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Profound Hip Hop Quote Week #10: Special Women’s History Month Edition

12 Mar

Yes, I’m blessed, and I know who I am
I express myself on every jam
I’m not a man, but I’m in command
Hot damn, I got an all girl band

—Salt n Pepa, “Express Yourself”

How comfortable are you with expressing yourself? Sometimes this task can prove to be difficult for women.  How does a woman successfully express herself while gaining the respect she deserves from her male counterparts without being perceived as overly aggressive or too emotional?  Should women even care about how they are perceived when they are expressing their “true” selves?

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I would like to acknowledge two great female lyricists who truly paved the way for female MCs who preceded them.  Salt (Cheryl James Wray) and Pepa (Sandra Denton) are one of the most powerful female rap duos of the 1980s and 90s.  They addressed issues such as being independent, love, partying and enjoying life  and even practicing safe sex.

In “Express Yourself,” Salt n Pepa encourage the listeners, both females and males, to be themselves and not feel the need to assimilate or to follow behind others just to fit in with the crowd.  Specifically, in the lyrics provided, Pepa rejoices in knowing how blessed she is and declares, “I know who I am.  I express myself on every jam.”  Do you know who you are, or are you a mere carbon copy of what you think people expect you to be?  Pepa also acknowledges that she does not have to be a man to be “in command”  without bashing men.  Instead, she acknowledges her own achievements in having an “all girl band.”

We are all “blessed,” in one way or another and mustn’t be afraid to express our “true” selves.  Women, especially, must hold their heads high and be proud of who they are.  Isn’t it wonderful to know that you are original?  There is no one in the world like you.  Even if you have an identical twin or a doppelganger (out there somewhere) your personalities and fingerprints are not alike.  So why would you not want to be you?  Your uniqueness is what makes you special.  Knowing that I am special with unique talents and gifts has definitely helped me  with embracing the idea of expressing my “true” self.  Don’t let this Women’s History Month go by without expressing yourself by paying homage to those women who have impacted you directly or indirectly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Salt n Pepa use the standard couplet rhyme for these specific lyrics.  However, she does employ  an internal rhyme in the second couplet focusing on the assonance of the “and” sound: “man,command,” “damn” and “band.”