There is something to be said about a woman whose mere presence can hurtle you to the brink of insanity, yet pull you back before you fall. On good days, you say that you will spend forever with her, and believe it. On bad days, it is as if you don’t know her at all. She is the subject of praise and controversy, the cause of euphoria and rage. You say that you will break free from her, but your history together keeps you bound.

It was in 1994 that Common released “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” arguably the most highly-regarded and seminal song to ever personify hip-hop as a woman. Over a smooth No I.D. beat that is only a step above melancholic, the Chicago emcee waxed poetic about a secular shorty who was once soulful and street-smart, but grew to become a shadow of her former self.

If hip-hop was a woman, what would she look like?

More than a dozen years later, Word asks some of today’s finest:
If hip-hop was a woman, what would she look like?

“She’d probably be all fat and beat-up. [laughs] Nah. If hip-hop was a woman, for real though, she’d be like a real strong grandmother, like grandmother look. You know, just taking care of the whole family, just that hard, African look.”
— Hi-Tek

 

“If hip-hop were in its ideal state: Sexy, yet dignified. Powerful in her demeanor. Impeccable taste in style. All ethnicities mixed into one. Now, hip-hop in its current state: She’s a woman who’s gone through a long period of being abused, and you can see it in her face. She knows her true value inside, so she has moments when she’s bright-eyed and glowing. You see and feel it when artists create pure undeniable hip-hop, when emcees cipher on the block and when everyone in the party is having fun listening to our classics.” — Clip of Brassmunk

 

“At its current state? Well, I think if hip-hop was a woman, she’d have to be quadruplets. It couldn’t just be one woman. One would have to be very afrocentric and very down to earth, and try to keep everything pure, and the righteous one fighting for equality, fighting for what’s good. One would probably have a weave down to the floor and implants and a really tight skirt. One would probably have to be a banker who is very driven, just about being successful, and one of them would probably have on booty shorts and gold fronts.”  — DJ Jazzy Jeff

 

“She would have a bangin’ ass body and an ugly ass face right now, because the face of hip-hop is once you get on mainstream radio. But the body of hip-hop — the thing that makes that face be able to walk and hold up, and stand on that head, and make that head stand on that neck, that is keeping hip-hop strong — is the people who are dope: Outkast, T.I., Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Rhymefest. You know, the body is bangin’, but the face is a bit ugly. But you know what I’m gonna do, because I care so much about this girl, because I love this girl so much? I’m gonna take her to a plastic surgeon. I’m gonna get her cheeks lifted. I’m gonna show her how to put some ProActive on her face. I’m gonna make her happy, and put a smile on her, make her stop frowning so much. She’s always mad! I’m gonna present to the world a more beautiful woman.”  — Rhymefest

 

“She would probably be a tall, big bitch with big feet or something˜A pretty bitch with big feet. I don’t know. Maybe too much cellulite on her ass because of all the bullshit [in hip-hop].”  — Raekwon

 

“She’d look like Halle Berry. Just perfectly put together, when everyone in the game has an opportunity.”  — DL Incognito

 

“She’s that one beautiful girl you’ll never get over, your destructive first love. No matter where you are in your life or who you’re with, you always end up in bed with her. She makes you feel like the luckiest man on earth when you’re together but she flaunts her cheating ways for the world to see, rarely returns your calls and never says thank you when you look out for her best interests or dedicate mixtapes to her. You love her too much for your own good, but those fleeting moments of her direct attention are too much to ever let go of.”  — Tonedeff

 

“She would probably have the features of every culture on the planet, because hip-hop is universal, worldwide. She would definitely have on, you know, a hoodie, a cool-ass hat, maybe some Timbs.” — Masta Ace

 

“I think she would be a beautiful, unique person. I think she’d be like a melting pot of different races, different religions, different cultures. When I think of hip-hop, that’s the thing I think of more than anything, because you got all different types of skin color, cultures, religions involved. Me, I’m a little bit white, a little bit Asian and then I look like a little bit Spanish. That’s my whole thing when I think of hip-hop, so I would say that: Multi-cultural.”  — DJ Smallz

 

“She would be hood, definitely hood. Bourgeois though, you know? She would want the best hand bag, the dopest Gucci boots. She’d probably be mixed because hip-hop is full of totally different cultures. She’d be eclectic. She’d be a whole collage. She’d be very colorful. I think she’d be dope. She wouldn’t be scared to talk to nobody. Kind of arrogant, but fly. You couldn’t hate. You’d want to be down. That’s the way that hip-hop is: You get in where you fit in.”  — Shawnna

 

“She would have the body of a goddess. Very healthy, like Serena Williams type body, and intelligent, and able to understand me, understand my moods. It would be, like, the thickest girl in the world with the nicest body, very attractive, and able to understand me.” — Motion Man

 

“I think, right now, hip-hop would be a prostitute, beautiful looking, but she will sell herself to get what she wants. She’s lost that intelligence, but sometimes it kicks in. When she’s standing at the corner of the street, that intelligence kicks in sometimes and she doesn’t sell herself cheap. [Laughs]” — Zuluboy (South Africa)

 

“Right now, it’d be a really classy. Well, no, not classy, but a really dressed-up girl that’s out for the shine. She just wants to shine for the night.”  — Classified

 

“Aw, man. She would be a B-student. You know, not perfect at everything, you know what I’m saying, but good enough at everything. So she would be, like, a B. She would cook good enough, she would clean good enough. She wouldn’t necessarily be perfect, because hip-hop is not perfect, but it does the job.”  — Bobby Creekwater

 

“She’d be beautiful. I think she’d be coloured. And she would have eyes that would make you feel like a complete retard every time she looked at you.”  — Moses of Sweatshop Union

 

“Right now? She’d be a very ugly woman. Hip-hop is ugly right now…. It’s very negative right now, [and] negativity, to me, equals ugliness. [Pause] And a very stupid woman, too.”  — Lupe Fiasco

 

“Well, there’s a lot of bass, so she’d be big on the bottom. She’d be loud; maybe she’d look like she’d be wearing loud colors. She would always be moving and a member of several 12-step programs.”  — Boots Riley of The Coup

 

“She would have a caramel complexion and long hair. I guess the eyes would be like kaleidoscopes; they can change different colours. The body would be like, that Coke bottle shape — perfect. The lips would be crazy. The lips would be beautiful — full lips. And she’d have some headphones on.”  — Wordsworth

 

“Hip-hop would be the flyest chick ever. She’d be mixed and exotic looking, and dress with mad style; a down-ass chick who ain’t afraid to break a nail if she gotta handle her biz. And she’d be dope as hell in bed, the type that even when you’re makin’ love, you’re still f**kin. Yeah, I f**ks with hip-hop.”  — PackFM

 

“Wow. She’d probably be real sexy. She’d be intellectual. She’d like to party, and at the same time be very conscious, aware of social and political issues. She’d just be a well rounded; she’d be the perfect woman! Well, not the perfect woman, because hip-hop is not perfect, so if it was a woman she wouldn’t be. She’d have her flaws, yeah. She’d probably like a lot of jewelry, name-brand clothes, phat cars and stuff. But you’d still have to love her though, have to love her.”  — Jin

 

“Right now, she’d be a hood rat. It’s like what Common said. I used to love her, now they pimpin’ her. Let’s put it that way.”  — Method Man