Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ain't Nothin but a She Thing

I like hip-hop a lot, but it tends to be a male-dominated genre. And sadly, there's very female little presence currently in popular hip-hop. And what there is pales in comparison to the pioneering ladies of early hip-hop.

I've posted Queen Latifah videos before, but I haven't talked about Salt-N-Pepa, the best-selling female rap group ever. They're feminist, they can spit it, and they remain classics. "Whatta Man," "Let's Talk About Sex," and "Push It" come to mind when you think of the group, but songs like "Independent," "Ain't Nuthin but a She Thing" really portray their views on feminism, women, and female hip-hop. From the mid-80's through the 90's, Salt-N-Pepa rapped openly about sexuality, not just having sex but enjoying it and commending men who treat women right, social problems, racism, and just being generally awesome.

And when you compare "Ain't Nuthin but a She Thing" (1995) to Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg's "Ain't Nuthin' but a G Thang" (1993), you have to admit, Salt-N-Pepa are more creative. Rapping about status and drugs and sex are standard fare for male rap artists, but rapping about sexism and being an intelligent woman are much less common. (Not to knock on Dre and Snoop--love their classic, but I'm a bigger fan of Salt-N-Pepa's version.)

In general, I wish mainstream hip-hop would go back to the great lyricism and creativity there was in the 80's and early 90s, but I especially wish this for female artists. I hope they can stop trying to keep up with the (mediocre) mainstream male artists and look back to their feminist, female hip hop predecessors.

You got to understand it's a she thang
We got the power, yeah, you know the deal
So you go, girl (You go, girl!), it ain't no man's world
You can do anything (You can do anything), do what you feel
-Salt-N-Pepa, "Aint Nuthin' but a She Thing"

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I only discovered the group properly and this song recently :). We need more feminist artists - though at the moment it's very hard to break through with original ideas that go against the status quo/patriarchy. Xxx