Nigerian and world-renowned writer, speaker Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke to the necessity of empowering females and feminism…
“We teach girls to shrink themselves,
to make themselves smaller. We say to girls,
‘You can have ambition,
but not too much.
You should aim to be successful,
but not too successful.
Otherwise, you will threaten the man.’
Because I am female,
I am expected to aspire to marriage.
I am expected to make my life choices
always keeping in mind that
marriage is the most important.
Now marriage can be a source of
joy and love and mutual support.
But why do we teach to aspire to marriage
and we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors —
not for jobs or for accomplishments,
which I think can be a good thing,
but for the attention of men.
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
in the way that boys are.
Feminist: the person who believes in the social,political and economic equality of the sexes.”
Now more than ever is that relevant, and the songs explored below are representative of a feminist lens.
Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa, remains a prominent scene for the continent’s entertainment and continues to develop and grow its hip-hop scene. Nigerian rappers spread far and wide and have influence around the globe and increasing their presence within the music industry. Focusing on the women in control who from the early 2000s have inspired others. Nigerian female rappers revive a pulse to the hip-hop industry in Africa. As I further researched, the strong female rappers like Blaise, Sasha P, Kemistry, and B.O.U.Q.U.I owned the microphones and represent great moments in Nigerian music. As I delved deeper into the strength and strong positions female rappers spoke to their origins and the fight they took to make it into the industry. These strong women fall directly in line with the American hip-hop artists who are claiming their space in hip-hop and empowering women through their lyrics. Some of the artists infuse AAVE fluctuating their verses with the hook. Each of the songs within the mixtape is representative of a strong female who is taking control of what she wants to do. The artist’s verses had smooth transitions, varying beats, rhythmic fluidity, and other critical elements of hip-hop.
Sasha P – “Adara”
The first song on this mix is by the First Lady of Nigerian hip-hop also known as Sasha P off of her 2007 album First Lady. Adara was her biggest song housed on the album and lent her to earn awards for the best female artist. As a culture curator and businesswoman, her message illuminates the need to speak out for women and amplify their voices and that women often limit themselves in their own minds without trying. Sasha encourages women to keep putting in the effort by repeating, “you can make it if you try”. Women of all professions take her words to heart and begin to increasingly put themselves out there for years to come as the music industry performs. She is championing the boss moment that all women need to have.
Eva Alordiah – “Solo Life”
Next in the mix is Eva Alordiah, “ Solo Life” the afrobeat in the intro gets every listener hooked. I selected this song because of the beat and the messaging. Alordiah’s delivery is direct and strong, she is eager to speak to her strength and protect her energy and what she can accomplish when she is tested. Alordiah is an artist in many ways as a businesswoman and an artist, but she is cognizant of the Nigerian environment for women. She emphasizes the way she is living and the solo life is not going to stress her, and her call and response is for her audience to question themselves but also being mindful of how it can change their lives and protect their energy instead of pouring it into men who may be unappreciative of the time. This is an absolutely great song with the flow and the smooth transitions into ‘Solo life’
Shaybo – “ Doable”
Shaybo represents the hot girl MO. This song embodies an upbeat braggadocio style of rap with an afrobeat. The song is no tolerance to the women who are in the business of bringing her down because she is ready to fight. “Doable” is the Yoruba word to ‘greet and show respect’ asserting her stance as the queen. She references her beginnings in the Ghetto, and how her journey has progressed, emphasizing that she is one of the finest rappers in the game right now. She released this song on Nigerian Independence day to celebrate and uplift the prominence of women who are Nigerian.
Tiwa Savage – “FWMM”
Next in the queue is Ms. Tiwa Savage who grew up in Nigeria and then later moved to the UK. Fuck with my mind comes off her recently released album, “Celia”. She continues to grow a worldwide audience and has been hailed the “Queen of Afrobeats”. Tiwa Savage makes her message clear: do not try her as she is a bad bitch, and do not fuck with her mind. This song is sleek and groovy with purposeful messaging. Her natural tone makes you feel that you are in conversation with Tiwa. This song is building new territory within the Nigerian hip-hop realm.
Chika – “Crown”
My final song hails from Chika, an absolute star. I listen to this song and it makes me feel strong and ready to take on the day regardless of what is to come ahead. While she never lived in Nigeria as the other four women did, she truly appreciates her parents’ efforts to provide for her and her siblings. She speaks to her hustle and grind as a first-generation American and a black woman in America. NOBODY is going to take her crown. The flow combined with her harmonizations with the background singers truly elevates this song. She speaks to the struggle and her hardships but also on the come up and that she will push forward. Her positivity and realness is one that is appreciated by her audience. She is a boss and a woman who can take control.
These five songs are representative of women who have built the foundation of the rap game and pushed it into new norms and boundaries with their lyrics and their momentum. The beats and the lyrics are uplifting and highlight the strength that stems from women in hip-hop.