As a feminist, it can be hard to listen to rap songs a lot of the time thanks to misogynistic language from even some of the best artists making rap music today. But it's not always all about the "b*tches" and "hos" in rap music. There are quite a few rappers in the world that will talk about feminism, women's rights, and inequality of the sexes. Or at the very least, there are rappers who will produce records featuring lyrics that respect women, especially the mothers that raised them right through highs and lows. And when I hear music like that, my heart feels a little bit better. These lyrics are some of the more empowering and respectful of the bunch.
Many of the songs on this list are a little older, but hopefully now that more and more people are talking and singing about women's rights and feminism, we'll see progress in the way rappers focus their lyrics about women. It's going to take a long time. Not everyone is going to embrace the Beyonce way of life and just accept feminism and gender equality immediately. But if we can keep pointing out the rappers who have already attempted to make music that can be appreciated by both sexes, wouldn't it be great for those rappers and more to keep going up this road to actual equality in music? That would be a sight to see.
Tupac Shakur: "Keep Ya Head Up"
Tupac Shakur produced a number of records that empowered and respected women. The lyrics in this song are some of the best:
And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it's time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don't we'll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can't make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you're fed up ladies, but you gotta keep your head up
Drake: "You & The 6"
This song, dedicated to his mother, showed that Drake's "sensitive rapper" description applied to respecting women like his mother. Hopefully he can keep this momentum going and write more songs about equality of men and women. That's the kind of Drake song I'd listen to on repeat forever:
"Yeah, this is a crazy life
But you and the six raised me right
'Don't ever take advice,' that was great advice
You and the six raised me right, that sh** saved my life"
Method Man: "All I Need" Feat. Mary J. Blige
When you have Mary J. Blige on your record, there's no way she'll let you get away with anything but respect towards women. But Method Man really stepped up with this song:
"Shorty I'm there for you anytime you need me
For real girl, it's me in your world, believe me
Nuttin make a man feel better than a woman"
Shad: "Keep Shining"
This Canadian rapper has made quite a few records with empowering lyrics for women. "Keep Shining" is my favorite:
"There's no girls rapping so we're only hearing half the truth
What we have to lose? Too much
Half our youth aren't represented, the better halves of dudes
So we don't hear about your brain, just your brains"
Lauryn Hill: "Doo Wop (That Thing)"
"Doo Wop (That Thing)" is an incredible song because it shows that sometimes both men and women have trouble respecting women and seeing them as equals:
"Babygirl, respect is just a minimum
Niggas f***ed up and you still defending them
Now Lauryn is only human
Don't think I haven't been through the same predicament
Let it sit inside your head like a million women in Philly, Penn.
It's silly when girls sell their soul because it's in"
Queen Latifah: "U.N.I.T.Y"
Queen Latifah's songs about equality are epic, important anthems for people everywhere. It's the kind of rap we need to see more of nowadays. This entire song is feminism at its best:
"Instinct leads me to another flow
Everytime I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho
Trying to make a sister feel low
You know all of that gots to go
Now everybody knows there's exceptions to this rule
Now don't be getting mad, when we playing, it's cool
But don't you be calling out my name
I bring wrath to those who disrespect me like a dame"
Salt 'N' Pepa: "None Of Your Business"
Another song that proves sometimes women can be the worst critics of other women. It's definitely a problem that we still have fix today:
"If I wanna take a guy home with me tonight
It's none of your business
And she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend
It's none of your business
Now you shouldn't even get into who I'm givin' skins to
It's none of your business
So don't try to change my mind, I'll tell you one more time
It's none of your business"
Beastie Boys: "Sure Shot"
This is a great start, Beastie Boys:
"I Want To Say a Little Something That's Long Overdue
The Disrespect To Women Has Got To Be Through
To All The Mothers And Sisters And the Wives And Friends
I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End"
Kanye West: "Hey Mama"
Kanye West's tribute to his mother is the kind of music he needs to continue to create. But now, let's make it even more empowering:
"You work late nights just to keep on the lights
Mommy got me training wheels so I could keep on my bike
And you would give anything in this world
Michael Jackson leather and a glove, but didn't give me a curl
And you never put no man over me
And I love you for that mommy cant you see?"
Eve: "Love Is Blind" Feat. Faith Evans
Eve made a name for herself with songs that showed she was just as badass and kickass as the male rappers. This song about abuse was something deeper, something more. And it's easily one of her most empowering and one of her best, period:
"Hey, yo I don't even know you and I hate you
See all I know is that my girlfriend used to date you
How would you feel if she held you down and raped you?
Tried and tried, but she never could escape you
She was in love and I'd ask her how? I mean why?
What kind of love from a n***a would black your eye?
What kind of love from a n***a every night make you cry?
What kind of love from a n***a make you wish he would die?...
What you think is love, is truly not
You need to elevate and find"
Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli): "Brown Skin Lady"
A great song about the beauty of the "brown skin lady" that shows love, respect and honor for women:
"Without makeup you're beautiful
Whatcha you need to paint the next face for
We're not dealin with the European standard of beauty tonight
Turn off the TV and put the magazine away
In the mirror tell me what you see
See the evidence of divine presence"
T.I.: "Got Your Back" Feat. Keri Hilson
A step in the right direction from T.I.:
"Just wanna let you know we appreciate (I appreciate you baby)
Everything you do for us on a day to day
And I know we don't show you all the time but we lucky that you ours
No bouquet of flowers could ever show how much we know we need you
We do all that's in our power just to please you"
Common: "The Light"
Common is pure genius guys. A complete and utter genius:
"It's important, we communicate
and tune the fate of this union, to the right pitch
I never call you my bitch or even my boo
There's so much in a name and so much more in you
Few understand the union of woman and man
And sex and a tingle is where they assume that it land"