BitchTapes: Funky Divas

Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

As we’ve seen in past editions of BitchTapes, many Bitch Media staffers spent the 90s listening to super cool, street-cred building riot grrrl jams. Well, I’ve got a confession to make: Even though I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I had no idea that riot grrrl was even happening until it was already over. No, I spent my formative feminist years listening mainly to top 40 radio. Lucky for me, that included a whole lot of all-female R&B music. Behold:

1. “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue
This song had a lot to teach young suburbanites (like myself) about racial prejudices. Also, my best friend used to think the chorus went, Free your mind/ And the rats will follow which still makes me laugh.

2. “None of Your Business” by Salt N Pepa
Before “Let’s Talk About Pep” was even a twinkle in Vh1’s eye, these ladies were rapping about sexual double standards.

3. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by TLC
With a similar message to “None of Your Business,” TLC wants us to know that even though they’re ladies they’re not too proud to ask for sex when they want it.

4. “Just Kickin’ It” by Xscape
This song tells us that you don’t need to get dressed up all fancy to be a good girlfriend, you can just be yourself! You do need to “always keep him in the mood” though, so the message isn’t perfect. Still, it’s a good song.

5. “Don’t Walk Away Boy” by Jade
This song is all about waiting until it feels right before you make a commitment. It’s like a 90s version of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”!

6. “I’m So Into You” by SWV
A perfect song for declaring your unrequited crush on someone. I even made a dance up to this when I was in high school. Ohhhh yeah.

7. “Shorty Swing My Way” by KP & Envyi
Another song about declaring your romantic interest in someone. Perhaps there is a pattern here?

8. “Where My Girls At?” by 702
I guess the literal interpretation of this song (a woman trying to keep other women away from her boyfriend) isn’t all that feminist, but I like to think of this song as being more about sisterhood. Where my girls at?!?

9. “No No No No” by Destiny’s Child
Before Beyoncé we had Destiny’s Child. This is one of their first singles, and I like how the message here is that everyone in dating situations should just keep it real.

10. “808” by Blaque
Blaque was “granted the power to make you dance!” So get to it already!

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8 Comments Have Been Posted

Hell yeah! This is what I

Hell yeah! This is what I was listening to in the 90's, too. Throw in a little No Doubt, too. I've always been drawn to music made by women, despite the type. So glad to know that I wasn't alone. Best Bitch Tapes ever for rekindling my love with Xscape!


Excellent mix. I feel like I'm in high school again, except not awkward or acne'd.


Thank you for making this! The riot grrrl movement kinda missed most of Latin America, but these ladies didn't! You brought back some great memories for me with this mix.

Yo BitchTapes:

This is all nice and great, but I feel like you need to include some lady bands from the DIY pop-punk scene in a new edition of BitchTapes.

Here's just some suggestions:
Best Friends Forever
Screaming Females
Erin Tobey or Abe Froman
Madeline Adams
Arrah and The Ferns

It would make me so happy!

Thank you for this. It is

Thank you for this. It is incredibly refreshing and revitalizing. I pretty much listen to 90s pop music exclusively so this was very much in tune with my style. I also haven't listened to bitch tapes in a while. I listened to it for the first time sometime between march and june and heard a belle and sebastian song, who I had not heard before and after listening to created a pandora station. Also, Blaque is FABULOUS! As is None of Yo Business. Thanks and Keep Up With the Jams - Maybe throw in some Spicey.

very awesome list! this is

very awesome list!
this is *exactly* what i was listening to in the 90s, and i still love it.
as to "where my girls at" - i kinda looked at it as being a callout for girl friends to back her up as she took care of somebody tryin' to get with her man. i mean - if that kinda sitch happens, I want my girls with me... ;)

and I gotta say - I LOVE 'Shawty Swing My Way'. Great picks.

Bring back the 90's

This is bringing back memories. If only the girl groups nowadays had this much sassy and self-confidence about sexuality. Rather then being sex objects, I would enjoy music again. We need the passion and awareness of the 90's back.

This totally takes me all

This totally takes me all the way back. While I'm sure there are plenty who felt riot grrrl spoke to them, as a woman of color it never really told my story. En Vogue were my riot grrrls and I miss them! Thanks for this trip down memory lane.

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