The Queen marks her territory: 40 bars by Nadia Nakai

image provided by OkayAfrica

Yesss we are back with another blog about the great Miss Nadia Nakai! I’ve written about her before, I know, but she is just so iconic and just an amazing example of female empowerment in the South African rap industry. My first introduction to this rap star was actually on Netflix when she starred in Young, Famous, and African, a reality show on Netflix. She was authentically herself, a funny, confident, and amazing star. When deciding on who to write about for this blog post on Female empowerment in rap, Nadia was a no-brainer.   

In her song 40 Bars, Nadia uses her emcee skills to paint a picture of who she is in the rap world and to make sure everyone knows there is no competition. In the book, Hip Hop in Africa, Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers, professor Msia Kibona Clark takes a look at the unique ways in which hip-hop artists like Nakia take on this male-dominated industry. Nadia uses what professor Clark labels as “Braggadocio” which is bragging about oneself, money, violence, and sex life in some way. I know that was a lot and this term seems to have a negative connotation but, “Braggadocio within hip-hop culture is also important in establishing an artist’s credibility and authenticity as a serious hip-hop emcee, which is especially important for female emcees” (Clark). It is needed to be taken seriously and to show that nobody can mess with you or your skill. 

In 40 Bar, Nadia talks about the Gucci, the racks, the wins, all of that. It is clear she is on top and there is no going down. She raps “Niggas envision my kitty/ But this kitty ain’t for regular niggas,/I need your account on a billi (Racks)”. This line is unique because many rap songs detail men getting to have sex with whichever woman they want whenever they want. Women are treated as objects. Nadia is taking her body back from them and using it as her super power almost; it is for a particular type of man and she is picky about who has access to her. It is another form of braggadocio that she uses to show her position and who she is as a top tier rapper with no competition. 

The music video was also very interesting. Nadia is placed amongst city buildings and she towers above them. The imagery used shows that she’s bigger than life, and the greatest. The song reminded me a bit of Bodak Yellow with the use of braggadocio as a way to uplift women in the rap industry. Songs like these let this male-dominated industry know that women have arrived and are taking over, on top.

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