Women in Rap: Rapper Taz Mureb On Motherhood & Feminism

We unmask, we remove the forgery, and we bring the polemical issues to the table.”

Taz Mureb is more than just a rapper: she is a mother, a political leader, a feminist, a Marxist, a Tupac fan, and most of all, she is a force of nature in constant evolution. Her background includes 2 albums, 1 EP, dozens of singles, and more than 10 music videos.

She’s a little bit of everything all rolled into one.

The rapper is originally from Brazil, she is the leader of a rap circle formed by only women in Brazil and Portugal, called Rap Di Mina. There was a natural need for a spot like this in Brazil. We know rap music is prevalent in a lot of countries. However, in Brazil, the funk scene has its glory days and it is not unusual for a rapper to have to explain the differences between Brazilian funk and rap music. She gave a brief summary of the Rap scene in Brazil.

“When I released my song called Gostosa (a song about being a sexy woman), people were telling me: “No, that’s not rap.” If you look at Nicki Minaj’s lyrics, she is all about sexual liberation, women in the funk scene in Brazil have more sexual freedom than female rappers, they are starting to understand it now. This is understandable since the reality of favelas will not allow this type of behavior among women.

Women in rap always put themselves in the role of teachers, constantly teaching about mansplaining, feminism, everything. How come I can’t just do music for fun like Doja Cat? When I started to do that, I suffered a backlash, it was very difficult. I had to look to myself again. When you are a woman in rap in America, men are very supportive of female rappers. I don’t see such a union here, not even between women. There’s a competition going on.

People need to pay attention and have reality checks, you can’t be showing off your guns in Brazil as they do in America, we live basically in a civil war here, it does not make sense to show off your money in Brazil the way they do in America. Social and economic differences exist.”

I have been watching her career from the beginning (2008), having attended some of her first shows in Brazil, something that she has extra is a beautiful talent for talking Nietzche, Marx, and Che Guevara in a light and fun way. Her sense of community and humanitarianism has always been a source of inspiration. In our two-hour conversations (she is a Gemini) she explained how her love for writing began and developed.

I started noticing that I was just as talented as the other guys around me. It’s really sad to doubt your talent because you don’t have the same opportunities that men do. -Taz Mureb

“At 10 years old, I won third place in a poetry contest in my hometown. Years later, I had this group called Amere, and it was my internship, and I learned a lot from that experience. When the group ended, I got a little lost. Today, it’s a lot harder to have a band than to come up with a song… After that, I went solo, I started to appear on television, but I should have planned better…

I got a year off because I was politically involved in my town. When I moved away from Rio was tough, being a mother makes things harder, not having the support of other women is a lot to deal with. I started noticing that I was just as talented as the other guys around me. It’s really sad to doubt your talent because you don’t have the same opportunities that men do.

Men are very dominant in this industry, they are the ones who record and master my songs, they control this production business but when one of the girls becomes a hit, they don’t share the cake equally. I miss working with the ladies, the producers, you know. We don’t have 10 women in Brazil making a living in the rap scene. We can’t sing about motherhood because we won’t have views. Men don’t accept what we do, unfortunately. I was 30, and they called me old, it hurt, so I backed off a few years, I worked in something else but I kept investing in Rap. If you’re an artist, you feel lost if you don’t speak your mind and your art.”

Taz comes from a heavenly place, she talks about saltwater and white sand now and then, but her rap is mostly political. After all, Brazil is no place for amateurs. She has run for local office in the past and now she is currently part of the local City Hall, she is developing cultural projects with few resources at marginalized and under-represented communities.

Courtesy of Taz Mureb

During the pandemic last year, she has composed three books, one is a children’s story about kids who have everything, knowing the realities of other kids who live with less and live very well and happily. The second book is about how having less in life is the key to happiness, which is an adult version of the latter, and last but not least, a feminist book.

“I have the impression that old feminist theories no longer suffice and that the book is ready to be published. These are thoughts of the modern woman and several matters relevant to us. Rap music came to me because I always loved writing, I don’t have a singer’s voice, and Rap totally embraced me on that, because the content is more valued than only the melody. I have a couple of hundred projects. I keep coming up with new things to do. I got two documentaries about women coming over. I didn’t want to publish anything in 2020, so I’m likely to publish something this year!”

When people are marginalized, they need to become entrepreneurs.” Taz Mureb

When questioned about the reasons for Rap’s ascension, she stated:

“In 2010, it was very embarrassing to talk about feminism, in 2021, it’s fine to talk about it. And rap has a great deal to do with the freedom we live in today. Hip-hop is the most influential genre in the world, researchers say. We can converse with several musical styles, we can use a sample of tango or samba, we also have visual art, like graffiti. We unmask, we remove the forgery, and we bring the polemical issues to the table.”

At some point during the interview, her high spirits led me to meet her son and she confessed that without her parent’s help she wouldn’t have handled the role of being a mother and a rapper at the same time.

“You need to get your speech off the paper. My son’s friends follow me on IG and I think twice before posting something more provocative. I try to show him my love for rap music, he knows that my relationship with art makes me happy and I don’t need to have a man to be happy, and that’s okay. He can play around with bracelets if he likes. I’m glad a lot of women feel like me, boys don’t have to be tough, my son loves to dance. I had to separate the artist from the mom, I cannot tell him not to listen to my lyrics, we listen to my songs together and we discuss them.”

Although she did not complete her studies in international relations, she is still making changes in her community. Her speech and attitude have impacted her community.

“When people are marginalized, they need to become entrepreneurs. That entrepreneurial thing I have is because I’ve been marginalized. It’s been 15 years since I am attempting to make it in the music industry, today we have 14-year-old girls rapping, and I am old as they say, but it is not about the money. This is not going to unmotivate me anymore.”

If I could give a piece of advice is, join any organization for women because this type of emotional support we will not get from anywhere else.” Taz Mureb

With so many plans to accomplish, there’s one that she mentioned which is a very honorable cause, while she could just be rapping and releasing her music or working for an NGO. She opted to be a part of the rap circle and embrace women in rap.

“Rap Di Mina wants to take women to the main stage, RAP has reached many places but women haven’t. My dream is to create the Rap di Mina’s house, a house to receive the women and the LGBTQIA+ community when they leave their cities to go to Rio de Janeiro. We also want to set up video classes and educate women on a range of subjects. Rap has helped me adjust, it has the potential to save lives. My work with Rap goes beyond rap to creating social projects and programs. Rap is part of my DNA. If I could give a piece of advice is, join any organization for women because this type of emotional support we will not get from anywhere else.”

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Camilla Nobre
Camilla Nobre

Founder of The Plugger Mag, and internationally published travel journalist. Camilla is a Portugal-based writer. She began working around the music business as a project manager for a music festival. Born in Brazil, she is a girl from Rio and a member of She Is The Music as well as Women In Music.