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“WAP” (Women And Power) in Hip Hop Rap.UA Notes

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

Thank you to everyone that tuned into my talk during Ukraine's Rap.UA virtual event. It was truly an honor to speak, and I wanted to be sure to share some resources and learning material on your journey to learning about Women in Hip Hop.

"Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”, Aretha’s “Respect”, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, Diana Ross’  “I’m Coming Out”, these were all powerful anthems for black women and all women. But the nuances surrounding toxic masculinity, misogyny and sexism fueled  by the vigor of youth in a genre that was barely over 15 years old at the time, made Ladies First that much more impactful.  It was hand delivered to our generation by two women powerhouses."

Remember that "rap is what you do", "hip hop is what we live". If you want to be a part of the culture; you must learn both its' History and Herstory, while recognizing the principles and pillars of the community. That means having respect for both the forefathers and mothers; as well as lending space to the growth of its' children.

"we should be able to live in a world where “WAP”, “Cleo”, “Diddy Bop”, “Tomboy” and “Django Jane” exists simultaneously and singularly with each other.  Further women define our existence and our voice; so it shouldn’t be up to male gatekeepers to decide what is our voice in hip hop and what is not. In the words of Roxanne Shante “Every time that he sees me, he says a rhyme// but see, compared to me, it’s weak compared to mine.”  As long as we control our narratives, we retain our power."

Below I have shared organizations, articles and key music collaborations as it relates to women in hip hop. If you have any questions or if you would like to add information that you have found, please do share below.

"Not only have Cardi and Meg grabbed back our “Power”, our “Progress” and our “Purses”,WAP” provides a chance for examining America’s duplicitous double standards.  In “WAP,” Cardi and Megan created a sexual power fantasy for women, by women, from a woman’s point of view. It is that same Power, for women and by women, existed 30 years prior in “Ladies First”. 

Is WAP for, of course not! Let’s be honest not everyone deserves WAP. But whether you deserve it or not, WAP is how all of us got here, so you have to respect it." 

Best of luck on your journey!


"I challenge you all to remember that black women, black ideas, black voice, black narratives, black lives matter and...SayHerName." 

Arrest the Cops that Killed Breonna Taylor.

Here's a playlist of the greats and next generation of Women And Power in Hip Hop

WAP Energy:

WAP Radio Playlist by The Music Team

Queen Latifah - Ladies First (feat. Monie Love)

Lil' Kim ft. Missy Elliott, Da Brat, Left Eye, Angie Martinez - Ladies Night

Brandy - I Wanna Be Down (feat. Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo & MC Lyte)

Queen Latifah, Yo-Yo, TLC, MC Lyte, Nefertiti, Salt-N-Pepa, Patra, Meshell Ndegeocello - Freedom

En Vogue (with Salt-N-Pepa) - Whatta Man

Missy Elliott & Da Brat - Sock It 2 Me

Christina Aguilera - Can't Hold Us Down (feat. Lil Kim)

Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, Pink - Lady Marmalade

Eve ft. Gwen Stefani - Let Me Blow Ya Mind

References from the Talk:

44th Anniversary of the Birth of Hip Hop Google Doodle

Cindy Campbell: First Lady of Hip Hop DJ Kool Herc

Cindy Campbell & Clive Campbell at the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem

The Shifting World of Women in Hip Hop Ampersand

Cindy Campbell is Fresh, Bold and So Def

The First Woman Rapper MC Sha Rock Talks Women In Rap, Sugar Hill Records, & Her Movie Project

Ladies First: 31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop Billboard

Why Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP" is actually a public health Triumph VOX

‘WAP’ is completely filthy. We could use a lot more pop culture like it. The Washington Post

Pornography or feminist triumph? How Cardi B’s WAP video started a culture war The Telegraph

On Debbie D, One of Hip Hop's Legendary Pioneers LitHub

Hip Hop Milestones The Boom Box

The History of Hip Hop NPR

Hip Hop Safe Spaces for Girls and Women

Momma's Hip Hop Kitchen

Rhyme Like a Girl

Gender Amplified

Beats By Girls

Lower Eastside Girls Club


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