Sexism in hip hop has always been a contentious issue and while there is still plenty left to be desired within the industry, it’s fair to say that in 2017 we’ve reached a certain level of equality in the genre.
By that premise, it’s quite worrying to see Rick Ross making the outlandishly sexist comments he recently made on Power 105.1’s Breakfast Club show without being questioned one bit.
When being pressed on why he hasn’t signed a female artist to his label Maybach Music Group, he stated that because he values his business so much, he wouldn’t be able to sign female artists because if he spent money on their photo shoots and they look good, he would have to ‘fuck a couple times’.
Your eyes do not deceive you, yes, he did actually say that live on the radio with no qualms about it… What’s worse is that co-host Charlamagne Tha God’s only reaction is to laugh uncontrollably until the subject is changed.
It’s clear that while we may appear to have a music industry that promotes equality, it definitely isn’t the case. With Ross being one of the more powerful figures in the hip hop game, the problem is definitely more prevalent higher up than on the ground. While we don’t expect gangster rappers like Rick Ross to be the first in line at an equality protest, the least female artists deserve is not to objectified and laughed about when their exclusion from a label is being discussed live on one of hip hop’s most respected platforms.
Not only that, but even from a business point of view, there are plenty of successful female hip hop artists out there that are definitely more relevant than Ross himself, with the likes of SZA, Remy Ma, Nadia Rose and more quickly coming to mind.
As previously stated, sexism within hip hop isn’t something that’s going to just disappear tomorrow morning, but Ross’s comments are by no means throwaway, and tolerating them only serves to worsen the problem. His total disqualification of women as artists is obviously disrespectful and childish at best.
One can only imagine how disheartening it is to see a label boss saying that he only sees female artists as objects to spend money on and have sex with.
The biggest irony of it all is that Rick Ross’s most well-known artist signed to MMG is Meek Mill, who is even more well-known for being Nicki Minaj’s ex and often ridiculed for being in her shadow rather than the other way around.
It’s easy to view this as an isolated incident and with MMG not even being one of the major labels in hip hop anymore with wavering MCs like Wale and Meek Mill struggling to maintain relevancy within an evolving scene, it’d be easy to just disregard what Ross has to say, but what’s really the matter is that notable figures like the Miami label head are given the airtime to say these things and get away with it.
Ross already caught heat for rape-fueled lyrics circa 2013 that lost him his sponsorship deal with Reebok, and one of the only relevant things to come from him, on or off the mic has been his pear-based diet that helped him lose weight.
If we’re actually mic-ing up people that are relevant because of their fondness for pears, rather than actually talented figures within the scene, and then letting them away with scathing statements about women’s roles within the scene, then there’s definitely something up.
No one ever stands up and calls out the likes of Ross for their outward disrespect for women, who have definitely had more than their fair share of influence on the hip hop genre as a whole. The problem isn’t that there are sexist artists and individuals and artists within the scene, it’s that the punters and others involved in the music are too scared to call them out about it because its been such a staple aspect of the music and culture for so long.
We have definitely seen more respect for women in all hip hop circles as the years have gone by, but we’ve still seen a widespread silent response to plenty of attacks against female artists and that’s exactly why there’s a pervading sense of inequality within the scene. Rick Ross saying he can’t sign female artists because he’d have to have sex with them is an obvious sexist incident, but it’s the cowardice of everyone else in the room to let him away with saying that that speaks louder than his already obviously obnoxious statement.
Hip hop is known for breaking down barriers and taking no prisoners while doing so, so it’s confusing to see its own community not stand up for the half that has had such a strong hand in influencing and spreading the genre to the mainstream.