Existing while being a woman: Attempting (and failing) to reconcile my love for Rap music and feminism

If you have read my blog or have know me in real life you are probably aware that I consider myself a feminist.

Something i’ve always struggled with is reconciling my taste in music with my feminist awareness. If you read my previous post on my favourite songs of the last couple years, a lot of them are of the “rap” music variety. Classified further into the “trap music” and “gangster rap” varieties.

If you are not familiar with rap music (if this is the case, how are we acquainted?) then I will let you know that most rap songs aren’t usually prime examples of feminist music. They actually are better classified as some of the most misogynistic music out there. Calling women b*tches and other derogatory terminology, referring to them purely as objects of sexual desire, even the occasional blasé reference to sexual assault. Yep, Rap music is part of the culture of rape that I constantly refer to. And yes by listening to rap music and spending my money on their albums I am in fact complicit in the proliferation of rape culture through music.

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I constantly try to spin it in a way that eases my conscious like: “Jayceon respects women in real life and his love songs are his TRUE feelings.” or “You need to be like that to be popular in the rap industry.” But really it’s undeniable that there are no excuses for listening to and implicitly supporting this kind of music that is so clearly anti-feminist.
So I’m working on supporting more female recording artists, but there is still the whole problem of listening to misogynistic rap music. To be honest, I don’t know what I am going to do about it. Currently I can’t imagine not listening to Chief Keef and the Game. (Sidenote:  I also like rappers such as Black Milk, Slum Village, Lords of the Underground, I think I have well-rounded rap taste.) Right now I will be content on crusading against misogyny in every other area of my life while being slightly hypocritical in this area. Hopefully in the future, this hypocrisy won’t be necessary because rappers will have moved on from being misogynistic a-holes in their music.

Further more, I usually don’t pay much attention to female artists. My best friend Zineb and I were discussing how most of our favourite musical artists are male. So we both have started listening to more female artists. I have discovered my love for female rapper Angel Haze and R&B singer Elle Varner. But I am still on the search for more female artists I can fall in love with. I want to support female recording artists as much as I support their male counterparts.

Until then, the struggle continues.

My 2012/2013 ultimate music round-up

I am a young adult and as most young adults I love music. My taste in music hasn’t evolved much since I was first allowed to choose what I listened to (about grade 7 if you must know.) I usually listen to rap (usually of the “gangster” variety), dancehall, some pop-ish stuff, some electric-sounding stuff which I am not sure how to classify, and classic rock. I also enjoy classical music but I prefer to listen live (I’m sometimes snobby.)

Since the years 2012 and 2013 have kind of blended together in my memory, this music round-up will include both years.

Without further ado, here are my top songs from the past two years!

From 2013:

Almost every artist I mentioned. Sorry to Konshens, Donnis, Rick Ross, Azealia Banks and Booba for not making it.

Almost every artist I mentioned. Sorry to Konshens, Donnis, Rick Ross, Azealia Banks and Booba for not making it.

Shabba – A$AP Ferg – I LOVED Trap Lord as an album and this was my favourite part of it. Useful for making you feel like Shabba Ranks in a pinch.

No Bueno – Angel Haze – Angel Haze is perfect. She features a fair amount on this list. This song is perfect. As usual. Just trust me.

Work B*tch – Britney Spears – Brtiney Is a queen and we are all her loyal subjects. This is probably my favourite Britney song since she had her highly publicized breakdown (poor girl.) It makes me want to dance and party and most importantly work my a** off so I can be as amazing as BritBrit.

F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit – Jay-Z and Ricky Rozay (Rick Ross fyi) – Another song completely that makes me feel like a gangster when I am in fact, not one. I liked all of MCHG. Didn’t quite get it the day it was released, I think I managed the day after.

Don’t Hold the Wall – Justin Timberlake – Out of all the songs on his album, this is the most memorable to me because it makes me want to dance the most. I’m really digging the whole vibe JT went with on the album. Classy.

YEEZUS IN GENERAL. Yeezus was hands down my favourite rap/hip-hop album of the year. He’s amazing. I can hardly choose my favourites but if I had to I’d say my top songs from Yeezus are Bound 2 and Send it Up.

Double Bubble Trouble – M.I.A. – I love M.I.A.’s new stuff. It’s rap/electronic stuff. It’s super cool. I like the “drops” (is that what they’re called?) Like the part where the electronic-y stuff starts.

From 2012:

212 – Azealia Banks – I LOVE Azealia Banks. I have a total girl crush on her. She has an attitude, she doesn’t care, she starts random beef with all these female rappers. This song was MY SONG for my first year of university.

New York – Angel Haze – Angel Haze can do no wrong in my eyes. She is beautiful and funny and interesting and intelligent and perfect. Okay? This song is a total bad b*tch in charge song.

Chi (Need to Know) – Angel Haze – I must resist putting every Angel Haze song ever on this playlist. But I LOVE this one. As a love song it’s beautiful and I can totally relate. It makes me happy.

Caramel – Booba – If you’re English you may not have heard this song. Booba is a French rapper with really poor taste in names that sound cool.* This song is pretty much your standard: I have lots of money and women and I’m cool rap song. But in French. 10/10 especially if you speak French and understand what he’s saying.

Hobby – Chief Keef – Confession time: I’m obsessed with Chief Keef. Anything he touches is GOLD to me. He is perfect. Yeah, I’m aware that I should be somewhat ashamed of this opinion. Hobby is probably one of my favourite Chief Keef songs so far. Especially ’cause he mentions his penchant for Maseratis (“[…]And I don’t like you neither, but I like Maseratis”) and I love Maseratis.

Hello Kitty – Donnis – Shoutout to a less known artist I stumbled upon. Not exactly the most intellectually-stimulating song. But it’s catchy and FUN FACT: I skyped Donnis once. Because I tweeted him. And he followed me. And we became best friends. Then we Skyped and it wasn’t as magical as I expected but we did have a decent conversation. #Shoutouttomyhomie

EVERYTHING THE GAME RELEASED ON JESUS PIECE! The Game is my favourite rapper. Specifically I loved All that (a pretty cute love song that makes me blush even though it’s not directed at me in any way) and Ali Bomaye (Makes me feel like a gangster.)

Gal a Bubble – Konshens – My favourite dancehall song of 2012. Konshens also has an adorable instagram. I still have to dance every time I hear this song.

*DId you know that during the plague, the term “booba” referred to a common symptom: swollen cyst-like things, under the arms? Sexy.