The Feminist Guide to Trap Music

Being a feminist music critic is much less restrictive than it may seem. I put this specific mixtape together because I’d been having a number of conversations about the blatant misogynistic content in contemporary trap music. Back in the ‘90s, when Goodie Mobb, Outkast, and Master P were laying the foundation for trap, the lyrics were much less abusive towards women, our bodies, and general existence. But these days, when I talk to younger trap listeners, they treat me like I had never heard the genre before, while cis male music enthusiasts who are my age tell me I’m being too rigid with my music taste.

When you’re a female-identified music critic, there are going to be those times when you have to say, “I know what I like.” Not only do I know what I like, but I can make a collection of trap songs that are not overwhelmingly exploitative and abusive.

When Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap” came out in 2012, the song felt truly empowering. It was in-your-face, sexy, and had the quintessential elements of trap production style. I loved her interaction with 2 Chainz, so when they came together again in 2017 for “Realize” on 2 Chainz’s latest album, Pretty Girls Love Trap Music, I was excited. For me, finding good music takes patience—I’d rather wait five years for a collaboration I know I’m going to like than to listen to every single thing on the radio that comes my way.

The feminist aspect of this playlist comes from me being clear about what I enjoy as a female-identified listener—and it also comes from having the discipline to listen to music that isn’t profoundly violent towards women and female-identified queer music listeners. This playlist includes cis and LGBTQ women as lead rappers on their tracks, it features trap originators from the mid-’90s, and it consists of music that has a bit of depth—not to mention authenticity, a little sexiness, and dope beats.

Not all trap music is offensive, and even if some of the artists on this mixtape have other songs that are disrespectful towards women, I want to highlight those rare tracks where they show who they are without having to demean anyone. I’m not about censoring artists, but rather giving listeners the freedom to choose safe music.