Jahi: Remembering Lady T (Teena Marie) Her Connection to Hip Hop


Growing up in Cleveland, I can remember being in that back room with all the children, late night, playing cards, watching TV, and getting into the regular mischief that kids whose parents couldn’t afford a babysitter would get into while the adults got their groove on the front room in the mist of zigzags, album covers, and strong drinks. I remember the first time I heard Teena Marie, I was on one of my “sneak and peeks” to see how adults get their party on, and remember hearing “Fire and Desire,” red light on, smoke in the air, and some dude slow dancing with my momma.

As a child I had always had a musical ear because on the weekend my mother was like a real DJ and soul food chef. What I instantly remember about Teena Marie is that she had such a sweet, unique and distinct voice. Songs like “Lovergirl,” “I’m Just a Sucker For Your Love,” and “Square Biz” are those songs you just know, enjoy, and sing along automatically. I also would remiss if I didn’t mention she also displayed some really fresh rhymes on “Square Biz” as well, and in 1981 was played right next to “Rappers Delight,” “Planet Rock,” and Run-DMC. Teena Marie was in every parent’s record collection, and a part of the beginning consciousness of Hip Hop.

Today, The Fugee’s should get back together because of this loss. It was their interpolation of Teena Marie’s “Oh-La-La-La” over Salaam Remi’s production, which was the jump off point, and the first single off The Score, The Fugee’s most important and last album together. “We used be number 10-Now we permanent 1,” the first line from Wyclef on this seminal record, is a classic. Right now, you can go to any club in the world, and at 1 am, at the height of the party, you can drop “Fu-Gee-La,” and you might as well call the fire marshall and just stand back and watch the magic. If you really want to tear the roof off, drop “Square Biz” afterwards and you’ll witness how classic songs can make someone who has left us in the physical become eternal.

As we mourn and reflect on our iconic musical artists who make their transitions out of this world, let’s give thanks for Lady T, her musical legacy, and her vast and impressive catalog.

RIP Teena Marie

written by TAJ





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Soul Patrol..Thoughts on Teena Marie’s Passing

Bob Davis of Soul-Patrol.com

Yesterday I started getting phone calls and text messages while I was watching the football game on TV. Then I decided to check my email and sure enough there were dozens of emails informing me of the passing of Teena Marie.

The sheer volume of this indicated that it was probably true, however there were no details in any of these reports and I have certainly learned over the years, that getting the story right is far more important than getting the story.

The other thing I have learned is that most folks don’t really care anyhow, they just want to tell others that someone has died, and unfortuantly the internet makes that far too easy to do. Meanwhile not a single one of those people seem willing to say just why Teena Marie was important to them and what her passing means to them personally and perhaps why it might be of significance to the rest of us.

I waited till I got something in writing from an official source (her record label) before I published anything about the passing of Teena Marie on the www.soul-patrol.com website. I also wanted to publish Teena Marie’s own audio commentary just to remind us that surely she just might regard the current internet fuss over her passing as absurd and to keep it all in perspective.

–This morning I see evidence of people having online fights about who was first to announce her passing. I wonder what Teena Marie would have to say about that?

–I also see evidence of lots of folks online posting what they consider to be the cause of her passing. I don’t know what the cause of death was, and I certainly don’t need to know right at this moment. I’ll just wait till someone releases a coroners report?

I’ll try to write something later about just why I thought she might be significant to our society. But it’s actually not a hard thing for me to figure out why she was signifigant and an inspriration to me personally.

Everything about Teena Marie starting with the way I was first introduced to her in 1979 to the thoughtfulness, depth and class that she carried herself with over the past few years all spoke to the future. It spoke to the notion that we could be better to each other, ultimately better for each other and that it really shouldn’t be so difficult to do so. Her music from 1979 – 2009 spoke to me on a personal “kozmic” kinda level that offered such hope on both a micro and meta scale. That kind of longevity and commitment to inspire people to be better is something to be admired and emulated.

At the end of the day, she was “just another funk artist.” Just being able to understand the real vision of what a true funk artist is, and to understand that even in 2010 that Teena Marie still held true to that old fashioned (hippie) vision, right in the face of today’s ultra popular selfishness/greed, for me personally is why she was significant.

And that is what has led me to write about Teena Marie from my own perspective here on the Soul-Patrol.com website at the following link, http://www.soul-patrol.com/funk/teena.htm off & on for the past 15 years whenever the mood has struck me. And my guess is that I will continue to do just that…

“ain’t no gumbo without the roux…”
–Congo Square (Teena Marie)

Written by Bob Davis of Soulpatrol.com

check out his reviews and writings of Teena Marie HERE



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