The opening line of Mz Kiss’s 2019 freestyle, “Razz Like Dat”, says it all: “E pa’le mo anything t’e ba ri / Roger, over” [“Cleanup (or pack up) anything that you see / Roger, over”]. With a walkie talkie accompanying her as a prop, she essentially sends a message out to other rappers that they might as well pack up now that she’s on the scene because she’s “taking over.” She matches the tracks hard beat by prefacing with the verse “Mi o le sweet-talk e yin … / Ta lo terrorize e yin? O ya eniso” [I can’t sweet talk y’all … / Who terrorizes you? Go ahead, keep going”]. She emphasizes how her talent is dominating other artists and they should just continue packing up and leaving. The rest of the song follows this theme of physical strength as a metaphor that she can’t be beaten or have her spot taken away from her.
This focus on physical strength points to an idea commonly seen with women in the hip hop industry where they have to constantly affirm their standing, especially with men in the industry. It is interesting to note how in many of Mz Kiss’s other music videos she is accompanied by all male dancers who contribute an added layer of toughness to her music.
When looking at the way female rappers historically had to have some form of a male co-signer to legitimize their work, it’s unfortunate to see the ways in which this manifests in the Nigerian hip hop industry, and with Mz Kiss. In many ways this aligns with the general structure of patriarchy and toxic masculinity which upholds hard masculinity as good and men as the embodiment of it. Thus, if women want credibility, they will have to form some association with one or both of those components of patriarchy.
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