Big ups to the female artists in the history of Bay Area hip-hop who, as it seems to be the case with the rest of the rap nation, are (and have always been) in the minority. Why? A variety of reasons-- the main one, in my opinion, is that women can never fare well in a male dominated field that is predominantly (but not exclusively) sexist and misogynist. If you have any strong insights into why you think there is still such a unbalanced female to male rap ratio, please share in the COMMENTS box below where I invite you to also list your favorite female emcees from the Bay Area or elsewhere.
By no means is this post inclusive of the many female hip-hop artists from the Bay; it is merely a salute a select talented few -- both new and old school -- who come to mind, including such old school emcees as 80's East Bay female rapper Cassidine. When she dropped her debut twenty years ago on 75 Girls (the Oakland label run by the Hodges Brothers), she was heralded as the female counterpart to (label mate) Too $hort. Cassidine's album, Man Handler, contains such hardcore tracks as "She Daddy." Unfortunately, the a killer collection of hardcore rhymes and beats from a bygone era in Bay rap has never been re-released.
Also from 1980's Bay rap is Oaktown 3-5-7, the female rap crew who first came to fame as MC Hammer's backing singers/dancers on tracks such as "Let's Get It Started." In fact, they performed this song with Hammer and the rest of his large entourage when they made their national debut on the The Arsenio Hall Show. When they released their own music on Hammer's label they enjoyed reasonable success but not enough to keep them from breaking up in 1992. Their 1989 Wild and Loose album was their most successful and made waves on the Billboard pop and black-album charts two decades ago when it spawned the singles "We Like It" and "Juicy Gotcha Krazy" (video below).
Oakland's Conscious Daughters represent 1990's Bay rap. The duo of CMG and Special K (Carla Green and Karryl Smith) came under the wing of Paris. Signed to his label they released such singles as their early nineties hit "Something to Ride To (Fonky Expedition)" off their 1993 debut album Ear to the Street. The video below includes cameos from many Bay rap figures, including Paris and Money B. Still busy and recording these days, you can find out more by visiting the Conscious Daughters' MySpace.
Longtime SF female rapper the Deffa Heffa from the Fillmore has been tirelessly putting it down for many years. Below is a short video clip promoting her latest single "Saturday Night." Also holding it down since the nineties is Sacramento rapper Marvaless (signed to AWOL), who, in the company of male rappers, has been holding her own and putting it down for years, dropping a slew of her own releases and also collaborating with many other rappers over the years including C-BO, Messy Marv, Mac Mall, Leviti, Spice-1, and 2Pac. Below is a video of her freestyling last year at a club in Modesto. Also representing the 90's/00's is Mystic, who had been tirelessly putting it down for many years before her biggest hit "My Life" (video below) from her 2001 album Luck and Scars for Freedom dropped.
Meanwhile new school Bay Area female rap artists include Mo Wiley, JenRO, Tequila, and Imerald Bay. Below is the video for the 20 year old emcee's single "Twist Twist" taken from her album Sweet and Sour (N.A.P.O. Entertainment). Tequila is the young Oakland rapper whose recordings include "Hyphy Girl" and "Go Dumb Girl" (a single last year). She is currently readying her second album It's My Swagga.
JenRO is the out, loud, and proud Bay Area female emcee whose recordings include "Dykes in da house." A 25 year old San Francisco rapper of El Salvadorian and Filipino descent, she has been rapping since she was just a little kid. Her first CD was Unreleased & Uncensored. It tells it like it is from her perspective as a gay woman in a male dominated world. One of her biggest audiences to date was when she performed to a crowd of about 10,000 at the San Francisco Dyke March. The interview video below with the artist is courtesy of YO!TV.
Other Bay Area female emcees deserving of mention include Toy the Combless Negro Child, Nic Nac, Nina Lee, and Suga T (solo and member of the Click), who has released a series of recordings since the early nineties. Many know her for her contributing vocals to big brother E40's hit "Sprinkle Me." Click here for updates on the longtime Vallejo female rap artist and click here to peep her the video for her mid-nineties single "Recognize."
Naturally, there are many many more artists that I have omitted that will pop into my head once I've posted this, so check back for additions and updates to this Jamoeblog in the future weeks and as mentioned previously please include in COMMENTS below your fave female emcees from the Bay and beyond.