The new age of UK female MC’s : Why do they still get no recognition
When we consider the current Hip Hop & Grime scene in the UK, it has become male led the major argument has been why haven’t female MC’s in the UK got the props they deserve. For example, the talented Little Simz who Lauryn Hill and Kendrick Lamar have both taken on tour in the past has received critical praise from her Hip Hop peers including Kendrick Lamar who once describing her as “the illest doing it right now”. As we know Simz hates the tag “female” rapper two Years ago she wrote a track Persons describing her battles with the relevant line “Women can be kings”. The present crop female MC’s Little Simz, NoLay, Lady Leshurr, Ms Banks, Paigey Cakey, Stefflon Don, Nadia Rose are seeking to be on the same par as their male rappers based on their lyrical ability and to hop on a song with their male counterparts and outperform them bar for bar and for their talent not to be gender based. Little Simz dropped the ambitious album Stillness in Wonderland last Year which was accepted by the music experts and fans of her, as she dealt with a few subjects race, bad relationship and anxiety which many British female rappers don’t regularly rap about, aside from the UK female Grime Legend NoLay, one of the powerful voices in Grime who’s not afraid to touch on deep issues in her music. Recently she has been rapping about domestic abuse, mental health & depression lately which seems to be to a taboo in the Hip Hop & Grime scene. Her powerful video Dancing With The Devil which came out in February deals with domestic abuse Simz was on the verge of elevating to the upper echelon in her field. The album didn't chart in the UK top 100, and no acknowledgment from the Mercury or Brits, but her die hard fans loved the album. There is a battle in the music industry for female rappers, to gain the approval they merit. While the male counterparts get Mercury or Brits nominations, or any other music award nominations in the UK. Columns get written about majority of the male MC'S they have now become household names. In 2017 we have noticed a significant development in the music industry on how female rappers get respect by everybody from the majors to the independent labels. The British female rapper with the most hype, this Year who's about to change things, is the Birmingham born English and Dutch speaking 25 Year Old Stephanie Allen who we know as Stefflon Don who dedicated most of her teenage Years to Clapton, east London. She has been busy pursuing her path to the top in the last few Years. The first time I discovered this talented artist is when she started her own brilliant remixes to the Section Boyz banger Lock Arff and Wretch 32 6 Words in 2015 which drew her attention from various urban DJ’s in the UK who took to her music. She has been on everybody’s one to watch and is looked upon as the taste makers choice to do well The talented rapper/singer who dabbles in most genres UK Rap, Bashment, Afrobeat & Pop. In March of this Year signed her label to Universal then she signed herself to the label. A subsidiary label 54 London was created for Stefflon Don, giving her full control over her own career. Few female artists in the UK are in a position where they can dictate to a major label what they want as part of their recording deal. Stefflon Don has had an incredible 18 months from putting out the excellent Real Thing mixtape which mixes the fusions of UK Rap, Afro Bashment,Garage & Dancehall which is part of her heritage. The mixtape was greeted with appause by urban DJ’S and her fans alike due to her heroic rise and success this year she was picked to support many international artists in the UK Ludacris, Migos, Popcaan & Pusha T. Stefflon Don has collaborate with US artists, Lil Yachty, and French Montana and has been in the studio with Drake. Stefflon Don fans now include DJ Khaled, Lil Yatchy, Charli XCX & Wretch 32. With in the past 12 months she appeared on Jools Holland and included in the BBC's Sound of 2017 list making her the most exciting Female UK rapper to watch out for this rarely happen to your average artists from the UK. With her X-Rated lyrics, Jamaican influenced flow realness and a knack for creating catchy songs this fascinating artist will become a force to be reckoned in the international market with globally. Since Stefflon Don came into the game lazy journalists and critics have compared her as the UK answer to US superstar Nicki Minaj due to her lyrics which is viewed to, female empowerment and her growing up in the streets and the Dancehall sound her music embodies. Any club you go to your bound to hear Real Tings, 16 shots or latest smash Hurtin' on regular rotation. Then the potential for her to break American and make an impact in the charts, is a massive possibility as DJs and rappers are paying attention to her music, and wanting to work with her. We can not forget the Queen herself Lady Leshurr from Birmingham she has had an incredible last few years, from working with Timbaland in the US and doing shows in the US And International festivals, supporting some of the biggest international rappers in England . In 2017 she won a MOBO for the Best Female Act beating the talented Laura Mvula, Katy B & Nao. New fans to her music will be familiar to her through her Queen speech freestyles which as racked up millions of views on YouTube and proved popular with her die hard fans. Lady Leshurr believes the problems with female MC's not getting the respect they deserve is that “In grime, there’s a circle of people that support each other and, guess what, they are male Stormzy, Skepta, Wretch 32. If you look at female artists, what is missing a collective of MC's who will come together to support each other's music Leshurr thinks a change will prevail with the success of male artist in the UK If you look a little deeper the problem stretches far back to the days of one of Britain's most successful female artist Ms Dynamite she started of from the UK Garage as MC then transitioned herself into a singer with a critical acclaimed debut album and chart success with A Little Deeper which won her a Mercury Prize in 2002. She could not turn her first success into a sustainable career as an album artist, her second album Judgement Days failed to crack the top 40, so she went back to her roots singing on club tracks and featuring on tracks with bass producers. In 2009 another Female UK rapper Speech Debelle who was with the legendary British independent label Big Dada won the Mercury prize but could not capitalize of the exposure now she's been focusing on social and activism still putting out music. Other new female MC's trying to break the male dominated scene, who are making a big impact is the rising star from Croydon 24 Year Old rapper Nadia Rose, who has a famous cousin in Stormzy. Despite her rise to fame she came into the public attention was in 2015 with the tracks Station & Boom. I first caught attention of her music when she appeared on DJ Semtex Friday night Hip Hop show on BBC 1Xtra on November 2015. Since she came in the scene the rapper Nadia Rose, came 5th in the BBC Sound of 2017 dropped an excellent EP Highly Flammable on the Sony subsidiary Relentless which showcased her versatile style and fusion of different genres which she's known for rapping on. Nadia Rose effortlessly raps on any genre with ease and kills it. Impossible to pin point what genre Nadia doe since her sound has expanded from her rapping on Hip Hop. With loads of festival appearances under her belt recently form performing at Glastonbury, V festival & Wireless she gained a new legion of fans and has plans to go global with her music. Another female MC who has mad a huge impact in 2017 is the talented South London rapper Ms Banks With her straight gritty flow influences from Grime, old school Hip Hop, Afrobeat & Bashment you can see why the talented rapper/singer has already made a big impact in the game as an independent artist. Having dropped two bangers Get Loose & OMG early this year, Ms Banks has already become a name you need to know about in this male dominated industry. Ms Banks already standing out from the other female rappers with her unique sound and her ability to make her music authentic due to her Nigerian and Uganda heritage and growing up in the hood. The 22 Year Old debut Fire In The Booth which came out last year and seen as on of the best of 2016 and has racked up more 94 thousand, supported loads of International rappers in the UK performed at various festival across Britain and toured in Europe not bad for a rapper who came out in 2014 with her debut Mixtape Once upon A Grind in 2014. This year we have witnessed the official return of a Grime veteran Lioness, after Six years away from the scene she has not lost a step, with the hype Grime track Everyting Mad which was produced by MC/Producer Jammz. Lioness who took a Six year break to pursue other things at one point she was seen as one of the most lyrically female rappers in the Grime bar to bar she could go up against any of the male rapper especially in the Grime scene with her ability and ferocious lyrics. People pit female rappers against each, they make it seem like there can only be one female MC who stands out which is not true they are talented and have their own unique sound and deserve the recognition. Whether this new generation of female rappers will be the stars of the 2018, can't really be predicted one thing we can tell for sure is the new generation of female rappers in the UK have already made an impact and are showing us that gender has nothing to do with talent, and they deserve to be treated as equally. In 2018 expect more UK & US link up with the female MC's from the UK, global domination and local and international chart success.