White Chicks with a Gangsta' Pitch: Gendered Whiteness in United States Rap Culture (1990-2017)

By Williams, Melvin L. | The Journal of Hip Hop Studies, Fall 2017 | Go to article overview

White Chicks with a Gangsta' Pitch: Gendered Whiteness in United States Rap Culture (1990-2017)


Williams, Melvin L., The Journal of Hip Hop Studies


The majority of the discourse in Hip Hop has primarily been about the thoughts, feelings, and ethos of Black men.1 While Hip Hop has experienced some diversity over the years with the acceptances of Eminem, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis, and more recently, Mac Miller, Logic, and Post Malone, White female rappers still have not achieved the same level of mainstream success as their White male counterparts. The advent of a White female "rocking the mic" is still heavily questioned and scrutinized by Hip Hop artists and fans. In Rap, "rocking the mic" is used to describe Rap artists, who are able to rap "effectively and impressively" and "use or wield Rap lyrics effectively with a sense of style or self-assurance."2

Despite changes throughout the years, Hip Hop remains a hypermasculine and heteronormative subculture, where White women are minimally represented. Rap lyrics coming from a White woman have been viewed historically as comical attempts to embody the attributes of Hip Hop's vision of Black masculinity and hysterical gender disjunctions that are similar to a woman wearing her husband's clothes.3 However, there is an existing lineage of White female rappers, who strived to make a mark in Rap and Hip Hop. From Blondie's "Rapture" in the 1980s to the mass popularity of Iggy Azalea in 2014, the occurrences and significance of White female participation in Hip Hop culture have evolved over the past three decades.

White female performers have aimed to challenge the masculine dominance of Hip Hop, although their small surge has barely garnered notice.4 Despite the growing history of White female performers in Rap culture, the historical contributions and authenticating strategies of White female rappers remain topics largely unexamined in academic research. A review of scholarship and articles from refereed and mainstream publications concerning White participation in Rap and Hip Hop suggests authors have established a robust discussion on the authenticating strategies of White men, but not those related to White women.

Recognizing this void in Rap research, the current research investigated the discursive space of White women in Rap through an analysis of the authenticating strategies used by White female rappers to attain legitimacy in the musical genre. Specifically, the current research investigated the lyrical content of 109 Rap songs from nine studio albums and three extended plays (EPs), produced by White female rappers signed to major labels in the United States from 1990 to 2017, to examine the presence of Edward Armstrong and Mickey Hess's Hip Hop authenticating strategies in the following seven White female rappers: Tairrie B, Icy Blu, Sarai, Lady Sovereign, Kreayshawn, Iggy Azalea, and K.Flay.5 This twenty-seven-year time period was particularly significant for the current research because it captured the onset of White female rappers signing to major labels and releasing full-length albums in the Rap genre. More specifically, Tairrie B recorded the first Rap studio album released by a White female rapper signed to a major label in 1990.

Conceptual and Theoretical Framework

Critical Whiteness Studies, Gendered Whiteness, and Rap Culture

Drawing from the theory of social constructionism, Critical Whiteness Studies (CWS) raised questions about the construction of Whiteness and investigated how diverse groups in the United States "came to identify, and be identified by others, as White-and what that has meant for the social order."6 CWS aims to critique and destabilize the hegemonic conceptualization of Whiteness by providing researchers with the tools to "look behind the privilege that Whiteness provides."7 By investigating racial division and racial hierarchy through the lens of the dominant racial group, CWS complicates notions of race by "studying up" the racial hierarchy.8 Under this prism, Whiteness is systematically dissected, rather than taken for granted and left unexamined.

Scholarly writing and empirical research on Whiteness can be organized into three major themes: 1) the omnipresence, yet invisibility of Whiteness, 2) White privilege, and 3) the social construction of Whiteness. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

White Chicks with a Gangsta' Pitch: Gendered Whiteness in United States Rap Culture (1990-2017)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.