Hot Girl Summers, Bardier Cardis and Barbies: A New Era of Female Rap

You will undoubtedly have heard the phrase ‘Hot Girl Summer’ over the past three months. A new era of female rap has begun in 2019 – the rise of talents such as Megan Thee Stallion, Rico Nasty and the City Girls have taken over the charts. Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’ is about to break the record for longest number one song by a solo female rapper on the Billboard Hot 100. The women breaking the male dominated genre of hip hop are rapping about everything from scamming men (the City Girls’ hit record Act Up has one of the catchiest intros of the year) to self love (Lizzo’s Truth Hurts seems to be the anthem for self love and acceptance – you are 100% that bitch).

Of course, we must pay homage first to those who paved the way for the Rico Nastys of today – Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj and Foxxy Brown to name just a few. Lil Kim’s influence on both fashion and rap are still felt today – her album covers for The Notorious KIM and Hardcore have inspired Steff London and Nicki Minaj respectively. These women rapped unapologetically about their sexual appetite and prowess long before it was deemed ‘appropriate’ for women to do so. Who are these new women of rap? I’ve decided to spotlight some of my favourites.

Megan Thee Stallion, a self-proclaimed ‘hot girl’ provided the playlist for clubs this summer. Her third mixtape ‘Fever’ featuring songs such as ‘Cash Sh**’ peaked at 7 on the iTunes Hip Hop charts. In a Hot 97 interview, Megan noted that she loved what Pimp C (a Texas native active in the 1980s) was rapping about, but thought it would be much better if she heard it from a female voice. This unearthed her first alter-ego Tina Snow, also the name of her first mix tape where her break out song Big Ole Freak is featured. Megan raps unapologetically about her sex appeal; in Big Ole Freak she states “Suck it then look in his eyes, then the next day I might leave him on read!”. Not only does this sexually empower women, but also inspires self confidence. Megan herself hosted a ‘Hottie Pageant’ where instead of just looks being judged, she had contestants also brag about their academic achievements – Megan is currently pursuing a degree in Health Administration and regularly talks about the importance of tertiary education. Megan is the go to girl to get you hyped up at pres.

Rico Nasty is the ultimate punk-rock star. Traditionally, people of colour have been excluded from the emo and alternative communities, but Rico has changed this quite rapidly with her outlandish looks and the punk influences in her music. Collaborating with up and coming producer Kenny Beats (who has worked with the likes of T Pain as well as newer artists such as SkiMask the Slump God), Rico channels her anger into bangers such as Rage, where she yells “Goodness gracious, I might give a f*** on a rare occasion!” over hearty 808s. Rico is for the girls who love to wear black, the girls who love to be in the centre of the mosh pit (like myself) while having lashes expertly glued on. Personally, I would recommend her recent project entitled ‘Anger Management’ which was made in collaboration with Kenny Beats. This 25 minute EP should give you an introduction into Tacobella (one of Rico’s alter-egos); it features bangers such as Big Titties as well as ballads like Sell Out.

Tierra Whack is exactly like her name – whack, quite literally. The Philadelphia native raps over weird and wonderful beats with a voice that can take on several characters and moods. Her breakout album ‘WhackWorld’ features one minute songs; through this, Whack is able to take us through her unique world without skipping a beat. Listen to tracks such as Pet Cemetery and Fruit Salad to explore her range. Accompanied by colourful visuals, Whack is able to create a world where potatoes can talk and we can see inside her mouth while she’s at the dentist! I love the way Tierra has grown up freestyling and proving herself as a rapper in Philadelphia while wearing the most outrageous fashion. If you’re a fan of straight, no nonsense rap, Tierra is the girl for you.

So how do we support these women? How do we make sure that any girl that feels compelled to can rap? All the women listed above were on the 'XXL Freshmen List' for 2019- this is a platform where artists such as Chance the Rapper and Lil Uzi Vert have been featured. This can be a major boost in a rapper’s career as they get increased notoriety. By voting for female rappers to be on such lists as well as streaming and buying their music, we can help empower women to just be themselves. Moreover, we can support these women by not pitting them against themselves. I’m sure most of us are tired of the Cardi B versus Nicki Minaj beef – we don’t need to subject these women to tat same fate. Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj’s summer anthem Hot Girl Summer featuring TY Dolla $ign had all the girls in the music video – Rico Nasty, Ari Lennox and Summer Walker. This one video highlights the new era of female camaraderie in rap, as well as veteran Nicki Minaj teaming up with new girl Meg. Whether it be scamming men, having fun in the club with your friends, expressing anger or just plain being weird, women should be able to express themselves via rap no matter what previous history has dictated. Watch out for Kashdoll’s album ‘Stacked’ which comes out on the 15th of October.

Recommended tracklist:

‘Cash Sh**’ – Megan Thee Stallion

‘Mood’ – Rico Nasty

‘Ice Me Out’ – Kashdoll

‘Act Up’ – City Girls

‘Fruit Salad’ – Tierra Whack

‘Tia Tamera’ – Doja Cat ft Rico Nasty