RIP, Magnolia Shorty

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 22, 2010 06:10pm | Post a Comment

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.
Renetta Lowe wanted to rap since she was six years old. She was nicknamed Magnolia Shorty by Magnolia Slim (aka Solja Slim) due to her diminutive stature and roots in Uptown’s notorious Magnolia Projects, which also produced rappers Juvenile, Mr. Marcello, 6-Shot and others.

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).

That same year that she released her album she brought a sixteen-year-old discovery and fellow Magnolia resident to the label, Young Turk. She appeared on “3rd Ward Solja,” off Juvenile’s seminal Solja Rags but by the time Cash Money signed a major deal with Universal in 1998, they had parted ways with their original roster and Magnolia Shorty never again recorded with them. Although she last appeared on a track of a 2007 mixtape, Louisiana Cartel (UnderGround Funk Entertainment), she remains popular in New Orleans, where she performed regularly and wrote songs like “That’s My Juvie” that, though never put to record, are well-known, local club hits. Despite her brief recording career, echoes of Magnolia Shorty’s highly repetitive, crude and lewd bounce are more in evidence than most old school bounce artists by today’s flamboyant sissy rappers.

One of the strange side effects of the relocation of New Orleanians following Katrina was the spread and explosion of bounce’s popularity. Many New Orleanians relocated to Houston, Texas and, in 2009, Magnolia Shorty joined fellow Partners N Crime, DJ Jubilee, Big Freedia, Ms Tee, Katey Red and Vockah Redu at South By Southwest in Austin.

Recently Shorty had joined forces with fellow Cash Money veteran Ms. Tee as Gudda Girlz. Working with DJ EF Cutting, they were working on a new album around the time of her passing. She recently released a duet with 17-year-old singer Kourtney Heart, "My Boy,” and had a club hit with “Smoking Gun." Having just signed with Jive, Heart may've proven Shorty's ticket out of the streets that ended up claiming her if given a little more time. RIP.

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New Orleans Rap (17), Bounce (17), New Orleans (56), Hip Hop (94), Rap (134), Black History Month (134), Magnolia Shorty (3), Cash Money Records (7)