‘I’m going around the world in the seven seas/I’m cashing six figure checks in all currencies…’
— Robyn from the song ‘U Should Know Better’
‘My time is money/homie you’re not paying my bills’
— JoJo from the song ‘My Time Is Money’
‘My features and my shows ten times your pay/50K for a verse, no album out/Yeah, my money’s so tall…’
— Nicki Minaj from the song, ‘Monster’ by Kanye West
If you’re like me, you listen to all types of music, and if you’re into listening to lyrics, the ones above might be familiar. What’s the common denominator between them besides the obvious money-focused subject matter? Well, all three are lyrics sung or rapped by women.
In her song, ‘U Should Know Better’, Robyn (currently the biggest pop singer not named Lady Gaga) talks about traveling the world and cashing those big six figure checks as proof she’s not one to be messed with. On JoJo’s new mixtape, Can’t Take That Away From Me, the song ‘My Time Is Money’ finds the singer taunting a man who is too hesitant to approach her, boldly proclaiming, ‘I don’t need your dollars/I’m giving you a chance to holler.’ And on ‘Monster’, Nicki, much like Robyn, shows when it comes to her bank account, she not only can hang with the big boys, she might also be out-earning some of them. How many other rookie rappers can say they’re charging $50,000 for a guest verse?
There’s something going on in music, and these three females are proving it. Independence, for women, has always seemed to be a taboo thing, especially in the music industry where women have longed needed to seem strong and vulnerable at the same time. Madonna could be a material girl all she wanted, but if a man wanted to assist her with maintaining such a lifestyle, they were more than welcome to. Women like Robyn, JoJo, and Nicki are saying something slightly different. Instead of beating around the bush as to how they got their nice cars and nice clothes, they want everyone to know they bought those things with their own money.
NEXT PAGE: INDEPENDENT WOMEN THEN AND NOW
Sure the refrain may not seem entirely new. After all, one of Destiny’s Child’s biggest hits was a little number called, ‘Independent Women Part 1’. But whereas songs like ‘Independent Women Part 1’ were all about showing they don’t need a man, songs like ‘U Should Know Better’ and Nicki’s bank statement braggadocio in ‘Monster’ make no such appeal. When Nicki says ‘I’m all up in the bank with the funny face/and I’m fake I ain’t notice cause my money ain’t,’ she’s not trying to say, ‘Look ma, no man’ so much as she’s trying to say, I did this on my own and I’m proud of that accomplishment for what it is.
Maybe it’s the economy or maybe it’s a reflection of the times we live in, where more and more women are becoming the household breadwinners, but whatever it is, this new form of independence is refreshing to see. For a long time, female artists who wanted to match their male counterparts applied an independent attitude more towards the bedroom than they did the bank.
Not to knock artists like Trina, Lil Kim, and even Madonna, because sexual indepen
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