The latest heights of feminism in Hip Hop.
Megan The Stallion and Cardi B’s latest collab, “WAP” shook everything up with it's release on Friday, Aug. 17. The song dropped with stunning campy visuals, paying homage to the women who came before them, like Lil Kim and Misa Hylton.
Although there were speculations about the acronym's meaning well before it dropped, the song was set to be an anthem for the girls to go up to this summer, before we heard the Frank Ski sample. But, like clockwork, “WAP” was met with mountains of criticism for its sexually explicit nature, raising questions about role models for the next generation of young women.
I thought we had beat this horse to death already. Why is it every time a female MC decides to vocalize and own their sexuality, male rappers suddenly are concerned about the sanctity of the future generations of young women. The two-faced gendered critique seems to always come like clockwork, while male rappers fail to save that same energy for the other men rapping in the game.
Criticizing the lyrics of artists like Cardi, Meg or any grown-ass woman about grown-ass things has no place in 2020. Not when male rap artists have always gotten praise to be as nasty and explicit as they want to be.
You have icons like Pac & Biggie who get to go down in history as some of the best, and they actually loved to talk about handling WAP just as much. Why is it suddenly a concern when it comes from the mouths of anyone who isn’t male?
“Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?”
- Maya Angelou, And Still I Rise (1978)
I can’t think of the controversy of “WAP” without thinking of the suppression of women owning their sexuality and asking for what they want, how they want, and when they want, while their male peers are never held to the same standard. Somehow that’s always been a threat, a taboo. Stepping into one's sensuality is a form of resistance in itself; of course it would make some uncomfortable.
Women reclaiming their sexuality through lyrics is not an abomination, nor will it contribute to the downfall of society. And guess what, music isn’t supposed to raise anybody’s kids - parents are supposed to.
Black women don’t take on a role as anyone’s “mammy” when they perform their art. So far, I understand that Cardi & Meg haven’t signed up to be role models, or parent anyone else (except Kulture). They make the music for them & the fans that obviously go up for it, and they shape the media with it. “WAP” alone has shaken the table all the way from The Shade Room to the tweets of GOP politicians.
Black women can actively participate in their own sexual liberation and it takes nothing away from the craft of hip-hop. The unapologetic nature of having your cake and eating it too is a building block of rap culture itself; it doesn’t exist without being able to talk a little shit.
Words by: Bria Dunlap @bdnlp