Even considering the rise of Nicki Minaj, there still exists a remarkable dearth of female MCs in the hip-hop world. Rap music has always been a difficult slog for all artists, but T.I. recognizes that it’s a particularly tough road to hoe for rhyming women.
“They have to deal with all the things that men have to deal with, and then they have to deal with another column that men don’t have to deal with,” the multiple Grammy-winning rapper (born Clifford Harris, Jr.) tells EW. “If there are 10 slots available for new cats to come in, there are just as many, by ratio, women to men trying to get there, but they still only get one or two slots. The opportunities aren’t as plentiful for women as they are for men.”
That’s one of the many reasons why Tip become the executive producer of Sisterhood of Hip Hop, an Oxygen reality show whose second season premieres Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET. The series follows the fortunes of five of up-and-coming female rappers: Brianna Perry, Bia, Diamond, Siya, and Nyemiah. Some have been on the grind for some time; Perry worked under the tutelage of Missy Elliott for a while; Diamond is a former member of Atlanta collective Crime Mob, who had a hit way back in 2007 with “Rock Yo Hips.” Others are relatively fresh: Siya is only just starting to pick up heat based on her recently released mixtape Better Late Than Never.
Though there are typical reality show trappings (whisper campaigns, overblown physical encounters, shouting matches, endless shade), Sisterhood of Hip Hop stands out as a surprisingly sober look at how the music business functions (or in many cases, does not function) in 2015. For T.I., those details are what drew him to these women in the first place. “I truly believe in them,” he says. “If you were to document the journey of a woman who is attempting to carve a place for herself in a male-dominated state, I think that journey is well worth documentation.That’s in any area of business, whether its marketing, or politics—no matter what you think about Sarah Palin, that journey is well worth documentation. Danica Patrick’s journey into NASCAR is worth consideration, because it’s such a male-dominated place. Hip hop is no different.”
T.I. also appears on camera during the new season of Sisterhood of Hip Hop, joining other guest stars like T-Pain, Pusha T, and Da Brat, who appears in the teaser trailer below.
The second season of Sisterhood of Hip Hop kicks off Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on Oxygen.