Hip-hop, since its inception, has always been recognized as a male-dominated genre. It is a genre born out of struggle and resistance, to give voice to the voiceless. Traditionally, this voice has belonged to the male artist. However, in recent years, women have been steadily infiltrating the hip-hop landscape, challenging the status quo with lyrical prowess and aggressive beats. As we look back on the year 2019, we ask: what is the state of female representation in hip-hop? Have women successfully carved out a space for themselves in this testosterone-driven genre?
Unmasking the Mic: Female Voices in Hip-Hop 2019
In 2019, the hip-hop scene witnessed a resurgence of female artistry in a way that was previously unfathomable. Artists like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion dominated the charts, receiving both critical acclaim and commercial success. Their hard-hitting lyrics and unapologetic demeanour breathed new life into the genre, showing that women could not only survive but thrive in the male-dominated world of hip-hop. Similarly, Rapsody’s deeply introspective album “Eve” was dubbed a Hip-Hop classic by critics, adding another female name to the pantheon of hip-hop greats.
However, it wasn’t just the established artists that made waves. Newcomers like Tierra Whack, Rico Nasty and Saweetie burst onto the scene with fresh perspectives and innovative styles. Their work, while diverse in nature, showcased a shared audacity, an unwillingness to be boxed into conventional femininity. Their unique voices etched in listeners’ minds the image of the 2019 female rapper; bold, brave, and beyond categorization.
Grooves and Grit: An Examination of Womanhood in Hip-Hop’s 2019 Chapter
While women rappers were making hits in 2019, they were also making statements about womanhood in the genre and industry. Tracks such as Lizzo’s "Truth Hurts" and Missy Elliott’s "Throw it Back" embraced body positivity and self-love, pushing back against the industry’s often narrow definition of beauty.
At the same time, many female hip-hop artists didn’t shy away from exploring the complexities of their experiences as women. They rapped about love, heartbreak, ambition, and heartache, but also about the grittier aspects of womanhood – the pain, the struggle, and the resilience it demands. Megan Thee Stallion’s "Hot Girl Summer", while catchy and upbeat, spoke powerfully about female liberation. It became an anthem for women taking control and defining their own narratives.
In 2019, the hip-hop industry bore witness to a powerful and unignorable surge in female artistry. From chart-topping hits and fresh voices to bold lyrical narratives, women in hip-hop didn’t just participate, they owned the game. They carved out a narrative of womanhood within their music that was as varied, complex and layered as the women themselves.
However, while strides have undoubtedly been made, the battle for gender parity in hip-hop is far from won. The genre remains overwhelmingly male, and women continue to face unique challenges and discrimination. But as the women of hip-hop have shown us, they aren’t going anywhere. They’re here, they’re loud, and they’re ready to continue shaking up the hip-hop narrative. 2019 was just the beginning.