Thursday, July 03, 2008

Lil' Mama and the dillemas of the female MC

Despite the hype surrounding Lil' Mama's album because of the single "Lip Gloss", she put out an album that is suprisingly more hip hop than people think. I assumed that Lil'Mama was some kind of gimmick, but I was wrong.

Not that you would confuse her for Public Enemy or anything, but unlike other artists, Lil Mama knows who she is speaking to and chooses to speak to them to either to make them dance or make music that is uplifting and thought provoking. From an artist with a name Lil'Mama, you say? Well, when was the last time you heard some of the premier female MCs we got today talk about such things as females having self respect (like in "L.I.F.E"), or condeming men who refuse to grown up and girls who throw their lives away(like in "Stand Up")? Or how about the song "College" about a girl who visits her father in jail, showing how the "thug life" and its consequences breaks up families? I'm not naming any names, but I haven't heard that subject matter come from the any stripper turned rapper female artists out! But suprisingly, Lil' Mama touches on this and more on her CD.

Also, the album has many varying hip hop sounds from DC go-go, to dance pop, to straight up hip hop. The response to this album (sagging record sales and people not really feeling her)reflects the dilemmas of female MCs and how they are marketed by the record companies. Its the record companies and major corporations that have for years dressed up the female MC as a rapper/stripper. However, when they marketed Lil'Mama, it was as a gimmick, with the whole "Lip Gloss" and all the radio songs on here. The album packaging alone is a put off; guys wont buy it the way they would buy a Lil'Kim or Da Brat album because its too "girly", and females in the age range the record company is going for want to buy the latest R&B pretty boy thug. The record cover doesn't even reflect her image; she's not a "Barbie Doll" of rap like the packaging suggests.

When I got this album I thought Id just put it to the side, but then I listened to it, and after I did, I found myself wanting to see this young MC who speaks for the young people, as she says, grow as an artist. Wherever she ends up, since she'll probably be dropped for low record sales, I look forward to seeing what she does next.

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