So So Def founder Jermaine Dupri has been instrumental in the progression of hip-hop into the mainstream consciousness, developing and producing for iconic artists like Kriss Cross, Da Brat, Usher, R&B group Xscape, and countless others. Nobody can deny his business acumen or penchant for identifying young/untapped potential. But after being active in the music scene since childhood, Dupri has clearly settled into a very particular preference in sound that has somehow evaded most female rappers. In a recent interview with People Now, Dupri credited Da Brat for “breaking the mold” for women in rap after becoming the first solo female Platinum-selling rap artist. When asked whether or not he had a favorite current female rapper, Dupri found himself unable to name anyone.
“I feel like they’re all rapping about the same thing,” Dupri explains. “I don’t think they’re showing us who’s the best rapper. For me, it’s, like, strippers rapping.” One can assume that he’s referencing artists like Cardi B., who is not only forthright, but celebratory of her days as a sex worker. “At some point, somebody is going to have to break out of that mold.”
Cardi B. took to Instagram to respond to Dupri’s narrow assessment and not only explain how audiences have sort of boxed in her style, but to remind him and others of the steady supply of talented female rappers with diverse perspectives.
Cardi goes on to name Tierra Whack, Chika, Rapsody, and Kamaiyah as “dope ass rappers” who should be featured more in media. Fellow rapper Doja Cat had her own input, seemingly flabbergasted by Dupri’s surprising lack of knowledge when it comes to the current class of women in rap.
After doling out some fairly useful advice (“You have to listen to music to know it exists,” what a concept), she went on to name a deluge of talented women in rap, including “Rihanna, that one fucking time.”
We hope that Mr. Dupri has taken a moment to listen to these women and reflect on his ill-informed position. We also hope that at some point somebody reminded him that at its core, hip-hop has always been about storytelling from the people who are rarely given a viable platform, which would undoubtedly include the “strippers” he so readily referenced.