Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rap and Gender

Most of the industry leaders in rap are men. Of course there are female rappers such as Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj, but they seem to be in the Shadow of the dominant male hip-hop artists. Is it the nature of rap that causes this difference with its roots in gangs, violence, and drugs?

Personally, I believe that rap appeals more to males than it does females; looking at the gender ratio of our class exemplifies this. Is rap a predominantly male industry aimed for a male market? Much of the sexual references and demeaning language towards women in many rap songs would suggest this. Will rap always be a male dominated industry, or will artists such as Minaj open the door to more female hip-hop artists?


  1. I think that a lot of rap today is geared towards men: this is because of the braggadocio theme we see in the music. However, many male rappers who I listen to now rap about the beauty of women: after years of bashing women in rap, lyricists like Drake, Common, J.Cole and others write whole songs based on the beauty of one girl. I feel like once more people start listening to these rappers, rap will gain a larger female fan group because less women will shy away from it.

    For example, Drake's latest album "Take Care" is basically all about his memories with women. "I will take care of you", a line from his song "Take Care" says it all.

  2. An important fact that people neglect to acknowledge, in my opinion, is the underlying commonalities between men and women. In essence, genetically speaking, we are the same. There isn't anything specifically different about men that makes hiphop more attractive other than the fact that its relatively taboo for women to join the industry. I have a lot of respect for Nicki Minaj and other female artists that brave the firestorm of criticism, but it kills me to think that there are people out there who truly believe that men are predisposed to being "better" at writing and rapping than women. It's ridiculous. Hopefully this taboo will eventually age and lose steam. But time and continuous effort by female artists seems just about the only way to expedite that process.

  3. I do feel that rap is a predominately male dominated industry, but that does not mean that the tracks produced by women are any less admirable. Since there are less female rappers, I think that it is harder to come by a really amazing female rapper. Because there are so many more males in the rap industry, just by pure numbers, there will be a greater number of popular male rappers. I also think that since a majority of listeners are male, this shifts how we perceive rap. I think males are more biased towards male rappers, and females are more biased toward female rappers.

    I hope that more female artists continue to produce albums because I do not see any reason why female raps are should be considered worse than male raps.

  4. Part of the reason that men dominate rap and rap culture is the fact that a lot of rap content is focused primarily on violence. In modern society, violence is something that is socialized into men as something that is manly, brave, courageous and tough, and is reflected in mainstream and underground rap in an effort to prove manliness. Organized sports, tv, media and historical norms all contribute to the acceptance of violence into masculinity and our fascination with violence as men. Another reason that violence is such a common topic in today's rap culture is the fact that violence is prevalent in low income and ghetto communities. In "The Code of the Streets" by Elijah Anderson, he explains the relationship between violence and life in the projects. As a means to cope with neglect from mainstream society, many young black males look towards violence and gaining respect to subdue their frustrations and to make a name for themselves in their community. When violence becomes the cornerstone of a community, than the music and self expression that come out of that community become focused on what is important. Rap is gendered because violence is considered masculine, and that norm disables women from participating. Women rappers today conform to that norm and attempt to include violence in their lyrics, but their are much less women that identify with violence positively as men do.


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