Spotlighting a unique moment in music history, one where female Hip Hop artists of color are making their biggest-ever impact on the charts and on culture. Featuring Saweetie, aka Icy, Megan Thee Stallion, aka Stalli and Carbi B, aka Bacardi.
NOTE: This program contains language and subject matter some may find objectionable.
We are in the middle of a historic moment in music currently here in the U.S., whether you realize it or not. In no previous time have so many female Hip Hop artists been so successful on the charts, especially female Hip Hop artists of color. In the past, Hip Hop has been an incredibly male-dominated music genre, with few exceptions.
Much of the change has been due to the overall shift in the charts due to the music consuming public wanting more rhythmic dance music, of which women hold the rare crown for a style.
They have also, by and large, been far more expressive than ever in the language they use in these tracks, actually taking the sexual boasting prowess of men and turning it on its head, demanding, in song, what they want first. All of them can also throw more shade than a solar eclipse.
Judging solely by the messages in this new crop of rappers, women of color are also done with accepting whatever life throws at them, again being forthright in what they want to do with their lives first, including getting paid for the hard work they do, and not wanting to surround themselves with others that do not have the same goals, i.e. “basic hoes”, a common refrain. They are also, much like Lizzo, incredibly body positive, and either intentionally or unintentionally funny through just being honest.
The rise of these women also illustrates a common misconception about the music business that has plagued it for far too long: all of our featured artists today, and many other current female rappers as well, started out on independent labels or as artists on social media, which gives the term “indie music” a much needed revision about what that really means. These women prove it isn’t all hipsters and slow, mopey, coffee house music.
They didn’t invent this system, but they have had to learn, often through enormous struggle, how to navigate it and attempt to survive in it.
Of course there has been controversy from center-and-right leaning groups, primarily made up of white men, which underscores exactly why these messages are so important at the moment: you might not find them empowering, but this isn’t your voice. It’s theirs, and haters should learn to step back and let these women, and others also making the new scene exciting, the opportunity to speak their truth to power.
And, in spite of what conservative commentator Ben Shapiro believes, this is what empowerment looks like to these women, and though literally no one has ever asked him to mansplain his opinion on feminism to anyone, he was happy to give it and got righteously trolled for it. His comments, and others like them, are really less about that subject and more of what has been holding female rappers back for years: conservatives wish to control what women of color say and do, especially when it comes to sex.
Hard to believe Shapiro went to Harvard Law. Or maybe not.
First Part: Saweetie
Our first artist and I actually share two things in common: we are both originally from California and we both have degrees in Mass Communications studies. Born Diamonté Quiava Valentin Harper, she started posting short raps on her Instagram account shortly after graduating. Her upcoming full-length debut album on Warner, Pretty Bitch Music, has been called one of 2021’s most anticipated new releases by Rolling Stone magazine, of which she is currently gracing the cover.
- Tap In, 2020, single release, scheduled for Pretty Bitch Music in 2021
- Back to the Streets, 2020, single release, scheduled for Pretty Bitch Music in 2021 (featuring Jhené Aiko)
- Best Friend, 2021, single release, scheduled for Pretty Bitch Music in 2021 (featuring Doja Cat)
- Icy Girl, 2017, single release, eventually on High Maintenance EP
- You Come First, 2018, single release (Zak Abel featuring Saweetie)
- My Type, 2019, Icy EP
Second Part: Megan Thee Stallion
Our next act was born in San Antonio, Texas, but raised in and around Houston. Born Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, she latched onto the nickname “Stallion” after a common description of tall, voluptuous women in parts of the South. She got her first taste of the music business when her mother, also a rapper, would bring her to recording sessions. Her first charted single, “Big Ole Freak”, came from an EP called Tina Snow, which she describes as an alter ego.
- Captain Hook, 2020, Suga EP
- Like a Stallion, 2016, single release (featuring Angelo Dorsey)
- Body, 2020, Good News
- Big Ole Freak, 2018, Tina Snow EP
- Don’t Stop, 2020, Good News (featuring Young Thug)
- Savage, 2020, Suga EP
Third Part: Cardi B.
Our final artist is considered the shot heard around the world in this new music revolution. By the time of her first #1 Billboard Hot 100 single, “Bodak Yellow” in 2017, she was the the first solo female rapper of color to hit the pole position on that chart in 19 years. Born Belcalis Marlenis Almánza in Washington Heights, a neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City, her now total of four #1 singles make her the most successful female rapper in history.
- Wish Wish, 2019, Father of Asahd (DJ Khaled featuring Cardi B and 21 Savage)
- Cheap Ass Weave, 2015, single release
- Bodak Yellow, 2017, single release, eventually on Invasion of Privacy
- Who Want the Smoke?, 2018, Nuthin’ 2 Prove (Lil Yachty featuring Cardi B and Offset)
- I Like It, 2018, Invasion of Privacy (with Bad Bunny and J Balvin)
- Whores in This House/WAP (Dance Remix by Chris Wess), 1993/2020 (Whores: 1993, Frank-Ski; WAP: 2020, Carbi B. featuring Megan Thee Stallion)
Love to you all.
Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr.
Host, Show Producer, Webmaster, Audio Engineer, Researcher, Videographer and Writer
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