Coming to terms with, and starting to get over the death of someone close takes time. For each person this amount of time can vary. For Carla Green, aka femcee CMG of legendary Oakland female hip-hop duo The Conscious Daughters, it has taken up until now, 15 months since the sudden death of her longtime partner in rhyme Karryl "Special One" Smith, to feel like she has come to terms with the sudden passing of her "sister" and musical partner of two decades.
For The Conscious Daughters' CMG, whose rap name is an acronym for "Cash Makin Girl," it was only earlier this month when she felt fully ready to go out and perform the Daugther's music again. The show was a special show celebrating National Women's History Month two weeks ago at Yoshi's San Francisco on a bill along with Suga T, Yo-Yo, Lady of Rage, and The Coup's DJ Pam The Funkstress.
The concert was the first show that CMG felt ready to do since Special One's passing but it wasn't the first show she had done. "That was the second show I did without Special One," she told the Amoeblog recently. "The first was when I had opened up for Too $hort back in March of 2012 and it was just too soon for me to perform. I felt so empty and “not there”. I was onstage but I was 100% absent. It was like I was in a dream and just standing there rapping. It wasn’t a good look!," she shared. But fast forward to March 2013 and CMG was finally ready, she says. "I am [now] at peace with Special One’s death. I have regrouped and reinvented myself. I have a new DJ (Deeandroid) and she is fabulous. We have been rehearsing and vibin’ – so, for this last show with Rage & DJ Pam, Yo-Yo and Suga-T, I was in rare form, feeling good, and really feeling juiced about performing again." Part of that reinvention and regrouping for CMG is realizing that she now has the responsibility "to carry on the legacy of Conscious Daughters" but that she is not doing it alone. "I do feel that Special One is there on stage with me and most definitely watching over me….and I always hear Spesh’s voice in the back of my mind telling me what to do," she said adding that having DJ Deeandroid up on stage with her as her new partner is a real positive as a performer. "I don’t feel all alone and I can vibe off of her," she said of the gifted turntablist who many know as one half of the DJ duo Deeandroid & Celskiii.
The appreciation of the new pairing of CMG with DJ Deeandroid is mutual. Deeandrooid, who has long looked to the longtime Bay Area female hip-hoppers as "inspiration," grew up listening to TCD and told the Amoeblog that, "Every time I hear 'Fonky Expedition' it brings me back to memories of the Bay Area hip-hop scene of the early/mid 90's when I was a part of Krazee Faze Krew from Vallejo - the bboy/bgirl crew that entered battles and showcased at events during that time." She also recalled how, "Around 2004-2005 Special One came up to Celskiii and me at the DNA Lounge after a DJ showcase we did and gave us advice to keep it up and never let the industry break up your sisterhood, to do what you can to stick together." That advice stuck with the DJ duo and kept them strong during trying times she said adding how now working alongside CMG is truly an "honor and a blessing."
The Conscious Daughters "Something To Ride To (Fonky Expedition)"
At the recent Women's History Month 90's themed female hip-hop show the performers and audience alike had a great time reported CMG. "The crowd was in the 30 + age group and you know the older crowd knows how to party! It was like one of those classic hip hop concerts from the 90's, where everyone is feeling good and really enjoying the music. People were smiling, no fights or arguments, just fun and good music. I started my set with a intro from Special One that she made recently – so it was just her voice and some explosions. I think that got everyone’s attention. Then I kicked it off with "We Roll Deep" and that got them started. The crowd was very much into the show. [And] once 'Fonky Expedition' dropped everyone was dancing and cheering. It was epic," said CMG adding that, "The highlight for me when was when Yo-Yo saw me and she came over to me and just hugged me super tight for like three minutes giving me her condolences on losing Special One. It just really lifted my spirits and made me think about how we are all in this struggle together and we all go through things in life but we come together and give each other strength and love when it’s needed. Power to the lady MCs!"
For CMG another key part of continuing the legacy of The Conscious Daughters (TCD) is completing the album the duo were in the midst of making when Special one suddenly died on December 10th, 2011 due to complications from a blood clot. "Most importantly for me now is delivering the Conscious Daughters finale album that is still untitled. We were just about half way through a new album when she passed, so it has taken me a year to be able to get excited about it again, and get my mind right, my motivation and my lyrics right," said CMG. "But I’m there now and it’s coming out slappin’! Rick Rock and Poetiq Beetz are back on production. I got Paris on there and it’s just that good raw Conscious Daughters music. Also, Conscious Daughters was recently inducted into the Universal Zulu Nation, so I have been spending a good amount of time assisting my chapter (SF All Tribes) with community service in the name of hip hop. It’s been a blast working with them and some good therapy for me." A couple of weekends ago CMG was a music industry veteran panelist at Rock The School Bells which is a really big educational/hip hop event held at Skyline College in San Bruno. Another result of CMG's new found energy is that she is planning on putting together a mini tour of California and Arizona for female emcees. Stay tuned to this Amoeblog for more details as they are revealed.
The Conscious Daughters "We Roll Deep" (another TCD classic that CMG performed
recently in concert minus her longtime partner Special One)