Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Where The Ladies At? AKA Nah For Real, Son...Where The Hell Are They?


Can you imagine what Hip Hop would be like without the involvement of women? These dudes could easily^ Do you think that our music or culture has become so toxic that it's running them off? Do we do anything to let them know their needed and appreciated or is Hip Hop just one big ass He Man Woman Hater's Club? We’ve all heard the old speil before about how Hip Hop is misogynistic and disrespectful to women but I beg to differ. Hip Hop isn’t misogynistic, Rap ITSELF isn’t (although many rappers are in their lyrics and videos)...society at large, however, IS.

Before we can blame Hip Hop culture or Rap music for it’s offenses against womankind, we must first recognize how our (and by “our” I mean ALL of us on Earth) attitudes are towards women in general first before even including any singular subculture or music form and how it views or portrays women. Across the board women are treated unfairly, it just happens that with an artform that is media based and visual as well, it‘s far more pronounced and the images are played nonstop on Viacom video channels (Viacom owns every network, damn near) and Clearchannel radio stations (Clearchannel owns every radio station, damn near). Then it’s fair to assume that Viacom and Clearchannel are ACTUALLY more sexist than any rapper could be because THEY are the gatekeepers that select what artists and what music or videos get played non stop daily. Since only about 2%-5% off all artists signed to major record label deals ever even go Gold or Platinum it should give you an idea of the diverse range of music that is out there and not given shine.

Women are treated unfairly in many different fields and subjected to sexism or hit with odd double standards in business or just in general society based on old outdated gender roles. You can't simply jump to one small section in all of American culture and say that all of the misogyny and rampant disrespect towards women is due to Hip Hop culture. There's no way that you can look at things like the Woman's Suffrage Movement or the Women's Liberation Movement and tell me that they both had come into existence because of Hip Hop poisoning the minds of men, thereby forcing them to oppress females since the 1700's because I know for a fact that Kool Herc wouldn't of even had a place to plug his turntables in during the American Revolution.

Since perception becomes reality, if you turn on BET, MTV or VH1 and see a video with three ugly ass rappers wearing five years worth of your salary around their necks and wrists OUTSIDE with 25 half naked girls shaking their asses in the camera you may feel as though women have no real place in Hip Hop. Especially after the fifth or sixth straight video with the same scene/scenario and the lyrics are pretty much just bashing women across the board. Girls can say “This song isn’t talking about me, I have self respect and common sense”, well then ask yourself, “How come NONE of these rappers songs are talking about me?”

When these rappers are confronted about their lyrical content or asked why they call women "bitches" or "hoes" they always respond that 's because in life these are the type of females that they're surrounded by and that they couldn't rhyme about them if they didn't really exist. All these cats complain about is how hard it is to find a good woman because they’re always surrounded by chickenheads, trifling chicks, hoodrats, bitches and hoes...After years of dealing with them, you’d figure these cats would get smart, see the signs quicker and be able to break out and avoid the drama that this type of girl brings. Are good women REALLY that hard to find or are these assholes not even looking? Of course they’re not! Therefore that whole “defense” these rappers use for their misogynistic lyrics is bullshit. A REAL artist always has a way to switch up their content or subject matter and not get stuck doing the same old thing over and over. Would it be really be that shocking if women just left Rap alone like it was an abusive, asshole boyfriend they’ve simply had enough of?

When’s the last time you even remember a female emcee being relevant on a major label. Eve got a new song out now, but where’s Foxy Brown? Lil’ Kim? Trina? Remy Ma? Shawnna? I don’t even LIKE any of them! I hope you're not telling me that the future of female emcees lies with Lil' Mama! Where’s Rah Digga? Jean Grae? Eternia? Invincible? Shayla G? Byata? Brix? Letia Larock? Anjuli Stars? Bahamadia? Tiye Phoenix? Psalm One? Georgia Anne Muldrow? All on the underground with lttle or no chance of ever getting signed to a major because their “too good” or “not marketable enough”.

If talent, creativity, perseverance, drive and love of Hip Hop/emceeing isn’t enough to get a female emcee through the door then what does that tell you about the current state of the Rap industry as a whole? If women don't have a place behind the mic or in the booth, the only time they'd be the voice or the focal point in the art then what's keeping women interested in Hip Hop at all? Shit, if Hip Hop pretty much said "Fuck You!" to me and kept reminding me that I "wasn't shit" daily I'd say "Fuck this shit!" and pick up a guitar or something...How do they manage to stick it out, then?

Women are so much more than eye candy for videos or print ads. They hold us down in every aspect of Hip Hop culture and they have been doing so since day one. We all know that Kool Herc started Hip Hop right? Well, if it wasn’t for his mother and sister forcing him to get off of his ass to play out in the first place and his sister arranging for him to play his first shows at 1520 Sedgwick Ave at the corner of Sedgwick & Cedar (where SHE lived) there would be NO Hip Hop today. Women have been DJ’s, B Girls, emcees, producers, managers, promoters, CEO’s, engineers, directors, photographers, journalists, and record label presidents. Despite how they’re treated or marginalized, they still love Hip Hop, dance to it at clubs or when it’s played on the radio, and continue to hold us knuckleheads down while trying to civilize us so that we understand that we’re not just dissing some nameless, faceless females every time we utter these hurtful words but we’re disrespecting our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, cousins, daughters and nieces as well.

In my opinion, that unconditional love and their ability of infinite understanding for Hip Hop culture as a whole and more to the point us knuckleheads that make it and listen to it is a gift we truly don’t deserve. Women are indeed the fairer sex, and though heads keep on saying stupid shit like they don’t “understand” Hip Hop, they clearly may love it more than we do since we as men tend to cry that it’s dead every three years.

In keeping with the subject of this post, I’d like to shine some light on some friends of mine that are holding down Boston Hip Hop very lovely (and have been doing so for years), two of Boston’s finest (I mean that figuratively and literally) show promoters, Marlene B. of Restless Entertainment (above) and Christina of Showbunny Entertainment (just below).



They’ve both had write ups in local papers like the Boston Phoenix, Boston Herald and Boston Globe and they’ve had local Hip Hop in Boston/MA on lockdown for years. Marlene was featured in my “Boston’s New Revolution” post back in January for her work with the Boston Beat Suite coming up June 13th 9PM @ the Paradise Lounge in Boston and Christina, a recent college graduate has a regular show popping off June 18th 8PM and every 3rd Monday at the Shine Lounge in Cambridge, MA (check the full size flyers at the Myspace links below for full show details or see them displayed on my page here).

If you’re thinking of coming to the Bean anytime soon or if you’re in the area then try to make it down to both events. The main difference between these ladies and myself is I can bang out these blogs and complain about how there are few shows featuring that Hip Hop that doesn’t get enough shine and not enough events or venues that give our premier groups and beatmakers/producers a chance to tear shit down for an audience....they got off of their asses and MADE IT HAPPEN. No one had to put a battery in either of their backs, either because they’re self starters. Intelligent women that love Hip Hop, handle their business professionally and deserve our deepest thanks and respect. These are the kind of women dudes SHOULD be making songs about in my clearly biased opinion. For full sized flyers check out their MySpace pages (and no leaving lewd comments cuz I will travel to where you are and fly your heads...I have a passport so I'll trek overseas as well.)

Marlene @ Restless Entertainment presents The Beat Suite All Stars
June 13th @ 9PM
Paradise Lounge 967 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA
http://www.myspace.com/restlessmiss

Christina @ Showbunny Entertainment presents Conscious Music
June 18th @ 8PM
Shine Lounge 1 Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA
http://www.myspace.com/busthumps

Welcome home, Nadine (on the right w/Christina)!

One.

3 comments:

ShowBunny said...

Dart,

Thank you so much for your recognition and appreciation for what we do. It means a lot to me, for real. Words cannot even capture my gratitude for you having included me in your expression of your "clearly biased" view on women & Hip-Hop and bringing the positive aspects, which so many others overlook, to light. Amazing job!!! I hope to see you out on the 13th and 18th, if you can make it. Stay real and much thanks again.

Sincerely,

Christina aka Showbunny

Francesca said...

YES I WOULD HAVE TO AGREE!!
I LOVE HIP HOP!!
I SUPPORT MY MAN & HIS RAP GROUP!
THANK YOU FOR ADDRESS & APPRECIATING OUR SPECIES-LOL
~LADIES?....."WE GOT NEXT!"

I had the pleasure of meeting MARLENE & CHRITINA! They've inspired me!! and they were very kind / giving with SOME TIPS / SECRET TO SUCESS IN THIS BIZ!
~CESCA~
~THX 4YA TIME~

Marlene said...

I really thought that I had commented on this, but I clearly did not. I want to say thank you, once more, for recognizing the hard work that goes into what we do and also for recognizing that there are women out here on the business side who are TRULY about their business. I'm honored to be mentioned for a second time, in your blog. Thank you for the continued support!!!

Marlene
Restless Entertainment