Dudes, listen: if you’re treating female rap fans as though they’re legendary and precious wifey-shaped jewels, you need to stop jacking off to pictures of Tupac and Biggie peacefully coexisting and just chill.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a situation I normally avoid at all costs: I was on a date with a dude, discussing music. There’s nothing inherently terrible about that, except that I’m female and I listen almost exclusively to rap. This means that the conversation invariably goes one of two ways: either the dude I’m dealing with is anti-rap, in which case the best I can hope for is to avoid being explained to about how awful and misogynistic the genre is, or else the guy is pro-rap, which is, in certain circumstances, almost worse. This was one of those times. “Wow! That’s amazing”, the dude fawned, after I’d listed my favorite rappers, “You really are into rap!” I forced out a tight smile. “You’re not like most girls,” he continued, at which point my top lip curled and my pussy desiccated. I realized, then, that I was dealing with the most insufferable of pro-rap males: those who believe that rap fandom is a boys' club, and that dedicated female fans are cute and rare anomalies.
Here’s the thing: Women listen to rap. Women listen to good, obscure, canon and/or on-the-come-up rappers that only real rap fans know about. WOMEN THEMSELVES CAN BE REAL RAP FANS. These seem like blindingly obvious observations to me (perhaps because I roll with a whole crew of rap-loving dames whose iTunes libraries shit on your whole life) and so it baffles me to run into dudes who still believe that female fans are special snowflakes. I do though, all the time, and perhaps you do too: men who are startled to hear that your rap knowledge runs deeper than the first three bars of “A Milli”; guys who think it’s flattering to be told how impressed they are that you’ve heard of their favorite rappers; and bros whose straining boners you can sense as soon as the name of a relevant rapper drops from your lips.
Let me be clear: I’m not talking about guys who are just happy to meet other people who are into the same semi-niche rap shit they are. I’m never going to be mad at a dude who’s simply exploring a common interest, like, “Oh you’re into Tree? That’s tight, same. Which Sunday School tape did you like the best?” No, I’m talking about the type of dude who foams at the mouth at the thought of his own down-ass rap-game manic pixie dream girl; already picturing you giving him carefree head to that J. Cole song he loves but is embarrassed to tell his friends he likes. The type of dude who CANNOT BELIEVE you’ve got DMX’s WHOLE DISCOGRAPHY ON VINYL, like SERIOUSLY? THAT. IS. SO. HOT. You know: the type of dude who is so over-the-top impressed by your understanding of rap (“compared to other girls”) that it’s condescending and uncomfortable to listen to.
Here’s why I’m 100% not down for being pedestalized by bros like this, even though it’s ostensibly a “compliment." Firstly, if a guy's doing this he's framed my interests as being all about him and his fantasy world, to which I can only say, "Nah, son." Secondly, the whole charade feeds on the assumption that girls are, by default, soft and boring creatures who like pop music and glitter, and that those things are bad and inherently lesser than the things that true he-men like. Not you, though. You’re different. You’ve been anointed as an Exceptional Cool Girl, earning entry into the Boys Club of Cool Things because you enjoy a popular genre of music that’s existed for four decades and that everybody is able to access. You cinched the deal by being into “hard” and non-mainstream stuff, proving that you’ve overcome your gender’s natural tendency to be frail conformists, and perhaps even inadvertently impressing the grossest of bros along the way: dudes who believe in Real Hip-Hop. Congratulations: you’ve earned the approval of people who have never done their own laundry and who jack off to pictures of Tupac and Biggie peacefully coexisting.
Dudes, listen: if you’re treating female rap fans as though they’re legendary and precious wifey-shaped jewels, you need to chill. For a start, no one cares about your rap girl wet dreams, but more importantly, you should understand that it’s a pyrrhic-ass victory to be told, as a woman, that you’re special and worthy of male praise because you’re “not like other girls.” That sentiment assumes a dim view of women in general; it casts us against each other and frames men as the center of our universes. We’re not browsing through DatPiff and wearing Dipset hoodies in order to impress you, we’re doing it because we’re complete and complex human beings with our own interests; interests that will occasionally line up with yours. Let’s face it: women are humans, humans like fun shit, and rap is fun. Our fandom isn’t for or about you, and we don’t care how hard it makes your dick. Spare us.