I have spent countless hours listening to hip-hop music and more time than I’m proud to admit trying to buy concert and festival tickets. Still, I feel disconnected and left out by the community of listeners.
Music has been my biggest passion for as long as I can remember.
When I was 14 years old, I began to delve further into the art of hip-hop music, from the production to the lyricism, to the artistry — I fell in love with all of it. A great deal of my free time is consumed by analyzing the meanings and stories behind hip-hop projects, watching documentaries and interviews and attending live performances by my favorite artists.
In 2021 I flew to Miami for the three-day rap music festival Rolling Loud and attended the Dreamville Festival, an event put on by J.Cole's record label, on top of other concerts. Some of my favorite shows this past year were Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem, Tyler the Creator and Saba.
You would think that it would be easy for me to bond with other hip-hop fans, but that has not exactly been the case.
Through my years of being a woman who appreciates this kind of music, I have noticed men consistently have not taken me as seriously as they do other male fans. In no way am I an expert on every artist and album, but I often feel belittled by the misogynistic comments that men make toward me.
On the streaming platform Deezer in 2019, 32 percent of female users listened to hip-hop, in comparison to 68 percent of male users. Therefore, as a woman, I have found myself in a niche position. When I claim to enjoy hip-hop music, I am faced with a series of questions about my knowledge and opinions of the artist. Men will often try to box me out of conversations about music, expecting me not to be as well-informed or passionate as them.
It's unfair for some men to gatekeep an entire genre from not only “fake fans” but all non-male listeners. Whether you are a die-hard fan or a casual listener, the men around me have jumped to conclusions before I can get a word out.
Meanwhile, I also have a difficult time finding other non-males who share my enthusiasm for the genre. While I am glad my friends have found their own interests in music, I often feel left in the dust. I’m either too much of a girl to listen to hip-hop music for boys, or I have too different of a music taste to connect with other girls.