in your Mouth” illustrate, many male rappers use violent and misogynistic lyrics to create an image of women that is both degrading and disgusting. The graphic and shocking nature of this particular type of rap causes it to be widely publicized, and thus it serves as a definition of rap for a majority of people today. However, there are a number of female artists within the rap music genre spreading messages of female empowerment and respect, not denigration. These female artists, often ignored due to the hype surrounding their male counterparts, use their lyrics to create raps which focus on life as women; dealing with issues of love, power, and discrimination. The face of women in rap culture is both multi-faceted and contradictory.

The rap world has many different dynamics, including economics, racism, sexism, and violence. How do these relate to black female rappers? What is the role of the feminist rapper within rap culture? What is the message of black female rappers and how is that conveyed within their music? Why are women exploited, i.e. verbally demeaned and abused within rap songs; being turned into objects of sexual violence and denigratio...


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...“Music in African American Culture.” Mediated Messages and African American Culture: Contemporary Issues. Ed. Venise Berry, Carmen L. Manning-Miller. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1996.

Mies, Maria. Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour. New York: Zed Books, 1998.

Roberts, Robin. “Ladies First: Queen Latifah's Afrocentric Feminist Music Video.” African American Review. 28.2 (1994): 245-257.

Rose, Tricia. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America . Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1994.

“Never Trust a Big Butt and a Smile.” Black Feminist Cultural Criticism. Ed. Jacqueline Bobo. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 2001.

Ya Salaam, Kalamu. “It Didn't Jes Grew: The Social and Aesthetic Significance of African American Music.” African American Review 29.2 (1995): 351-375.

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