27 Apr 2017

The new wave of female rappers

From Nights, 8:08 pm on 27 April 2017

Sa-Roc Photo: Robert Maye

Traditionally, the characteristics of a rapper (and a rock star) have been what we think of as masculine, says ethnomusicologist Kirsten Zemke – "bravado and hypersexualisation and power".

But now female hip-hop artists are changing the game.

While the R&B and pop music industries are "very open" to women, hip-hop has historically been less so.

The more gender parity in rap, the more we get to hear the voices and stories of black women, she says.

"RnB is about sex and romance and pop is sort of about fun, but if you want to talk about stuff – politics and social injustice – [hip-hop] is your vehicle."

Kirsten Zemke plays Paul Brennan recent stand-out tracks from Kodie Shane, Jean Grae, Noname, and Sa-Roc: