Cardi B – Bodak Yellow

 

It’s no surprise the slut-shaming, hoe-hating memes came back to life after Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” blew up the radio waves. It’s also no surprise yours truly didn’t hail Cardi B when I first heard her shit, even though it bumped. The hip hop music I love and hate has created such a damn disconnect that I have finally started to dissect and elevate my perspective.

I first got to know of Cardi B on her Instagram, and I dug her personality – charismatic, raw, funny, and confident. It wasn’t until I realized she was a hip hop artist that the judgment began, subconsciously then like a slap in the face. Another sexualized female rapper? Another song talking shit? It’s not a proud moment when you realize the society has seeped into your veins and you too are a culprit of the pedestal. See, although I don’t always relate to buying expensive shit or calling people bitches, I’ve gained respect for any woman coming up in the hotbed of distorted femininity where women are constantly told to be hot or not, criticized and hated for their success and sexuality. I’ve come to not give a fuck when a female artist is coming up and I don’t agree with each hook or line – just as I’ve learned to forgive one-off misogynistic lyrics in hip hop’s beloved royalty. I support for a bigger purpose. Just like the drama with Blac Chyna and baby buster Kardashian, it’s a historical fact that people hate on women no matter what the story is, no matter how much a person has been done wrong, due to a media’s backhanded portrayals and dick preferences.

From now on, I’ll just hear Queen Latifah singing U-N-I-T-Y and it’s good. On a side note, the media rarely trips on white women who don’t match a certain spectacle of feminist. It’s a different story when it’s a woman of color – note the silence about Lana del Rey and her signature woeful worship of her male lovers. The more exposure diverse women get, the better we’ll all be to rise above money-making tactics and empower one another women to women, women to men, white to black to yellow and purple.

Lucy Camp – The Heart Dies

 

Lucy Camp, formerly known as Luzid, released her first video off her new EP Whispers last week. “The Heart Dies” hits home because it addresses a journey of self-discovery, sustainability, and female strength in her signature raw and vulnerable approach.

I first caught her dark side of sass on The Cypher Effect with Bleezie, Nonames, Krucial, HideandSeekZoo, and Uptown Swuite. Camp’s unique voice, staccato style, and no-bull lyricism made me instantly like her. Now, three years later, her growth as an artist has created no less than spitfire eloquence.

Hip Hop is Having Her Moment

Hip hop is having her moment.

Princess Nokia and Ab-Soul talk philosophy and God through feminism.

I knew Princess Nokia was a godsend when I saw her unshaven pits in this January’s issue of Bust, with tagline “for women with something to get off their chests”.  In fact, I’ve been feeling that godsend often lately. Like when Reverie released her track “Scheming” and rapidly rapped through her third verse with a comedic twist “ho, I even sell socks!” Other favorites genuine Gavlyn, real shit Rapsody and drama class Dessa have been pulling up stops in recent years, not to mention the latest hot addition to the coveted Rhymesayers crew, Sa-Roc.

Breathe a sigh of relief because I’ll stop dragging names and get to the moral of the story – after shouting out Snow tha Product, Nitty Scott, MC and Little Simz.

Women are coming up in the big beautiful botchy world of hip hop. Big and beautiful because Hip Hop – if you don’t know, look around you. Botchy because same shit, look around you. Any movement has flaws and hip hop is a fairly new one. I’m under 30, read history of rap stars, and have debates at bars that usually end up with me laughing then sighing because a dude wants to show me his side and then his dick. I’m not here for that. That’s an example of the disappointing discussions I’ve had about feminism and hip hop.

Then comes Princess Nokia – born Destiny Frasqueri, a beauty with a brain, happy trail and conscious consideration with a voice and character like that of a hip hop nymph (clarification: not nympho, mythological goddess). Yes, that’s how I describe Princess Nokia. The first hit I heard was “Tomboy” and I loved it. When the video released, YouTube didn’t die because she is still underground yet hundreds of thousands of girls saluted themselves, Mother Earth and God – if not one and the same. This type of concept blooms from hip hop roots busting through the surface layer of expected musical content and catapulting into the sun. I can’t think of a single hip hop artist who has presented herself in such a way as she does.

“As a woman who owns that, that takes a lot of cojones. That takes a lot of balls not to be pretty and to forcibly be ugly first and then allow my beauty to shine through my ugliness.” – Princess Nokia

Their Couch Talk begins immediately by discussing Princess Nokia’s masculinity and Ab-Soul’s female-focused album Do What Thou Wilt. They speak on inspiration for their work and delicately peel off the layers to their authenticity. Princess Nokia has choice words for claiming her whole being, a proud supporter of the word bitch and honoring herself and her ghetto roots. She hails all women and men, dismissing the “squirrel meat” who try to undermine her feminist values.

Ab-Soul, born Herbert Anthony Stevens IV, is touched, touting “Love is law.” I haven’t listened to Ab-Soul much before but I will now. I plead guilty to having my guard up with men hailing women while focusing on sexuality. It’s hypocrisy when I can relate to sexuality as a sacred piece of humanity and men can’t – another godsend in epitome form. He claims we are all more androgynous, a favorite of mine, and furthers his impact.

Princess Nokia speaks of him admirably, noting how his album works to “solidify this existence in hip hop which celebrates women and celebrates other themes, not just women and women’s empowerment and feminism but you know, other aspects that normally aren’t correlated to rappers.”

Their conversation sways and settles, recognizing the need for hip hop artists to be bold. This isn’t the latest or greatest yet it is telling. A turn towards the heavens, away from heathens. A drop in the melting pot that is hip hop today, creating a concoction some of us are entirely ready for and others don’t know they need.

Thanks for reading and please repeat: Love is Law.