Jermaine Dupri needs to expand his musical horizons.
Jermaine Dupri has crawled out from whichever rock he’s been hibernating under to assert his undesired opinion on female rappers. In an interview with People Now, the iconic rapper and producer updated viewers on the current disposition of cavemen towards female emcees saying, "I feel like they're all rapping about the same thing, I don't think they're showing us who's the best rapper. For me, it's like strippers rapping." It’d be easy, and possibly accurate, to dismiss the comments as sexist. However, that would be a myopic assumption. There are far too many unique, creative and interesting female artists in the rap game for Dupri to sweep under the rug. He simply must not be aware of artists like Tierra Whack and Little Simz but most obviously, he must not be aware of what makes money.
Cardi B, having actually been a stripper before rapping, is the most obvious target of Dupri’s comments. She has dominated the charts with her infectious, party tracks Dupri might categorize as “a story about you dancing in the club.” Cardi responded, as did several other female artists, by condemning Dupri’s comments saying “It seems like that’s what people wanna hear… When I did ‘Be Careful,’ people was talking mad shit in the beginning… If that’s what people aint trying to hear, then I’m gonna start rapping about my pussy again.” Money is what makes the world go around. If the money lies in rapping about "pussy," female rappers should rap about it as much as they want.
Regardless, it is undeniable that there are talented female rappers who speak on topics other than what would land them on a strip club playlist. The aforementioned Tierra Whack’s Whack World has some of the most eclectic, oddball songwriting of any recent album, no matter the creators gender. The track “Fruit Salad” is about eating vegetables and feels like the antithesis of a strip club. Little Simz’ GREY Area is a self-reflective, brilliant project. It’s aggressive, confident and wildly clever. Dupri cannot have heard this album because its quality is irrefutable. The tracklist covers themes of mental health, relationship troubles, and femininity. “Therapy” runs through various attempts Simz made to get herself together and see a therapist. Again, this track lives nowhere near the realm of “a story about you dancing in the club,” that Dupri claims all songs by female rapper exist in. The project is easily one of the best to be released this year.
Jermaine Dupri’s take is a stale, baseless notification that another, once revered artist is aging into obscurity. The seventh female rapper has cracked Billboard’s Hot 100, the most during the same year in over a decade. At the end of the day, women, just like men, are here to make money and rapping about strip-clubs and sex is doing the job. Notably, JD also fails to mention that countless male rappers also make songs about pussy. But Dupri, even if you want wittier, introspective rap, the women are making that too - you’re just not listening.