With the recent buzz surrounding rap star Nicki Minaj, SOHH reached out to female rap veteran Rah Digga to get her take on the perceived lack of lady emcees in today’s hip-hop game.
For Digga, she feels the media is largely responsible for women artists not receiving exposure.
“There’s definitely a range of females who are doing things, but the only thing that really bothers me is when people say there are no females and that’s not true,” Digga explained to SOHH. “There are tons of females out there rapping. Everyone seems to look to the glamourous side of the females rapping but I think the media can control what females get exposure and things of that nature and they just don’t. Everybody complains about why aren’t there any females and why aren’t they getting exposure, but it’s because the media isn’t giving it to them. Simple and plain. It’s not rocket science. You know, pick one.” (SOHH)
Digga also stated she does not subscribe to the idea of the number of hip-hop’s female emcees being on the decline since the 1990’s.
“While it is a male-dominated sport, I do think being with a clique or being the only female in an entourage, it does help give you that mainstream exposure,” Digga added. “It especially helps if the clique is established but at the same token, I think you can also be a female, represent and do what you do on your own without that. I don’t think that necessarily makes or breaks you. It just depends on how you define success. Some people are happy being completely at the forefront and taking turns with the rest of the females that come along or some define success of being at shows and knowing your fans are rocking with you. It just depends on how you define success. I think there are definitely a lot of females that are doing it, maybe not by the ‘industry’ standards but there isn’t a shortage of female emcees. I just don’t buy into that, ‘where are all the females at?’ [question]” (SOHH)
Last August, BET aired its first-ever original music documentary, My Mic Sounds Nice, analyzing the role of female emcees in hip-hop.
Featuring interviews with music executives, journalists, artists (including Missy Elliott, Eve, Trina, Rah Digga, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte, Yo Yo and Lady of Rage and Jean Grae) and Hip Hop moguls (Jermaine Dupri, Russell Simmons and Kevin Liles), the documentary “examines gender-specific differences in artistry, marketing, promotion and economics, explores why there are far fewer female than male MCs, and discusses whether there’s still a place for women in Hip Hop.” (Soul Culture)
Artists like female hip-hop pioneer MC Lyte shared their thoughts on today’s female rappers through the broadcast.
“Bottom line is how much money can I make off of your *ss,” MC Lyte asserted in her interview. Lyte and other artists, including Yo Yo, Trina, Salt-n-Pepa, Eve, Lil’ Mama, Roxanne Shante and Missy Elliott talked individually about their experiences as female MCs in hip hop. The documentary goes deep as it examines the history of femcees, the over-sexualization of female artists, and specific artists responsible for paving the way. Questlove made great points about Lauryn Hill, who was the subject of one segment of the show. “With Lauryn Hill‘s absence, it’s been very, very quiet,” he said. The documentary also went on to address the emergence of Nicki Minaj and posed the question of whether Nicki’s success will help usher in a new wave of femcees. (BET)
Check out a recent Rah Digga interview below: