ALL A LADY’S RAGE: WOMEN & RAP MUSIC

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‘A sexually vulgar lady who dresses in a sexually vulgar way is a winner in our books. We just wouldn’t put a ring on that finger, if you know what I mean.’
– Ask Men: Better tweets for the better man

A bald statement of fact based on an even balder assumption that the lady in question would want to marry the writer of those words in the first place.

The first female rapper to have a number one on the American Billboard 100. The only female rapper (other than Missy Elliott) to have three platinum albums. One of the few female rappers to own her own record label (Queen Bee).

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Lil’ Kim is a woman who has in her day, posed nude in the back of a Limousine for a TV ad and given media interviews with her legs open and no underwear on. In the year she co-endorsed Mac’s Viva Glam III range of cosmetics, they made $4million, more than in any previous cosmetics campaign.

“Being dirty is good, it’s what made me what I am today, it’s what people love.”

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And what business man would have disagreed with her? Certainly not Larry Flynt, the porn magnate, whose video company has produced several profitable adult entertainment movies with another celebrated rapper, Snoop Dogg. And certainly not all the women who bought $4 million of cosmetics just because she endorsed them.
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To the women, Lil’ Kim and artists like her inspire, it’s all about female empowerment, the right to be as sexual and as sensual as you want to be without being judged.

‘The ability to get what you want when you want it without apology.’
– Lauryn Doll

Except that in what is still a predominately male industry heavily flavoured by sexism and some would say misogyny, getting what you want is never quite that simple.

For whilst rappers like Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre are still considered to be in their prime, from a musical point of view Lil’ Kim is well past her sell by date. In the words of Wendy Williams, the celebrity show presenter,

” For whatever reason we don’t like our lady rappers to be rapping past the age of thirty three years old”

‘For whatever reason’ a polite way of stating that for female rappers any success they enjoy will be limited in it’s duration, because ultimately they will age and therefore cease to be what the predominately male consumers of this music choose to fantasise about.

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And that’s the fate of the forty year old sexualised female rapper; just as disempowering as that of the middle aged porn star.

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