With Lil’ Wayne leading the pack with 12 nods (followed by Kanye West and Jay-Z with 7 and 6 respectively), this year’s all-male roster of BET Hip-Hop Awards nominees is truly a sad testament to the current (and glaring) lack of women in hip-hop. Even so, would it have killed the network to at least nominate British soul/rap siren Estelle for Best U.K. Hip-Hop Act? After all, she raps, she’s from the U.K., and her outstanding 2008 U.S. debut CD, Shine, is the finest offering from a female rapper since Lauryn Hill’s 1998 classic, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. And what about M.I.A.? Hello, “Paper Planes” is the jam! (It’s also No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot Digital Songs chart, with sales in excess of 1.3 million.)
To be fair, the only female rappers who dropped albums that caught our attention this year were Lil Mama and Estelle (whose Kanye West collaboration, “American Boy,” has notched more than 1 million digital sales). But that’s no excuse for a network that deemed female rappers relevant enough to honor (or placate) them with a Best Female Hip-Hop Artist category at last summer’s BET Awards (Missy Elliott won, though she hadn’t released an CD since 2005’s The Cookbook). Heck, even the featured singers who make cameos on nominated songs are all men (Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Avery Storm…). But with four weeks to go until the show tapes on October 18 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, all hope is not lost. Take our advice, BET: Bestow the coveted I Am Hip-Hop Icon Award to Queen Latifah. Not because she’s a woman, but because she deserves it. Who’s with me on this one?
You Might Also Like:
Simon Vozick-Levinson’s PopWatch piece on how Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation is holding up on its 10th Anniversary.
Chris Willman’s review of Kanye West’s summer tour.