Katey and new fan Andy Schwartz at SXSW 2010 (photo courtesy of Andy Schwartz)
Big Freedia and Katey Red
Magnolia Shorty was a bounce rapper from New Orleans who was the first female MC to record with Cash Money Records. She was murdered along with Jerome “Man Man” Hampton on the morning of December 20th, 2010 in Little Woods, New Orleans East. After being hit with a rumored 26 gun shots, their vehicle crashed on the 6300 block of Bridgehampton around 12:30 p.m. She was 28, Hampton was 25.
She began rapping publicly when she was twelve, performing at block parties and recording mixtapes. When she signed with Cash Money, she was the first female rapper (and second female, following singer Ms. Tee) to join the label’s ranks. Her sole album for the label, recorded in 1996, is also notable for being the first Cash Money release to feature Juvenile. Not only was Monkey on the D$ck (Cash Money), released in February, 1997, Magnolia Shorty’s last album for the label, but sadly, it was her last album ever. In an era and scene known for bizarre album covers, Monkey on the D$ck’s image of to be-thonged girls with bullet braces and war helmets facing a large, irradiating, disembodied chimpanzee visage is on a level of bizarreness all by itself. Befitting the rapper’s stature, the album is itself incredibly short – just 21 minutes long and, as with many of Cash Money’s independent-era records, sounds like it was recorded in a single, lazy afternoon. The album's opener, “Manny Fresh (Cash Money Style)” doesn’t even feature her. There’s also a radio version of “Monkey on the D$ck,” another bounce classic, “Charlie Whop!!,” the wordless “Soldier Chant,” and “Magnolia $horty” (featuring BG and Juvenile).
Nearly one year employment
Miss Ess: What's the first music you remember hearing when you were a kid?
Cas: That's tough, mainly because my head is kind of flooded with musical memories, so much so that it's hard to tell where it all started. Both of my parents are music lovers so there was usually some kind of song being played or sung around the house. I've inherited my mom's habit of playing music in the morning to get myself going. She usually played some kind of contemporary R&B music and the occasional gospel album. My dad was in a singing group that performed around New Orleans in the late 70's and early 80's. When the guys in the group weren't having practices at our house, my dad was usually going around singing songs by artists they were influenced by: The Temptations, Luther Vandross, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. I used to think my dad was Teddy Pendergrass.
Tomorrow, Friday April 16th, the 2010 DMC American Battleground kicks off with the first round of this year's National DJ Battle Qualifier events. The DJ battle, being held in New Orleans at the Hookah Club on Decatur Street and hosted by Truth Universal, will also feature showcase sets by New York's DJ Shiftee, who is the current reigning DMC World Champion, and Mista B of San Francisco's 4OneFunk crew, who was runner up in last year's US DMC finals. In the upcoming weeks following the New Orleans DJ battle, other US DMC regional battles will take place in Denver (May 1st), NYC (May 15th), Long Beach, CA (May 21st), and San Antonio TX (May 28th). Then on August 7th the 2010 DMC US Finals DJ Battle will be held at Santos Party House in New York City.
But of all these US DMC battles, perhaps the most noteworthy is tomorrow's opening event since, by hosting the DMC battle in New Orleans for its second consecutive year, the event organizers are not only helping ignite the local competitive turntablist scene but they are also doing their part in the gradual recovery of a post Katrina New Orleans -- a still devastated city that has a ways to go before returning to its former Big Easy glory.
Christie Z-Pabon, the DMC USA Event Coordinator, credits local New Orleans DJ/promoter Tony Skratchere (part of New Orleans' Soundclash collective) with making the NOLA DMC event happen in the first place. "Tony Skratchere was just determined to bring it there and get the scene kicking. I remember when DJ Spin from Louisiana was the only person from that state battling in the late 90's," she told me, noting that, "Basically the DJs are taking the lead in all the cities and either becoming the promoters or finding promoters for us [at DMC]."