spring fashion

The Hustle of Women in Hip-Hop

Photo: Eric Johnson

“Nice is fake,” Megan Thee Stallion told Ashley Ford in an interview in our previous “Fashion Issue.” Megan had just debuted her album Traumazine, which is explicit about the misogyny she has experienced in the music industry and the pressures women rappers endure to “make nice.”

Megan’s message stuck with me as we started planning this issue. 2023 will mark a half-century since the genesis of hip-hop in 1973 at an end-of-summer party in the Bronx. Today, hip-hop isn’t just a music genre but a culture. It has impacted the way we talk and the trends we follow. And while the women of hip-hop have long felt unappreciated and had to work at least twice as hard as men to break through, they are often hip-hop’s trailblazers: the fashion icons, the storytellers, the ones constantly advancing what hip-hop can be. They also, finally, thankfully, seem to be getting the respect and recognition they have repeatedly been denied. All year long, the Cut will be celebrating the women who have changed the game — starting with this issue.

Last summer, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” by 23-year-old Memphis native GloRilla. There isn’t a line in hip-hop that brings me more joy than “Outside hanging out the window with my ratchet-ass friends.” GloRilla, who made many year-end lists in 2022 and is now nominated for a Grammy, has earned her place among rap’s ratchet queens in a lineage that traces from Lil’ Kim to Nicki Minaj to Cardi B. Further, in the magazine you’ll see an intimate portfolio of Ice Spice, the ascendant powerhouse rapper from the Bronx whose SpongeBob SquarePants–inspired track “Bikini Bottom” opens with the iconic line “How can I lose if I’m already chose?”

Both GloRilla and Ice Spice are part of hip-hop’s evolution: women with a heavy dose of swagger, villain-era-worthy lyrics, and no apologies in sight. Their fearless approach to life is as infectious as their rhymes, and watching them, you can learn a thing or two about knowing your worth and asking for your due. That they’ve arrived in the spotlight with their swagger intact is in no small part thanks to the women of hip-hop who paved the way. As our celebration continues over the coming months, we look forward to telling their stories.

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The Hustle of Women in Hip-Hop