It seems counter-intuitive by now that women rappers would rhyme about anything other than leftist politics, feminist ideals, empowerment and sexuality, and anti-corporatism. I’m clearly biased; I listen to Invincible and Missy Elliott and spoken word artists like Ursula Rucker. But in the genre that is righteous, emboldened female hip-hop, Eternia is the reigning Canadian queen. On her new album At Last, along with producer MoSS, she speaks against pay-to-play and sponsorships, confronts an abusive past, and admits she looks for love in all the wrong places.
“Pass That” is a particularly intense track, chronicling one woman’s battle against an abusive religious husband and her sixteen-year-old daughter’s sexual proclivity, reasoning, “She figures they gonna take it so why not pay for that.” Other songs address heavy issues like alcoholism (“Dear Mr. Bacardi”), single motherhood, dropping out of school, running away, molestation, abortion, and gang rape (“To The Future”).
The lyrics are tough, raw, and full of references to race (Eternia is white), competition between women (on “The BBQ,” Fergie is called “corny”), and devotion to God and family. Particularly if you’re a hip-hop fiend, you’ll appreciate “Any Man,” on which Eternia explains how she works hard, regardless of the fame she earns, and often shares the stage with the big names you already know and love. “It’s not cockiness, it’s confidence, it’s what I been through,” she explains. Elsewhere, she drops lines like “The game needs me like Jay-Z.” I may be a big fan of the Jiggaman, but Eternia couldn’t be more correct; we desperately need revolutionary ladies on the charts.
A couple of years ago, Eternia put out a T-shirt that reads, “My favorite rapper wears a skirt,” which I could easily wear with pride. Could you?