It’s not new to anyone that rap as a genre thrives on misogyny and homophobia, not to mention transphobia. Women and LGBTQ+ people are too often described in derogatory terms by rap artists and their lyrics are filled to the brim with stereotypes. And this is precisely the reason why the very idea of feminist rappers is so subversive… just like rap should be.
But if you were thinking that mixing hip hop music with feminist stances is a novel thing, you’d be sorely mistaken. Hip hop feminism was born in the 1960s and 1970s as a branch of Black feminism. It was all about embracing the contradictions of being a Black woman who enjoys a deeply misogynistic music genre and reclaiming the right to be a part of that culture on her own terms.
It is thus no surprise that Black female artists are at the forefront even today if we’re talking about feminism in rap music. Check out our list to find all the amazing artists that are bringing some feminism in your rap songs.
— LIZZOOOOO (@lizzo) December 15, 2021
The first name on our list is a self-described “big girl” who uses her lyrics to spread messages about body positivity and to talk about her experience as a Black woman in America. Lizzo is also blatantly honest about her struggles with mental health and determined to emphasise the importance of self-love. When asked about her gender and sexuality, she stated that she doesn’t ascribe to just one thing and feels both are more of a spectrum rather than a binary thing. Also, did you know there is a Lizzo mural in Dublin?
If we’re discussing feminist rappers, there’s no avoiding Princess Nokia. This Afro-Indigenous artist is very outspoken about her bisexuality, as well as her gender non-conforming identity. Her experimental music style is her trademark and her feminism is intersectional, as she explains in her podcast Best Advice, that you should definitely check out.
— JP (@JUNGLEPUSSY) January 12, 2022
Her name is not the only provocative aspect of this rapper, whose empowering and explicit lyrics about unapologetic female pleasure have had a lot of people talk. And even though her songs are full of empowering messages, she also advocates for Black women’s right to be vulnerable.
— raeen roes? (@AngelHaze) January 15, 2022
They are a Black and Native American artist and also an outspoken activist. They identify as pansexual and agender and their music tackles heavy topics such as religious fanaticism, eating disorders, homophobia, and even sexual abuse.
I don’t compare myself to ANYONE….I’m Uniquely ME??? pic.twitter.com/uGhaLHUBeS
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) January 11, 2022
If you want a name for the artist who paved the way for today’s feminism in hip hop, here’s one for you. Elliott’s songs were all about promoting feminine autonomy and independence before being a feminist was so popular.
We’re talking about the queer rapper who has given us empowering anthems like her song LGBT. CupcakKe is not only funny and blunt in her songs, but she also uses them to speak up against social problems and injustices, like police brutality and sexual assault.
Quay Dash is a Trans woman of colour who just wants to make her voice heard and talks about her life experience and the struggles she faces. She does just that in her EP Transphobic in which she addresses all the ignorant hate that she encounters.
Dope Saint Jude
1 week to the release of my new track and video “Home”. Can’t wait to share this very special track with you. I wrote it during the height of the lockdown, contemplating what “Home” means to me.
Home is part of a larger project, Higher Self, that will be released next year. pic.twitter.com/17PLqqvCyM
— Dope Saint Jude (she/her) (@DopeSaintJude) November 24, 2021
This South African rapper takes her advocacy for LGBTQ+ issues very seriously and uses her voice to support the marginalised people in society. Since she decided to switch careers, the former drag king has given the world powerful feminist anthems like Grrrl Like.
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Melange Lavonne is an openly gay rapper and activist who uses her work to tackle important issues such as gay parenting, AIDS, marriage equality, discrimination and hate crimes.
So in conclusion, if you’re trying to reconcile your love for rap music with positive depictions of women and LGBTQ+ people, these are the feminist rappers you should be listening to.
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