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Lecture 15

MUSIC 351 Lecture 15: Women in Hip Hop; Gender & Sexuality

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San Diego State University

Women in Hip Hop; Gender & Sexuality ➢ Tanya “Sweet Tee” Winley - “Vicious Rap” (1979) ○ Early example of female rap ○ Father owned a record company (was involved in a doo wop group) ➢ Lady B (Wendy Clark) - “To the Beat Y’all” (1979) ○ One of the first MC records ○ Did not stay a recording artist for long ○ Pop cultural references in the lyrics ○ Credited for introducing listening audience to new hip hop music through her radio show, Street Beat ○ First DJ to play “Planet Rock” on the radio ➢ Sylvia Robinson (1936 - 2011) ○ Best known as the founder and CEO of Sugar Hill Records ○ Driving force behind two landmark singles in hip hop ■ “Rappers Delight” by Sugar Hill Gang ■ “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five ○ Had a recording career prior to creating the record label ■ Was a singer / performer ■ Stage name was “Little Sylvia” ○ In the mid 1950’s, she collaborated with Kentucky guitarist, Mickey Baker ■ “Love is Strange” by Mickey and Sylvia ● Featured in Dirty Dancing (the movie) ○ “Pillow Talk” (1973) ■ Spent two weeks as #1 on the soul charts ■ Reached #3 on Billboard charts ■ Early example of disco music ○ Sugar Hill Records ■ Founded with her husband ■ Named after the sugar hill area in Harlem, NY ● Known as the hub for artists and performers in that time ○ Sequence - “Funk You Up” (1979) ■ First song to be released by a female rap group ■ Members were originally from South Carolina ■ Distinction of being the second record released by SugarHill Records ➢ Terminology ○ Sexualization ■ To make something sexual in character or quality that isn’t otherwise sexual ■ Multiple components that it can manifest itself ● A person’s value comes only his/her sexual appeal or sexual behavior to the exclusion of other characteristics ● A person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy ● A person is sexually objectified - a person is made into a thing for others’ sexual use vs. being seen as a person with independent action and decision making ● Sexuality is inappropriately imposed on a person (especially when it comes to children) ○ i.e. girls wearing makeup or certain clothing ○ Hypermasculinity ■ The exaggeration of male stereotypical behavior ● i.e. emphasis on physical strength, aggression and sexuality ➢ MC Lyte, “Poor Geogrie” (1991) ○ MC Lyte (born Lana Michelle Moorer) was raised in Brooklyn, NY and started rapping at the age of twelve ○ She released her debut album Lyte as a Rock in 1988 ○ The album included the battle rap “10% Dis” and the hit “Paper Thin” ○ MC Lyte was one of the most successful women hip hop artists ■ The first rap artist ever to perform at NY’s historic Carnegie HAll ■ The first female rapper to receive a gold single, and was the first female solo rapper nominated for a Grammy award ○ The song “Poor Georgie” appeared on the album Act Like You Know, MC Lyte’s third album ○ The song tells the story of the narrator’s relationship with Georgie and his tragic e
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