For this week’s Fashion Throwback Thursday, we are taking style inspiration from the lesser-known American rap duo BWP (Bytches With Problems), made up of Lyndah McCaskill and Tanisha Michele Morgan.
BWP are, in my opinion, horrifically underrated and they need to be recognised for their contribution to music and the discourse on gender equality. They are a refreshing supplement to the ‘Girl Power’ label, coined by the Spice Girls, that has become synonymous with 90s pop-culture feminism.
Why are they so iconic? Well, for starters, they boldly re-appropriate a misogynist slur (‘bitch’) in their name. Arguably in doing so they have changed it from its derogatory meaning, and instead are reclaiming it to mean something empowering. But ‘bytches’ isn’t just a misspelling of ‘bitches’, oh no, it actually stands for Beautiful Young Thing College Honeys en’ Shit.
Active from the years 1989-1994, BWP only released one album, The Bytches, in 1991. But in that time they blessed the world with No Means No, an anthem for consensual sex that slams anyone who expects to get lucky just from being nice to someone; Two Minute Brother, a sexually explicit tune about guys who brag about their prowess in the bedroom but don’t deliver; Wanted, a lyrical protest against the likelihood of being stopped by the police if you’re black; and We Want Money, an energetic request for lots of cash.
Even in their short-lived period as a band, BWP still managed to create a style for themselves, in keeping with the 90s hip-hop fashion scene. Their uniform was reliably made up of sports caps, bucket hats, gold chains, huge hoops earrings, colourful over-sized windbreakers, full tracksuits, baseball jackets, Ray-bans, baggy denim and, of course, trainers.
Unfortunately, there are only a few photos knocking about of these fine ladies, but still there are certainly enough to make me want to don a snapback with double denim, and channel my inner bytch with some problems.
BWP pictured with Run DMC, EPMD, Nikki D, Sid & B-Tonn, and No Face. Taken in New York, 1990.