If hip-hop was a woman, what would she look like?

For many years, I ended nearly every interview with a hip-hop artist with the same question: If hip-hop was a woman, what would she look like? Word magazine published some of the answers I got in 2008, but the collection grew considerably since. Below, as a tip of the hat to International Women’s Day (March 8), some of the answers I got:

“She’d have a strong body and she’d have a pretty face, but it would be one of those male/female faces, you know, but a nice face. She would look good, but she would be strong-looking, like a Black Panther. [Laughs] It would definitely be a strong-looking woman.” – Eve

“She’d probably be all fat and beat-up. [Laughs] Nah. If hip-hop was a woman, for real though, she’d be like a real strong grandmother. You know, just taking care of the whole family, just that hard, African look.” – Hi-Tek

“She’d look like everything that’s good. She’d look like turntables, she’d look like a mic — but in a nice way. She’d smell good, she’d feel good, every time you scratch it. Every time you turn the mic on, she’d feel good. It’d just be a good feeling, you know. She would be– a mic for a nec, two turntables are the nipples. Um. shit. The arms of turntables are her arms and shit. You know, she’s just put together like a Transformer, but beautiful.” – Nas

“She would probably be a tall, big bitch with big feet or something — a pretty bitch with big feet. I don’t know. Maybe too much cellulite on her ass because of all the bullshit [in hip-hop].” – Raekwon

“Right now, she’d be a hood rat. It’s like what Common said. I used to love her, now they pimpin’ her. Let’s put it that way.” – Method Man

“I think she would be a beautiful, unique person. I think she’d be like a melting pot of different races, different religions, different cultures. When I think of hip-hop, that’s the thing I think of more than anything, because you got all different types of skin color, cultures, religions involved. Me, I’m a little bit white, a little bit Asian and then I look like a little bit Spanish. That’s my whole thing when I think of hip-hop, so I would say that: Multi-cultural.” – DJ Smallz

“A fucking whore that’s just been ran through. Just— God. A whore that’s past her prime. [Laughs] I’m just being real. A 50-year-old still working in the Red Light District and shit, titties sagging and just been done so wrong. [Laughs].” – Phonte of Little Brother

“Right now? She’d be a very ugly woman. Hip-hop is ugly right now…. It’s very negative right now, [and] negativity, to me, equals ugliness. [Pause] And a very stupid woman, too.” – Lupe Fiasco

“Damn. Right now? She would look like Terrance Howard’s girl in Hustle and Flow, because you know she’s supposed to look real bomb but she looks real tired.” – Blu

“At its current state? Well, I think if hip-hop was a woman, she’d have to be quadruplets. It couldn’t just be one woman. One would have to be very afrocentric and very down to earth, and try to keep everything pure, and the righteous one fighting for equality, fighting for what’s good. One would probably have a weave down to the floor and implants and a really tight skirt. One would probably have to be a banker who is very driven, just about being successful, and one of them would probably have on booty shorts and gold fronts.” – DJ Jazzy Jeff

“Probably like she’s on methamphetamine, man. [Laughs] She’d probably look drugged the hell out because she done been so abused. She’d be fly as hell, though, but her facial features and stuff like that would just look worn out. She’d be a fly-ass, abused woman.” – Petey Pablo

“She would have a bangin’ ass body and an ugly ass face…right now, because the face of hip-hop is once you get on mainstream radio…. But the body of hip-hop –– the thing that makes that face be able to walk and hold up, and stand on that head, and make that head stand on that neck, that is keeping hip-hop strong –– is the people who are dope: Outkast, T.I., Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Rhymefest…. You know, the body is bangin’, but the face is a bit ugly. But you know what I’m gonna do, because I care so much about this girl, because I love this girl so much? I’m gonna take her to a plastic surgeon. I’m gonna get her cheeks lifted. I’m gonna show her how to put some ProActive on her face. I’m gonna make her happy, and put a smile on her, make her stop frowning so much. She’s always mad! I’m gonna present to the world a more beautiful woman.” – Rhymefest

“She’d look like Halle Berry. Just perfectly put together — when everyone in the game has an opportunity.” – DL Incognito

“I don’t think she could just be one woman. It’d have to be a couple different women. [Laughs] It’s gotta be funky, it’s gotta be freaky. It’s definitely gotta be something stimulating, so it just depends on what’s stimulating to the people…. She definitely – definitely – gotta have that wideness to her, but it’s gotta be shaped up right, and the boom gotta hit right, but she’s also gotta be intelligent. That’s first and foremost; you gotta stimulate that mind, too.” – Big Boi

“She’s that one beautiful girl you’ll never get over — your destructive first love. No matter where you are in your life or who you’re with, you always end up in bed with her. She makes you feel like the luckiest man on earth when you’re together but she flaunts her cheating ways for the world to see, rarely returns your calls and never says thank you when you look out for her best interests or dedicate mixtapes to her. You love her too much for your own good, but those fleeting moments of her direct attention are too much to ever let go of.” – Tonedeff

“She would probably have the features of every culture on the planet, because hip-hop is universal, worldwide. She would definitely have on, you know, a hoodie, a cool-ass hat, maybe some Timbs.” – Masta Ace

“She would be hood — definitely hood. Bourgeois though, you know? She would want the best hand bag, the dopest Gucci boots. She’d probably be mixed … because hip-hop is full of totally different cultures. She’d be eclectic. She’d be a whole collage. She’d be very colorful. I think she’d be dope. She wouldn’t be scared to talk to nobody. Kind of arrogant, but fly. You couldn’t hate. You’d want to be down. That’s the way that hip-hop is: You get in where you fit in.” – Shawnna

“She would have the body of a goddess. Very healthy, like Serena Williams type body, and intelligent, and able to understand me, understand my moods. It would be, like, the thickest girl in the world with the nicest body — very attractive, and able to understand me.” – Motion Man

“I think, right now, hip-hop would be a prostitute — beautiful looking, but she will sell herself to get what she wants. She’s lost that intelligence, but sometimes it kicks in. When she’s standing at the corner of the street, that intelligence kicks in sometimes and she doesn’t sell herself cheap. [Laughs]” – Zuluboy (South Africa)

“Right now, it’d be a really classy — Well, no, not classy, but a really dressed-up girl that’s out for the shine. She just wants to shine for the night.” – Classified

“Aw, man. She would be a B-student. You know, not perfect at everything, but good enough at everything. So she would be, like, a B. She would cook good enough, she would clean good enough. She wouldn’t necessarily be perfect, because hip-hop is not perfect, but it does the job.” – Bobby Creekwater

“She’d be beautiful. I think she’d be coloured. And she would have eyes that would make you feel like a complete retard every time she looked at you.” – Moses of Sweatshop Union

“Well, there’s a lot of bass, so she’d be big on the bottom. She’d be loud; maybe she’d look like she’d be wearing loud colors. She would always be moving — and a member of several 12-step programs.” – Boots Riley of the Coup

“She would have a caramel complexion and long hair. I guess the eyes would be like kaleidoscopes; they can change different colours. The body would be like that Coke bottle shape –– perfect. The lips would be crazy. The lips would be beautiful –– full lips. And she’d have some headphones on.” – Wordsworth

“Hip-hop would be the flyest chick ever. She’d be mixed and exotic looking and dress with mad style — a down-ass chick who ain’t afraid to break a nail if she gotta handle her biz. And she’d be dope as hell in bed, the type that even when you’re makin’ love, you’re still fuckin. Yeah, I fucks with hip-hop.” – PackFM

“She would look like Beyonce. Nah, no she wouldn’t. If hip-hop was a woman, she’d probably be a video girl that’s in the hip-hop videos because they’re the ladies of hip-hop. They the vision of hip-hop: Video girls.” – Soulja Boy

“Wow. She’d probably be real sexy. She’d be intellectual. She’d like to party, and at the same time be very conscious, aware of social and political issues. She’d just be a well rounded— she’d be the perfect woman! Well, not the perfect woman, because hip-hop is not perfect, so if it was a woman she wouldn’t be. She’d have her flaws, yeah. She’d probably like a lot of jewelry, name-brand clothes, phat cars and stuff. But you’d still have to love her though — have to love her.” – Jin

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