One of my favorite emcees is the one and only Jean Grae. Witty, smart and deftly skilled on the mic, she’s one of the few folks in Hip Hop I hadn’t interviewed even though we’ve run into each other on a number of occasions. Finally when she touched down in Oakland to a do a show at the New Parrish, last summer (2011) we got a chance to chop it up. During our interview we covered a variety of topics ranging from how she got her name to the highlights of her career to her roots in South Africa to her process for writing songs and executing her artistic vision…We also talked about the upcoming release of her album ‘Cake or Death’ In short we did Jean Grae 101…
Also we gotta give Jean props for doing a great show and being gracious after I spilled the drink she brought me all over her…
Click the link below to peep the Hard Knock Radio Interview w/ Jean Grae
In celebration of International Women’s History Month we decided to highlight the voice of many who are often overlooked, taken for granted or forgotten about. Those are our sisters in Hip Hop. Women have always been on point from day one when it comes to architecting this culture called Hip Hop. We can start with Cindy Campbell-the sister of Hip Hop’s father Kool Herc. had it not been for her suggesting and ultimately setting up the now landmark party on 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in August of 1973, we might not be on the mic, yes yes y’alling at all today in 2009. Here’s a rare interview w/ Cindy Campbell..
During the pioneering years we had stellar emcees like Zulu Queen Lisa Lee who was down with Afrika Bambaattaa, Pebbly Poo of the Masterdon Committee and Sha Rock who was down with DJ Baron & Breakout-Funky 4 Plus One More.. Of course we have to tip our hats to the one and only Mercedes Ladies-the first all female Hip Hop Crew.. We have an interview with original member Sheri-Sher
Over the years lots of women have blessed the mic and left their mark from Salt-n-Pepa to Roxanne Shante to the Real Roxanne to Queen Latifah to MC Lyte.. The list goes on.. Sadly we’ve had a situation within the music industry that had decided that women artists are not marketable. The conventional wisdom has been that the average listener can’t distinguish their voices. Hence its always been situation where you always find maybe one or two females at most on a major label with them being released and marketed at different times.
Of course here at Breakdown FM, we see it differently. There’s a world of difference between MC Lyte and Queen Latifah, just like there’s a world of difference between Chuck D and KRS or 50 Cent and Ice Cube. Different looks, rhyme styles, subject matter etc. So much for industry wisdom
This week we went and dug deep and highlighted some folks you need to check for.. We kick things off with Seattle sensations Canary Sing and their dope new song ‘Heroines‘. We proceed their cut with a short tribute to Shirley Chisolm who kicked down the doors for both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama-She was the first to run for President back in ’72 around the birth of Hip Hop.
Also out of the Emerald City which has plethora of female emcees. To be honest we could’ve done a 25 Joints just with Seattle women-that’s how deep they’re rolling. Artists like Toni Hill, Felicia Loud, Southern Komfort, Sis Moni Tep, beyond Reality, Christina Orbe are just a few of the many. On this 25 Joints, we feature DJ B-Girl and her cut ‘Murder She Wrote‘ featuring Julie C and Sister Hailstorm. We also have pioneering emcee Laura ‘Piece’ Kelley and her classic song ‘Soundwave‘.
Right next door to Seattle is Portland which has a wealth of talent in the form of groups like Siren’s Echo. We featured Queen Nasim who has been doing her thing for minute with a song called ‘I’m Original’. It has that old school sound and feel. Because of Seattle and the NW’s deepness in talent we’ll probably have to do pt2 on the all female 25 Joints. So stay tuned.
The midwest came hard as we drop gems from artists like Invincible out of Detroit with her song ‘Regonize‘. Her album ‘Shape Shifters’ is what Hip Hop should really be about. We have Nefertiti and with her slamming joint ‘Addicted‘ and San Jose transplant to Grand Rapids Brazen who has a wonderful spoken word song called ‘Grand Plight‘. Not to be missed is TMD who we’ll have to highlight next go round.
Here’s a dope video from Invincible for the song SledgeHammer
Also out the midwest and holding down Minneapolis is Maria Isa who we featured last year. Her piano laden Latin flavored joint ‘Die Not Kill‘ is pure butter. Lastly we have Chicago native Lah Tere from the group Rebel Diaz. She’s currently working on a solo project. She laced us with a head nodding cut called ‘You Are‘
Mystic blessed us with an exclusive cut that will be a cornerstone to her upcoming album bearing the same title ‘Beautiful Resistance‘. This Grammy nominated artists has serious fire and deep insights to our minds and souls. Don’t sleep on her.
In the same vein is Pittsburgh native Kellee Maize who recently was cited as one of the best in the city that now calls itself ‘Sixburgh’ because of the Steelers 6 Superbowl wins. Last year Kellee hit us over the dome with an album called ‘Age of Feminine‘that centered on Women’s empowerment and spirituality She returns with a new song called ‘Third Eye‘ which takes us deeper.
Chuck D of Public Enemy has been backing an all female crew called Crew Grrrl Order. They came hard with a new song that pays tribute to the First Lady Michele Obama. Longtime producer Johnny Juice does a nice remix which accenuates these sister’s flows and lets us know that they will be around for a minute. He also gets busy cutting in excerpts from Michelle Obama
Like Seattle the Bay Area comes deep with female talent. We have Mystic who we highlighted along with Jennifer Johns who is on fire. The Conscious Daughters of course who we’ll feature on pt 2 are the best known names. But the Bay has a lot of folks like Aya De Leon, Joyo Verlarde, Kofy Brown, Goapele are just a few of the other names that are stellar in talent and presence.
On this new episode we bring the spot light to Queen Deelah who comes out of East Oakland the the Silence the Violence Movement. She’s part of a larger collective of artists who have dedicated themselves and Hip Hop to stopping the carnage that plagues the mean streets of Oakland. Deelah’s song ‘Mind Yours‘ is dope and captures that vintage Bay sound.
Another up and coming talent starting to make noise is Kenyanna Bean. Her new song ‘Good Wit Me‘ is also popping. Like Queen Deelah Kenyanna is also out there making noise in the community trying to make a difference. Big shout out to Simone Nia Rae who could’ve also been on this episode if we had more space. She too is also a part of the new school of Bay talent. Her new song ‘Jealousy‘ has been featured on local radio stations in nearby Stockton. We’ll be rocking her in upcoming 25 Joints.
As we close out we’d be remissed not to acknowledge the Queens from the Big Apple who are seriously on point. If you never heard of Tiye Phoenix you’re slipping. her joint ‘Nicewitis‘ lives up to its name. When her project finally drops, I guarante she’ll be turning Hip Hop upside down. She’s joined by Jean Grae which whom no all female showcase would be complete without her in the building. Grae can do no wrong when she touches the mic. Her song Supa Jean makes you wonder why people have been overlooking her.
Eve, Queen Latifah Isis aka Lin Que hold us down with some classic joints from their catalogue. We also have a dope joint from Hip Hop MC Lyte produced by DJ Premier called ‘Wonder Years‘. That song which dropped in 07 is vintage on Breakdown FM. Medusa is also a pioneering figure from the west coast who is still snatching heads when she gets on the mic. She’s blesses us with a new song called ‘Cali Fame‘ which proves that assertion.
Zulu Queen Rha Goddess and Sarah Jones show us just how potent spoken word can get. The lyrics to the songs ‘Revolution‘ and ‘Immaculate Conception‘ will make a whole lot of artists step up their lyric game.
Another artist who’s banging right now is Dessa Darling from Doom Tree Collective out of Minneapolis. Her album ‘A Badly Broken Code’ is dope. We have a seperate profile on her.. But here’s taste of who she is…