D.L. Chandler
Iggy-Azalea

Is Hip-Hop’s Masculinity Being Challenged, By White Girls? [Editorial]

 

Is Hip-Hop’s Masculinity Being Challenged, By White Girls?

 

Pop culture critic Touré wondered if the Hip-Hop throne will one day be claimed by a White female rapper. Did he make a valid point?

The New York Times published a piece on December 23 from cultural critic Touré which proposes Hip-Hop’s masculine core may be shifting by way of an influx of upstart female rappers. The author asserts that a growing, savvy group of up-and-coming artists are challenging Hip-Hop’s male-centered presentation simply by being quirky, excluding commonality with their male counterparts and exhibiting a new type of cool.

The catch: all of them are White.

Touré opens his piece with the notion that Hip-Hop is mostly about Black masculinity. The provocative statement achieves its goal of raising eyebrows but it simultaneously opens up some holes in his theory. No sensible person would allege that Hip-Hop isn’t male-dominated, as much of music has flourished under a long known patriarchal bent. Yet Touré, who carefully covers his tracks by mentioning that Black female and White male rappers have had their successes, fails to elaborate with anything concrete.

The piece instead becomes a love letter to the prototypical White female who happens to rhyme, gushing over a trio of rap artists that have not made any significant impact beyond social media spheres and a few features articles. It is unfair to say Australian MC and Los Angeles-based Iggy Azalea and Bay Area rhyme slingers Kreayshawn and K. Flay aren’t interesting. But after a thorough listening, none of these women have the star power to unseat Nicki Minaj from her throne nor do they possess the stuff to create new trends in Rap.

 

 

A big gaffe in Touré’s piece is his statement that part of why White female rappers have yet to impact the mainstream is because they lack “Black masculine power”—saying that this is a construct borne of exposure to street living, the “Black male cool” as he further calls it. It is a foolish notion to promote because as it has been proven time and again; not every Black male rapper had tough upbringings and quite a few of these MCs are college educated.

The story simply chooses to ignore the truth that timing, image, management and an ability to generate buzz in varying mediums are just as important as rap ability in these times where blog hits determine a rapper’s worth as much as sales. Odd Future’s (and Drake before them) well-documented rise to notoriety happened by way of social media savvy and a flood of critically lauded releases via various top Rap blogs. Neither Tyler’s nor Drake’s respective paths to fame were the byproducts of being reared in inner city environs.

Another eye-catching moment in the article that derails any merit the piece could possibly have; “As soon as White women start rhyming, no matter what they say, it’s seen as cute and comical, like a cat walking on its hind legs,” writes Touré. Apparently he’s never heard any music from Canadian rapper Eternia or Michigan’s Invincible; nothing these women spit could ever be considered cutesy, as they rhyme with gumption often trumping some of their male peers.

Touré’s curious focus on these women seemingly has an insidious agenda to inject these artists into mainstream conversation or to appear knowledgeable about the next big thing. These women are not household names, although the piece alleges they could be. He lavishes Iggy Azalea, calling her hodgepodge of southern rap trends “Hot” and mentioning her alignment with Black culture although she’s just been living in America for five years.

Turning his focus on Kreayshawn, he captures the irony of her label-shunning “Gucci Gucci” but fails to state how she challenges this looming Black masculinity that Hip Hop is mired in. Much of the words regarding the Bay Area product meander to fluff, adding no weight to the article in any way. Kreayshawn’s Odd Future and Lil B affiliations aside, she hasn’t followed up with a song anywhere near the popularity of “Gucci Gucci,” although she has appeared on tracks with southern fixtures 2 Chainz and Juicy J this year.

The infatuation with White women rappers continues as he profiles Stanford graduate K.Flay. As the eldest of the three, the 26-year-old’s art is flagged as a counter to the so-called normal trends of Hip-Hop with the author remarking that she doesn’t pander to the traditional tenets of Hip-Hop by way of her dress and sound. He fumbles greatly by saying she represents a generation of rap neophytes who rhyme but don’t see a need to pay homage to the culture, although her music is nothing but Hip-Hop at the root.

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Touré dangerously touts an idea that deepens the already wide chasm between male and female rappers and their fans.  His claim that Hip-Hop is inherently Black and masculine ostracizes entire groups of people who just want good music and are not at all worried about Hip-Hop’s supposed White female gentrification. Simply put, fans should enjoy the music for whatever qualities they feel attached to, not because White female rappers are somehow challenging Rap’s entire Black male
construct—a point Touré never proves.

 

D.L. Chandler is a DC-area  writer, editor.  D.L. has covered a wide range of topics from politics, pop culture and music for over 14 years. Follow him on Twitter at: @dlchandler123.

Comment Comments: 56 Tags Tags: iggy azalea, kreayshawn, toure, k.flay
  • http://musicnerdery.com E.

    well written my man. thanks for perspective.

  • Beautyslover

    As well as mock the industry’s attempt to create the ultimate white boy fantasy-Really, try Black Man’s Fantasy.

  • Anonymous

    Hip hop is dead and buried. It’s just white kids wanting to hear scary looking black men sling the bit– and nig– word around.

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  • http://twitter.com/CopyThatAK Agent K

    If you’ve abandoned hiphop why are you on this site? J/w…

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  • Zc7463

    Yeah, and watch all those white female rappers take over the rap Industry.  The white media will give them the exclusive right to something that isn’t their.  They will be all the hype, and best thing since slice white bread.  But in a way, maybe that will serve the Black male rappers right.  Because all they do is hype white ho’s like Amber rose, and so forth. 

    • 0moreno0

      amber is half african bro 

      • guest

        Which half is the dominant?

    • Craven Moorehead

      I don’t think so. The industry follows the money. Hip hop may get diluted somewhat, but it will always be an inner city commodity. Know what I mean??

  • Zc7463

    Behind every Good Black man, their a white woman waiting to pounce on him.  This trend is nothing new.  And believe me, they will  take rap and make it their own, based simply on the  white female, so-called innocent way.  They have been using this tactic for years and it works.  Will the black man never learn.  BW just sit back laugh, because we know the deal!!

  • Zc7463

    Black men have been giving white women the power  to do what they are doing now.  So why should it come as a surprise. WW are using their own Blackness against them. You see prime examples of this everyday in the news arena.   Example:  Herman Cain, Terrence Howard, O.J. and just to name a few.

  • Sad Truth

    Toure’s article was ALL satire. It was a high minded insult aimed at ‘white female’ rappers. Black people – READ and learn to relax a little. .

  • Zc7463

    Satire or not.  It is still ironic.

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  • Jeff420

    kellee maize is way bigger than iggy whatever and she’s the godmother of hip hop in pittsburgh. 

  • DramaDiva

    LOL @ white girls. What a joke.

    • Craze

      whats wrong with white girls rapping? hip-hop is universal now..not just a one RACE industry.

  • Jawa243

    noone reads the new york times anymore … it’s going out of business.

    (drops the mic)

  • ednab

    thank you! His article was totally demeaning to women as artists.

  • waltdeez

    as a white male, white female rappers are garbage. their lyrics are not that introspective and they’re kinda stupid. they are no where near the capability of unseating nicki minaj, not even close

    • Lady Belle

      As a black female, I love Kreayshawn to death. And I like what I just heard from K. Slay up there ^^ so,.. Not everybody’s gonna sound the same. Hip hop is about originality and where you comin from. Everybody got a story.

      • Whateves

        Sure you don’t listen to real rap if Kreayshawn is dope to you. Almost positive Brittany Spears plays on your fav station too

    • Lady Belle

      How rude. I absolutely doubt it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-C-Jones/1395210862 Aaron C. Jones

      You’ve obviously never heard Iggy Azaelia’s lyrics. She’s clever, extremely intelligent, and nimble lyrically.

  • Lwb77777

    Well, black men have given white women the power to have them lynched and hanged.  So why not give them the power to rule rap music? Shrugs!

  • Spartacus

    I agree with Imani. That said, I find the entire article curious. It’s almost as if someone told D. L. Chandler the ‘gist’ of what Toure’ said and he ran with it. It’s inflammatory. You can tell he’s angry and he wanted us to be also. For some of us mission accomplished, people are commenting in response to his analysis– which is flawed.  I wonder how often this occurs? All I need to do is write an article and say that so n so said thus and such and I could infuriate the masses? Maybe, unless they go read the article for themselves, which I recommend you do. This guy got it almost backward.  He didn’t even do that right.

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  • Lady Belle

    Hip hop done been took over the white community. It’s only natural that they should began to make their own hip hop music, right?

    Sincerely,
    A black woman.

  • Lady Belle

    Yeah you have apoint there, but we Beyotched enough in the past about our Shyte being stole that it’s gonna be much harder for them to claim it as “theirs” this time.

    However, that’s the only problem I have with it. Don’t take credit for inventing it and give credit where credit’s due. Times have changed.

  • bk all day

    I want to shoot a clip full of holes in Toure’s article but the phenomena of the White Girl Rapper (WGR) was destined to happen. Except she will never be more than a novelty. Toure writes from his supposed “post black” perspective and while a little cultural co-opting kinda looks like it supports his worldview, in truth the dilettante WGR will ALWAYS represent the soft, protected weak spot of white society (Like a comedian once said “try losing an attractive white girl in the woods.”) The WGR’s artifice (the urban black diction, the projected hardness) will never allow them to gain broader appeal as it’s sooo obviously a charade. There is nothing in the persona (other than s*x appeal) that moves the Black male and to think that it is “challenging hip-hop’s masculine ideal” is truly ludicrous. I feel the potential strength of the  WGR is not the straight male at all but the gay audience. Not only do they have the disposable income but if they are a fan, the WGR will be a diva for life. They can squash the hard talk, put the guns down (metaphorically speaking) and have fun with the medium vs. contributing to it’s slow decline.

    • SayCheese

      Thank you for telling the truth. WGR are going to have a major female and gay male fan base. Look at Nicki and Kim the same audience. I remember when Lil Kim was being marketed to everyone. I saw her in concert and there were so many gay guys their in the audience it was amazing.  

  • Reesa

    White girl rappers haven’t been that talented thus-far.  That doesn’t mean there’s no room for them in hip hop though.  They weren’t ready to rap and the world wasn’t ready to receive them.  Times progress.  I think Nicki opened doors in a few ways, she repaved the path for all female MC’s, she dashed across racial lines and she ultimately self-destructed to the point where there’s room for multiple female rappers to come and take her place.  White girls will get their turn, but the fact will always remain that hip hop is a black man’s game.  Nothing wrong with it at all, I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say, because thus far, as a brown girl, I haven’t been able to relate to a lot of what the black female rappers have to say, except for maybe Eve.

    • SayCheese

      I was the biggest fan of Eve. I loved her. 

    • SayCheese

      I was the biggest fan of Eve. I loved her. 

  • Tee dee

    lol kreyshawn isnt even that known, she hasnt made it to nicki minajs level so the white female rappers isnt anything to be worried about, however i must admit that these white boys are definately taking over rap and hip hop now and even r&b so if rap is meant to represent black male masculinity and whites are taking over, then what next? the fact white females are making a mock of it too shows the lack of respect lol

    • Josh

      I say there should be retaliation by taking over whatever genres white males started. All black rock groups. Black Techno/Dubstep DJs. The works. They steal everything from the black community and I say we need to push up on their turf some.

  • Umm Okay

    Yeah right. She doesnt publicly say the word because her buzz is bigger and she doesn’t want to mess up her money but oh please believe she saaaaays the word

  • http://twitter.com/Bashii_B charmmykitty

    Lol very nice article, if anything male rappers in the game challege hip-hop’s masculinity you have rappers; kissing each other, buying clothes from the womens section, and talking about fashion designers and fashion trends more than a kardashion.
    Not that I believe people should follow gender roles but hip-hop has taken a left turn some where lol

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  • crazychris

    these white girls are going througfh a phase really eminem was a good rapper but his music lacks soul you can’ty feel eminem he was a goofy white boy talking about rape, drugs, I hate fags, and crazy chit whites can relate to which is why the majority of the white population support eminem, yelawolf, andf kreashawn  sorry kreayshawn are not hardcore rappers. these white girls are not hardcoer no matter how street they claim or say they’re not tough okay not all black rappers are from the ghetto but at least you can feel them the hardest rappers are undergropund anyway but come on whitte people get into their hip hop phase then grow out of it and go back to being white people everlast, fred durst, and kid rock stasrted out rap or urban music then put hard rock, metal and don’t do it anymore and fergie is not hood she grew up on disney stick to techno and gwen stefani was punk rock and went into her hip hop phase now she’s punk rock again maried to her gay  rock and roll hubbie.  j lo went through her hip hop phase now look at her back to her latin roots.

    • SayCheese

      Gwen Stefani never was a punk rocker. She did and does Ska. Ska is no where near punk rock. Go read up on music and stop being dumb. I guess your going to say next that Green Day is a hardcore death metal group or some BS like that. 

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  • jumpin off the rocks grl

    Just found this site–2nd article I’ve read, awesome. I read the Toure article after.

    Toure makes it a point to examine White women’s *swag* as a claim to hip-hop entry… To me the rappers he’s included (Azalea, KFlay, etc) are boring. I like M.I.A. cos of her political content… But these women are not that innovative or challenging, whether or not they have ‘soul’.

    White women rappers are trending since early 2000’s–Peaches, Princess Superstar, and now Lana del Rey. But Toure’s article is too New-York-centric in attitude. The type of postmodern/revisionist performance “art” seems novelty because it makes you different from other women. I can see that being lapped up in NYC. But not necessarily across the U.S. He’s got a hyper-mainstream perspective that seems more like the judging you’d see on American Idol.

  • Shalove

    This some really silly s##t! Toure stop being relevant to the Hip Hop conversation when he started being a regular on network and cable TV. Love the guy but who is he really speaking for or to!

  • GSS

    And Black America takes over White America’s sport.  Fair trade if you ask me.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/dana.m.bowman Dana Naildiva Bowman

    It’s the same as when a brother sings country music. “Well, isn’t that novel???” I’m of the opinion that if the music is good, I don’t care who made it.

  • Mizsandracan

    It sounds lik a cross between pop and hip hop.. POP HOP..but the new generation aint like how us 80s babies grew up. we gotta keep in mind they dont see race or disability as a wall anymore. They try to be as differnt as possible..respect our differences in other words..or you are the lame one..music is always one of  the top ways to see how a generation feels and thinks 

  • Anonymous

    I wish I could thumbs up that comment 100 times because it’s nothing but the truth. Sexual preference aside, Toure acts like a bi-sexual, wannabe afro-centric-but is really confused-moron, who thinks he’s a good writer but only makes himself look stupid in the long run.

  • Anonymous

    TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH!

  • ma3polo

    Oh so bitter aren’t we. We live in a White Man’s world. Stop your whining OH GREAT WHITE MALE!!

  • DrBJ

    Applause!!! Reading Toure’s slip shot critique for the mess that it is….lol