Refined and Fly

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Peace. This is a comment in response to an article posted on Hip Hop journalist and radio personality Davey D's page called, "Is the Female Emcee Extinct?" on my myspace page ( my top friends to get to the original article)

Peace. I don't think female rappers are extinct in general. There are plenty of females who rhyme (including myself...check the page for music). There are plenty of female emcees (and even the fact that one has to say"female emcee" shows a double standard...nobody says male emcee when referring to a male) who are skilled and have something to say. It's a matter of what is being promoted. Unfortunately, in this day and time, music is very categorized. I guess the categories are supposed to help people understand who you are and what you do in 5 seconds so you can decide if the music is your cup of tea or not. It's like fast food...Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonald's, coming in a glossy stylized package that's easy to figure out so you can choose whatever unhealthy meal you wanna eat that night. So if you don't fit into a category (and I'm sure some dudes have this issue too) i.e. vixen, hardcore, tomboyish, ride or die chick, "conscious," etc then labels feel it's harder to market your music.

This is so related to economics. The easier you are to package, the easier you are to sell...and it's fucked up, cuz this being the case, half the artists who came out back in the day wouldn't be put out in this day and time. That's part of the reason why songs are so formulaic now...not much originality, and the cycle repeats itself. A standard is set and people keep puttin out music according to that standard so their music will sell i.e. the ever played out "club song." I mean how many ways can you talk about going to the got damn club! Can we at least explore a different kind of club?! How many songs about hustlin? How many songs about Bonny and Clyde relationships or fucked up relationships? At the least, the nature of the popular Hip Hop landscape is boring, among other things. I do like some artists that are out though, for varying reasons so I'm not hatin.'

Even Shawnna and Remy Ma for instance...I know they can spit fire and I like them. But their songs you hear on the radio are about sex, bein fly, whatever kind a shit. And say what you want about Lil Mama and her "Lip Gloss", but I happen to like her. She's not rhymin about sex and ass, she's fully clothed in her video dancin havin a good time like a teenager would, and she sounds like she can actually rap....(and if you peep the beginnig and ending scenes of the video with her an her mom in the car, there's a positive message).The nature of the game at this point creates artists and songs who are not memorable. I can't really remember off the top of my head 10 popular songs from 2005. This shit is just kind of all running together. I barely even buy music at this point (why should you when you know you'll here your favorite song on the radio 50,000 times?)

There is a double standard when it comes to being a female emcee. You're expected to be weak off the bat, just cuz you're a woman, and women didn't create that standard, so you have to work harder to prove yourself...write better, sound stronger, come harder. And in this industry, you can't be "unattractive" or considered "overweight" and sell. And that's fucked up cuz the bottom line is that in order for you to be put out as an artist, for people to hear you, you have to be considered, ultimately, fuckable! That's what that shit is about. But shit, look at Biggie! He proclaimed that he was "Black and ugly as eva," but because of his rhymes and general swagger, most people dug it. But I will agree with another person's comment that more and more you see dudes with their shirts off with ripped abs and muscles for eye candy. Even the whole shit about having to put out a "song for the ladies." I mean damn! We would like a variety. We don't always just wanna hear love songs with R Kelly, Ne-Yo or Akon singin on the hook. Sure, I'll admit, a lot of us like to sing along with choruses, but I like hardcore shit or songs with some level of substance just as much as any man. People continue to underestimate female fans.

There are so many female emcees who would crush half of these dudes out. Usually, when people here me, they're pleasantly surprised, and I used to like that...being underestimated by my looks and provin cats wrong. It's a double sided side, because female emcees are becoming more rare these days, when you grab the mic as a woman, you have people's ear cuz they wanna hear what you have to're just not expected to say much. "You're one of the dopest females I've heard" is what I'll get sometimes, and I know people mean well and I appreciate it, but that just shows me that not much is expected from a woman.

When you hear a dude that's a dope emcee, you know what he's called...

A dope emcee. Period

How bout you? Do you or have you underestimated a "female emcee" because she simply is a woman? And don't get it twisted...this question ain't just for the fellas. Women underestimate each other too...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007



Peace. Today's mathematics is equality which represents balance. I tell you there is no balance in the way women are projected in the media, specifically white women and original women within Hip Hop.

Follow me here...

You ever wonder why Black folks and other original people can rap and sing about the craziest, violent, sexually inappropriate subject matter and still get play on every major radio station or video program, but mention only the two words "white girl" and you know what happens?


If you ever questioned where video and radio station owners' and the tip top dogs at the major record labels interests and preferences lie and who's really runnin shit, the writing is officially on the wall. You can not in any way shape or form disrespect the white woman and expect for that shit not to get bleeped out.

Case in point...two songs: 1) Kanye West's "Goldigger," where the word "white" was bleeped out in front of the word "girl," and 2) Jeezy's new song "Girl," officially titled "White Girl," where the same censoring happens (if you don't know what the song is about, I'm not gonna explain it to ya. I'll just hint that "White Girl" is a metaphor)

The media empire was not built for us to see ourselves in a positive light (unless it makes some white man that you rarely, if ever see, a shitload of money). We can disrespect and degrade the Black woman (including self-degredation and self-disrespect) but the white woman is off limits.There are makers and there are owners (and some people who occupy both slots). Right now, we MAKE the music and images that sell, and other folks OWN and are in control of how it is distributed, marketed and sold, gaining more profit than the artists themselves. We have to understand the significance of this! Yet in still, I know some of us will not get the memo and keep doin the same shit. I can only scratch my headwrap in confusion and frustration at the moment.

Disclaimer: I do not advocate the exploitation of any woman in the media, however, if it's gonna be done, there should be EOE...Equal Opportunity Exploitation. So in that sense, at least in Jeezy's video, they had a white girl shakin her ass half naked for a change, instead of only seein my original sistas degradng themselves. There is no balance in this media movement.

I also realized that people saying that radio stations and videos are just "giving the people what they want" is a crock of shit. Why? Cuz Akon's new song "Mama Africa," featuring 50 Cent is gettin a lot of burn. it's a real positive song. If you play that song over and over again, you'll be singin the lyrics and likin it, just like they play all the violent, degrading stuff, and you hear it over and over again, and eventually sing the lyrics, dance to it and like it. The repetition is the key. It doesn't matter what is played, as long as it makes money. THE WORLD IS MOVED BY ECONOMICS AND DECISIONS MADE BASED ON ECONOMICS. There is no conscience in this. Morality, for the most part, doesn't matter.

Speaking of the 4 major record labels, here's a little info on each (according to Bill Lamb on
70% of the world's recorded music is sold by one of the 4 major record labels. All 4 are major media conglomerates with multiple record label imprints and dozens of recording artists under contract.
1) Universal Music Group
The Universal Music Group sells more music than any other major label. They accounted for 25.5% of the market in 2005, according to IFPI. The group's well-known label imprints include Geffen, Interscope, Island, Motown, and Universal. Key artists are:
Black Eyed Peas
Mariah Carey
50 Cent
Gwen Stefani
Kanye West
2) Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Sony BMG Music Entertainment is the second biggest major record label in music sales. They accounted for 21.5% of the market in 2005. The company's well-known label imprints include Arista, Columbia, Epic, J, Jive, and RCA. Key artists are:
Kelly Clarkson
Alicia Keys
Britney Spears
3) EMI Group
The EMI Group is the third biggest major record label in music sales. They accounted for 13.4% of the market in 2005. The group's well-known label imprints include Astralwerks, Capitol, EMI, Mute, and Virgin. Key artists are:
The Beatles
Rolling Stones
Robbie Williams
4) Warner Music Group
The Warner Music Group is the fourth major record label in music sales. They accounted for 11.3% of the market in 2005. The group's well-known label imprints include Asylum, Atlantic, Lava, Reprise, Rhino, and Warner Bros. Key artists are:
Green Day
Alanis Morissette
My Chemical Romance
Rob Thomas


When you get a chance, go to this web-site (TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design...the scope of it is broader now and includes global issues, culture, business, science and arts) is an annual conference held in Monterey, CA that started in 1984, where some of the world's most innovative, creative and well recognized thinkers get together and discuss ideas about a variety of things. Over the course of 4 days, 50 speakers do no more than an 18 minute presentation to an audience of one thousand people. This is like one of the best kept secrets in terms of what folks are getting together and doing to further how they see the world. Discussing ideas can contribute to forward thinking, movement and advancement in society if applied correctly.

On the web-site, many, if not all of the presentations are available for your listening pleasure. So far, I only listened to two on "How School Kills Creativity" by Sir Ken Robinson "who led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements" and Michael Shermer (Skeptic Society founder who dedicates his life to debunking myths, superstitions and urban legends) on "Why People Believe in Strange Things," These presentations were pretty good and there are so many more! Knowledge the knowledge!

P.ick E.xcellence A.nd C.hallenge E.xpectations (PEACE!)

I Medina Peaceful Earth