Medusa "Choclet Giddy Up" (2011)
Before the month of March, aka Women's History Month 2011, comes to a close I wanted to shine some light on a sampling of the female hip-hop talents out there today and what they're up to, including both some well known, longtime women artists and some new up-and-coming female artists. For a myriad of reasons, namely the genre's prevalent macho attitude, even all these years later female artists remain a clear minority in the male dominated field of rap music. Hence, those women who continue to make hip-hop music demonstrate a true dedication and passion for their art form.
As with any musical genre, hip-hop goes through different waves and stages. Since its beginnings, trends in the popularity of female artists have periodically come and gone. And right now, following the meteoric rise to fame of Lil Wayne female protege Nicki Minaj and the breakout success of her late 2010 debut album Pink Friday, it looks like we might be set for a new wave of female MCs in the mainstream. If this occurs, as many industry insiders predict, it will not only make it easier for new female artists to get heard but it will also be easier for longtime female artists putting out new releases. One longtime female rapper who will not give credit to Nicki Minaj for the album she is reportedly dropping this year is Lil Kim, who you'll recall had a very public verbal beef with the younger rapper and who, back in November, unleashed the uncomplimentary rap "Black Friday" in response to Pink Friday. This week Nicki fired back with her latest Lil Kim diss track "Tragedy."
Nicki Minaj - Massive Attack ft. Sean Garrett (2011)
Other established female rappers returning with releases this year include Jean Grae, Trina, and Da Brat. Rah Digga, who, after a decade-long hiatus, triumphantly returned last year with the appropriately titled Classic, will continue performing and likely have some new recordings, too, in 2011. A month ago ATL rapper Da Brat didn't release an album but got released from jail after completing a 3 year prison sentence for an assault charge dating back to an incident in 2007 when she struck an employee of an ATL nightclub in the face with a rum bottle. Word has it that she will be recording and releasing something in 2011. The very talented but ever-fickle Jean Grae, who has threatened to quit the hip-hop music scene before, is releasing her anticipated album Cake Or Death this year on Blacksmith with some help from Talib Kweli. She just did some shows at SXSW with him and also appears on his latest album. There is also reportedly a new Jean Grae mixtape, Cookies or Comas, coming too. And, of course, Jean Grae is currently riding high via her cameo along with Phonte on the 9th Wonder produced, Lil B Twitter generated hit "Base For Your Face."
Hip-hop emcee Melissa Czarnik (aka MC) has been quietly but steadily putting it down from her Milwaukee base on the local hip-hop and spoken word scene. Already with two full length releases to her credit, MC is currently working on a forthcoming third album with her producer and Hyperdrive Motivator Productions label mate, Eric Mire. "I’m making plans to tour the East and West coasts in the summer/fall 2011, and in particular will be performing in NYC and Boston the weekend of May 27," the artist tells the Amoeblog. "I’ve been working with Laid Back Radio out of Brussels, Belgium on a compilation disc featuring artists from around the world. And other than that, I’m always on the grind, steadily promoting my first two albums, Raspberry Jesus (HMP, 2010) and Strawberry Cadillac (HMP, 2008)." For more information, free downloads, videos, pictures and music visit MC's website. Also check out her Facebook and her YouTube channel.
Longtime West Coast emcee Medusa has just released the catchy single "Choclet Giddy Up" care of Myka 9's M9 Entertainment. Taken from the LA Gangsta Goddess's new album, Whrs the dj booth?, it even has a dance to go with it -- as seen in video above. The single's B-Side is titled "Textin & Twitterin" and will also be found on the forthcoming album.
80's rap stars Salt n Pepa are currently on the road with the Salt n Pepa's Legends of Hip Hop Tour with such other old school acts as Kurtis Blow, Kool Moe Dee,Biz Markie,Slick Rick, and Doug E Fresh.
Meanwhile, up in the Bay Area, Hopie Spitshard has released the new EP Dulce Vita, currently available as a download at www.hopiespitshard.com, the long awaited follow up to her 2008 album Diamond Dame. Another underground femcee is Cleo Jones of the Crew Grrl Order, who is about to drop her sophomore outing, Reclaiming My Name, featuring the current single "U-N-I-VERSE."
And finally, I would like to leave you with a video by my personal all time favorite femcee, MC Lyte, who is still doing stuff and is currently part of the aforementioned Salt n Pepa's Legends of Hip Hop Tour. She returned to the music scene in 2009 with the reggae flavored single "Brooklyn" and her classic albums from over two decades ago were reissued in the past year. Below is the video for her classic 1989 Eyes On This album track & single "Cappucino."
MC Lyte "Cappucino" (1989)