First of all, the elephant in the room needs addressing: It is downright stupid to have a “Female Rapper” category in any award show in 2017, period. Although there are some circumstances where putting women in direct competition with men may have comparative disadvantages for women — i.e. sports, where on average, women might be at a physical disadvantage — rapping is not one of them. It’s time to stop separating women out as though they’re a sideshow or a cute diversion, or they can’t hang with the fellas lyrically. It wasn’t true when MC Lyte and Queen Latifah were holding it down in the golden era, it wasn’t true when Foxy, Kim, and Missy were outselling a lot of the dudes in the latter part of the nineties, and it isn’t true now, when Dreezy has gone platinum and produced videos with hits in the millions.
Here is who BET chose as the five representations of women in rap in 2016: Cardi B, Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj, Remy Ma, and Young MA. I’d argue that BET’s nominations for female rappers are particularly egregious, though considering that over half the nominees didn’t drop albums in 2016, and that four out of five of the nominees all represent New York. Dreezy didn’t hold back in her criticism of BET for the choices on hand, and while she stressed that she held no ill will for any of the nominees in question, the nomination process is clearly flawed, and she made no bones about her feelings on the snub.
While Cardi B certainly had a breakout year with Gangsta Bitch Music 2 dropping, and arguments could be made for Remy Ma, who at least featured on an LP within the last 12 months (Platos O Plomos with Fat Joe, earlier this year), Missy Elliott, and Young MA were best known for singles that have since petered out in the buzz department (with no follow-ups either), and Nicki spent most of the year laying low from label mate Drake and ex-boyfriend Meek Mill’s internet spat.
Looking at most of the names on the list, it’s hard to say that any of them really deserve to be there, unless the sole criteria was name recognition (Cardi first gained popularity on Love And Hip-Hop which is broadcast by BET’s sister station under Viacom, VH1 — a show that Remy Ma also prominently featured on during her comeback from a prison stint that derailed her career). So, here is a list of rappers who identify as female who rightfully deserve a seat at the table. Each dropped an album in 2016 that made an impact, had at least one single that charted or at least prompted a late-night television appearance, and most importantly? All of them can spit.
When Dreezy took to Twitter to voice her displeasure at being overlooked for the Best Female Rapper by the BET Awards committee, there was — of course — some pushback. One intrepid commenter was so bold as to inform the Chicago rapper that they only knew three of her songs (incidentally, this was from a Nicki stan account). Dreezy’s response was perfect; she replied, “1st y’all said I ain’t have no hits. Then y’all said Ima 1 hit wonder. Now yu kno 3 but still can’t salute.” [sic] That sums up the reasons for her disgruntled response to the nominee announcements, but also shows exactly why she deserved the nomination in the first place.