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Rah Digga is right on Iggy and Hip-Hop Culture

    #SorryNotSorry Iggy, Rah Digga is right

    In my last Rap Rehab piece I made a point of saying that true hip hop fans need to draw a line in the sand and here it is. Anyone who knows anything and I do mean anything about rap music knows that it was indeed an accomplishment to get it accepted on the global airwaves. Whatever you put out will attract unexpected returns but it’s important that there is a modicum of reverence given to the culture that had enough going for it to get so much attention in the first place. Rah Digga first burst on the scene in 1995 and worked with rap groups Twice the Flavor and the Fugees before joining the Flip Mode Squad and eventually released her solo debut Dirty Harriet in 2000.

    Only white girl with a ghetto ass and a pair of fashion titties.

    Iggy Azalea

    Recently she released a single titled Angela Davis in which “she articulated her anguish towards the state of hip hop”. In the song she makes some important statements; “where is the balance in the message”, “when did we let lyricism escape us” and instead of worrying about your stylist “worry about your talents”. You see Iggy, in hip hop unlike pop music not only are opinions wanted they are earned. In a clip posted on youtube Rah Digga is seen once again bringing up valid insights into hip hop culture. When asked about Iggy Azalea, Digga made it a point of complimenting Iggy for using her modeling to boost her music career and indeed it takes a lot for women to get any brand recognition in rap music and sex appeal plays a big role in that and sometimes too much of a role. Rah Digga goes on in the clip to point out that hip hop is not a popularity contest, in fact, she says it’s undeniably a contest of skills. If all criticism is negated by success then why do Lil Kim, Eve and even Rah Digga still have to deal with plenty of censure when they have all achieved success in hip hop? The criticism is not gender specific either; with all due respect MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice and Will Smith have all enjoyed commercial success but are not considered in any serious listing of exceptional rap artists. So while you’re collecting those checks don’t be surprised you get checked.

    It’s only for the thick skinned.

    Rah Digga

    Hip hop is the only commercially successful genre of music where lip-synching, media attention and what you wear are NOT more important than what you have to say/contribute to the culture and I for one want to keep it that way. And unlike others who suggest fans should just support for support sake I expect, no require that women in hip hop be as good as if not better than their male counterparts and they often deliver. In hip hop woman are asked more than anyone else to “show and prove”. And you can’t deny that female MCs have skills that rival some of your male faves. For that very reason, Digga states that currently, “too many passes are being given out”. And that this is what’s ruining rap music and to the people who claim Iggy Azalea is being “bullied”. We didn’t just start criticizing hip hop when the Australian showed up. Hell, way back in 2006 nearly 10 years ago Nas infamously said, “Hip Hop Is Dead”. We’re not specifically coming for Iggy she’s just getting her equal share. Rah Digga goes on to ask, “when did it become wrong to call out people who don’t write their own rhymes”. I have no idea if Iggy Azalea writes her rhymes or not. Let me repeat I have no idea whether she writes her own rhymes or not and that’s mostly due to fact that she doesn’t have a much to say about writing her own versus and seems to only answers questions about her penmanship by referencing her “success”. Even if we accepted the idea that she did write these verses, Iggy demonstrates no lyrical technique whatsoever in songs like F&^% Love: “Can’t blame me I live in a material world, it’s crazy, this much it should be making me hurl Big baby, I know you want a taste of the pearl.” Yes, ladies and gentleman hurl and pearl do rhyme just not really well. I understand that Iggy may not understand the greater cultural aspects of hip hop she is after all from Australia but she could at least make an effort to reflect the work ethic of the women who built the foundation she is attempting to stand on. Kendrick Lamar just a couple weeks ago came under heavy criticism for the his latest release so please don’t act like lyrical complexity and rhyming skills aren’t standard expectations for all MCs women/men Black or White. If Kendrick has to face scrutiny what makes Iggy exempt? Is that what female MCs have been asking for these past 40 years, for the standards to be lowered so that women in hip hop would forever be seen as substandard, not good enough? Iggy should have been prepared to face some scrutiny especially since she decided to roll up in here wearing hip hop like a costume for Halloween. Oh and by the way in case you still believe that she “appreciates the culture” here is a collection of her many racist and homophobic tweets enjoy!

    I come to the main and often repeated observation about Iggy Azalea and that is that she doesn’t have a “real” voice or that she raps in a fake accent. “I’m the realest” is not a catch phrase in hip hop it’s a measurement of your personal and professional integrity. If you’re real be an Aussie and rep you city, state, block and history. Get recognition for Australia on the international hip hop map. It’s called representing and you missed it by a mile. 9,273.60 miles to be exact, which the distance between here and your hometown. Chelsea Jane is an Australian MC, 2NE1 Korean all female rap group, Karol Conka Brazilian MC, Keny Arkana from France they are what being real means in rap music. Even Iggy’s so-called supporters like Questlove are still waiting for her to be herself.  Iggy cannot have an artistic voice because she’s rapping in someone else’s.

    In this era where female and male MCs with talent, writing ability and cutting edge ideas are pushed to the side in favor of stereotype acts, wanna be elitists and “jungle bunnies” it’s an undisputed fact that a lot of substandard hip hop is our fault. And by “our” I mean the fans, if we don’t ask for better why should we get it? We have got to make the argument that once again artistic integrity, authenticity, talent and ability matter. Not only for rap music in general but for the sake of women in hip hop, here in the states and all over the world. Female hip hop fans are painfully aware of how hard it has been for women to get any respect in this rap game. We owe it to greats like the raptress known as MC Lyte, the powerful Queen (Latifah that is) tearing up a stage spittin, “ladies first”! We owe it to the little princess of Junior Mafia Lil Kim and so many others. From the original Roxanne Shante, to the genius of Lauryn Hill and the untouchable skills of Left-Eye Lisa Lopez, Missy Elliot, Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj. We owe it to across the pond wordsmiths M.I.A, Angel Haze and Monie Love and current razor sharp lyricists Azealia Banks and Snow The Product.  Women have always battled stigma, stereotypes and stagnation to even get the opportunity “to rock the mic” no matter how good they were at it.

    You can’t pick & choose what parts of this culture you want.

    Noah Caine

    Iggy Azelea responds to most disapproval with statements like, “I don’t care if it’s rap or pop” which confirms her whole MC status as nothing more than an opportunistic move to have a career in music when her first attempt failed. See link to Nothing like Me which is nothing like hip hop. Well Iggy, you’re right about one thing you are a material girl but you’re way too expensive for hip hop. We would have to devalue the contributions of too many greats who have come before you to put the crown on your head and based on your work to even consider you in the running. Rah Digga said it best what Iggy Azalea is peddling is more pop than hip hop and the sad news is she’s not the only one.