Where The Ladies At?
As anyone who attends underground Hip-Hop shows on a regular basis knows there’s a fairly large issue with them that continues to remain unaddressed by most artists. This issue would be the all too common occurence of the all-male audience. Not only are the majority of audiences for most underground Hip-Hop shows about 70% male, but for a good number of shows the crowd is not only all-male, but also mostly MCs. When one listens to a lot of underground Hip-Hop acts they begin to realize why this is, it’s all in the topic matter, and if we ever want a strong female fan base, and real success, a few things have to change.
First off I know some people might feel “as long as we pack the place who cares what the gender breakdown is?” This is a very valid question. The reason you should care is that women traditionally have more buying power than men when it comes to music. N*Sync didn’t sell over one million albums in a week by targeting 24-34 year old men. Now, I’m not saying target the teeny-boppers, but I am saying the power of the female dollar can actually be stronger than that of the male dollar.
With underground Hip-Hop one of the biggest ways to get people excited enough about your work to purchase a CD is through live performance. Getting females to show up requires one thing that only the top few percent of underground MC’s do, speak about universal topics that can be felt by both males and females alike. Think about the three most rhymed about topics in the underground; how hard it is to come up in the game, how much the mainstream sucks, and how real the underground and the artist in question is. What aspect of those topics is going to interest your average female Hip-Hop fan? No matter how many dope ways you have to say these things most females don’t give a rats behind about them. You’re not including them in your stories, so what reason do they have to include your stories in their lives?
Finding universal topics isn’t that difficult. Unfortunately, not all artists can figure this out. Many commercial rappers go the route of the booty song, but that’s not necessarily right for everyone. In fact, I’d be disappointed in a lot of my favorite MCs if they went that route. We’ve also all heard the “this one’s for the females” songs, the “this is my political song” songs, and the token song about God that used to appear at the end of every Hip-Hop album. These attempts at diversifying one’s work usually make us cringe. They make us cringe because they feel disingenuous, like they were done just to hook a certain audience for one song. The key is to create music that everyone can relate to, not section off your album track by track, looking to attract a different audience with each song.
With blistering rhymes about MCing you’re only going to attract other MCs and a handful of fans that enjoy that type of music. While it may be nice to be your favorite MC’s favorite MC it’s not such a great career move. “So and so loves me” doesn’t get you very far in the real world unless that so and so is Jimmy Iovine. As a human being you should be a multifaceted individual. You should have likes and dislikes and emotions that relate to more than just being an MC. As an aside, even if you do just rhyme about being an MC, if you’re a truly talented MC you should be able to relate your trials and tribulations in such a way as to be able to engage a non-MC and make it relevant to their personal struggles. I know quite a few artists who can, and do just that. For example, Tah Phrum Duh Bush’s performances of “Micro-PH-One-01” gets every man, woman and child in the audience involved and creates a fun atmosphere around the topic of MCing. The song is made interesting by the way he presents it, which in turn makes it a song people want to listen to on his album since, as noted before, the best way to get people excited about your music is through your live shows.
So the next time you’re penning yet another song about how tough you are, how the mainstream sucks, or how hard it is to come up in the game, think about who would really want to listen to what you’re saying. Remember all the potential audience members you’re ignoring when you fill your album with these kinds of topics they can’t relate to. Do something for everyone and see what a difference it makes. You might even start seeing some women to come to your shows.
Then you got kats that do these songs that are offensive to women, because they're quite vulgar. They don't always sit well with women that aren't familiar with the material and expect what's coming.
Honestly lottah dudes need to stop rhyming and putting out music in general because they suck at it.
And I agree with I Sort Glass, a lotta dudes do need to put down the mic.
Conscious makes music ladies can enjoy... Look & Listen
I encourage ladies to come to the shows I do more so than dudes... If the dudes show up its cool.
Three albums deep we got plenty of songs that we feel are for that MC crowd where a bunch of dudes will go nutz wilding out, and at the same time we got joints that we feel can reach anyone, ladies, children, whatever.
Just like we claim that radio needs to find some balance, underground MC's need to find some. We lost that balance at shows because more than likely it was a majority of dudes, so we wouldn't do any so called female tracks. But that doesn't really reflect the music because in fact more females have bought the cd than dudes.
Keep that in mind...
This problem goes beyond just attracting women to a show... its about "underground" hip-hop becoming nothing more than than a self parodying, meta-commentary where a bunch of dudes stand in the crowd with their arms crossed thinking,
"I'm better than that dude." I'm tired of rhyming for MCs. I want to rhyme for fans, both male and female. I don't want my music criticized by a bunch of people who think the music peaked somewhere between '88 and '94 and anything that varies from that is whack. If you truly are dope, show me... don't tell me. Great music is universal, from Jimi Hendrix to Marvin Gaye to KRS to Company Flow (just to name a very few). All those people had a message that pertained to their little slice of subculture, but one that also was able to speak to a much broader audience and that's why its still around today. Make great music, not just "real underground hip-hop" and the fans will come, both women and men.
Whereas if you go see a major or more known artist perform the crowd seems to sit back and enjoy the show more.
What the heck is that all about?
Perhaps everyone involved needs to chill a bit, take a step back and ask "why am I here?" If you're on the stage why is it that you're rhyming? If you're in the crowd, why is it that you decided to attend?