If you thought Rick Ross might be a little more careful with his choice of words after glorifying date rape and losing a sponsorship deal
with a major athletic company, you thought wrong.
Last week, the ever eloquent rapper said he would never sign a woman to Maybach Music Group because he "would end up f*cking a female rapper and f*cking the business up." There are so many things wrong with this comment, I don't even know where to start. Not only did he basically imply he would make sex part of the contract between musician and label, but he also seemed to argue that his desires were more important than this imaginary woman's career. The statement was extremely insensitive, unprofessional, and regressive. Also, just...ew.
Even though it's 2017, it isn't surprising to hear a man in a position of power make degrading comments about women. I mean, if the President can get away with it, it's fair game, right? What is a little surprising about the situation is that Rick Ross isn't the only label exec to still
blatantly hold women to such a low standard.
The business side of music has been a boy's club for a long time, and that isn't limited to hip-hop. If you think it's unrealistic that sexism still exists across all genres, just look at Kesha's struggles
against producer Dr. Luke, the threats sent to lead singers like Lauren Mayberry
and Bethany Cosentino
, or even the backlash against Alicia Keys
when she decided to do something as simple as going makeup-free.
It's easiest to investigate the gender disparities in hip-hop, though, because the numbers are so staggering
. This isn't to say that all label executives refuse to sign women unless there's something in it for them, but the fact of the matter is hip-hop doesn't respect women (artists or otherwise). Never truly has, likely never will - unless the community is ready to make some major changes.
Currently, no major rap labels have more than two female rappers signed, and three labels don't represent any women whatsoever. Maybach Music falls in the latter category, because apparently, Rick Ross really can't keep it in his pants. Lil Wayne's label Cash Money/Young Money has had six women signed, but only two are rappers. This distinction appears in other labels like Def Jam and 300 Entertainment, who don't necessarily specialize in rap artists.
Looking at the breakdown of each label gives more substance to the phenomenon of sexism in the industry. Most people are aware of the issue in theory, but the statistics allow you to visualize the room. It really
stands out when a label with a total of 47 artists represents only 6 women.
If women aren't given opportunities in the world of hip-hop, the underlying misogyny will only persist further and women will never get the visibility they really deserve. No matter the genre, art should be an outlet for anyone and everyone - your gender shouldn't be a deciding factor.