She wears makeup, but she skateboards. She’s the mother of two kids, but she raps. Her last name is Compton, but she lives in Carson City. Angie Compton is a 21-year-old, half-Hispanic, half-white rapper who was raised in San Bernardino and is used to conflicting stereotypes. She’s not too worried about it, even though she’s trying to make it in an industry that thrives on pigeonholing artists into easily defined categories.
“I try to do this right because I can’t go wrong,” she raps on the track “Boss Lady.” “Many people judge me when I’m rapping in a song. If it’s not my color, then it’s little things I say.”
The song, which can be heard on her Myspace profile, has a 30-second intro almost reminiscent of a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony sound. The simple lyric “They call me Angie Compton” echoes over keyboards that build up before the beat breaks. The song is a boastful track over good, homemade production. It follows the tradition of up-and-coming rappers to make a track that basically screams, “Look, I can rap, too.”
The rest of her music is for the club.
“Dancing,” says Compton. “You know, instead of drinking and fighting, drinking and having a good time.”
The first single off her debut mixtape, Pretty Bandanna, is a hyphy track laced with sexy vocals. She’s been peddling the track hard—Compton says she even has it On Demand at Wild 102.9 FM, which means they’ll play it if the station receives enough requests. To add to that, she sells “pretty bandannas” of various colors on Myspace for $10 apiece.
“I don’t have to be hard and be like, I have a bandanna,” Compton says, referring to red and blue gang bandannas. “It’s my pretty bandanna.” It’s just another example of her taking a stereotype and completely flipping the script, to use a hip-hop cliché.
Compton’s influences all seem about right, given her sound. Tupac. Lil’ Kim. Dr. Dre. Her production and beats sound like G-funk, her vocals sound like slowed-down hyphy raps. Her songs are loaded with sexual references.
Of course, Compton isn’t the first woman to rap about sex. But she does it differently. Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown and Trina all seem to embrace the sexism of the rap game. They call themselves bitches and hoes. They brag about being down with the biggest pimps. Compton approaches the issue with a little more self-respect.
“In a song, I’m not afraid to say, ‘Yo, suck my pussy!’” she says. “I think I have a dirty-ass mouth. I’m not trying to be, like, nasty.”
But at the same time, Compton’s appealing to a female crowd. In the mid-90s, there weren’t rap songs for women, by women. There were rap songs for men, by women. Even if women listened to the songs, the lyrics were meant to appease the men. Fifteen years later, hip-hop has come a long way.
“There’s all those songs that girls like, but we just listen to it because it’s fun and it’s something to dance to,” says Compton. “The biggest thing is, girls, in a way, we have to listen to it. I grew up listening to the same thing.”