The history books show, as recently as the early nineteenth century women in the United States were considered second-class citizens, subservient to men, and whose existence was limited to the interior life of caring for the home and children. Not only did women not have the right to vote, but after marriage they did not have the right to own property, maintain their wages, or even sign a contract.
Of course, things have changed radically since then, especially in this country, and in 2009 we like to think everyone is equal regardless of gender, color, race, age, religion, or sexual orientation. But let's be real: we still have a ways to go for true equality. And you have to look no further than at hip-hop for proof that gender inequality exists-- the ratio of female to male artists is totally uneven, in favor of men. Flip through the CD or vinyl hip-hop aisles at Amoeba Music and odds are the ratio of female to male artists will be 1 to 10 at best or 1 to 20 at worst. Why is that? There are many reasons that I will explore in later installments of this Women In Hip-Hop Amoeblog series for Women's History Month. But for now I just want to celebrate some of the great female hip-hop artists, starting off with this Amoeblog focusing on the female emcees featured on the recent Soul Jazz release Fly Girls! B-Boys Beware: Revenge Of The Super Female Rappers!
A highly recommended tribute to the fly girls of hip hop, this CD and limited vinyl pressing, which has been selling well at Amoeba since its late January release date, is a wonderful historic overview of some of the funkiest female tracks from the 70's through the 80's and into the 90's. Of course, with just twenty tracks this snapshot only scratches the surface of the history of women in hip-hop, but considering that, it still does a hell of a job and unless you have been avidly collecting hip-hop over the years you need this for your collection.