People often debate why there are so few prominent female rappers and while there are no doubt multiple reasons, one of them is absolutely that prominent critics are almost always males who rarely have a genuine appreciation for female rappers.
Two great examples are radio host and author Charlamagne the God and podcast host Joe Budden, both of whom have major platforms within the hip hop community and in general are very good at what they do. (Budden’s podcasts since being let go from Complex‘s “Everyday Struggle” have been straight epic.) The two critics recently joined forces on a Revolt-produced program called “This Year Was Dope/Trash 2017” on which they rated top albums and big moments in the culture.
Unfortunately, while they both have deep expertise on rap, it’s clear for any long time listener that neither are very big fans of female rap. And while yes, Charlamagne has been famously supportive of Cardi B this year and both rated up-and-coming rapper Rapsody as a top lyricist, at the same time on a day-to-day basis neither spend much of any time talking up female rap artists on their respective platforms and both have piled on Nicki Minaj with non-stop criticism all year.
It’s the same old story in rap whereby only one token female is allowed to sit at the top of the heap and for both Charlamagne and Budden that seat is half occupied by Cardi B as it relates to buzz and half by Rapsody for her skills, which, given that adds up to two whole women, one could view 2017 as one that registered an iota of progress for women in rap.
Still, even in recognizing Cardi’s red hot year on the Revolt program, Budden acknowledged her as hot only as paired with her fiancé, Offset. Budden went on to reveal his own issues with female rappers when he stated, “Rapsody is online and shit and in interviews saying that she does believe that women can stand next to men and rap better than them. Rapsody, let me be the first one to tell you, it ain’t many of you all that can. It’s you, it’s Remy, it’s Nicki but it ain’t all of y’all, Rapsody, calm down.”
Charlamagne and Budden then proceeded to place Minaj at No. 3 on their trash artist 2017 list. Charlamagne dissed her for her lackluster work during the first-half of the year, and while recognizing the strength of “Rake It Up,” dismissed Minaj’s bars on the song, claiming anyone could have rapped them. They also acknowledged “MotorSport” as a solid effort by Minaj, but then went back to trashing “No Frauds,” her Remy clap back single released in March 2017.
What goes into a tragically trash year? Even without an album, Minaj ranks at No. 50 on Billboard’s Top Artists chart for 2017 and has three songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for the year. She’s been involved with close to 25 singles and recorded music with the top names in the game, including Jason Derulo, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, Drake, Katy Perry, Yo Gotti, 2 Chainz, Calvin Harris, Future, Migos, Cardi B, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Quavo and A$AP Ferg among others. She also worked with global brands MAC and H&M on collaborative collections.
In addition to putting her on their trash list, they also included Minaj at the top of their list for 2017’s biggest tragedies, spending several minutes putting down Minaj’s take down by Remy Ma with her diss song “Shether.” Minaj’s rap battle loss was ranked as more tragic than podcast host Taxstone going to jail on murder charges, Prodigy passing away at age 42 from health complications and 21-year old Lil Peep dying from a drug overdose.
Even if you want to argue that Minaj’s year wasn’t the best and her defeat by Remy was significant, Charlamagne and Budden’s various critiques of Minaj felt aggressive, over-the-top and gratuitous.
It’s almost as if a black woman can work ten times harder than any of her peers, stack up legit accolades and not only receive no credit but get utterly trashed by male critics as though everything she did was pure garbage.
To be honest, it’s perfectly fine that Charlamagne and Budden both clearly dislike Minaj and it’s their right as critics to treat her like an emotional punching bag for whatever reason. The issue as always is there aren’t more women with similarly powerful positions opining on the culture. You can be certain if two women occupied their seats, they wouldn’t have spent the majority of their on-air minutes taking down rap’s most successful and hard-working female rapper.
Check out Charlamagn and Joe Budden’s exchange below. Their exchange on Minaj being a top five trash artist begins at 51:16.