Documentary Takes On Decline Of Female Emcees

Hip Hop women give their take on why females rappers have lost their foothold in Rap.

Nicki Minaj recently etched her name into Hip Hop history after her track "Your Love" became the first single by a female rapper to reach Billboard's No. 1 spot since Missy Elliot's "Work It" in 2002. The rarity of female emcees to achieve such a feat is highlighted in the upcoming documentary "My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women in Hip Hop."

The film explores the decline of the female rapper and attempts to delve into the reasons why women have not had the success men have had in Rap. While the '80s and '90s saw the rise of rappers like Salt-n-Pepa, Queen Latifah, Foxy Brown, and others, the trends of the '00s have been less accommodating to women. Producer and director Ava DuVernay explained that the sexual images of artists like Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown prompted others to follow and that this provocative image did not fit with the tough exterior of the male-dominated Rap genre.

"You look at people like Da Brat and how their images changed and you really see the conundrum these women were in, now that this sexual thing took precedent," DuVernay told Reuters.

Yet, that is only one theory. Sylvia Rhone, president of Universal Motown Records believes that women rappers are finding it tough to adapt to evolving preferences. "Our fresh voices are B.o.B., Kid Cudi, and Drake," she said. "Where are the female artist influenced by that? Where's that left-of-center person?"

"My Mic Sounds Nice" airs on BET on Aug. 30.

47 Comments

  • m

    your love went no 1 ? But..it's wack...anywhoo good documentary

  • Anonymous

    More on Lady B (She was also one of the first to record a hip hop record 1979), Left Eye (R.I.P), Macromantics (Austraillian MC), Ms. Melodie (KRS One's Former Wife), and Pyranja(Translated some of her lyrics to english (they're in german) and they are straight fire).

  • Its Um

    There isn't many female rappers that I can stand to listen more than their singles, Missy, Jean Grae is so far I can with stand to listen, I'll buy their albums.

  • R.Pgh

    I don't mind female rappers like Jean Grae, Bahamadia, etc... but for some reason I just can't listen to a whole album from a female emcee.

  • Anonymous

    What about MC Troube (R.I.P), Lil Dynamite (Jamendo.com artist pure fire), Lady Sov (if you hate me then *&^% you), Antoinette (Lyte's rival), Charli Baltimore (did a duet with ghostface), Mary J. Blige (why no metion she rapped as well as sang), Neneh Cherry (sweedish mc), Dessa (Of Doomtree), Deadly Venoms (All Female Group Lin Que was onece a member), Lin Que, Dimples D. (British one hit wonder), Envy (British MC), Rappin Granny, Hurricane G (Underground Lockdown), Lady B (First Female MC

  • Chriztofer

    There's not much left to rap about. While most male rappers decided to repeat the same shit that other rappers have said, female rappers decided it was better to quit than be a cheap imitation of another artist.

  • shakinit

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  • wackyjacky

    femal helped tha game progress they gave a different point of view. watch this footage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwMNpDVfKW8

  • realdawg

    yea fuck them bitches them bitches declining all the way onto they knees where they belong sucking my mufucking dick nigga

  • STFU

    @ Asa & Musiclover, you two had the standout comments, straight on point. Female emcee's are just another example of inequality in society between men and women. It's a shame that femcees have to exploit themselves sexually in order to make something of themselves. Nicki Minaj is just a recycled version of Lil Kim and Foxy, but with Lil Wayne's "skill" sprinkled over her, hence the success. She's fucking annoying in my opinion.

  • Rachael Misek

    Sylvia you are the same person and all the other record labels that could make a female MC popular. It is also the language of hip hop that is not able to adapt, i mean..how dare a women tell a man in hip hop his song err i mean dick is a flop? The whole industry would have to learn a new language besides lesbianish.

  • m

    Jean Grae Bahamadia Apani b Invincible Pheonix Tiye there's quite a few lyrical females out there just ain't getting promoted as much compared to other artists

  • Chris S

    great. except nobody cares about the decline of the female MC

    • Christopher English

      Spoken like a true idiot.. or should I say someone who cares not about the culture.... we should care about the demise of the female emcee as much as we should about the dj!

  • Mortis

    Boss was the best of the female rappers.

    • mysticnero

      I cosign. Still banging that album till this day. And what's this about fabrication? Isn't 99% of hip hop about fabrication? If they aint lyin then show me the dead bodies! i bet I could show you a fabricated rapper quicker than you can show me dead body.

    • Life Accordin' To Dutch

      "i dont really wanna feel..." "Deeper" was a banger but fuc outta here

    • Christopher English

      Boss the female version of Rick Ross. Life and everything totally fabricated... but she made a good album. At least back then fans cared enough about the whole package and she never made another album.

  • Cultures Clothing

    Ok this is a fact and not just opinion: -Bahamadia -Jean Grae -Psalm One -Eternia -Rah Digga -Lauryn Hill (even though she's been ghost for a while) -Rage -Lady Luck etc are all vastly superior to Nicki Minaj lyrically. The difference is that Nicki has a look and a gimmick, so she gets more attention. Nicki Minaj annoys me though to be quite honest. There are plenty of dope female MCs out there more deserving of our attention...just in my opinion.

  • vargo05

    I think the biggest problem with female MC's is that it doesn't seem genuine. It completely seems forced with almost all of them. So many of them try to sound so hard, but it so unconvincing that it's hard to listen to. Even Jean Grae and Rah Digga who seem to get a lot of credit from artists like Talib, The Roots, etc., seem forced and not genuine. Like was said below, unless they sell some sort of sexuality, there doesn't seem to be much success for them. A couple I would like to see included in this, but there is no chance it's going to happen are Tiye Phoenix and Apani B Fly MC from Polyrhythm Addicts. The just seemed to come at it with less macho bullshit and like they weren't trying to prove anything or weren't selling shit with their looks.

    • bloghappy

      I have no idea why you think Jean sounds "forced" but okay. The most successful female rapper of all time is still Missy Elliot. And the reason she will continue to be the most successful is because she doesn't market herself as a "female rapper". She's just a rapper. Add that to the fact that she makes her own fun and distinct music. The vast majority of female rappers sound derivative of whatever male rapper brought them to the forefront.

  • musiclover

    I'll tell ya'll the real reason for the decline of the female MC. The fans. Example: today this website posts Kanye West Power REMIX f. Jigga and Swizz. The song is decent, but it has 140 comments. Only 7 comments for this story so far. Please stop with that Nicki is one of the best ever bullshit. She's garbage... Digga, Lyte Jean Grae, Lauryn Hill and Rage would demolish her. The male rap audience doesn't care about the quality of the female MC's music. In return most female rappers have no talent. Long as she looks sexy and can make silly faces she's a go. I hope this documentary gives the real reasons behind the demise of the female MC.

    • mcmastermind

      So true man, spoken like a true hip hop head. But you also have to remember that almost all rap is sucking nowadays and its all the same shit.

  • realhipster

    what about nicki minaj, she probably one of the best femcees ive ever heard and im im an old schooler. her lyrics are better then any femcee ive ever hear, tell me whos better.

    • Christopher English

      You mean to tell me that you think Nicki has better lyrical content than Eve????

    • Anonymous

      every rapper can choose to spek of what they want but at the end of the day women only get attention when they exploit theor sexuality you dont see men talking about his dick in every song and doesnt rise to fame with it neither, a good rapper must be versatile and not gimmicky!

    • phellahg

      Who's better than Nicki? Let me see.... ummmmm. Jean Grae, Rah Digga, Tiye Phoenix, Apani, Invincible, Psalm One, Stahhr, Shawnna, Remy, Lady Luck, Bahamadia, Lil' Kim, Foxy, Eve, Da Brat, Njeri Earth, Heather B, Rage, hell.... even Lil' Mama (her songs weren't my taste, but her spit game is nice.), etc. etc. etc. too many to name. It'll be a shorter list asking who's not better than Nicki Minaj. But that's just my opinion. Nicki's alright, but nothing spectacular. But there's no other alternative on the radio to compare her against. But the main reason she sells is not just b/c she's sexy reemergence of Kim & Foxy with a lil' Missy (goofiness) twist, that's part of it... (b/c women have been doing that since Kim/Fox emergences... - e.g Trina, Khia-lol) But the main reason she sells is b/c of Lil' Wayne's cosignage. If Jean Grae was linked with someone like a Jay-Z, more ppl would know of her & she'd be more well-known. Sad, but true. Like Rah Digga. I was a fan b4 she joined Flip Mode, but if not for Busta Rhymes, a lot of ppl wouldn't know who she was. The days of an MC Lyte/Latifah/Salt-n-Pepa, where a woman can get on the radio off pure music are loooong gone & no more.

    • Life Accordin' To Dutch

      Real Talk..kim and foxy is the blueprint for Nicki..yall sound foolish to anybody that came up in the 90's..nicki is respectable for taking a whole swag and tryin to progress..what she is god at is mimickin' and actually sounding authentic..the crew..the features..the marketing..genius..as far as coldest ever..she dont have a classic album on the books..or a classic solo hit..therefore we have no conversation...as far as the oversexualize comment..every artist is allowed to portray themselves as they want too..how many nigz spit about pussy and guns and smashin nigz over the head too much...fuc outta here..they women..i personally dont need to hear too many chicks talkin about how hard they are..

    • Anonymous

      are you guys on crack its oversexualized i'm waiting on the female that aint gotta talk about giving head to ste the tone for the real woman emcee cus at the end of the day her retarted raps cant compare to nas biggie guru so on and so forth stop on her jock

    • khordkutta

      B-A-H-A-M-A-D-I-A

    • Kevin Bibbs

      exactly. look how raw she spit on up all night. nicki aint playing

  • jesterdxxl

    @Life Accordin' to Dutch where was Trina, Missy, Eve, Remy & Rage???

    • Life Accordin' to Dutch

      TRina is Nowhere because she cant rap..eve had absolutely no quotables..none..jus like oxy said yrs ago when she went at her..rage..besides the chronic/doggystyle era..she did absolutely nothing..and missy is a producer..like somebody else stated..she just a vet..Remy was on the list..u aint readin right mane

  • asa

    i'll tell you why there are very little female Mc's *for one Hip Hop has long been a misogynist genre. even my favorite rapper big l(whom i skillfully respect) had a chauvinistic attitude. * because of this sexism, women have to work twice as hard to earn half the respect than their male counterparts *the only woman that seem to gain popularity are those who exploit their sexuallity. nicki minaj is one of those hoes that target teen girls with their simplistic upbeat beats but do not want to hold any liability when it comes to deterring young girls esteem as well as mind *consequently, this over sexualized and "dumbed down" music created by female emcee further discourages the young female hiphop fan to dabble in real lyricism to roll with the big dogs i could go on but i feel this are some major points. its sad because the female emcees out here today (for the most part) suck!!! they arent lyrically good and ignorant men just use the excuse of "oh i just want to fuck her" in attempts of justifying their listening to this GARBAGE!

  • Life Accordin' to Dutch

    1. KIM-GOT MORE HITS THAN ALL THE FEMALES COMBINED AND MORE THAN MOST NIGZ 2. FOXY-"THERES ONLY ONE OTHER CHICK WHO'S REALLY GOT SKILLS..BUT SHE'S NOT REAL" 3. REMY- CHECK THE FREESTYLES AND UNRELEASED SHIT...ONE OF THE COLDEST NEVA TO BLOW 4. JEAN GRAE-SELF EXPLANATORY..CHECK LOVE SONG 5. MC LYTE-IN HER PRIME..PAPER THIN IS A MASTERPIECE 6. MIA X- IF U GREW UP DOIN THE NO LIMIT ERA..YA FEEL ME 7. RAH DIGGA- HER FIRST AND ONLY ALBUM HAD ALOT OF BANGERS DURING THE FLIPMODE ERA..CURTAINS HONORABLE MENTION- L BOOGIE..SHE REALLY WAS A SINGER PLUS I LIKE TO BE DIFFERENT..EVERY OTHER NIGGA WILL COME ON HERE AND CLAIM SHE INVENTED THE WHEEL..SHE DROPPED AN R-N-B CLASSIC..SORRY..DOO WOP WAS A LOVE SONG AND SO WAS EVERY OTHER TRACK ON HER "ONLY" ALBUM..KIM GOT 5 MIC CERTIFIED ALBUMS..CHECK THE FACTSHEET NICKI MINAJ-NO SOLO RECORDS.NO MENTION.

    • helen

      Wow!! L Boogie is was just a singer... uh uh... youtube her at the apollo w/ Fugees ... she killed it and the audience went crazy when she performed HOW MANY MICS... youtube her watch out for babylon freestyle and the fugees in sweden freestyles ... Lauryn was ill... I know she wrote some of Wyclef's rhymes on The Score album cuz he su cks now.

    • Christopher English

      @Kevin, You're not reading what he wrote... yes Nicki hasn't come out yet.. but it's totally true that Lil Kim has had the most hits. What's not making sense to you?

    • Life Accordin' To Dutch

      @ bibbs Nigga u a clown..non comprehendin muhfucka..kim got the most hits is what was stated..fuc u mean nicki just came out..scroll down lame as nigga..that was the point..she aint in the game yet so what i said is a fact..do jordan got more rings than Kobe..dumass nigga..i aint say kobe couldnt catch up..lame..now go back to sparrin wit amatuers

    • smksum

      I would prolly out Jean Grae and Rah Digga right up there with women that have done it... and are to some degree still doin it.... Jean never got the attention she deserved and yes i realize most of yall on here will claim they've given her her do... but she been around a long ass time.... and same with Rah Digga.... just because the mainstream went for trashy female artists over the last decade... then again male mcs have been in the decline for most of the last decade in order to find something quality a person must sift through so much crap to find a decent album... just sayin

    • Kevin Bibbs

      how are you gonna say kim the most hits when Nicki just came out dumbass... she aint even release her debut album clown

  • Life Accordin' to Dutch

    The Decline of Female rap happened when all the good ones decided to start catching cases added to that..they never had the unity of male rappers..very few female crew records..and why to be considered good do they have to wear headwraps..fuc outta here..that shit didnt sell then and it definitely wont now...with the exception of Rah Digga on ur list..them chicks was wack...Lil kim and foxy made hits and they ran hard with the nigz in sells and skills..sorry.. nigz wanna see a chick that can rap and look good at the same time.butch went out of style..it was not raps fault,..it was the next evolution..of course women gravitated towards them..they wore skirts and rapped liked they favorite nigz..a perfect combination..hence the success of nicki minaj..

  • edubb1977

    SINCE BET IS DOING THIS DOCUMENTARY THEN ITS GONNA BE BULLSHIT AND TELL HALF THE STORY BAHAMADIA (LYRICALLY SHE WAS COLD) MOTHER SUPERIA (WAS A CUTIE AND HAD THE LYRICS) RAH DIGGA (OVER LOOKED AND UNDERRATED) THATS JUST A FEW OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD

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