Rappers, generally speaking, aren’t universally known for their forward-thinking feminist viewpoints. Nope, mostly women in rap songs are video hos or strippers or gold diggers, celebrated not so much for their intellect as for their cup size. But that doesn’t mean that all rap songs are about detailing a woman’s measurements and Gucci nails — there’s actually a strain of hip-hop that prizes the ladies who know how to hold a conversation, run a business, and read books — at least comic books. Below the jump: a countdown of rap songs about ladies who can work a spreadsheet, not a stripper pole.
“Fancy” by Drake (Feat. T.I.)
In this track, Drake lays it down for all the women who are “book and street smart,” plus he gets flummoxed when a lady (“independent with the demeanor of an R&B singer”) turns down his offer to buy her a drink ’cause she’s out with her ladies. “Shout out to the homeowners/The girls that got diplomas/And enough money to loan us a little something extra/Should we ever need it.” You got it, Drake.
“You Got Me” by The Roots ft. Erykah Badu and Jill Scott
The Roots’ Black Thought falls hard for “an Ethiopian Queen” from Philly in this song, but what attracts him in the first place? Not (just) boobs, but cultural literacy. She’s “taking classes abroad/she studying film and photo flash focus record/said she workin on a flick and could my clique do the score/she said she loved my show in Paris/at Elysee Montmartre.”
“Let Me Watch” by Viktor Vaughn (M.F. Doom)
This song’s mostly about Doom being rejected by a girl who not only has a bangin’ body, but also drops some knowledge about world politics and video games on him. And that’s hot:
“We walked arm-in-arm and split a cherry coke Spit religion and politics, Sega and chess Roots of culture, hip-hop, skunk and sess”
“Love King” by The-Dream
We can’t claim that this song is particularly progressive — The-Dream’s listing of girls in different places is the sort of boast that Ludacris makes in “Area Codes” — but it made our list because of this line:
“Got a girl up in Target A girl outta college Sorry ladies but there ain’t Nothing like a smart bitch”
“Miss Independent” by Ne-Yo
Ne-Yo’s celebration of, apparently, the women at his office who flirt with him but don’t need him to pay for stuff replaces the stripper pole with the office water cooler and the scantily-clad dancers with women in business casual holding binders and projection pointers: “She walk like a boss/talk like a boss” and “do her own thing.” What’s not to like?
“Lady Don’t Tek No” by Latyrx
This hip-hop crew — which originally included DJ Shadow — crafted this song celebrating take-no-shit whip-smart ladies:
“She got razor sharp wit and she just won’t quit Flauntin it, body built like a house made outta bricks She got the smile, the style and finesse Compounded with the blessed profound intellect”
Plus: “She digs Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Nicki Giovanni, o honey/Say she wanna be a doctor.”
“Smart Girls” by Brian Wilson
Yes, this is the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson’s lost rap track. Yes, it is undoubtedly the weirdest entry on this list. But it’s about smart girls, as the title would suggest, and how Wilson used to write about girls who weren’t too smart but is now convinced that he “needs another girl with more imagination… give me a girl who teaches school/who isn’t afraid to break the rules.” It’s worth listening to for the novelty alone.
Any we left out? Leave ’em in the comments.