Trae Yung is a female rapper/mc who hails from Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare. This Female MC is not one to be reckon with. Her rap is about everything,life issues such as the problems people face everyday. She doesn’t just rap about life problems but about love,street life,just life in general. Continue reading “Switching The Game Up….Trae Yung”
Born Mabel Oine Alubo, 24 year-old Bella Alubo is an up and coming Nigerian artist. Bella signed with Tinny Entertainment in December of 2016, after being recognized for a cover of Kanye West’s song ‘Therapy,’ and has features with mainstream artists like YCee.
While being branded as Pop, Afrobeat, and Hip Hop, Bella reinforced her Hip Hop standing late last year in a cover of Cardi B’s ‘Bodak Yellow.’ While this cover only has 6,000 views, compared to her pop and afrobeat videos that have over 100,000, she uses this platform to show her lyrical abilities. Continue reading “Defying the Norm”
In a hip-hop scene as developed and competitive as Senegal’s, the cypher continues to act as a platform by which talented, young rappers make their debut. The fast-paced intensity of a hip-hop cypher is the perfect way for new artists on the scene to prove to their worth to the public. And in a society where women must give it their all to make an impression in the musical community, the cypher allows female MCs to show everyone that they are just as lyrically passionate and complex than their male counterparts— if not more. Continue reading “Dakar’s Female MCs and the Power of the Cyp(her)”
Fena Gitu is a well known controversial rapper and singer from Kenya. Growing up in musical household she grew to have a love for music. At 23 years old she has managed to make an impact on her society. She is a free spirit who clearly doesn’t care about how society says women should act.
Society says that women should dress and act a certain way. Fena Gitu has unique sense of style. You can see through they way that she dresses that she is defying gender norms. Gitu can be seen wearing vests, button ups, and a ties. Women wearing skirts and dresses is what is accepted in Kenyan society. Continue reading “Fena-menal”
Natalie Florence, better known as “Noti Flow”, is a Kenyan musician-rapper and actress. She is known to be a “controversial” artists for different aspects such as; her raunchy photos, sexuality, skin color, sex talk, bluntness, and being on a controversial show. But the view of the public eye has not held her back if anything it has given her more attention and a better opportunity of getting herself and career out there. It wasn’t until her last year of primary school that Noti Flow realized she could play with words. Later on in her life she also realized she could act. Then landed herself a spot on the Nairobi Diaries which is a controversial tv show. Even though she is looked at as controversial, she does not see herself that way and doesn’t care what other people think. Which sends a great message to young girls today. Be who you are and don’t worry about what other people may have to say. Rising to fame and being in the spotlight there are going to be a lot of opinions on artists failing to realize that they are just like anybody else, human. I in fact like Noti Flow because of her controversy. That’s what makes her stand out. Continue reading “Married To The Game”
Who is Astou Gaye, and how did she set the contemporary precedent for aspiring female rappers in the banlieus surrounding Dakar?
Better known by her stage name Toussa Senerap, Astou began her career calling out a highly-patriarchal Senegalese culture that withholds respect for women in both marriage and the hip-hop industry. There is no questioning Astou’s commitment to overturning society’s status-quo: her first experience with rap was in 50 Cent’s international banger, “In da Club” – a testament to selling drugs and pimping women that Astou transformed into a struggle for women’s emancipation. Continue reading “Toussa, or all-inclusive”
If I were to tell you “there are women in hip hop” you wouldn’t hesitate to tell me that you already knew that. For years, women have been making names for themselves in the male dominated field of hip hop through their lyrics, looks, presence, and persistence. Today we’re looking at some femcees (female emcees) that are taking the genre and making it their home. Lady Leshurr is a hip hop artist from the UK who has been coming out with mix tapes since 2009 and is most known for her Queen’s Speech rap videos.
Her lyrics are clever, silly, and most of all memorable. In her 2016 song/video Where Are You Now?, Lady Leshurr immediately sets the mood with loud brass ensemble that plays an upbeat, “aww shit” type of tone as the camera moves from showing us the colorful walls of a room to seeing Lady Leshurr in a bright red and yellow oversized crewneck sweater looking very nonchalant. She begins speaking in her accent about how all the people she has been apparently suppose to see and how they have all of a sudden “disappeared”. The whole song is about people who have treated her like she’d never succeed in the business but now she’s making it pretty big and all those people have seemed to of shut up. Lady Leshurr in this video (and all of her others) is all about the lyrics, upbeat tempo, and flow. throughout the entire video you see her in comfortable and cute outfits but nothing that evokes the idea of sex or distracts you from the lyrics. She makes the song just an all-around fun experience from beginning to end. One thing that also stood out was that despite having a male rapper be featured in the song, he doesn’t appear in the video. There could be many reasons this didn’t happen but I like to think it was purely because Lady Leshurr never has a man in her videos. This speaks volumes to me as a way of saying that a man can collaborate with her but at the end of the day people should want to experience her content as hers. If you came for Lady Leshurr then that’s what you’ll get!
This ties into our other femcee: Miss Celaneous. A lesser known rapper from South Africa. In her 2015 song/video #TRAPEM, she has the same feel as Lady Leshurr in her independence as a female rapper but the difference is the tone and the message that is being told.
It clear to the listeners that Miss Celaneous wants to be seen as versatile with lyrics like
they think I’m rude, they think I’m a dude
He never thinks that when I’m sending my nudes
I’m poorly misunderstood
actually I’m not, they just can’t handle the truth
Miss Celaneous shows the two sides of her that has managed to make people either love her or hate her. She’s naughty, she’s nice, she’s miscellaneous… uh, sorry, Miss Celaneous. Both of these artist use their lyrics instead of their bodies to define themselves. A lot of the times it seems that in order to make it as a female in a male-dominated field of hip hop, you have to talk about sex, show yourself in a sexual way, or both but these ladies it shows that you don’t have to. Femcees of today are still struggling to be taken seriously but with women like Lady Leshurr and Miss Celaneous out here, it’s only a matter of time!
I recall watching a Dope Saint Jude video earlier in the course. She was raw and so eclectic, so when I saw her name on the list I knew she was the first artist I would choose. Dope Saint Jude bends the norms in Xxplosive, much like many of her other videos, using her words, her clothing, and overall attitude. She can be seen wearing loose fitting or baggy clothing all throughout the video and takes this very slouchy, masculine stance. Also, she wears her hair locked, which to many aren’t very “lady-like”. As far as lyrics, she refers to women as bitches, so not only is she swearing but she’s using a derogatory term for women. Overall she has a very androgynous look vibe. Her characteristics may even make someone question her sexuality or what she identifies as, but she makes it very clear that she is all female and could care less about what you think.
The next artist I noticed was Nadia Rose in her video for “Station”. Although she doesn’t give off the same consistent masculine appeal like Jude, you can still see her slouching her posture and sporting baggy clothing from time to time. For majority of the video she’s wearing a sports bra, jacket, and form-fitting pants, which are deemed as more feminine, but the amount of skin on top may be seen as unladylike. This is the perfect example of how artists can be on opposite sides of the spectrum, but still given the same label. Also, Rose openly talks about her sex life, reciting “he put his bit in my bit, now I’m “coming” on the go”. Society, both in America and especially in Africa may deem her expressive lyrics as too personal or explicit for a woman.
Overall, both femcees are going against the grain in their own ways and paving the way for future female artists to openly and freely express themselves however they want because tha’s what hip hop is all about.
The first video I watched was “stella stella stella” by Stella Mwangi. Stella Mwangi is a femcee from Kenya. The video for this song is a bit raunchy but not distasteful. She is giving the rebel girl look and feel in this video with her outfits, her lyrics, and the props in the video. She is not over sexualizing her self or exposing her body. In the “girl power or overpowered” reading, they discuss women in hip hop submitting to men and being inferior to men. In this video, Stella is showing that she is equal to a man and can do everything a man can do. Several things in the video shows that she is fighting the stereotype of being inferior to men and being “ladylike”. In the video, she is smoking a cigar, which is known to be very masculine and she is also grabbing her crotch which is often something men do to exert their masculinity. She is challenging the stereotypes of women in hip hop in this video. Her lyrics to the songs are also kind of raunchy as she mentions stepping over bitches and taking other peoples’ boyfriends, the lyrics to the song are not very empowering to women but the songs and the chorus are both very catchy and I really like the song overall. The second video I watched was “Queen’s Speech ep. 4” by Lady Leshurr. Lady Leshurr is a femcee from the U.K. Her video gives a west coast/ Cali vibe and so does her outfit. Her style is very trendy in the video. Her lyricism is great. Her metaphors and punchlines are impressive. She is not over sexualizing herself in the video nor is she overexposing her body. Both songs are good but very different. Stella’s song is very catchy and Leshurr’s song is full of clever punch lines. Neither song is very uplifting to women in particular but at the same time neither song degrades women.
From my own search conducted online, I would like to discuss a hip hop video by Senegalese rapper, Sister Fa titled Milyamba. Sister Fa is casually deemed the queen of rap in Senegal so when I came across her video I was almost immediately drawn to the 90’s vibe of it and also how the video was edited due to the warm graphics. The artist is speaking in her native language so you cannot understand anything until you come across the chorus but due to a small description, she is mostly speaking about the hard life of women in her native land of Senegal then the video shows visuals of women working and carrying baskets on their heads. Sister Fa is a representation of all the strong women in Senegal because she is bringing awareness to what is going on in her surroundings and wants a change. Sister Fa wears a head wrap, khaki pants and shirt and a small pendant chain which is fairly different from other female rappers in other countries. Sister Fa portrays herself as a soldier ready for war and ready to take on any action that may come about for speaking out against problems that women, particularly those that live in villages, face. It is very hard for women to have such courage in those countries. She can get her message across to different outlets without over-sexualizing herself or be half naked in her videos because that isn’t the message she is trying to send to her viewers. Sister Fa’s deliverance is consistent and smooth, sometimes causing her to rap faster in some verses when she is getting passionate about some critical issues that are more meaningful to her. Sister Fa sings the chorus making it known that although women are going through a struggle right now, she wants them to know that everything will be alright.