rapper Elmer claims a place for female hip-hoppers

Merel Pauw (27), or rapper Elmer, is in a beige seventies suit, without asticky mustache, on the middle floor of Sexyland World. In a week’s time, akind of space decor will arise on the ground floor, between the pink bar andthe DJ set. And therein female rappers, non-binary hip-hoppers and mc’s willperform their music.

Party at Sexyland World

De Amsterdamse Pauw, actress (currently featured in ___Queer Planet_ ofcompany HNTjong) and rapper, has loved hip-hop since she was a child in thecar with her father listening to the Beastie Boys and Eminem at top volume.Her greatest musical love is MF Doom, she loves the Canadian electro goddessPeaches and the Belgian artist Charlotte Adigéry.

On Saturday 22 October during the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) she organizesher first party. “Because I wanted an evening that I would like to go tomyself, and because there are so many cool female artists in the Netherlandsthat I secretly want to meet too.” She is a ‘super fan’ of everyone in thelineup, which features women and non-binary rappers and DJs like Babs,Mariposa, Suzooki Swift, Zulu Green and DJ OISHĪ. She thinks that artists arenot seen enough.

“It really pisses me off that they are so little known. I find it bizarre thatwe, as such a progressive country, as a large hip-hop country that also leadsa lot of Spotify top lists, pay so little attention to female artists.” It’s aman’s world, the rap, the hip-hop, still. Misogynistic too. Which, by the way,she herself hasn’t had much to do with until now. “I produce everythingmyself, rap myself. But I do hear from female artists that you have to workmuch harder. And there’s a lot of misogyny in hip-hop. Just in the lyrics.”

Hip-hop in theater, theater in hip-hop

But now she is among the greats at ADE with her party. And the artists sheadmires so much get the stage they deserve.

She herself has been working as a musician for a few years now. She played inbands at secondary school in Amsterdam, but since graduating from the TheaterSchool in Arnhem she has also been trying to get hip-hop into the theater withthe collective she founded with classmates: DIEHELEDING. “Rapping while you’replaying, faking is hard. It’s ten times faster than musical singing, but we’vegotten really good at it now.”

Pauw also plays with gender in her performances. As Elmer she looks boyish, asMerel on stage she can put on a super feminine dress, even if it is mainly anact. “It almost feels like drag.” She identifies herself as a woman, bisexual,but doesn’t care much for girlishness. “If there had been more words for it inmy adolescence, non-binary and pansexual, I might have called myself that. NowI mainly say queer, but I like all pronouns.”

Rewrite the rules

She has secretly dreamed of becoming a pop star all her life. During the firstlockdown, she produced a first EP as rapper Elmer. Before that she made songslike About Touring , in which she sings about sex from a male and femaleexperience, united in one person: ‘my skin is coming apart at the seams’. Butalso the number Your father, to which she gets shocked reactions. She raps”I’ll fuck your father without a condom.” “It scares men in particularsometimes. While I think: do you know how many gross lyrics male rappersmake?!”

She doesn’t want to make concessions. “As a woman, do you want to change thecurrent norm in the hip-hop scene by infiltrating the mainstream? Or do youcreate your own world with its own rules that becomes so big that themainstream can no longer ignore you? I want to do the latter. The mainstreamshould go to Lil ‘Kleine, I think she’s really bad. I don’t have to convincethem.”

She doesn’t want the number either Your father is seen as a response to themany motherfucker – or your mother -songs that are full of hip-hop. “Ijust like filth, I felt like making that song, I had a lot of fun with it.When you do things as a woman, it quickly becomes a political statement. Ilong for the day when it’s not a political statement, but I can just make itwithout being shocked.”

Promised land , ADE, Saturday, October 22, Sexyland World. Two moresingles from Elmer will be released on October 28.