Female rapper Dej Loaf started to gain attention during the back-end of summer last year when Drake tweeted support for her single ‘Try Me‘ and Wiz Khalifa hopped on the remix.
There have always been rappers who come out with a song that dominates the summer and then disappear when the follow-up fails to live up to the hype; and it’s fair to say that no one would’ve been surprised if the same happened to Dej Loaf. Well it just so happens her mixtape ‘Sell Sole‘, released at the end of last year, was a surprisingly strong debut and proof that she is the female rapper the world needs right now.
Firstly a decent amount of credit should go to producer DDS. His instrumentals are the natural progression to the wave of post R&B started by Kanye (on 808’s And Heartbreak) and popularised by Drake. His music is lighthearted and wouldn’t sound out-of-place in a Disney musical. He couples this with trap drums and a tonne of bass creating the perfect mesh of light and heavy. Add Dej’s almost child like voice which she uses to talk about everything from romance to revenge; the two are the perfect combination.
What’s most interesting about Dej Loaf is the fact that she’s a female rapper but on her own terms. When people say things like ‘(person) is the best female rapper’, it’s kind of a ridiculous statement. There’s zero proof that women don’t rap just as well as men and there are many occasions, such as Nicki Minaj on ‘Monster’, Lil Kim on ‘Quiet Storm’ and anytime Lauryn Hill is rapping, where they do it better. They all discuss the same topics, so gender is rarely an issue. To combat this, some of the more popular female rappers focus less on skill level and song writing and more on hyper sexuality. But not actual discussions about sexuality, but more porno raps. Which is fine by itself; but where male rappers can sexually objectify women and still earn respect as a rapper, women discussing sex in a similar way become the objects. Case in point: Nicki Minaj.
The ‘Go Hard‘ video was pretty much everything that was exciting about Nicki Minaj. Firstly Nicki’s performance on the track was easily stronger than the original and she ran rings around Lil Wayne. The word play, the confidence, everything was perfect. She also wasn’t afraid to show that she was a woman. She didn’t feel the need to wear a large hoody to be taken seriously. She was every much a woman as any of the models in Wayne’s videos, just with a tonne of talent.
What’s notable about the video is the fact that firstly, the video is absolutely terrible and the ‘director’ hopefully didn’t work again. Secondly the video spends a good amount of time focused on her butt. Out of nowhere there will be a shot of her butt for absolutely no reason, she doesn’t even seem to be aware of it, which also makes it creepy. This is interesting because her butt is the least interesting part of this video. The song is so strong any attempts to distract from it just feel out-of-place. Compare that with her ‘Anaconda‘ video and it’s obvious where she went wrong. Despite all the hype around ‘Anaconda‘ the only time people cared about the project was when the video was released, not the song itself.
Dej Loaf doesn’t combat this or give into this in any way. She simply is herself. In the opening moments of her ‘Try Me‘ video we see Dej rise from her bed in her bra. This doesn’t feel sexualised, more that this is just what she sleeps in. Her ‘matter of fact’ sense of sexuality pops up elsewhere on the album. On mixtape opener ‘Bird Call‘:
‘I got a temper this short and I barely got patience/ He got a dick this long, I think he from Jamaica’
She talks about sex in the same manner as male rapper and does it without objectifying herself and, whilst objectivity of any kind isn’t particularly positive, it is interesting to hear the tables turned.
‘Blood‘ is the most important song Dej Loaf has made so far. Other than running rings around her male guests with a strong and aggressive verse, she also lays out her mission statement.
‘If I don’t make it off of this again fuck this shit, I’m done/ Cause ain’t no ho in my blood, no hoes in my circle’
She is willing to throw away her career if she doesn’t make it because she will not compromise herself in anyway. She even takes females to task for relying on men and not making their own money. This feminist line of conversation would be fantastic to hear from her in the future. This is so necessary in hip hop and refreshing. Dej Loaf is deceptively meek, but uses that same voice for her rapid fire and hard hitting content. She has no problem with murder where she feels necessary but doesn’t encourage it. Dej Loaf is the female rapper we’ve been waiting for and if she stays true to her message will dominate.