Today is International Women’s Day and so we went digging to pull out a few Hip Hop videos that speak to empowerment and social justice.. Many of them are all but forgotten so we thought we’d revise some fond memories.. First up is Queen Latifah and Monie Love their classic song Ladies First…
Many forgot that author / activist Sista Souljah teamed up with Public Enemy and the Bomb Squad to do an album.. Her first single Slavery is Back in Effect warned us to be careful with the way society was moving in terms of harsh legilsation being passed. If we’re not careful we may wake up and find that slavery had returned. In this song The Hate That hate Produced, Souljah’s flows over a slamming beat and reminds us that she is not here to make white folks feel comfortable. She’s here to challenge the system. I wish they had a video of the song she did with ice Cube..
This is a more recent offering from MC Lyte who has always delivered gems. It features her and DJ Premier. here Lyte is reflective as she speaks to her being more responsible as she gets older and challenging us to set good examples for those who come behind us
Many of us know X-Clan via Brother J, Paradise and the late Sugar Shaft and Professor X. We forget that they had two dope female emcees who did full length albums.. Isis now known as Linque and Queen Mother Rage were absolutely dope and sadly overshadowed by label politics which led to lousy promotion. The imagery X-Clan put forth was always uplifting, reminding us we are descendents of Kings and Queens.
Maria Isa out of Minneapolis aka Soto Rico is dope and one of the best around.. I wish she had did a video for this song which pays tribute to Puerto Rican revolutionary Lolita Lebron who fought for Puerto Rican independence
Poetic Pilgrimage is a group everyone needs to know.. talk about having dope flows.. My favorite song from them is Freedom.. definition of a Pilgrim is also nice.. I went with this video because of the subject matter, oppression in Palestine, but to be honest damn near anything by them hits..
This Posse cut called Freedom is from the movie Panther and features everyone from Queen Latifah to Yo Yo to Salt-N-Pepa to patra and many more is classic.. we featured during Black History month and had to revise it again for Women’s History Month
With 2012 upon us, we wanna encourage folks to seriously take some time to invest and make room in the cypher and at the proverbial Hip Hop roundtable table for our sistas who hold it down on the mic. There have been far too many discussions about where are the female emcees and why don’t we see and hear more of them, when in reality they are all around us..
Its up to each of us within Hip Hop to insist that promoters make sure that women are included in their line up.. We’re not talking about a token opening act, but a fair amount woven in the main line up.. Its up to us to insist that radio deejays including myself are consistently playing women emcees in our offerings. Male emcess…How about inviting more females to spit a hot 16 on an epic song?
It’s up to each of us who claim to love Hip Hop to be familiar above and beyond a casual name drop. We should know folk’s music. We should know the release date of albums. We should know when and where folks are touring. They should be apart of our discussions and debates. We should allow room for the diversity of expressions and not fall back on the tired stereotype of all female emcees sounding the same. We should also follow the leads of our sisters understanding there is much we can learn from them and whole lot of flava we can soak up to improve help improve ourselves.
As males within Hip Hop we should not limit our attraction or engagement to female emcees based on overt displays of sex. yes we know there are the Lil Kims and Foxy Browns who made their mark going that route, but just like we’ve had male groups like 2Live Crew who brought that to the table, we dont limit the male experience within rap to that group, hence whey should we limit our sistas?
Below are 3 great websites that’ll hopefully get people familiar with female emcees in 2012. One of them, Hip Hop Sisters is run by Hip Hop legend MC Lyte. The other one Femmixx focuses on female Hip Hop producers as well as deejays and emcees.. That’s run by Tachelle Wilkes.
Folks should be familiar withMomma’s Hip Hop Kitchen which focuses on Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity using Hip Hop Culture.. They are celebrating their 5th year and currently they’re looking for artists to be down with their upcoming Be The Cure event in march.
Since Hip Hop has as its 5th Element Knowledge, we urge folks to get familiar withhttp://crunkfeministcollective.wordpress.com/ They bring attention to a lot of issues that are of importance to the Hip Hop Generation coming from an unapologetic, uncompromised feminist perspective. They dont take no mess from nobody..
Over the holidays I put together a youtube playlist that has over 100 female emcees. Its by no means a definitive list, but hopefully it’ll turn folks on to some artists they can add to their repartoir. You can access that playlist below or by clicking this link
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.
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 Shari-Shar about to drop real soon-so be on the look out..
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 Emrald 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 isTMD who we’ll have to highlight next go round.
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 Johnswho 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 25 Joints 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 toSimone 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 LatifahIsis 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.
Catch this weeks show by clicking the link below:
Press here to listen to pt of our four part series:
01-Canary Sings ‘Heroines’ (Seattle)
02-Kellee Maize ‘Third Eye’ (Pittsburgh)
03-Isis ‘Rebel Song’ (NY)
04-Jean Grae ‘Supa Jean’ (NY)
05-Eve ‘Life Is So Hard’ (NY)
06-Mystic ‘Beautiful Resistant’ (Bay Area/ LA)
07-Laura ‘Piece’ Kelly ‘Soundwave’ (Seattle)
08-Nefertiti ‘Addicted’ (Grand Rapids, Mi)
09-DJ Vadim w/ Sarah Jones ‘Revolution’ (NY)
10-DJ B Girl w/ Sista Hailstorm & Julie C ‘Murder She Wrote’ (Seattle)
11-Queen Latifah ‘Latifah had It Up To Here’ (NY)
12-Rha Goddess ‘Immaculate Conception’ (NY)
13-Rocky Rivera ‘Go There’
14-Cihuatle Ce ‘Dreamaah’15-J Ross Panelle Queendom
16-Invincible ‘Recognize’ (Detroit)
17-Crew Grrrl Order ‘Official First Lady (Johnny Juice Remix)
18-Macy Gray w/ Mos Def “I Committed Murder’ (gang Star rmx)
19-Tiye Phoenix ‘Nicewitis’ (NY)
20-Mala Rodriguez ‘Ajierro’ (Spain)
21-Queen Deelah ‘Mind Yours’ (Oakland)
22-Bernice King & Sister Souljah meet the Rhondo Brothers (interlude)
23-Medusa ‘Cali Fame’ (LA)
24-Jennifer John ‘Painting on Wax’ (Bay Area)
25-Queen Nasim ‘I’m original’ w/ Rosa Clemente (Portland)
26-Maria Isa ‘Die Not Kill’ (Minneapolis)
27-Lah Tere ‘You Are’ (Chicago/NY)
28-Brazen ‘Grand Rapid’ (San Jose/ Grand Rapid)
29-Kenyanna Bean ‘Good Wit Me’ (Oakland)
30-J Ross Panelle ‘Hey There Sister (Reno)
31-Antia Tijoux ‘Crisis un de MC (Chile)
32-Hopispitshard The Trunk’
33-Psalm One ‘Let Me Hear’