Until I moved to Minneapolis to attend college, I was not very aware of the fact that hip hop has become a global genre and of the fact that artists use hip hop to express political and cultural issues. The hip hop music I was exposed to primarily consisted of the "popular" artists and tracks that tended to talk mostly about party life and bitches and hos. The first female artist I was largely exposed to was Dessa, and afterward I started to seek out other female artists. I visited Spain a couple of years ago, and I was exposed to the music of an artist named Mala Rodríguez (stage names include La Mala, La Mala María, or Mala Rodríguez). Her career started in the 90's, and she has been a very prominent and well known artist ever since.
Her music has been influenced by and encompasses a genre called flamenco music. Being a dancer and familiar with flamenco dance, I had been exposed to the genre of flamenco music, and this was one of the main reasons I was drawn to her in the first place. The second reason is the context of her lyrics and music. Her background and upbringing aren't so different of my own (middle class, single mother, living paycheck to paycheck), and the issues she discusses are sometimes synonymous with my own life situations. Some of these issues include poverty, racism, domestic violence, and female empowerment.
This is an excerpt of her song Prima:
en mis letras hablo de acción
de jamón, de polucción
de sangre caliente y de sangre fría
juntanto afino yo mi puntería
por abajo por arriba
in my lyrics, I speak of action
from ham, from pollution
from hot blood and from cold blood
gathering refining my aim
through under, through above
All of these issues springing action are not just experienced in Spain but all over the world, and the fact that she writes lyrics on world issues and not just her own specific life experiences makes her a great example of a global hip hop artist.