The years 1990 and 1991 were pivotal for women in hip-hop and are captured in the series of videos below. Despite the uneven ratio between female and male artists, those two years captured a time when many more female emcees were being signed and promoted by major record labels than in previous years, or years since, for that matter.
It was also a time when just about every hip-hop crew or collective had at least one female member whom they gave full support to. Queen Latifah
was part of the Flavor Unit
's Blackwatch Movement
and Queen Mother Rage,
while the extended BDP
crew included Ms Melodie
. Meanwhile, Yo-Yo
had the backing support of the post-NWA Ice Cube
The beginning of the 90's was also a time when sisters in rap looked out for one another and joined forces to throw some memorable all female hip-hop events. There was the 75 minute 1991 Sisters In The Name of Rap
concert, with YoYo, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte
, Queen Latifah, Roxanne Shante, Def Dames, Silk Tymes Leather, Nikke? Nicole!
, (dancehall artist) Shelly Thunder, Tam Tam
& others and hosted by Dee Barnes
. This killer show was a Pay-Per-View TV concert taped at the Ritz in NYC in late '91 and released the following year on VHS. (I still have my prized copy.)
Also in 1991, on Valentine's Day, there was a 5-hour all female rap concert at the Los Angeles Sports Arena that included Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, M.C. Trouble
(R.I.P.), Harmony, Nefertiti, Michie Mee, MC Smooth
, and Nikki D
. While, according to all reviews at the time, this female rap showcase was an off-the-hook event, its attendance figures were far from impressive. Only 3,700 people showed up at the 15,200-seat LA Sports Arena. Perhaps the promoters booked too large a venue for this event, but had it been an all male rap showcase featuring the leading men of rap of the day, it would have undoubtedly sold out.