For the longest time, in hip-hop, we have had kings and number 1 rulers. A queen? A goddess? Think classics…is “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in your top ten? Is it the only album by a woman in that list?
In South Africa, women rappers are like a game of “Where’s Waldo?” It’s crowded with male rappers, testosterone, over hyped limited people with studio time and misogyny. Hip-hop is reflective of society.
I’m not shitting on monumental names like Godessa (a talented trio of women rappers from Cape Town), Supa (first woman on the cover of Hype Magazine), Nthabi (ask Reason on how deadly an MC she is), Jean Grae (yes, Greasy is South African).
I’m noting that in SA we haven’t given a woman rapper a second look. We haven’t been a catalyst to a superstar woman rapper. Instead, we latch on to the scraps of “All Women Remix” rather than taking note of the women’s rap talents as individuals.
Recently, women are maneuvering around traditional scrotum filled spaces and not only making a name for themselves but ensuring that respect is deserved and not pity is thrown at them because they don’t pee standing.
Ms Cosmo has a long running hip hop show on 5FM, Loot Love heralds a show with Speedsta on national radio station Metro FM, Azizzar is co hosting the hip hop show with DJ Switch on Massiv Metro. Helen Herimbi, not resting on the laurels of the fame bestowed on her by her famous and equally talented brothers Mr Instro & Hopemasta, has a show on Touch HD & boasts on raps, “Your rappers favorite writer from the V-Town”.
These are all current waves by women that are sweeping to the shores of hip hop in SA. We still, and should do it more often, salute women who have been part of hip hop for years. Whether on the mic or pioneering the advancement of this culture across the country & beyond borders with their work. Women like Farah Fortune & her African Star team, Sheila Afari, Lee Kasumba, Simone, Banesa and every other woman who has graced the mic, organized an event, hosted a show, made sure a rapper’s PR is pristine, edited a nationwide magazine or even styled a rapper. There are a lot of women in hip-hop that their due praise is undervalued.
More women are coming to the forefront and staking a long overdue claim in hip hop in SA. In the eternal words of the woman who spit the verse that’s never been deciphered, Thembi Seete, “It’s about time”
In 2017, Rogue dropped her debut, “The New Era Session” in the midst of women in all aspects of life taking a firmer stand against all that has been deemed male dominated. Rogue is not here to be eye candy. Rogue is not here to play second fiddle to a head honcho of a squad. She is her own woman.
Rouge’s “The New Era Sessions” is one for the books.
Congolese born and PTA resider, Rogue goes against every possible grain that is imposed on hip hop stat quo & any and all preceding conclusions about women in hip hop. Rogue didn’t become First Lady of any team.
From the moment I saw her on Suga Rush with the song, “My Moment”; it was eminent that her vision for herself wasn’t going to be a supporting role to another rapper. The raps are distinct, her cadence is magnetizing, her words vividly state someone who is self aware as much as environmental aware.
One can put C-Live’s posse cut “It’s Nothing” as Rogue’s catapult moment. She said, “Yes I’m a female but that detail is irrelevant / coz I’ll take you on like I’m a rapper without a clique”
Rogue has made a name for herself over the years with her rapid flow and destructive well constructed bars. Remember the MTV Base cipher? Remember “Baddest Remix”? Rogue is distinct and stands out with her raps. The inclusion of her native language French is also an extra touch to the individualism she shines with so effortlessly.
The climate of the game doesn’t favour bodies of work. It’s singles and streams, club bangers and cash grabbing collabos. An album is seen as liability instead of the power of longevity it possesses. Rouge’s “The New Era Sessions” is one for the books. Not only because of its sonic quality, cohesion but also of its impact on the climate. We have a woman rapper on record not perpetuating stereotypes hip hop has enforced on women. It’s a rare achievement.
On the album, Rogue delves into her rap skills, the game in its entirety, her views, her take on her life’s events, her ambitions, her dreams, her tenacity and most importantly, her womanhood.
In hip hop, a woman’s sexuality or being seen as a sex kitten has been the focal point. Perfect example, Lil Kim. La Bella Mafia is known for her skimpy clothes, rocking a Chinchilla fur coat over her gorgeous topless torso or straps to cover her nipples. This is the woman who impressed the GOAT Christopher Wallace with her rap skills before he suggested she sexes it up more. This is the woman who decapitated the infamous monster that is Mobb Deep on “Quiet Storm”. You can’t tell me you don’t remember the thunderous verse that opened with, “Goddamn hoe here we go again”
This is what Rogue’ album represents. 55 minutes of showing that women are more than ass shakers, titty flashers & just a beautiful minority in a collective of men with a combined talent of one average rapper. Women; are a force to be reckoned with, are to be respected as MCs, moguls, wordsmiths and above all, to be respected enough not to be told, “You rap good for a woman”.
Respect women. Respect their talent. Same principles you apply on your favorite male rapper, let them not be any less on a woman. The bar on bars has to be consistent. “The New Era Sessions” is bench pressing with heavyweights, sparring at the same frequency, punching as hard if not harder than its male counterparts.
Get Rouge’s “The New Era Sessions” on iTunes here
Written by: SDot