By: Megan Bomgardner
By eleven years old, I knew every single word to “Bedrock” by Young Money. When the song played on my local rap and R&B station, I would discreetly lip sync the lyrics so that my mom wouldn’t see. “Don’t be gross,” she’d say when she caught me mouthing lyrics like “maybe it’s time to put this pussy on your sideburns.” At the time, I thought the word “pussy” meant cat.
Nicki Minaj’s feature was my favorite part of the song. I loved her voice, her smile, her outfits. . . I also took an interest in the fact that she was the only mainstream female rapper I knew of at eleven years old. Growing up, rap culture was dominated by male rappers like Drake, Lil Wayne and Big Sean: Nicki Minaj was an anomaly to me. I respected the fact that she could hang with the boys and hold her own.
Now, if you peruse the “Rap Caviar” playlist on Spotify, you’ll notice that almost every artist is a man. Every once in a while, you’ll find the occasional SZA or Flo Milli feature, but rap still continues to be overwhelmingly male-dominated in 2021. There is an undeniable gender disparity among male and female rappers, but according to sources like NPR, perhaps rap and hip hop is slowly but surely becoming a more representative genre in terms of gender.
That being said, I think “WAP” is revolutionary. In case you haven’t heard of it, “WAP,” which stands for “wet ass pussy,” features Grammy award winner, Cardi B, and Grammy award nominee, Megan Thee Stallion. The lyrics are objectively graphic; in fact, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro recited the lyrics on the Ben Shapiro Show, censoring the words he deemed inappropriate.
“This is what the feminist movement is all about,” he said sarcastically.
If he is referring to liberated sexual agency and individual empowerment: then yes, Ben Shapiro. This is, indeed, what the feminist movement is all about.
Woman in our society are primed from an early age to censor conversations about sex and sexuality. This seemingly inescapable stigma surrounding female sexuality is drastically different than male sexuality-- it is more taboo, more shameful. When my brother was in high school, my mom bought him a pack of condoms. I asked why she had never done the same for me, she responded, “You know, it’s just different for boys.” As young girls, we internalize all of these differences, accepting the rules as natural order when in reality, there is nothing natural about double standards.
Feminism, in its truest form, is about cultivating a society where men and women are equal in every sense of the word. Thus, equal expressions of sexuality and destigmatized conversations around sex are key to the feminist movement. In a history riddled with misogyny and patriarchal domination, women must reclaim ownership over their sexualities.
“WAP” does just that. Yes, the lyrics are X-rated, but the song discusses aspects of female sexuality that were seldom talked about in the mainstream until fairly recently. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion leverage the term “whore” to subversively combat the idea that promiscuity is frowned upon. The phrase “I don’t cook, I don’t clean” speaks to the concept that antiquated domesticity is irrelevant to femininity and womanhood. Megan Thee Stallion establishes she’s in charge when she says “If he fuck me and ask ‘Whose is it?’ When I ride the dick, ima spell my name.”
So, to reference the title of this article--yes, “WAP” really does give me chills. For me personally, the song is extremely empowering, and every time I listen to it, I feel more secure in my sexuality. After growing up in a conservative town and being subjected to the stigmatization of female sexuality, I hold this newfound confidence close to my heart.
“WAP” is my new “Bedrock,” and my love for female rappers is enhanced by icons like Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B. Today, female rappers don’t necessarily have to be “one of the guys,” or an anomaly within the rap realm. Rather, they’re creating a rap game of their own. . . a rap game that empowers female sexuality and challenges patriarchal norms.