A few weeks ago, I found myself in a situation I normally avoid at all costs: I was on a date with a dude, discussing music. There's nothing inherently terrible about that, except that I'm female and I listen almost exclusively to rap. This means that the conversation invariably goes one of two ways: either the dude I'm dealing with is anti-rap, in which case the best I can hope for is to avoid being explained to about how awful and misogynistic the genre is, or else the guy is pro-rap, which is, in certain circumstances, almost worse. This was one of those times. "Wow! That’s amazing", the dude fawned, after I’d listed my favorite rappers, "You really are into rap!" I forced out a tight smile. "You’re not like most girls," he continued, at which point my top lip curled and my pussy desiccated. I realized, then, that I was dealing with the most insufferable of pro-rap males: those who believe that rap fandom is a boys' club, and that dedicated female fans are cute and rare anomalies.
Here's the thing: Women listen to rap. Women listen to good, obscure, canon and/or on-the-come-up rappers that only real rap fans know about. WOMEN THEMSELVES CAN BE REAL RAP FANS. These seem like blindingly obvious observations to me (perhaps because I roll with a whole crew of rap-loving dames whose iTunes libraries shit on your whole life) and so it baffles me to run into dudes who still believe that female fans are special snowflakes. I do though, all the time, and perhaps you do too: men who are startled to hear that your rap knowledge runs deeper than the first three bars of "A Milli"; guys who think it’s flattering to be told how impressed they are that you’ve heard of their favorite rappers; and bros whose straining boners you can sense as soon as the name of a relevant rapper drops from your lips.