Thursday, July 10, 2008

Queen of the Underground

Female rappers have been an endangered species for several years. Let's look at the sad landscape of yesteryear's stars and last week's chart toppers.

Queen Latifah is singing jazz standards and allegedly planning to marry her trainer. Monie Love plays other people's records on the radio instead of making her own. Remy Ma is spitting bars from behind bars. Lil Kim has done her time and is hoping that her old fans recognize her on a new label with a new face. The only hits Foxy Brown has been responsible for lately have been those upside her manicurists' head. MC Lyte is doing voice-overs for award shows instead of being nominated for awards. Lumidee, Lumi-don't. Yo-Yo's judging a reality show contest with female rappers, including one that had a established rapper as a contestant.  Lady Sovereign hasn't been seen since her meltdown at Studio B in Brooklyn.  (She's short, so it could be we're all just looking over her.) Add to the list, these ladies from the 80's who are missing in action: J. J. Fad, Michie Mee, Ice Cream Tee, Oaktown 357, Wee Papa Girls, Antoinette, Ya Kid-K, Deadly Venoms, Poizon Posse, Boss and  Lin-Que. R.I.P. MC Trouble and Lisa Lopes.

While some have survived the game and made a successful career for themselves away from the microphone, like Roxanne Shante, (that's Doctor Shante to you)  few have kept it real in the game for years. Philadelphia-born Bahamadia, while only three albums deep, has been in the business of music for over a decade. She cultivated a fan base in the underground scene while guesting on projects with The Roots and Erykah Badu. The True honeybun sat down with me after a show with Unspoken Herd at Alley Katz in Richmond to talk about her next project, European audience and why she's always being asked about the status of females artists in hip hop.

Shout out to the other sisters doing the damn thing: Missy Elliott, Jean Grae, Imani Coppola, Trina and Khia.

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