Every woman, no matter how old or who she is, should have a theme song. You know, that song that gets you hyped and makes you feel like you can conquer the world? Yeah, one of those. Maybe you play it on Monday mornings to get ready for another workweek, or perhaps you blast it right before a test or an important meeting. Whatever the case may be, a theme song is as mandatory as a cute little black dress and a fly pair of shoes.
While I love all types of music from classic soul hits to Latin jazz, at my core I’m an 80s baby and I love hip-hop.
While thinking of what songs to share, BET dropped a couple of groundbreaking features, “My Mic Sounds Nice” and “Black Girls Rock!” Inspired by sistas who rock the mic, I figured why not highlight some of the dopest female emcees who have ever graced the stage.
If you’re in need of a theme song, feel free to borrow one of these hits by women who know a thing or two about empowerment.
Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo: Yo-Yo burst on the scene in ’91 and repped for all us Cali girls who weren’t to be played with. From the first line, she told you what was up. “My name is Yo-Yo, I’m not a ho/I like to flow so swift, its got to be a gift/So yo, let the beat lift, as I rip and rhyme/And rap and slap all the girls who came to dap.” Yo-Yo’s catalogue is filled with feminist anthems like “Black Pearl” and “You Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo.” I love her music because she shows that you can be strong, while also remaining fly.
U.N.I.T.Y.: Latifah has always been regal, hence the moniker “Queen,” but when “U.N.I.T.Y’s” chorus hit, you knew it wasn’t a game. In ’94 Latifah dropped the award-winning album, Black Reign, and “Who you callin a bitch?” became the retort many sistas shot back at dudes who lacked respect. I STILL love this song. The haunting saxophone, coupled with the hard-hitting beat were a perfect compliment to Latifah’s confident flow.
Lost Ones: The game hasn’t been the same since Lauryn gracefully bowed out. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was a game changer. It showed female emcees could drop conscious jewels and make you dace all at once. “Lost Ones” has always been one of my favorites. The reggae inspired beat mixed with Lauryn’s assertive delivery is spot on. I throw on “Lost Ones” whenever I’m feeling like people are trying to play me and take my talent, kindness, or even-temperedness as a weakness. As Ms. Hill so eloquently raps, “Some wan play young Lauryn like she dumb/But remember not a game new under the sun/Everything you did has already been done.”
The Woman In Me: I stumbled on this gem while I was digging for some underground jewels. Released in 1998 on the Hip Hop Independents Days Vol. 1 compilation, Apani-B rocked it for all of the women still screaming for the respect, years after Aretha demanded it. “The Woman In Me” is such a positive shot in the arm that I dare you to listen to it and not feel an instant pick-me-up. Apani raps, “This goes out to all my feminine friends/Realize woman’s essence is God’s greatest gifts/Raise your fist if you know who you are inside/We can have the universe if we so desire.” Somebody say, “Amen!”
Brown Skin Lady: Ok, so “Brown Skin Lady” was created by two dudes, but how can you not LOVE it!? In 1998, Mos Def and Talib Kweli teamed up to create this ode to all the beautiful brown skin sistas around the globe. Women constantly get mixed messages from the media telling us we’re not pretty enough, thin enough, good enough, and this song counteracts all of that nonsense. Every time I hear “Brown Skin Lady” it makes me feel so good, that I can’t help but share it with all of my girlfriends! Feeling down? Listen to Kweli kick it. “You know what?/ Without makeup you’re beautiful/Whatcha you need to paint the next face for/We’re not dealin with the European standard of beauty tonight/Turn off the TV and put the magazine away/In the mirror tell me what you see/See the evidence of divine presence.