This month I wrote my first ever article for Buzzfeed titled “16 Times Female Rappers Were Totally On Point About Relationships.” Basically an excuse to listen to all my favourite female hip-hop artists on repeat (think Bahamadia, Yo-Yo, MC Lyte, Monie Love …), I had a great time writing this piece. I’ve shared it below, and you can check it out on Buzzfeed here. Enjoy!
1. “Let’s Talk About Sex,” Salt-N-Pepa
“Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.”
Salt-N-Pepa were serious trailblazers when they encouraged honest conversations about sex back in 1991. Fulfilling relationships thrive on good communication in and out of the bedroom. Your partner can’t read your mind, so it’s important to maintain a healthy dialogue where both can express feelings and share desires with one another. And really, when you have that, the only way is up.
2. “You & Me & Everyone We Know,” Jean Grae
“I think too much. Overanalyzing everything sucks.”
Word! It’s super easy to read too much into everything when feelings are at stake. But dwelling often causes headaches.
If you’ve ever found yourself analysing texts with friends and driving yourself a little too crazy, learn from Jean Greasy and try to get a handle on those thoughts. Do something to take your mind off of your relationship – get outside, exercise, see friends, create something, or even meditate. Just something to get out of your head. Over-thinking really only makes your feelings weird and can totally kill your love buzz.
3. “Who’s The Boss,” Antoinette
“Daytime, nightime, anytime’s the right time.”
Antoinette is The Boss because she knows to stay present, ready, and open in order to rise to the demand of any given moment. No question that mentality extends to her love life
In “Who’s the Boss,” she reminds us there’s no such thing as perfect timing. The key is to keep your eyes, mind, and heart open so as to not miss or overlook something special just because you were too busy staring at your own feet.
Somebody special can come along whenever, so always come correct like Antoinette.
4. “Brothers Ain’t Shit,” Roxanne Shante
“Stop smilin’, I know all you wanna do is hit. And I really don’t give a shit.”
Avoid those players who are only after one thing. They’re slimy (and ain’t sh*t).
But seriously, somebody purely out to get a piece with whoever they can likely won’t be the best lover. And hooking up with them probably won’t be the best experience. Not all sexual encounters need to be cosmic lovemaking, but you want your partner to treat you like a person and not a piece of meat.
Roxanne Shante calls scuzzballs out and so should we all!
5. “Make You Mine”, MC Trouble
“Give me the time to cold break it down in a rhyme, ‘cause I think you should be my guy.”
The late MC Trouble had some serious guts. In this song, she declares her affections to her crush, and lays out exactly what she wants. This is awesome for two big reasons. Firstly, having the courage and confidence to express your feelings is super attractive. Secondly, other people can’t read your mind, and to spell out your interests could open doors that might otherwise have stayed closed.
Follow in Trouble’s footsteps. If you like someone, let them know!
6. “Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo,” Yo-Yo
“The earrings I wear are called Dolphins. Check the booty, yo, it’s kind of soft and if you touch it, you living in a coffin.”
Just because you look good, that doesn’t mean that people are entitled to something. Yo-Yo knows this and won’t put up with objectification or disrespectful attention from anyone. Basically, she’s not to be played with. And you’re not either! You’re entitled to a sense of self-respect and firm boundaries when out meeting people. It doesn’t hurt to have Ice Cube singing your hook either!
7. Tre Hardson & MC Lyte “Roots, Love, & Culture”
“I’d rather wear the last name of a brother with a brain. Hear what I’m saying?”
Despite a penchant for bad-boy Ruffnecks, MC Lyte advocates settling down with someone who isn’t a moron.
When you’re looking for a long-term partner, they’ve got to have the brain to make the long haul bearable. Intelligence is super sexy and so is the ability to hold quality conversation. Cerebral sparks are important for long-term satisfaction as much as physical desire. Go for someone who melts your mind as well as your knees.
8. Bahamadia “True Honey Buns”
“To all my girls, do what you gotta do, but it ain’t what you do, it’s how you do it.”
It’s fine to go out, get yours, and have fun; there’s really nothing wrong with partying and casual hook-ups. Just make sure it feels good and right for you. Be in charge of yourself, and know that you can do whatever’s right for you, just do it from a place of self-respect.
9. “Lookin’ Good To Me,” Nonchalant
“Looks can be deceiving. Let me tap the brain so I can justify the reason why I’m calling your name in my sleep.”
Nonchalant knows not to go for someone solely based on their looks. It’s an injustice to the cutie and to yourself.
We should should treat potential partners and hook ups the same way we want them to treat us! And when it comes down to it, do you want someone to be with you because of the beauty of their character, or just because they look good in skinny jeans?
10. “Strawberries,” MC Smooth
“Strawberries on top of me. Candlelight, a little Hennessey. That’s the way my love flows.”
In this sultry ditty Smooth reminds us that the way to keep love flowing is to keep the romance alive.
It’s easy to let the magic fizzle once you get comfortable with your partner. While there’s something so nice (and important) about letting your guard down and not trying hard to impress someone, things can get straight up boring if the romantic sexy element fades away entirely – don’t forget to treat each other every now and then!
11. “Another,” Lil’ Kim & Notorious B.I.G.
In this song Lil’ Kim and Biggie both come to realise that you shouldn’t put up with a serial cheater, and prove that sometimes the strongest ties aren’t always the healthiest.
If your partner is repeatedly being untrue and causing you pain, you have to face the facts and move on. If someone doesn’t learn from their mistakes, chances are that they’ll keep hurting you.
12. “Daddy’s Little Girl,” Nikki D
“A night so hectic, a bit unexpected. Before I made love, I shoulda been protected.”
In this song, Nikki D perfectly sums up what happens when you throw caution to the wind in a hookup. As her cautionary tale unravels, we’re reminded that not being careful can have nasty consequences.
So, learn from Nicki D and protect yourself! Unwanted pregnancies, STIs, and STDs are not the one.
13. “Born 2 B.R.E.E.D,” Monie Love
“So who are you to tell me how to run my family, I can plan it myself, I need nobody planning me.”
It’s your life. You get to decide when the time is right for you to settle down, have babies, or get married. It’s so easy to feel pressure from friends, family, and society at large to live your life a certain way and/or follow a traditional trajectory.
But as Monie states, you were born to “Build relationships where education and enlightenment dominate”. Whether you start a family young like Monie or wait until later in life, it doesn’t matter. It’s up to you to do things however is right for you. Go Monie! (Where she at?)
14. “No More Tears,” Jane Doe
“Stressed and depressed about the things you did. You broke a queen down, almost lost my crown. Not gonna cry no more.”
Love can hurt, and some breakups can leave you feeling pretty broken.
Jane Doe gets out all of the pain and frustration of ending a relationship in this song, and reminds us it’s important to feel whatever it is that we’re feeling and to process all of that emotion. Crying it out can really help. But there comes a point where you have to draw a line, and stop crying. Only then can you build yourself back up, and move on. Jane Doe knows.
15. Queen Latifah “U.N.I.T.Y.”
“Scared to let you go, even though you treated me bad.”
From sexual harassment on the streets to domestic violence in relationships, Latifah fills the refrain “Who you calling’ a bitch?” with so much stored pain and anger from the black female perspective. One of the points in “U.N.I.T.Y” is that abusive relationships aren’t loving relationships. Queen Latifah goes so far in with this song, it can be hard to listen to without choking up.
16. “It’s My Beat,” Sweet Tee
“It’s my beat, it’s my beat. It’s my beat!”
This song is the rap embodiment of “do you”; and there’s nothing more important than remembering you’ve got to do right by yourself in whether it’s in your work, your art, your friendships, or your romances.
Sweet Tee is radiant on this track simply because it’s her beat (and what a beat!). When you’re in sync with yourself, and do your thing, everything flows as it should. Sweet Tee proves that if you groove to your own beat, you’ll be irresistible.