Words by Lo, image of Shadia Mansour courtesy of blogs.worldbank.org.
There’s always a sliding scale for how hardcore of a fan you are. I would say that I am a casual-to-intermediate fan of hip-hop: sometimes I really get going and pursue new music and new artists for weeks on end, while other times, I fade out and only look at stuff that falls into my lap via recommendations from good friends. At no time can I actually talk to you about meter and rhythm and staying in the pocket—I’m not on that level.
But I am on a level where I’m sick of hearing the same recycled “oh, it’s so refreshing to see a woman in hip-hop” sighs from extended relatives and even friends as they tune into whatever single has climbed into the stratospheric Top 40. I’m not begrudging those singles their success (er, except in the case of one or two… oops), but I’m definitely side-eyeing my peers. There have been women in hip-hop for a really long time, and I’m not talking about just the well-known giants. All across the world, women young and old have dedicated their lives to the art and craft of hip-hop, and you don’t have to go far by any means to find them now.