More can be done to diversify, empower female rappers – Gigi LaMayne

Rapper can’t wait for males, females to be pitted against each other in categories

Masego Seemela Online journalist

Rapper Gigi LaMayne wants to see more female emcees taking their rightful seats in the genre that is still predominately male.

The rapper, whose real name is Genesis Gabriella Tina Manney, walked away with the Best Female Award at this year’s SA Hip Hop awards on Tuesday at Gold Reef City casino. Gigi duked it out with Indigo Stella, Trusted SLK, Money Badoo and XXC Legacy.

While the nod is a triumphant win for the Ice Cream hit-maker, she still believes the hip hop industry should foster a gender-inclusive environment for women.

“I can't wait for a time where males and females are pitted against each other in one category, that way we can see who’s got more skill and talent outside their gender. We just have it as ‘the artist of the year’ type of category instead of labelling it by gender.

“I believe we are equally as competitive in going against each other as just rappers. Given flowers as the Best Female is not enough... more can be done to diversify and empower us as rappers.”

Among the biggest winners of the night was K.O, whose smash hit Sete took away with Song of the Year while Priddy Ugly was named Lyricist of the Year.

“The award is one that I am extremely competitive about... there are some new and amazing young girls coming into the industry and despite my win, I think we are all winners,” she said.

“I started in the industry with less than 10 female artists and now the numbers have grown, which is very exciting. The award becomes more competitive when there are more women to compete against.

Rapper Gigi Lamayne.
Rapper Gigi Lamayne.

Gigi is familiar with the hip hop wins as in 2013 and 2014 she took away the Best Female of the Year and in October; the 28-year-old received the Best Hip Hop Artist award at the first Basadi Music Awards.

“I wasn’t expecting to win an award because I hadn’t released anything solid in a while to a point where I felt that I had fallen off the bandwagon, so this award was very reassuring,” said Gigi. .

“I also say I am over awards, I’ve been over them for a while... for now I just want to do cool stuff such as handing down the baton to younger women who are on the come up.”

When asked about the ongoing debate of whether hip hop was dead, Gigi refuted the notion, explaining that the genre was “very much alive but has infiltrated into division of other genres” which diversifies and make it a lot cooler.

“Usually, when other genres come out, we as emcees figure out a way to slot ourselves using our finesse as rappers. We find ways of how we can stay relevant within our genres while other genres dominate the airwaves or dance floors. Us rapping on an amapiano beat is still hip hop inspired,” Gigi added.  

“In the same breath, we need to make sure not to forget where we come from as rappers.”  

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