My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women and Hip Hop

I increased BET’s viewership about 10% the other night when I watched their documentary, My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women and Hip Hop. Though excellent programming for BET, part of it was cut and paste from VH1’s Rock Docs on Hip Hop, but what can you expect when they are all owned by the same company?

But I digress.

BET’s trip through the female hip hop MC timeline was enjoyable, and they pulled some female MC’s out the woodwork for this one: Nikki D, Rah Digga, Ladybug Mecca, The Lady of Rage, and my personal favorite, Los Angeles underground godmother, Medusa (Other MC’s might make your head bob/but I’m gon make your neck lock – yeah she said that).

The most informative part of this documentary was the shift of the female role in hip-hop from the 90’s to the new millennium. It was made clear that when Lauryn Hill dropped her solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998 and then dropped of the face of hip hop Earth, the game for women has not been the same. Lauryn’s album was such a game changer that unless you were as solid of a triple threat as her, you weren’t going to make much noise. Since the new millennium, the primary face of females in hip-hop is the hypersexualized female MC. Actual talent on the mic won’t trump one’s sex appeal.

Which brings me to the one female MC who I believe has changed the game but is constantly glossed over in this sex-obsessed society we live in and that’s Bahamadia. The Philly native’s name was mentioned only once towards the end of the show, but this sister’s dedication to her art form in spite of being ignored by mainstream hip hop was reason enough for her to have her own segment in the show. Her talent and skill on the mic is without question, and if you’ve been fortunate enough to catch her live performance you know Bahamadia is anything but a studio MC. She is better recognized and respected internationally than stateside, yet let her step in the ring with any of today’s current female MC’s and battle – most chicks won’t have the heart to try.

So here is my personal tribute to Bahamadia – and if you happen to catch this sis, know the real heads recognize. A few of my favorites from her catalog of classics:


I Confess

3 The Hard Way


Finally, I would be remiss if failed to throw out an honorable mention to Boss, the first female gangsta rapper. Her persona was too hard and too much for most folks to handle.

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