The arrival of Brooke Candy’s new single, “Rubber Band Stacks” comes tainted with the sound of an anonymous male voice completely stealing Candy’s thunder. “Chillin, rubber band stacks to the ceiling,” the nameless emcee spits, delivering the track’s hook without the help of Candy, whatsoever. Considering this ghost rapper hasn’t been publicly credited for his work, we’re left wondering why he’s involved at all?
For being such a passionate purveyor of the female prowess, why would Candy allow a man to even touch her single? And why would he be permitted to snatch the only mention of “Rubber Band Stacks” in a song that’s called, “Rubber Band Stacks?” She sounds like total fire on the rest of the track, so imagine how powerful it would’ve been had she plowed through all three minutes completely solo.
This is the same exact issue that plagued Azealia Banks’ 2013 sleeper single, “ATM Jam,” which was slated to be her long-awaited crossover hit (only because of Top 40 hitmaker Pharrell rapping the hook). Banks is similar to Candy in the sense that she proudly advocates for powerful women in the music industry; so again, why is it that music’s most aggressive female artists are allowing their careers to be driven by men? As a listener, it reads as insecurity and desperation for success, whether that’s coming from the record labels or the artists themselves. Did someone at RCA Records tell Candy she’d be taken more seriously with some masculine energy on her single? We’re quite certain that Interscope Records told Banks she’d have a number one with Pharrell’s sonic stamp.
This unsettling scenario is also evocative of Nicki Minaj’s first official 2010 single, “Massive Attack,” which featured Sean Garrett, once again, rapping the hook sans Minaj. That’s three female rappers, whose lead singles—pegged to finally launch their careers on a mainstream level—have featured men stealing the hooks that should’ve been performed by the females themselves.
At the end of the day, Minaj, Banks and Candy should’ve all spit solo. Even if these artists signed off to let this happen, we’re still wondering, why? There’s strength oozing from female rappers, and they shouldn’t feel pressured to take a seat, while some male voice drives the track. Perhaps this is reflective of a larger social injustice beyond music, but gender inequality will never subside if these subtleties aren’t addressed and stopped. (P.S. Check out Brooklyn-based female rapper Uncle Meg).