Women in Hiphop
MC Lyte - "All That" - ACT LIKE YOU KNOW (1991)
Here are nine songs for this week that reflect criticisms of abuse, celebrations of motherhood, cautions to adolescents, and affirmations of all that it means to be a woman.
Watch Classic Hiphop Videos from Female MCs
Salt-N-Pepa - "Whatta Man"
Salt-N-Pepa's Very Necessary was my first Hiphop album. My mom gave us a bootleg tape, and my older sister and I played it on repeat for months. At some point, I learned the words to every song on the album and liked to toss around verses from "Somebody's Gettin' on My Nerves" and "None of Your Business"to be fresh. The music was funky and new, but it also affected me differently than the Classic Soul and R&B in my mom's tape collection. I would sing along with Salt-N-Pepa and see that it was possible to be a strong, brazen, confident Black woman that could also rock the mic. I was also a big fan of New Jack Swing and kept my Funky Divas tape right next to Very Necessary. When "Whatta Man" was released, to me, it was the best of both worlds coming together make an incredible song celebrating Black Love. Now, I probably wasn't thinking about relationships at the time and was more excited that these were my girls together on one song. "Whatta Man" will always be one of my favorite songs by women in Hiphop. I even have my original tape.
--Submitted by Angel Steele, Hiphop Archive
MC Lyte - "Paper Thin"
In the summer of 1988 I was eleven years old, glued to the television set awaiting the debut of "Yo! MTV Raps." MTV aired a promo that featured a montage of the first videos to play on the show. It ended with a clip from MC LYTE rapping, "...in the back and in the middle, in the front, YO!" The TV picture frame froze with her last words and the network posted their now famous "Yo! MTV Raps" speech bubble logo beside her. I was in awe. I still get hype thinking about those moments. This Afrikan sista was spittin with flame and fury, preachin with power. Mesmerized by her stance, her opinion, her strength, and even her haircut, I wanted to be just like her. "Paper Thin" is a Hiphop classic, hands down. Lyte's style and lyrical fitness set a standard. This clip is dedicated to all the sistas who felt empowered by these /prep/images in a particular 'golden age' of Hiphop.
--Submitted by Dawn-Elissa Fischer, Hiphop Archive
Lin Que featuring MC Lyte - "Let It Fall"
This video by Lin Que followed the standard of Lyte's "Paper Thin" almost eight years later. It stayed on BET's "Rap City" top ten countdown program when it hit the public sphere. Lin Que's style and flow are not the only highlights of the video. The presence of MC Lyte illustrates Hiphop's practice of bridging the past to the present through sampling and referential /prep/images. In this way, the plight and presence of female emcees is historically situated and Hiphop's cultural aesthetics are tended to.
Download Album Art of Women in Hiphop
This montage celebrates the diversity of performance and play among female artists.
The Hiphop Archive's Women in Hiphop Playlist
Below are nine songs for this week that reflect criticisms of abuse, celebrations of motherhood, cautions to adolescents, and affirmations of all that it means to be a woman.
Women in Hiphop Playlist:
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