"Sisterhood Of Hip Hop" Cast Members Discuss Female Hip Hop Renaissance
Exclusive: Siya, Nyemiah Supreme, Diamond, Brianna Perry and Bia also address struggles women face in Hip Hop.
Sisterhood Of Hip Hop is a new reality television series that follows five female emcees—Siya, Nyemiah Supreme, Diamond, Brianna Perry and Bia—as they pursue their dreams of becoming global Rap superstars. The show is executive produced by T.I.
Ahead of the series' premiere today (August 12) on Oxygen at 9.00 PM ET/PT. Siya, Nyemiah Supreme, Diamond, Brianna Perry and Bia spoke exclusively to HipHopDX about the current female renaissance in Hip Hop and the challenges that women face trying to crack the male-dominated domain.
Bia & Diamond Detail Female Hip Hop Renaissance
“As far as being in a renaissance, I think that at the beginning when we first started filming the show, it was probably about a year and a half ago, everything that’s going on in Hip Hop right now was not going on as big as it was back then,” 22 year-old Bia says. “So if you can get where I’m coming from, back when we started the show, and we were casting, it was a little bit harder. I don’t want to say a little bit harder, but we didn’t see as much going on for females. Within this past year and a half, there’s been so much going on with women in Hip Hop. It’s crazy, and a good crazy. Like you say, [a] renaissance of overflowing new talent.”
Crime Mob member Diamond says there’s opportunity for females at all times in the industry but states it’s up to the individual to market and push herself correctly.
“Hip Hop has been continuing to go strong towards females,” she says. “If you’ve been a fan, to be online and to know what’s going on, you’d have to see independent artists. I was an independent artist. I started out with a major label, you know what I’m saying? And then [I] went to being an independent artist, making my own money. Still having tours, still doing my own thing as if I was a major artist. So there is opportunity at all times for any female. It is up to each individual female. If you’re going to continue to push forward, how are you going to design your theme? Because you can’t do it all by yourself. So I think it also relies on you continuing to push forward and making sure you have a great solid foundation, a great team around you.”
Addressing the struggles associated with being a female trying to break into the Hip Hop world, Bia affirms it’s not because they’re women. It’s because of their status as new artists.
“Okay, by no means do I think when we say ‘difficult’ any time on this show do we mean we’re making an excuse or anything like that,” says Bia, who is signed to Pharrell’s i Am Other imprint. “I think, it is difficult for any artist, not just women, but when you’re a new artist and you want people, or even like — someone like Diamond who’s been out before and trying to reinvent themselves, it’s always going to be hard to get somebody to log on and download and listen to that new music. Because once they feel a certain way about you, it’s kind of like, ‘All right, well, what are you going to do to raise the bar and make me think otherwise?’ Which is absolutely how it should be, but that’s what I think. I mean, any time that we say ‘difficult’ or, ‘Oh, it’s harder for [the] females on the show,’ I don’t think we mean like literally harder for females to get listened to.
“I think we mean harder for — there’s different things that come into play being a female in this industry,” she continues. "Any type of entertainment whatsoever is just - there are little things that add to that, you know? You have other women that sell themselves short or you have other women that will do whatever it takes to get to where they have to go. So sometimes you have to automatically come off as a strong, evil, mean woman, just so you can get some respect.”
Siya, Brianna Perry, & Neyemiah Supreme Discuss Desire To Be Household Names
Atlantic records signee Brianna Perry says females want to touch the masses without being detrimental to the art form.
“As artists, we’re so passionate about our craft,” the Miami resident says. “You love what you do and you don’t do it simply just to pay your bills but you want to touch the masses. I feel like I speak for so many different girls who aren’t artists and their voice won’t be heard. I think that’s mainly the key. You want to touch as many people as possible, not simply pay your bills because it’s kind of like you’re cheating your gift. You’re cheating your gift and your talent.
“I think you aim to be mainstream and you want to touch as many people as possible,” she adds. “I aim to be a household name and to be a brand. It’s not many female Hip Hop artists that are household names, that are brands. And when they come nowadays, they come very few and far between. It’s always some kind of crazy factor. You mention Iggy [Azalea] who’s eating up the pop charts right now, and she’s doing her thing. But yes, I would definitely say that it’s not many doing that.”
Queens, New York native Nyemiah Supreme goes onto discuss females not being respected unless they are being revealing on camera, citing Rapsody as an artist that she admires for not conforming to “the whole sexed-up rapper thing.”
“I feel like for what it is, the struggles may be really just sometimes having to force your sexuality to get attention,” Nyemiah Supreme says. “So no matter how lyrically strong we are, or if we’re talking about being an ill woman, or we’re talking about being successful, it kind of gets ignored if we’re not flashing titties and ass. So the struggle is really keeping the focus of what we’re saying as a people.
“So I love Rapsody and I love how she doesn’t use sex as a tool to be huge,” she continues. “She pays her bills, but I think she should be bigger than what she is. But I feel like because she doesn’t do the whole sexed-up rapper thing that she doesn’t get the attention that she should. I feel like that is definitely just being a female and our opinion is not being valued in this world sometimes becomes a barrier. And so to trick people to listen to us, women are taught to use sex to get people to listen to you. And that’s really big in the Hip Hop game.”
Siya, a 26 year-old openly gay rapper, states it’s a thin line between success and failure for females in the industry.
“It’s two things,” says the rapper born in California but who resides in Brooklyn, New York. "Either you’re selling sex, flashing your pussy and some titties and you become a household name known all across the world. Or, you remain true to your values as a female emcee like Rapsody and you end up paying your bills doing shows in America on the underground scene and a couple of shows overseas, but the whole world doesn’t know your name. It’s a very, very thin line. Either you take your clothes off like some of the chicks you mentioned, or you do what we do and live our lives the way the fuck we want to live them and don’t change nothing up for the industry.”