ill Camille - "Black Gold"

The fact there's so few dope women rapping is simply because there's so few women rapping, period. That's just statistics -- it's a value, not a value judgement. Back when blogging still generated ad income, hundreds of writers made grocery money writing about 10 Dope Female Rappers Who AREN'T Nicki Minaj. Those were good times.

Let's be honest, though. Past that list of ten names, what else is there? Especially considering all those lists were nearly identical. How many more names are there? Ten? Twenty?

The "Female Rapper" category exists because this PR angle always works, just like Child Prodigy Rappers, just like Great White Hopes, just like Mixed Race Kid Finds Himself, just like I Got Shot And Almost Died. It's not like Rah Digga or Jean Grae need a league of their own in order to compete; they're both dope rappers, period.

This brings us to ill Camille. She's doing well and she damn well should be. She's making smart moves, building a real fanbase. The beats are always on point, but there's no getting past it: I can't accept these verses. They're just not very good.

Rap is pure expression, there are no wrong answers, and I really like this person as a human being. It's positive, heartfelt stuff. None of that changes the fact both verses come off like a mediocre freestyle.

Maybe that's a smart business move. Maybe, in 2017, simply spitting actual bars is enough to be considered real hip hop. Maybe artists like Rapsody, Invincible, or Psalm One are indications that writing top notch verses isn't some ticket to a successful rap career. Maybe it's more of an impediment, more of a handicap.

That's probably all true, but I'm never going to bump this song again, either way.

One Dickie for being a dope mammal. I hope you get to headline tours, and I hope your management doesn't let you read this.

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