Hip Hop fanatics have spent the summer of 2023 celebrating the genre, so it's only fitting that Netflix, one of the premier streaming giants, blesses audiences with a new series in the form of Ladies First: A Story Of Women In Hip Hop.
Netflix is no stranger to ladies in Hip Hop, having previously premiered the honest and raw biopic Roxanne Roxanne which told the life story of Roxanne Shante. Ladies First: A Story Of Women In Hip Hop recontextualizes the irrepressible women of hip hop and their role in the genre's 50 years by reinserting them into the canon where they belong: at the center, from day one to the present day.
The four parts of this series showcase a lineup of well-known emcees, such as MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, and Rah Digga, as well as up-and-coming artists and current chart-toppers like Latto and Tierra Whack. Additionally, key figures from record labels, stylists, and journalists are featured. The series pays tribute to pioneers like Sha-Rock and Roxanne Shante while featuring candid conversations with present-day superstars like Saweetie and Coi Leray.
Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop contextualizes the history of the Music that changed the world within the broader social, racial, and political landscape of the times and, crucially, through a female lens. One of the first things potential viewers should know about the series, three of the biggest names, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot, and Nicki Minaj, do not make appearances. However, they are mentioned numerous times.
The documentary Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip Hop celebrates the power and resilience of women in the male-dominated hip-hop industry. It sheds light on the often-overlooked experiences of female rappers, from dealing with sexism and indecent proposals to being the only woman in an all-male crew. Through storytelling and visuals, this documentary reveals the untold stories of trailblazing female hip-hop artists and leaves a lasting impact on its viewers.
Directed by an immensely talented team, "Ladies First" dives deep into the personal journeys of female hip-hop artists, revealing the multifaceted challenges they face in a genre notorious for its gender bias. The series unveils the strength and determination behind the iconic figures who have struggled, fought, and paved the way for future generations of aspiring female artists.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this documentary is its impressive lineup of interviews. Ladies First brings diverse perspectives from pioneers such as MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, and Roxanne Shante to contemporary superstars like Raposdy and Kash Doll. You know I'm on montages, and the doc has a great one that highlights one-hit wonders and numerous female MCs lost in the shuffle.
My favorite segment was hearing Sha-Rock's interview, where she talked about her rhyme style and how it inspired DMC of RUN-DMC. As for the new school, Remy Ma and Raposdy solidified their knowledge as deep sisters. However, after hearing some of her fellow new-generation artists provide insightful commentary on their personal experiences, struggles, and resilience, I gained a new respect for them.
If you have any interest whatsoever in the history of hip-hop, then you must watch the documentary Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop. This tribute to the formidable women who have influenced and challenged the genre is a must-see. The documentary is engaging, visually stunning, and explores the topic in-depth.
Final Grade: A
Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip Hop premieres on Netflix on Wednesday, August 9th.