Hip hop is a male-dominated artform, a fact that prevails in both the mainstream and Christian hip hop spaces. While many of the genre’s female artists are underrated and do not receive an equal share of the spotlight enjoyed by their male counterparts, the level of notoriety is not a reflection of the true talent and influence that the ladies bring to the table.
Respected Christian hip hop outlet Rep Da King Mag makes an effort to balance the scales, devoting its Summer 2017 issue (out June 2nd) to the women of CHH. Dubbing them the Queens of the Kulture, Rep Da King features interviews with 18 of the genre’s prominent and rising voices discussing issues ranging from the gender gap, their love for the art, personal style and fitness regimen.
Steadman and Lucy Robinson, who purchased Rep Da King in 2016, wanted to show the ladies love. “We want to be able to show the world their experiences, lifestyle and struggles as they Represent the King in their own unique, beautiful way,” they said. “We are just scratching the surface with this one, as there are so many more out there to discover. We will continue to show them love and support in our magazine Rep Da King Mag.”
Butta P, former member of Rhema Soul and music executive who has helped shape the careers of many artists, recalls encouraging advice she received from the legendary Lauryn Hill after meeting in a Miami recording studio. “She said, ‘One thing I’ve learned is that if God put something on your heart then you should walk in obedience and do what is it that God has called you to do.’” Hearing these words from Ms. Hill helped Butta P confirm her purpose.
Sicily, who set a Guinness World Record in 2014 for Longest Freestyle Rap by a Team, recalls how seeing an 8th grade female rapper in a cypher inspired her to become an emcee. “I was in the courtyard when I lived in New York,” she says. “I was about 5 years old, and I will never forget it. There was a group of kids outside having a cypher and, at the time, I didn’t know what it was. It was a group of 8th graders all in a huddle and then a girl came out of nowhere and started busting some rhymes and that just blew my mind.”
Mahogany Jones, who won BET’s 106 & Park’s Freestyle Fridays for four consecutive weeks, admits that she does not understand why the plight for women in rap is tougher than for the guys, especially in Christian music. “We have to fight tooth and nail to be heard,” she explains. “If you believe that what is created by us is inspired by God, why would you let my gender keep you from hearing what God may be telling you?”
The featured artists provide a wealth of insight regarding what it is like to be a woman in hip hop. The Rep Da King Summer 2017 issue also includes interviews with DJ Smylee, DJ Eliz, Angie Rose, ImKai, Kelly Glow, Lauren Michel, LaToria Wilson, V.Rose, Licy Be, Kama Kazi, HeeSun Lee, Erica Mason, KayLa Starks, and DJ KB.