Women were always a great source of inspiration, especially in Art. We can see portraits of glamorous women on walls, paintings, clothing, or in tattoos on people’s bodies. Also, women have been inspiring the music world since the very beginning, and more than that, they are active as performers on big stages where they sing, as nobody else can, about their story lives and hardships in a world dominated by men. Rap is a music genre aggressive in expression and dominated by males, where women fight to find “their place” and gain well-deserved respect from the beginning

Female rappers proved to have lyrics skills and deliver powerful messages to their audience, young men and women. In his article “Girls Rappin’ Round Table,” Pearlman states, “females were always into rap, had their little crews and were known for rocking parties, schoolyards, whatever it was; and females rocked just as hard as males [but] the male was just first to be put on wax[record]” ( Pearlman, pg

,Females were and are still present in rap, but they have been struggling to be promoted or reach a level of success close to male rappers. However, rap has the reputation of being misogynistic due to denigratory images of women who are very often depicted as objects of male desire and pleasures, and less capable of being successful as artists. Most of the rap lyrics contain misogynistic themes, which bring rappers success and money. Misogyny is the hatred or the prejudice against women or girls

Two experts from Howard University, Adams and Fuller defined misogyny as “…an ideology that reduces women to objects for men’s ownership, use, or abuse,”and “Although the misogyny in rap is degrading to all women, the characterizations of women in this genre of music specifically target African American womenAdams, Fuller, pg. 939, 955)

For instance, while the controversial song” It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp” by Three 6 Mafia glorifies the exploitation of women, this Hip-Hop group won the 2005 Academy Award for best original song. Also, Eminem won a Grammy with the album “The Marshall Mathers LP” that presents extreme violence and cruelty towards women. In a recent study of rap songs, Mc Farland analyzed 263 songs and the results showed that 37% presented women as “objects of male desire and pleasure” because as Hip-hop historian Kevin Powell says “…the only way you can be a man – a black man, a Latino man- is if you hard. To denigrate women. To denigrate. To denigrate each other. Toeach other” ( Kevin Powell, Hurt 2007). In other words, misogynistic lyrics point out and encourage the objectification, exploitation or violence against women to be cool or to be “a man.” Referring to women, a number of rap songs use vulgar words to describe women such as”top-notch“prima donnaand some rappers like Eminem have no limits in degrading women 

Eminem shows an extreme hostility even toward his mother and relatives, plus this radical gesture is not unique in this music genre. In his song’ Under the Influence,” Eminem states “Someasked for my autograph/I called her abeer in her face and laughed/I drop bombs like I was in Vietnam/Alliseven myUnder the Influence-www.youtube.com ). So, the artist portrays women negatively and describes how he treats them poorly and humiliatingly. Also, rap lyrics talk about women as being good only for. For instance, the American rapper, Too $hort, offers such an example in his song “Coming up $hort where he says “I’m only out toatryin’ to charm her./ I treat a finelike dirt/No money in her purse, ais all it’s worth ‘(songlyrics.com). While the men can gain respect from their peers if they have manyadventures without commitment, women are highly depersonalized, and their moral and intellectual values are nullified. In the article “Misogyny in Rap Music,” Ronald Weitzer and Charis E. Kubrin find out that almost half of the misogynistic songs point out a deep lack of trust in women who are interested only in taking men’s money ( Weitzer, pg. 16)

Rappers who come with such stories in their music have a big success to the public audience. For example, Kanye West won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance with his song “Gold Digger” which presents the story of a woman who seduces a man to get his money. Women are very often associated with prostitution andlife for economic gains. Missy Misdemeanor Elliott’s lyrics state ” Hot boys/ Baby you got what I want./ See ‘cause y’all be drivin’ Lexus jeeps/ And the Benz jeeps, and the Lincoln jeeps. / Nothin’ cheaper, got them Platinum Visa’s” ( Missy Misdemeanor Elliott, Hot Boys). Simply put, women from rap lyrics are willing to do whatever men want in exchange for money, clothes, expensive cars, or for a luxury life. Unfortunately, such stories that showed in rap music will have a substantial but negative impact on young generations of girls and boys who will follow this path to a successful and luxury life without intellectual efforts and high education. Men lead the music world, and they portray women after their pleasure and audience’s will while the stories are not theirs, and the reality is different. Many argue that the absence of misogyny does not necessarily imply a positive representation of women

Rap music has a plethora of themes in its content, so misogynist theme does not characterize rap music as a whole. Changing this theme in rap music means to change the conditions which led to creation this subculture, its identity, original structure, and all these mean tothis subculture by making it more convenient to the mass audience and by lining up to social norms and standards. This is the rap music and its lyrics, which were born from life struggles and social oppression in South Bronx, and we do not have any rights to intervene to change it after our pleasure and convenience. Also, we can find in rap lyrics positive messages about independent women who are defined by male rappers as women able to do everything alone while “maintaining a high standard of beauty”( Ramirez, pg. 55). For example, the gangster rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur has a song “Dear Mama” which praises his mother for taking care of her family despite the life hardships

The artist adores his mother and presents her in a favorable light through the following lyrics “You always was a black queen, mama/I finally understand/ for a woman it ain’t easy tryin to raise a man./ You always was committed/A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how ya did it. There’s no way I can pay you back/But the plan is to show you that I understand/ You are appreciated” ( Ramirez, pg. 58). Therefore, rap music can serve as “ a message of empowerment for the marginalized population” and it “has the power to promote positive and uplifting messages about the Black experience”(Ramirez, pg. 58). Rap artists such as Lil’Kim, Nicki Minaj, Queen Latifah, and Laura Hill characterize themselves independent, strong, and self-reliant women and having a voice and speaking out against women’s injustices. For instance, Latifah’s song U.N.I.T.Y stands up for women who must be treated with respect. The lyrics are very suggestive and states ‘Instinct leads me to another flow. Every time I hear a brother call a girl aor aTrying to make a sister feel low. / You know all of that gots to go

Now everybody knows there’s exceptions to this rule/ Now don’t be getting mad, when we playing, it’s cool /But don’t you be calling out my name/ I bringto those who disrespect me like a” ( genius.com). So, rap can also promote women and offers women the chance to be independent and a role model as a “true woman” for many girls. We should admit this aspect because there are some great examples of lyrics which would rather promote women and their values than denigrate and point out their weaknesses and vicinities. Also, the music world is immense, so the young generations can make wise musical choices by listening high-quality songs, and at the same time, they can better understand the black communities oppressions, social injustices, and the pain of marginalized people and depersonalized women in such communities. However we cannot generalize that all lyrics in rap is misogynist and degrades women as long as there are also rappers who provide positive messages about women and as long as there are females in rap who can defend the women’s true values.