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Queens of Rap: WHERE THE BAG AT?

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Written by Shamira James

When I was younger, I remember my mom would play her music around the house or on the car rides home. Some of it was classic, feel-good music like Michael Jackson, or upbeat and unapologetic girl-music like TLC and even powerhouse ballads from Luther Vandross, but a lot of it was raunchy and hypersexual rap music from female rappers. Of course, she would try to change the song if she thought I was listening too much. If she caught me singing, it was worse.

My earliest memory being when I around eight or nine and was singing Beenie Man and Ms. Thing’s 2004 hit “Dude” in which Ms. Thing asks for a “one, two, three hour man.” We grew up in a time where censorship wasn’t a big deal. For crying out loud, Sisqo’s video for his 1999 hit “Thong Song” literally had girls on the beaches of Miami baring it all in swimsuit thongs.

Of course, when a male rapper has beautiful women half dressed in a video or suggestive lyrics, it’s not groundbreaking, but when a woman does, it takes the world by storm, and that’s an issue.

Women finding their place in the world of sexy rap music has always caught people off guard, and that’s because it’s always unexpected of how far they’ll go. Khia in her 2002 hit “My Neck, My Back” goes all the way there when she begins the song in the most tame way she possibly could: “right now, lick it good, lick this p***y just like you should,” and to this day people are taken back by her outright sexual presence. Also there’s Lil Kim’s 2000 hit “Suck My D**k” where all she wants is to “get her p***y sucked.”

This was an era of music I thought we had lost for forever. I saw more female rappers coming out, but they had to take more-aggressive-about-my-paper-stance when it came to paving a way for them in the doors of rap. This gave us boss hits like, Lil Kim’s “The Jump-off,” Nicki Minaj’s “Beez In the Trap,” and even more recent artists like Saweetie’s “ICY GIRL” which samples Khia. While I love nothing more than a song that makes me feel truly untouchable, there’s something about a song that takes back female sexuality, and this is coming back in a big way.

Cardi B made waves with her now Grammy-winning album, Invasion of Privacy, which had tracks like “Get Up 10” and “Bodak Yellow” that talk about her rags-to-riches story and how she worked hard for everything she has. “Ring” ft. Kehlani and “Be Careful,” which were pleas to a lover, keep her emotions and feelings in mind because they wouldn’t appreciate if she treated them the way that they treated her.

Coming off of such a strong album can be hard, but Cardi has quickly gotten back in the studio, released songs like “Please Me” ft. Bruno Mars, and a remix to the already released “Thotiana”. What’s particularly interesting about these tracks is that they are both unapologetically sexual. Lyrics from “Please Me” include “On the dance floor, no panties in the way” and “Dinner reservations like the p***y you gon’ eat out,” and Thotiana is too raunchy for me to quote.

Cardi is being accompanied by other sexually present icons such as Cupcakke and City Girls in this venture into bringing back sex into female music. Icons like Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and Salt -N- Pepa pioneered this movement, and it’s about more than just music. Females being open and clear about what they want in the bedroom is what 2019 needs. Playing coy is fun, and there is something attractive about subtlety, but when you have a lady like Cardi B in your face saying “better f**k me like we listenin’ to Jodeci,” there’s no guessing about what she wants.