Well, at a time where hip hop is dominated by men, female rappers tended to be amazing feminists. One of those is Queen Latifah, who’s song I named the shoot after. ‘U.N.I.T.Y’, released in 1993, is a song about female empowerment, pointing out the problems with using derogatory terms towards women and the lack of unity between sexes.
In this shoot, I create the persona of a female rapper who sees power in the things that men shamed her for. She is confident and unapologetic. – Wami Aluko.
Having dreams isn’t limited by what color your soul is, having a voice to spit bars isn’t quantified by your gender.
It’s not only in Africa, around the world we’ve never understood art, music follow no rules.
Hip-Hop has always been created around a need to be masculine, to be aggressive and tough.
It’s time to be enlightened, women are beautiful, woke, empowered and have the vigor to do what a man is said to do better.
The world needs more Female souls in hip-hop, why ? Cause hip-hop is a profound form of expression for black souls, it’s a way of telling stories, creating forces and for too long the female story has been kept in the dark.
“I just want women to feel they have just as much creative freedom to rap about whatever they want as much as men do.” – Wami Aluko.
Why you do hip-hop ?
I’ve always been conscious of my thoughts and started writing poems when I was 12. Developing my rhyme skills made rapping my lyrics on hiphop beats come fairly naturally at my first attempt at 16. I like raw emotion that is easy to express artistically. Poetry, spoken word and hip hop have that in common. They’re just raw, bare and pure.
It makes it possible for the average person to express themselves in a way that binds people through things like street freestyles. One of the first rappers I fell in love with was Eminem. I listened to the Slim Shady L.P when I was 6 and understood it more as I grew up. Some of my other favourite rappers like Angel Haze, M.I, Drake, Lauryn Hill, Falz and Big Sean have that relatable honesty too.
Unlike other genres, It’s easy to focus on the artists expression without getting carried away by other aspects of the music. However, I’ve grown to fall in love with these other aspects like melodies, that dramatise vocal character in an interesting way that appeals to pop culture right now. – Bella Alubo.
What it means to you as an African and a woman ?
I see it as an outlet to express myself freely which is something I hold very dear as an African, as a woman – as a human being really. When I write, I’m in tune with my thoughts and my emotions, with myself. I can literally say anything I want in any way I please. It’s a powerful thing. With these words we rhyme, we can spread love and uplift people, we can tell stories that let people know they’re not alone. We can touch lives. – AT.
Your Art ?
I wanna contribute to it in a positive way.
I feel like as an African female, I have a lot to contribute to the game.
But also, it’s a new dimension.
Something the world hasn’t fully experienced yet.
I’m looking to break boundaries beyond the ones before me. – Tinuke.
Three identities all creating music, being strong with a poetic rap soul.
We’re here to say yes to a future with more women in Hip-Hop.
Creative direction & Styling: Wami Aluko (wa-ko).
Photography: Wami Aluko (wa-ko).
Model: Wambui Kariuki.
Make up: Wambui Kariuki.
Listen To a playlist created by Wami Aluko featuring women in Hip-Hop here.