Why Bucknell Women Should Listen to More Rap
Rap is genre largely ignored by the female population on Bucknell University’s campus and is seen as the boy’s club of the music industry. The historically aggressive and dark themes surrounding rap culture has turned off most young women, who are in favor of popular top hits that are sing-able and light-hearted. The negative connotations associated with rap do not help the genre either, especially perpetuated gender roles for both men and women. Messages of poverty, violence, and gang life are not relatable for your average female Bucknell student. In addition, the over sexualizing of the female body is another reason most women shy away from the “crude” genre. So, why should women at Bucknell consider listening to rap?
Rap is constantly changing just like any other music category. Growing up and going through high school, I avoided rap like the plague. I hated rap and did not understand the genre. Why would anyone want to listen to songs they couldn’t sing along to? Most women Bucknellians knowledge on rap ends with Eminem, Jay Z, and Drake (if you even know these rappers). This was also my understanding of rap coming into freshmen year. Being exposed to new people on campus and new music, I quickly started listening to Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, and Kid Cudi.
The beat and feel of these artists offer a great introduction to the world of rap. Needless to say, my relationship with rap began to change as I broadened my tastes over the next three years. Some of my favorite rap albums include Illmatic (Nas), Section 80 (Kendrick Lamar), My Beautiful Dark Desire (Kayne West) and When Life gives you Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold (Atmosphere). I highly recommend listening to an entire rap album all at once because it is an experience. Until recently, I did not realize why I have come to love the genre.
I’ll admit rap isn’t party music, but rap offers something truly unique. Every song is a new perspective with an interesting story. If you listen to the lyrics, most songs tell a unique story. Atmosphere is particularly good at changing perspectives in each song and is my favorite rap artist. The best rap albums create a story that is told throughout the entire album. This is one reason Eminem dominated the rap industry in the early 2000s, not to mention he is a lyrical genius, so much so that my brother dubbed him the “modern-day Shakespeare.” His wordplay and flow can be thought of as poetic, and if we compare rap to poetry, than rappers can be seen as poets.
Today, rap artists are changing the industry by being more open about gender roles, social issues, and defining happiness and success in modern society. Rappers like Macklemore have addressed LBGT issues and Lupe Fiasco who has addressed adolescence and becoming a young adult in a challenging world. Modern rappers have continued to challenge modern rap society and stereotypes associated with the industry. The increasing number of women rappers –such as Nicki Minaji and Iggy Izalea– have also brought new listeners to the genre.
When I listen to rap, it is independent of others so that I can focus on the lyrics. It is great to throw on while studying or as background music. Rap, to me, represents another form of poetry and storytelling simply combined with melody and rhythm. Women should listen to rap because it offers new perspectives and views outside of the Bucknell “bubble life.” You may be surprised at how relatable some of their stories are.
My Rap Playlist:
Written by guest writer Jess Bellower '15.