The Complaints Over ‘Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop’ Are a Great Problem to Have

Rapper Rapsody throws a peace sign while a hand holds a filming slate in front of her face before filming a documentary scene.

It has been about two weeks since the trailer for Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop dropped and viewers immediately noted some surprising omissions. However, there is a positive side to the complaints being expressed that not enough people are celebrating.

When the trailer for the four-part Netflix docuseries was first released, most people online were in shock that it didn’t include Nicki Minaj, arguably hip-hop’s best and/or most popular female rapper. I definitely understand that reaction, as I was hoping to see Nicki appear in the docuseries as well. I legitimately remember where I was when I first learned of Ms. Minaj, through her underground hit “Itty Bitty Piggy” back in 2009. I had a gut feeling that she was going to blow up! Her iconic rise was meteoric throughout the 2010s, with her own individual successes and becoming a huge featured artist on some of the biggest songs of the decade. So yes, I wish that Nicki was in this docuseries and think she would have had a big contribution to it.

Two other women who could arguably be called the greatest as well were also left off: Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill. Missy’s contributions, especially in the realm of the music video, cannot be understated. She revolutionized what it meant to have influential and lasting videos, and felt comfort in her sexuality that was so important as a woman who wasn’t super thin. And Lauryn Hill is one of the best lyricists in rap history, male or female. Her 1998 album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, is one of the best and most relevant albums in modern music, winning five Grammys.  

While there are a lot of great artists who are not part of this project, there are a ton who are included. Women like Queen Latifah, Cardi B, and Saweetie to name a few. Critics’ reviews of the docuseries have been positive. It gives a behind-the-scenes into the music industry from the women who lived it. From the music to the sex, it takes a deep dive that many will enjoy and find very eye-opening. But the omission of legends like Nicki Minaj still cast a glowing shadow.

I think a lot of us are missing how great this is though! Whenever there is a documentary or docuseries like this one, some people are going to be left out. This is similar to those ‘GOAT’ conversations in the world of sports. Mentioning the greatness of Michael Jordan and Lebron James doesn’t negate the fact that Tracy McGrady was virtually unstoppable in his prime. The positive takeaway is that there are simply too many women legends in hip-hop!

This is a very good problem to have. There were trailblazers like MC Lyte and Salt-N-Pepa, who helped show skeptics that women can be real artists in the genre. Nowadays, it seems like the radio is dominated by them. With artists like Latto, Megan Thee Stallion, Coi Leray, and Ice Spice, some of the biggest and most viral songs in the past few years have been by women. Instead of focusing on who was not included in the Netflix series, we can be happy that there are so many lovely ladies that we even would have a problem like this!

(featured image: Netflix)

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