Cdot The Catalyst is a dope lyricist who I’ve been chatting with on Twitter and iChat since last year. She’s cool, uber smart, talented, and well, definitely under exposed. We’ve had so many great talks and I love her irreverence and snark so much that I wanted her to submit this piece explaining her identity as a “femcee.” (I was supposed to post this months ago as part of a project that I never really got off the ground but that’s another story). Check out C Dot The Catalyst as she breaks down her disdain for the “f word” (femcee) and why Nicki Minaj gives her hope…
Words By C Dot The Catalyst
Apparently the tweets is watchin’ and reading my mind because I noticed a trending topic that read #becauseofnickiminaj…now aside from reading the obvious comments about chipmunk voices, Barbie personas and butt pads, I had my own response. “because of Nicki Minaj…I might have a chance.” My name is Charity Clay and I’m a woman and an emcee. I have difficulties with the term femcee because it implies that the term emcee is normalized to be a guy and I don’t think mic skills have a gender. I consider myself to be a lyricist and only measure myself by who I consider to be the best, but I digress. I was talking about how the popularity of Nicki Minaj is a good thing for us women in hip-hop who consider ourselves to be emcees. Now one would assume that my claim to be a lyricist would indicate some desire to reject the Nicki Minajes of the world because of the belief that they are destroying the purity of hip-hop but I have a different perspective on the situation.
First, we must not forget our history, there has always been wack shit out there, if there wasn’t wack shit then how would we know what’s dope? We do things by comparison and on the basis of our own tastes and preferences. I quote the famous common line “some of that shit y’all pop to I ain’t relatin/if I don’t like it I don’t like it that don mean that I’m hatin.” Meaning, I can appreciate the multiplicity of hip-hop, even the aspects that I don’t particularly like. It comes with membership of the culture, recognizing that its not perfect and loving it anyway. It’s not dead or dying, it’s ever changing.
Now back to Nicki…On one hand there are those who are calling her the next Lil’ Kim or Foxy Brown and the loads of young girls (and grown men and women) who have begun calling themselves Barbies to show their support of her movement. And then you have those who reject Nicki Minaj as nothing but an industry puppet making mockery of all that is sacred in hip-hop. Beyond those perspectives what I see is opportunity. The message that the Nicki Minaj lovers and haters are both sending is that people miss women in hip-hop. Those that identify with her express how long they’ve been waiting for a new hip-hop vixen in the tradition of the Lil’ Kims, Foxy Browns and Trinas and those that dismiss her continue to express their hunger for the reemergence of new women emcees like the Rah Diggas the Jean Graes and Mystics.
Not that I seek approval or acknowledgment from the mainstream but the removal of the Grammy category for Best Female Hip-Hop Solo Artist sent a message that we were unimportant and expendable; a message that hip-hop seemed to accept. So, to know that people actually miss women in hip-hop is reassuring to those of us emcees who often wonder if there is any place for us anymore.Those of who try to let our lyrical skills speak instead of letting our physiques do the talking. Now this is not an attack against Nicki because I actually heard her before the make over and was impressed. But even her new manufactured persona, still leaves me hopeful about the possibility of me and others like me to have success because eventually the pendulum has to swing the other way to maintain balance. She represents one woman’s perspective but there are so many others equally worthy of our attention and support. â€¨The task for me and those like me is make sure we have the material to satisfy the hunger of those who claim to be starving for real women emcees. So when people ask where the “femcees” are I tell them, we’re in the studio workin on our craft. The RA the MCs, Mae Days, Dominique Larues, the Invincibles…and countless others are out here, you just have to look. The search to uncover dopeness used to be what drove hip-hop. Now with internet accessibility artists have to work harder and be more strategic. But the listeners should put the same effort into finding new muic that they do complaining about what’s not available. And most importantly, when you find something, support it. Tell a friend to tell a friend, send it to your favorite bloggers for submission, purchase an album or attend a show. It seems that hip-hop is getting lazy because we want something for nothing. We seem to have forgotten that its been the fanatic necessity to hear something fresh for the first time that’s vital to hip-hop continuing to grow as a culture. But seeing the embrace and rejection of Nicki Minaj is what gives me the confidence that people will listen and like my music. That and my shit’s just dope.
–Cdot the catalyst
Her music is available upon request. Click Here to follow her on Twitter.
P.S. There’s a really deep story behind the middle picture (with the car). You should ask her about it when you go to her Twitter page.