“In any field, women must work TWICE as hard to even get HALF the respect her male counterparts get. When does this stop?,” Nicki Minaj stated on Twitter in 2017.
The music industry has been perpetually dominated by men in every aspect and will continue to be unless society begins to question their intentions.
Male rappers tend to write most of their lyrics as a way to boost their masculinity: how tough they are, how many women they have and even the objectification of women. There has been a correlation between the objectification of women and their bodies, and the promotion of rap culture; and as time has gone on, men have become more comfortable with producing songs that display these ideas than in past decades.
“As a woman I feel that these lyrics that these rappers are putting into their music portrays us as objects and as a woman I feel like it is very degrading and it normalizes and adds to the stereotype who already perceive women as ‘too promiscuous,” stated Kai Morris, a senior ar Da Vinci Communications High School.
In general, the rise of rap and hip hop was written with a focus on success, fame and their rise to stardom as well as their daily lives and what they endured. As this trend continued, this is what hip hop artists and rappers became known for and became their way of connecting to their listeners. As rap culture has continued to evolve, so have the central messages of their music. Nearly a decade later, their focus has turned to the industry, clout and status.
“It is big when it comes to males, and rap is a highly male dominated genre and in the male nature it is common for them to brag about ‘oh this girl did this and this girl did that; I did this with whoever,’” said Marcus Daniels, music producer and current senior at DVC. “So I think that since this is a part of the male ideology somewhat and it is in a male-dominated genre, it is going to be intertwined together.”
Hypersexualized lyrics have been nothing new and can be seen in both current and past songs. With this in mind, men have been given the platform as a means to express themselves through their music including their sexuality. In most part, their large followings have given them the freedom to do so.
As women have become a larger percentage of the rap game and hip hop genre, some standards have not been tailored to them. So, where are these same levels of freedom for the current and upcoming women in the industry?
Although women have been in this industry since before the 1990’s, current artists such as Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and others have recently made it a main goal to express themselves through their music. Their music in summary, includes the same messages: their come up, their sexuality, as well as their success, yet it is not accepted in the same manner.
“In NAV and Lil Uzi Vert’s “Wanted You” NAV goes ‘I can’t wife that girl, she f**ked like twenty dudes,’” said Isabella Torres, a junior at Animo Leadership. “And then literally less than 30 seconds later goes “I got lots of girls, no there ain’t just one of you.” Why is it okay for you to be involved with lots of girls but she’s less than if she has multiple partners?”
Most often, when women of this generation express these things in their music, they are exploited rather than empowered like their male counterparts. In this generation as well as the ones before it, women are expected to hide their sexuality, the topic being taboo.
These lyrics and double standards in the music industry continue to fuel a generation that undermines femininity. There are current rappers today that continue to aid in this including: Drake, Lil Wayne, Nav and many more. It’s important that we analyze all lyrics written by both men and women and see how they affect society as a whole and set a level playing field of standards that we expect to be met.