Hip-hop started as a predominately male dominated genre. There were strict ‘rules’ about what the sound should be, how an artist should dress and the masculinity of the artist. Once females joined the genre, gender roles seemed to tighten up even more as women were only looked at as sex objects while the men in the genre had to be the manliest of them all. It was just the standard of Hip-Hop at the time.
In 2017, artists are becoming more comfortable with expressing their own personal styles and breaking the norm of what Hip-Hop used to be in regards to gender roles. This goes further than just personal style but also from the type of music that the artists are creating.
Drake doesn’t try to switch his personal style up too much when it comes to how he dresses, but he has defined the rules of Hip-Hop and masculinity through his music itself. Known for his sensitivity, Drake has made it normal to sing about heartbreak and relationships while also rapping. He has been unapologetic about it while being coined as the “simp” of his generation which is working in his favor.
Young Thug not only has he expressed himself musically in different ways than what the typical Hip-Hop artist would, he created a whole country rap album, but he uses his own personal style to separate himself from his peers while breaking the gender rules that Hip-Hop established. He calls his friends ‘Bae’ and dresses in women’s clothes. On the cover of his album, Jeffery, he appeared in a blue Japanese inspired dress that had everyone talking. He has also been seen in girls’ clothing before this as well making fans question his sexuality. He wasn’t the first to ‘cross dress’ in the industry and most certainly isn’t the last as we are now moving towards a more clothes are just clothes society.
Young Thug started a trend in the industry as others like Kid Cudi and Jaden Smith followed the trend and can be seen wearing crop tops and skirts.
Paying attention to the changes in men in the Hip-Hop industry isn’t the only thing. Women are also breaking the norm in the industry by not conforming to what the typical female rapper or Hip-Hop artist is supposed to look like. Women are now being true to themselves as well. Artist like Kodie Shane and Dej Loaf found a way to still make good music while incorporating their tom-boy style that was once only embraced by a couple female emcees.
As Hip-Hop continues to make progress, new artists are constantly emerging to push the culture forward and break boundaries.