Hot Girls with Lex on the Decks: More Than A Podcast
Being both a huge lover of music, and a believer in equal opportunities, the gender gap in music has always kinda bugged me. Nowhere to me was this more apparent than in rap music. In 2019 T.I. shared his list of the 50 greatest rappers of all time and included only three women, Billboard’s top Ten list features only one woman, and the highest entry on Ranker, a site which invites public voting, is Missy Elliott at number 51. The issues are both in the volume of women creating music and in the perceived credibility of that output. While I felt like there were many contributing factors, I knew that ability wasn’t one of them and I wondered whether, if we guided talent in a different way, we could ultimately go further in fixing diversity in music?
It matters to me on a personal level, being a woman and being a DJ, but I also think society as a whole is impacted by this issue. Successful artists are role models whether they accept it or not. Through their lyrics they tell stories which move people emotionally and therefore carry influence. The more diverse perspectives we get tracking through our headphones, the more we can learn and evolve as a generation and a society.
I’m also personally fascinated by the journeys of people I admire and like to understand the influences which have shaped how they move through the world, to ultimately grasp how much control you have over the direction your life takes. And so the idea for Hot Girls was formed.
When you start with a genuine desire to understand, it creates space for remarkable conversations. Working with the producer, Akua Ofei, we worked consciously on having a guest line up which would contribute different perspectives on the mechanics of the music industry. From working in different sides and at different career stages. We also felt it was key to have guys in the line ups sharing their journeys, but with a gender flip mirroring that of the industry and an overarching principle to steer clear of “f*ck bitches” type artists.
So what are some of the things I’ve learnt?
From DJs including Tailor Jae, Bamz and Bklava, I’ve learnt the road to success as a DJ requires consistency, ownership and resilience. From Jasmine Dotiwala I learnt how brands, labels and press came together to accelerate the visibility of Chip and Tinie. From Alicai Harley I learnt that the highest career highs can coincide with crushing personal lows and you have to find a way to maintain optimism through this. And from Akua I’ve learnt the balance between obsessing where you want something to go, and having fun with it along the way (though I’m still trying to master that one).
The process of researching the great women of rap and soul has taught me more than I could say. Studying their interviews, their discography, their family dynamics, has been an amazing learning curve for me as a human, as well as a DJ. So maybe one simple lesson I’d share from that process would be, find a way to force yourself to learn about something, and you’ll learn it fast.
As a DJ, my sets are house but in the broadest sense of the genre. I crate dig in sub-genres as broad as afro-house, tech, melodic and organic to create mixes which absorb and energise. Regardless of the breadth of my music though, the gender balance in my mixes is still way off, and so alongside the Podcast we re-launch Hot Girls: The Mixes on March 10th.
What started as an ambition to tackle an industry-wide issue, has become an intimate safe space, promoting support and collaboration in an industry of high stakes and competition.