Tag Archives: females in hip-hop

Rap Attack II: Female Artists in Hip-Hop

kitty kilo

A few weeks ago, Gus Navarro wrote about female MCs in hip-hop entitled “Rap Attack.” This is the follow up.

By: Victor Anderson 

The Internet Age has allowed for many diverse voices to be heard that wouldn’t have had the chance if we only relied on what the radio gave us. As we know, sites like Myspace, Facebook and Youtube allow anyone with a computer and internet connection to upload and share their music or videos to the entire world and if it happens to become infectious, it can spread and go viral. This has been the case for a lot of independent artists who are currently in the spotlight right now. One day, you are just a normal person like the rest of us and the next day your face and sound is displayed on the screens of thousands to millions. That could be said for artists like Tyler, the Creator and Wiz Khalifa to people like Lil’ B and Riff Raff. If you present something original and different, it just might catch on and push you into major success without the help of a record deal. Generally, this is a good thing considering you have absolute control of your creativity and integrity without label heads breathing down your back trying to mold you into a product that they can sell.

Now-a-days this viral phenomenon can happen to just about anybody and as we know, America is a melting pot that homes countless individuals from several unique aspects of life. The DIY ethic has trickled down to rap and hip-hop and has opened doors for a ginger-headed Claire’s employee and a textile major from FIT. I’m talking about Daytona Beach “bubble-rapper” Kitty (Pryde) and Orlando native but New York based vocalist, Kilo Kish. The music from these ladies hardly orbits around their gender because today it’s irrelevant that they are “female rappers.” They are true artists who focus on making music that is completely original and ultimately reflects them. You don’t have to fit the mold of a Lil’ Kim or Trina anymore; we have transcended the box and the options for what a rapper should and should not be are now and forever will be limitless.

Kitty

kitty

Kitty hit the scene around this time last year with her video for “Okay Cupid,” and has come a long way for someone who originally began rapping for fun and for the pleasure of her friends. But when listening to her first two EPs, The Lizzy McGuire Experience and haha im sorry it feels like you’re listening to the audio tapes of a 16-year-old suburban girl’s diary. The video for “Okay Cupid” really sets up a great backdrop that really represents what she’s about and where she comes from. She’s a kid who is influenced by the internet, social media and top 40 hits just like a lot of adolescents and acne faced teens from this generation. There is nothing wrong with being a product of your environment and she attracts fans for the same reason that Gucci Mane or Young Jeezy gains fans in the hood. It’s relatable to a certain sub-culture and in Kitty’s case, she pertains to a side of America that isn’t really represented in hip-hop (but ironically happens to be heavily affected by mainstream hip-hop.). Even if it’s not so relatable to you, at least it is something new and refreshing and is an interesting take on rap from an un-popular view point.

In her earlier projects, the quality is incredibly lo-fi (because she recorded them in her closet) and her delicate and timid voice rides on top of glittery cartoonish and pink lollygagging felt tracks produced by Beautiful Lou while other beats were made with GarageBand. Her shy, awkward and embarrassed style produces underrated, but clever lyrics about getting in trouble with her parents, teenage relationships, the World Wide Web, the mall, Starbucks, wetting the bed and anxiety rashes but happen to be delivered with a captivating poise.

A few months ago, she released her more professionally recorded EP titled, D.A.I.S.Y. rage and while staying true to her original style, still managed to produce a project that embodied the growth she has made as an artist. D.A.I.S.Y. rage has received a pretty good amount of hype, with production from hubby, Hot Sugar, Mike Finito and her homebody GRANT, and features from Greenhead’s Lakutis and up-and-coming West Coast rapper, Antwon.

She’s currently touring with Detroit rapper Danny Brown and has claimed to be working on some new music with producer, Ryan Hemsworth and experimental/electro-pop/undefinable artist, Grimes.

Check out her most recent song and video produced by Hot Sugar here.

And if you like Lizzy McGuire, you might dig this.

Mixtapes

Kilo Kish

kilo kiloo

Kilo Kish has been extremely fortunate in her career as a musician. Her college roommates where rappers/producers and knew Odd Future member Matt Martians from high school. Matt Martians is a producer for OF’s psychedelic sub-group, The Jet Age of Tomorrow and OF’s trippy neo-soul sub-group, The Internet. Much like Kitty, Kilo Kish was only making silly songs with her friends for fun until she recorded the song, “Want You Still,” for The Jet Age’s second project, The Journey To the 5th Echelon, and that’s when people started to pay attention.

Around the time of her senior year at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, she began work on her first recording project and the entire thing was produced by The Internet! The EP was titled Homeschool, and it landed at the 28 spot on Complex magazine’s top 50 albums of 2012.

The Internet provided numerous amounts of strange sounds and rhythms and grooves that served as the music but Kilo wove and sprinkled her unorthodox flow, poetic speech and style into and on top of the production to make this project a brand new listening experience for anyone who cared to open their ears. Her lyrical ability and content is difficult to compare to anyone else’s in hip-hop or rap and that’s what makes her music special and unique.

The funny thing about her is that she never really wanted to be a musician. She is just really keen to artistic expression. So over the past year following “Homeschool,” she has done a bit of touring but has also been focusing on modeling and fashion, design and different kinds of arts. She actually creates and designs all of her album and single art. But when she feels like expressing her self musically, it’s a pretty simple process: she writes a song in a matter of minutes and doesn’t obsess with it; she just moves on and continues to create.

Kish’s most recent project, K+ was a more collaborative record and like Kitty, you can tell that she has grown as an artist and was experimenting with a few more producers and sounds. Some of the collabs include: Childish Gambino, Vince Staples, A$AP Ferg and The Flatbush Zombies. K+ is a pretty record and has a smooth R&B feel to it.

In honor of summer, check out Kilo Kish’s “Watergun.”

And her first claim to fame song.

Mixtapes

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Rap Attack! Females in Hip-Hop

Angel Haze: ‘I think, am I going to hell for this? Then  I remind myself I don’t believe in it.’

By: Gus Navarro

A true MC is defined by their ability to craft a story with their words. The story could be about love, pain, happiness, partying or even politics. It really doesn’t matter as long as the MC tells their story in an imaginative way that shows their creativity and makes the listener reflect on what is being said. This type of MC is not found in the mainstream culture of “Top 40” music. The mainstream of hip-hop is dominated by a masculine ethos that promotes violence, aggression and degradation towards women. Because of this, hip-hop comes across as a genre intended for male consumption because of the glorification and emphasis on hyper-masculinity and homophobia. Unfortunately, this is the case in much of mainstream hip-hop, however it isn’t true of all hip-hop. They may not be as well known, but there are many female MCs that are clever storytellers and attentive social commentators. Female MCs such as Invincible, Rah Digga, Jean Grae, Boog Brown, Miz Korona, Angel Haze, Ms. Lauryn Hill, and Jane Doe offer up their unique perspective in a genre dominated by masculinity.

Boog Brown

Boog Brown

Hailing from Detroit, Boog Brown is a brilliant lyricist that describes herself as a “lover, fighter and artist.” In September 2010, she released Brown Study with Detroit producer, Apollo Brown. In the song “Master Plan,” the second cut from the record, Boog Brown declares, “I want my toes painted fresh/New sun dress/New Tims/New vest/And a Smith and Wes.” Further on in the chorus she goes, “I want the power/Peace, knowledge, wisdom, understanding/It’s the master plan.” And in the second verse she explains her ideal man would “respect me as his equal/Don’t mind checking his ego.” In “Master Plan,” Ms. Brown defies the objectification of women found in many rap lyrics and takes ownership of her identity as a woman and artist.

In the song “Play The Game,” also off of Brown Study, Ms. Brown explains how she will not let people take advantage of her. In the first verse she tells the story of a producer that is attracted to her and attempts to sleep with her. However, as Brown explains, “I ain’t so dope when you find out I won’t fuck for a placement.” In the chorus Brown affirms, “I play the game never let the game play me/Gotta be in it, never of it, don’t explain a thing/They misconstrue try to use it for the third degree/But save your scrutiny, I’ll continue doing me.” This is repeated again, but this time ends with “save your scrutiny, I’m a human being.” In one fell swoop, Boog Brown is challenging the notion that women are objects to be used and abused by men within the music industry.

Invincible

Invincible

Originally from the Middle East, Invincible moved to Detroit when she was in middle school. Invincable is on par with any of the popular MCs currently in the rap game and she blends intellectual lyricism with a passion for social justice issues within her music. In Detroit, she does work to raise awareness for the neighborhoods and communities affected by re-gentrification. In the song “Sledgehammer,” off her 2008 release, Shape Shifters, Invincible declares that we must “SMASH the walls of hate/End it for the next descendants” and then goes on to insist that “each generation must find its mission, fulfill or betray it/I know that ours is more than just being killers or players.” Here Invincible is making the argument that with all of documented instances of political corruption and greed, society can’t wait for the government or depend on other politicians to make the world a better place. Instead, if we want a better tomorrow, we have to make it happen. This is much different from the common themes of “smoking trees” and “gettin’ money” found in much of the popular hip-hop out there.

Beyond these two women, there are more MCs that use the pen, the pad, rhythms of the spoken word mixed with heavy boom baps and complex horn samples to address the societal inequities and double standards we live with everyday. In an industry that celebrates the male ego it becomes important to seek out alternate forms of hip-hop that provides a different perspective.

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