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Misogyny: Do women get a bad rap in hip-hop?

Misogyny, as a concept and as a behavior, is a major issue in hip-hop. Women are frequently marginalized and suffer extreme sexist treatment. As I began to examine the pronounced gender bias in the hip-hop community for this week's feature, I interviewed a wide range of ladies to get their views on sexuality, and ended up getting many different points of view.

In the process, I also noticed more and more instances of misogyny in the scene. At the same time, though, there's seems to be an evolution taking place that is sparking change. Whether of the Nicki Minaj variety or a more traditional stance and purist vantage point, hip-hop is on the rise, and in many ways, the ladies are leading the way.

A new wave of treasure is to be found in the re-emergence of the female MC, as well as women artists in general. I've said it often, and this discussion of female participation in rap supports it: If there were more women rappers in the scene, change would not come as slowly as it does, nor would it be met with such resistance. Here's to the winds of change setting the patterns for the future.

Click through for our conversations with Rie Rie, Bea Shepard (aka "The Hip-Hop Mom"), Bianca Mikahn, Billie Jean, Kalyn Heffernan and DJ Shor T.

 

RIE RIE

Misogyny: Do women get a bad rap in hip-hop?
Marcus Gadison / Colorazzi

Sherie Cole, aka Rie Rie, is tough as nails, both in demeanor and stature. Not only does she hold her own among many of the MCs in Denver, she can effectively break down the dynamics between men and women with as much humor as necessary to drive home the point.

For Rie Rie, misogyny is something that has existed in hip-hop since day one, yet she's never let it stop her. With her Mob Ruled Productionz, she manages her daughter, who is fourteen years old, and continues to push the envelope for women in rap.

Whether misogyny is a by-product of the record labels or a larger reflection of a society that is geared toward the objectification of ladies, Rie Rie says it's all in the choices, and that it's the women who, indeed, have the power.

Westword: How do you work through the misogyny that exists in hip-hop?

Rie Rie: For me, it's my skills. It speaks for itself. Nothing more, nothing less.

Where is the balance between being sexy and showing skills lyrically?

Some females got both. I've got both. I don't choose to do all of that taking-off-your-clothes stuff, though. Like, Nicki Minaj, she got skills. My daughter listens to her, so I know a little about her. She's all right, but some females have to use their body because their skills aren't really up to par. That's not me.

When you were coming up among the boys and battling, what types of female-centered insults would you hear?

When I was battling, the dude would always be like, "Suck my dick," and call me a bitch. I had to go off of that and become better. I wasn't discouraged. That made me want to get more grimy with it. That's why I'm hard, because dudes are rough. Nicki Minaj, in a cipher, she would get ate up because she's too prissy. In a new cipher, a dude is there to eat you up and talk smack to you. It's like playing the dozens. You gotta hold your own and be strong and be loud. Because if not, they won't even hear what you have to say.

What ways would you insult them back?

Like talking about if they're punks or scary and [how they] got little dicks or they can't fuck for long -- there's things like that [laughs].

Where is the equality?

It's not equality. It's a man's game. That's just the way it is. Women just gotta strap up and play the game and go hard. You can go hard showing your body, but you have to know where that's going to get you. When I was coming up, you didn't show your body; guys looked down on that. You didn't run around half naked, because the guys didn't like it. Now, that's all it is.

Why is it all about what the man likes?

Just cause it's male and female. They got dicks and we got pussies; that's just the way it is. As far as sexuality goes, a man can wash his dick in a sink. Being a ho, whether being a man ho or not, you can stink and be musty; you can still be on, as a guy. A woman can't do that. You can't wash your pussy in a sink. You just can't do what a man does.

What's the solution?

Women got the power. We run this shit. We plant the seeds, we grow the seeds up, we the ones that raised they ass. Most men that respect they mama ain't gonna be doing all that, unless they fronting. Half of these guys don't act like they act in the club when they get home.

To me, if you can't act the way you act in the club or in the car with your homies, then you ain't real. If you're smoking weed and then you get around your mama and hide, that's not being real. These guys, most of the time, don't even act the way they say they do. Women need to respect themselves more. If you show respect, you get respect. It comes down to that.

Is anyone to blame? Society? Record labels?

It just depends. The record labels and stuff want you to show your ass, and they want you to be sexy with it. They don't care if you can spit or not. If you got a body and people like you, you're out there. The rhymes come after that. The streets are going to take the realness, and that's what matters.

Where do you fall in the spectrum?

I do underground. I stepped out here and there in the sexy space, but for the most part, I'm underground. The label wants me to be sexy and show my ass, and that's not me. I have a daughter. I stick to whatever I gotta be, and that's underground. I can't let her see me out there like that if that's not what I represent or what I want her to represent.

Your daughter is an MC, too. What do you tell her to combat the stereotype of the female MC?

To respect yourself and to show her the different parts of female rap. She just gotta find her own way. She sees what I've been through and how the guys talk and how they are. She knows not to give it up easy. They like when they can chase you and when you don't wear a bunch of makeup.

She sees I get a lot of respect, because I respect myself. I don't have to sleep around with these guys. I've never done that. I had to get people to say my name right and spell my name right, but it took years. I had to win battles, I had to be in ciphers. My peers around me made me better, and that's how I lead.

Click through for a Q&A with Bea Shepard

 

BEA SHEPARD

Shep with MURS
Shep with MURS

Bea Shepard, the woman affectionately known and respected by the rap world and beyond as the "hip-hop mom," is a wealth of knowledge and opinion. A former English teacher at Denver Public Schools, Shep is not just tough as nails. She is concise and professorial in her teachings, but in a way that does not alienate the students. She teaches and participates in the hip-hop community because she is completely immersed in its beginnings.

Her favorite Tupac song is the Mo' Preme-produced "Bury Me a G'." Shep -- as she prefers to be called -- is attracted to the realism that exists in the dynamic relationships in hip-hop. She is qualified to speak on the feminist objectives that both challenge and, in her opinion, hinder the growth of hip-hop, because she has honed the aspects of her life that speak directly to this concept.

Shooting directly from the hip, Shep delivers her message straight with no chaser, challenging both men and women to examine the parts of self that contribute to self-actualization and stop us from reaching that maturation.

"It seems that the slant here is toward an idealized state of hip-hop in which its rough edges get somehow sanded off by our brilliance and insight. I think it's more likely that hip-hop will remain an amorphous amalgam," says Shep. "Kids will scribble in notebooks, grab mikes and network to find producers and promoters -- sometimes using, but mostly ignoring, the best advice and guidance offered to them.... And the products of it will give voice to thousands of worldviews. And it will all be hip-hop."

Even a light conversation with Shep is intense. We chopped it up with the hip-hop mom to get a different perspective on misogyny in hip-hop and walked away effectively schooled.

Westword: Can you expound further on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as it relates to a man's -- in particular, a rapper''s -- development with a woman?

I don't think Maslow's Hierarchy can predict whether a man of any ilk will be successful in his relationships with women. We don't even have a social framework in which it's okay for males and females to develop genuine understanding of each other, because discussing gender traits is stereotyping -- God forbid. And so both genders actually believe that the other one thinks like they do.

Guys assume that girls know exactly how their behavior affects men. Girls don't know the first thing about it. Like Van Morrison said, "And all the girls walk by/Dressed up for each other..." We paint our nails -- name one guy that gives a flying flip about fingernails. We put on short skirts and sashay past construction workers and wonder why they whistle. We don't want to know how graphic their imaginations are. We don't want to hear our boyfriends say they wish we wouldn't dress so provocatively.

And then we women assume that they think like we do. We have a built-in need for protection from opportunistic men, and we translate it into an assumption that men need our protection from attractive women. So we try to keep our guys away from other women. If a girl's boyfriend says a kind word to another girl, all hell breaks loose. Our society is so deeply dysfunctional that it's unusual to see stable relationships. How can you have stable relationships in an unstable society?

The problem of developing empathy with the opposite gender -- men having female empathy and women having male empathy -- is that it goes against the grain of today's social fabric, such as it is. It's much easier to buy the party line that we all think alike -- "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" -- and skip the question, since it seems to threaten our legislated equality.

This is where I part paths with feminism. When a man has made the effort -- and it takes years of effort -- to really understand and empathize with women, and he then finds a woman who has done that same homework to empathize with men, the chances are that they will have a lasting and meaningful relationship. These will be people who know better than to look for perfect counterparts, people who have developed relationships with the only perfect beings, which are the gods and goddesses of the animus and anima, transformed and liberated through love, acceptance and reverence.

When we talked about a feminism oppressing a man's expression of sexuality, is there a way we are supposed to counteract this occurrence?

The realities of male sexuality are somewhat staggering compared to those of most women. Men have thousands of orgasms by age 21. A woman might have anywhere from none to a few. There's a reason for this. If men weren't as driven as they are sexually, they would never be motivated to be around women, much less marry them, because women are basically a pain in the ass -- yeah, I said it -- and it would be a lot easier to just hang out with the fellas hunting and fishing and playing with balls.

And if women were as driven sexually as men are, they would have no control over themselves, and that would not bode well for choosing fathers and having children. So nature designed women to mature much later than men in terms of sexual satisfaction, like around thirty years old, which gives them the opportunity to be choosy about partners.

So feminism came along and decreed that we were equal, that liquor was evil, and that all the brothels needed to be chopped down to the ground. As I've said before, Susan B. Anthony pretty much had to destroy all the brothels to have any hope of ever getting any -- girlfriend was butt-ugly.

But as feminism erupted, stomping out the places where men had previously taken care of their excess sex drives and their natural inclination to hang out with the fellas, the behaviors that had been normal and acceptable for thousands of years became utterly déclassé, and men learned to pretend that those inclinations didn't exist. From the earliest ages, little boys are taught that very normal physical reactions are naughty, and they learn to hide them.

Hip-hop emerged in a subculture that didn't want to be seen as respectable by middle-class America. The music was first scratched out in totally non-conformist block parties. Graffiti writers knew they were illegal -- the whole scene simmered and bubbled under the surface of the facade of so-called respectable America. The African-American music and dance scene had always been much more intense than the mainstream scene. I think that the more powerful feminism became, the more pressure it exerted on men.

The revolution called hip-hop began at the height of the sexual revolution, a few years before anyone had imagined a gay-rights movement. How does hip-hop respond to feminism? One of feminism's mantras that we're still grappling with is the idea that a woman's value is determined by physical beauty. This happens to be an inescapable fact of human nature, and it applies to all sorts of creatures, but feminism hates it and tries to make it not true, tries to blame it on men -- those lecherous bastards -- and builds a massive guilt trip on words like "objectification."

A huge portion of male sexuality really does objectify someone or something, and no amount of holier-than-thou wishing will change that. I knew a guy who had studied for his master's degree so incessantly that he would masturbate without much thought while studying statistics. He was later unable to get off without a book. Now that's objectification.

Can you reiterate the points you were making about the physical differences in men and women's music preference as it relates to the depth and tone of a woman's voice versus a man's?

Looking at the middle 50 percent of the continuum for men and the middle 50 percent of the continuum for women, it's possible to make some generalizations. So there are some physical barriers to total gender equity in hip-hop. First, women's ears can't handle the same noise levels that men's ears can. Women's ears go into distortion at about 90 decibels, which is nothing compared to the noise levels at most hip-hop shows.

Second, in terms of women on the microphone, the fact that most women's voices are higher than most men's voices can work against them when the speaking voice -- or shouting voice -- is so integral to the art form. Many people naturally prefer deep voices; they are soothing, while high voices are irritating.

Sometimes you just have to change the channel because some high scratchy woman's voice is bugging you: O'Meara Ford -- yecchh! Can you imagine that woman trying to make a rap recording? Even the highest men's voices -- Bootie Brown, for instance -- are not hard on the ears like a woman's voice can be.

Women producers and DJs are few and far between, although there are some. I would hazard a guess that very few of those few have children. The thing is that those skills require considerable concentration and the ability to ignore everything else for long stretches. Most women are not hard-wired for that sort of concentration.

This is another observation that feminism would rather no one ever made, much less broadcast: Most women are much more distractible than most men. But if you look at the survival of the human race from earliest times, it makes sense that the attention of the one giving birth and caring for the little ones would be drawn toward the slightest whimper, while the honker snoring next to her, scaring away the lions and wolves, would never look sideways at screaming children when there was a beast to be slain. These are some reasons that I say hip-hop is the province of the ordinary man and the extraordinary woman.

Are we, as women, supposed to possess some imaginary boundary with men about sex at all times, then?

I don't know what this question really means. It could refer to the guilt we feel when we offer ourselves and get turned down -- another phenomenon that wouldn't occur in a "stable" society, because in a stable society, young males can't just go out and get laid like they can here, so they never turn it down. We may have a genetic memory of all the eons of that sort of dynamic and so now feel awful, even hostile, when we get turned down.

Our grandmothers never experienced that because they never offered themselves. Instead they had the framework of waiting for the call, the flowers, the ring, the courtship.... So, yes, if you think you can deal with dozens of rejections the way a guy can, you're probably wrong and would be better off to be more reserved.

By the way, the rise in gangs correlates directly with the loss of a way for boys to prove manhood. The last truly righteous war was WWII, which established manhood for every vet who returned. By the time of Vietnam, that had dried up, and there were no manhood rituals for the average American guy. Note the major exception: Judaism, and note the relative paucity of Jewish gang members.

But what do gangs offer? Manhood rituals on a sub-cultural level. And that's how gangbangers become more dedicated to their gang brothers than to their larger society or other people. Even the mob, from before WWII, comprised a subculture that felt disenfranchised and found ways to compensate through underground money and power.

And while boys are searching for the satisfaction of some innate drive to prove manhood, what are girls doing? Proving womanhood, not by fighting and amassing power, but by being attractive to men and having babies. The most ancient and perennial proof of womanhood is carrying a baby to term... and the most daily reinforcement of that womanhood is being attractive to men, which has to be proved over and over in each woman's experience.

How should women who work in the music industry handle the heavy-handed sexism in hip-hop?

I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer to this. I occasionally call someone on it, but it's always in a one-to-one communication, and I think maybe I get away with it because I'm old and coming from a "mom" place. But mostly, when I see the sexist, even misogynistic, state of mind, I approach it the same way that I approach a child -- I don't expect a child to be interested in the things that interest me.

I know that there will be fairly predictable stages in the growth of a child (dinosaurs are fascinating to fourth-graders), and I see waves of young males coming up in hip-hop who have all sorts of issues that they can't deal with -- not won't, but really can't, since society and their various subcultures are so messed up.

And so they slap on a facade and march on through, proving their virility by shooting their mouths off and generally pushing all sorts of boundaries. Some will have epiphanies or tragedies that open them to better thinking, and some never will. Even that much perspective could enable women to avoid taking their unenlightened behavior personally -- if they don't want to waste their energy at that level.

Click through for a Q&A with Bianca Mikahn

 

BIANCA MIKAHN

Misogyny: Do women get a bad rap in hip-hop?

Bianca Mikahn is no stranger to being one of few women in a boy's town. Another woman with a rapping brother (Cameron Shaw), Bianca earned her stripes in the rap world by being the only woman MC in the band Paradox. Prior to this movement, though, Mikahn was smashing sets all over Denver and beyond with her raw poetry that, no doubt, contributed to the hard-hitting rhyme structure she's become known for as an MC.

Misogyny, according to Bianca, is almost as powerful as an unspoken behavior as it is a blatant act of disrespect. Her debut album, Left Fist Evolution, is her true stance as an independent woman in the hip-hop world, and even then, she says, her womanhood remained a topic of discussion in the decision making. Bianca speaks to the heart of striking that balance.

Westword: What exactly drives misogyny in hip-hop?

It's something that I've been having a lot of conversations about with so-called good dudes, who play their part into uplifting the Queens and things like that. There are a couple of angles to it. Hip-hop started with such a male base in a male-dominated society, and trying to work that out and get people used to having female MCs was hard. Even from things like the cadence: Our voices are different, and it draws up a different preference. From the scientific part of that to your crew being concerned about how you're dressing.

That's a conversation that I had with a producer recently, who said, "How naked can you get?" Conversations about whether or not I was going to put my picture on my CD -- that was a battle that I had to win because I didn't want to put my face on my debut album. I wanted the art to just ride. I have all these aspects of me, and I have all these sensual moments, you know? I'm a woman. I have my love songs and my making-love songs, but you have to make strong decisions. You can be the "earth mother" or you can be the "concubine."

And the key is to find the balance?

To also take a stand and say that I'm a regular person, who works a regular job, and I'm involved with my community. It's easy for a woman to sound preachy when you go into anything beyond the most basic topics. A lot of guys know that your movement moves faster when there is a woman around. I've heard dudes say that "we've got a lot of work; we need more chicks." That's because a woman will do a lot of the grunt work and be at the heart of your movement, and they capitalize off of having one of the most powerful parts of the movement and not having the accolades represent that.

What's the solution?

You have to fight for your space without looking like you're fighting. When you're fighting, you're called a bitch and this and that. It's a tricky thing. There are a lot of things that I can say that many of my partners can't say. It makes you a politician depending on how you want to do your business. If you boss up in the traditional ways, they'll stop inviting you to the meetings.

[laughs] Which is funny, because then you run into your counterparts, dudes, who are more emotional and less professional than many women in the scene -- and they will never be called to that because they're men. It reflects the gender relations that exist in the grander world. It's all that confidence and knowing exactly what you want from the situation because they'll try and make you know what you want before you even know what's going on. It's a slippery slope.

Click through for a Q&A with Billie Jean

 

BILLIE JEAN

Misogyny: Do women get a bad rap in hip-hop?

Billie Jean, a native to the Denver rap scene, has earned her respect by being as real as she can be as an MC. She spits harder than pavement and asserts her opinion in the most concise manner. For Billie Jean, it's all about perception. Coming up in the rap scene, there was no room for her ride the coattails of her brother, Jahni Denver, who is also a prominent rapper.

Coming from a position of balance, Billie Jean believes it is all too easy to be marginalized, as a rapper with no sexuality, or as a rapper with too much sexuality. This lady MC, however, pays none of it any mind and says the answer is to create an existence that both defies the status quo and lays claim to a new era of the female MC.

Westword: What is your perspective on misogyny in hip-hop?

Billie Jean: Coming from my perspective, I'm a lyricist and an MC. In the true art form of hip-hop, I really don't feel like misogyny exists. When it comes to the whole MC-versus-rapper phenomenon, in the entertainment industry, there is a pressure to appeal to the masses. A lot of these female rappers are entertainers. They might be able to come up and spit a few raps, but there's a lot of coonery and buffoonery.

Sex sells; it really truly does. I don't personally feel pressure for me to be sexualized, because I do it for the art form. I feel like if that's what you do and that's your angle, you look at yourself in the mirror and people have an image of you based on your perception. I don't gotta do that, because, in my opinion, I'm keeping it real.

My music comes from a different place. People will tell you who they are. Believe them. In the entertainment industry, if you wanna appeal to that, then there's a market for that. I don't think that's all hip-hop, but if that's you, then that's what you're gonna do.

So you're saying it's perception, rather than any truth to the whole image?

It's all about perception. If you think about it, it's kinda fucked up, because as far as male MCs or male rappers go, they might be talking about this bitch, that bitch, and they feel like they're gonna do the player role and do what's cool, so a female in that same lane might feel like they're liberating themselves by doing those same things.

People look at it and they might pre-judge them faster than they would a man as super-sexualized. It would be too easy to go there for me, but the moment you say "pussy, ass, dick," their ears perk up with that. A lot of females play on their sexuality in order to boost their image, not because they have to, but because that's what they wanna do.

Is that all there is, or is there a solution?

I don't think it's all we've got, but there's definitely a market for that. The songs that are marketed for radio are wack, anyway. I rarely like anybody's single, and I feel like it's the industry. But as far as the indie and the underground, there's not the same pressure. I wouldn't even say pressure; it's the standard. When you look at Bahamadia or Lauryn Hill or Queen Latifah, there is more of a respect factor when someone says something that inspires thought.

For an entertainer who's talking about ass and titties and tricking out all these niggas, it's something we listen to, but there's no substance. For women, it's an either-or type of situation, and it's hard to cross back. If I embrace my sexuality on a track or talk about my lower self on a track, it's harder to be seen.

Men make that standard. You want your wife to be this righteous woman, but the chick you're fucking is that ho. So don't act like you have to be one or the other. But the reality is that men want both, but it's hard to be both and maintain your identity and your respect. Women are multi-faceted; there's no way we can be one way.

Be all things. Be yourself. It comes from the best place when you don't try to have a gimmick. If it truly comes from you and what you wanna spit, you don't have to spit. It's when you try to appeal to one specific audience or appeal to someone physically instead of lyrically, that's when you mess up. Even if you don't speak about those things, it's not like it doesn't exist. There shouldn't be that double standard. We're sexual beings.

Click through for a Q&A with Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp

 

KALYN HEFFERNAN

Misogyny: Do women get a bad rap in hip-hop?
Adrian Diubaldo / Photo Roadies

Kalyn Heffernan, MC for the group Wheelchair Sports Camp, says she has not experienced misogyny on a personal level. Still, as a woman who is immersed in the genre as a consumer and a participant, she sees it running rampant on the regular. Not only is Kalyn a woman who raps in a male-dominated scene, but she is also a lesbian. She challenges the system on many levels of sexuality through her rhymes and controversial stance. Recognizing that the songs with the best hooks and lyrics are often those that objectify women the most, Heffernan says the answer is more women raising their voices, and their message, on the microphone.

Westword: What do you think about misogyny in hip-hop?

Kalyn Heffernan: I haven't personally experienced the sexism in hip-hop, but It didn't take hip-hop very long to get misogynistic. It really became prevalent in the early '90s, when I started out. NWA and Eazy-E, all that stuff we like to listen to, it's hard to turn the other cheek when they're knocking women.

It's something that women have been aware of for a while. I also feel like female rappers have to come out and have sex appeal. Sex sells, and unfortunately, that's how a lot of female rappers have made it. Not skill and lyricism; they just market their bodies so that they can adapt to a genre that's built this way.

Is it the responsibility of the woman to maintain the boundaries? Where does the responsibility fall, especially in the day of Nicki Minaj?

I don't think Nicki Minaj would be where she was if she didn't use sex appeal. However, there are females like Queen Latifah, who was one of the few who made a stance against disrespecting women, and she has made a huge career. Her big money isn't because of her talking about injustices with women. She was able to start that avenue at the beginning and get her start. Unfortunately, it is the system's problem for not allowing positive women to get the same height like big-time rappers who are talking shit about women. Overall, the system is to blame, but if more women were to come out and go against the grain, I think that it would force that change.

As a lesbian, how does that further impact your dealings with the hip-hop scene?

Definitely, it's harder to be a homo in hip-hop because it's so homophobic. Gay men are more discriminated against, and that's where the root comes from in hip-hop. From all my personal experience, lesbians are cool, because straight guys like lesbians, because they want to get in on the action. I think lesbians in hip-hop are on that whole "sex sells" thing. I flick my tongue like a dyke -- Dr. Dre said it.

So what's the answer? Is there a solution?

My solution is more women coming out, more women doing their thing without having to sell themselves. Spitting harder. Most women are smarter than men anyway, so if they really took that knowledge to the beat, it would make the industry change, but I think that a lot of women are afraid because of how mainstream hip-hop is and how it's become. All the do's and don'ts in hip-hop that are harder to overlook, but if they did, I think some shit could change.

Click through for a Q&A with DJ Shor T

 

DJ SHOR T

DJ Shor T has been rocking the wheels of steel for twelve years, starting in college radio and working her way through the club scene into the hip-hop shows. She says she fell in love with hip-hop with no influence from anyone around her. A lover of Too $hort and Yo! MTV Raps, Shor T managed to find people who get down with her love of hip-hop culture, even despite the sexism and misogyny that exists in hip-hop.

"I guess at one point, there was a rumor that a guy was telling me what to play during my sets," she says with a laugh. "Apparently people found it hard to believe that I could come up with dope music all by myself."

As a noon-day mixer for Hot 107.1, she deejays regularly at Vinyl on Tuesday nights and backs up local MC FOE, giving Shor T quite the sheet of credibility to speak directly to the core of hip-hop relations.

In what ways have you experienced misogyny in hip-hop?

At the most, people who don't know me will watch me walk in with my gear, and I can see them roll their eyes or whisper to others. I can see the doubt in their faces, which only pumps me up more. For some reason, many people don't believe a woman can get down like a man on the turntables. I don't know if they think we're more concerned about how we look spinning up there, or if they think we don't know as much about music, or if they think we'll be timid when it comes to rocking a crowd. Whatever it is, their first impression of me is usually dead wrong. I love surprising the shit out of them. Proving myself as a DJ is one of the things I love most about being not only a woman, but a white woman in hip-hop.

Do you think there is a solution to the sexism that exists between men and women in the music industry?

Women need to come together and form a network. If we can put our pettiness and jealousy aside and support each other in a male-dominated business, we can accomplish more and get more respect. We need to encourage each other, be happy when other women succeed, and help push each other further.

Do you find it difficult to strike a balance in being a DJ and the lyrics of rappers you have to play?

I don't get offended by much. I mean, I grew up listening to Too Short and N.W.A. The truth is, there are women who don't act right, and I feel like those lyrics are about them. I know the kind of woman I am, and the kind of women I associate with, and I feel like we're above it. Hell, I'll sing along with it... BIATCH!

What role should a woman have in hip-hop, whether a DJ or an MC? In what way should that role be respected?

Women can be whatever a man can be. An MC, a DJ, a B-girl, graffiti artist...anything we want to be. In my opinion, we've got the advantage. All those men will line up to see a woman do something that usually only men do. Ladies, if we [want, we] can easily have those men wrapped around our little finger.


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