Hip-hop is a hypermaculine vernacular filled with toxic masculinity and misogynistic lyrics. But it is evident that there is a lack of women in the industry, but why is that?
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Hip Hop became a vehicle for rebellion. It challenged authority, used shocking language, rebranded pop culture and fashion and educated the youth so they could go out into the world and make a difference. Rhythm and poetry (R.A.P.) was more gender neutral, concerned only with elevating the culture and giving a voice to the people. Then gangsta rap happened and all of a sudden consumerism, aggressive competitiveness and an abundance of half-naked women in music videos replaced conscious rap. The perception of Hip Hop changed to something associated with masculinity and female rappers took a backseat.
In the last year alone, women have taken a stand for their voices to be heard between the MeToo and TimesUp movement regarding sexual violence and the unfair treatment of women in the workplace. It is very evident that this is happening in the hip hop industry too. With all labels founded and owned by men, women are not given the opportunity to show their talents. None of their rosters are more than 36 percent female, and none have signed more than two female rappers. Three labels don’t have any women signed at all. An even smaller percentage of signees are black women. These are sad truths that expose the rap industry’s inability to consistently provide women with a safe platform to share their art.
This project was to celebrate the work of women changing the industry with cutting words and hard hitting lyrics. The collectable series consists of songs about different topics such as physical abuse, substance abuse, loss, abortion and the struggle for women in the industry while empowering women too. This series includes Queen Latifah, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and Missy Elliott. To bring the collection together an identity and packaging was created reflecting the poster series becoming a part of the collectors item.