Monday, 23 July 2007

Whatever Happened To The (Female) MC's?

First things first. This is not another rant about where all the female MC's have gone.

I've never been a big fan of femcees. Apart from Lauryn Hill, the rest just seem to fit the perfect stereotype of a female hip hop MC, i.e. lyrics full of sexual innuendo, how great it is to be a pimpess, etc. Leaders in this particular field include Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown & Trina.

In the mid-to-late 90's, this was the only type of solo female you were able to listen to. Lil' Kim got a 5 mic score in The Source (how???), and Foxy was making her name with Mr. Hip Hop. The likes of MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and Sha-Rock disappeared to be replaced by these much more alpha females. I don't know how this shift came about, and don't care, but it happened none-the-less. It happened to coincide with the rising popularity of hip hop in the mainstream, and as a result, the masses who didn't listen to hip hop came to see these females as the standard female MC.

What a bitch.

Coming into the 00's though, the more thoughtful females broke through. Jean Grae, formerly known as What? What? (worst MC name ever? Maybe...) and member of group Natural Resource, dropped her first solo LP in 2002 entitled, 'Attack of the Attacking Things'. She has since dropped three further albums/bootlegs, and has appeared on tracks with The Roots, Masta Ace, and Immortal Technique, but to name a few.

Others are taking notes, and the 00's also brought us Ms. Dynamite from the UK, Tiye Phoenix, the replacement for the respected Apani B of Polyrhythm Addicts, and Canadian MC Eternia. Considering what I've heard from these artists thus far, things are looking good (no pun intended), and the future of the femcee seems to be looking up. I just hope that the upcoming females admire these newer MC's, rather than their predecessors. These newer MC's have shown that a woman's role in hip hop goes beyong singing catchy hooks, and can express themselves in the verses.

I must say that I'm not trying to say that there is no room for the MC's like Lil' Kim, Remy Ma, etc, but when they're all saying the same thing, somebody needs to really do something a little more varied. I really think that there is a much wider scope to develop, and the future femcees will have no shortage of subject matter.

Today's album post...

Psalm One - The Death Of Frequent Flyer

By now, the more of informed of readers must have been thinking how I forgot about Psalm One. Good things come to those who wait!
Hailing from Chi-Town, Psalm One's 'The Death Of Frequent Flyer' represents her third solo LP. She is currently signed on the respected Rhymesayers roster, alongside well-established artists such as MF Doom and Atmosphere. Having majored in Chemistry at the University of Illinois, you know that this album is not going to be the pimpess-type album.
It was hard to choose which album to upload between this and Jean Grae's 'This Week'. Both are stellar examples of new-school femcee albums, but this album one through simply because I like Psalm One's sharper beats, rather than the 9th Wonder-laden 'This Week' album. It is hard to separate the two on quality of rhymes/sound of voice.
I could have actually saved writing the entire post above, and replaced with the lyrics to the song 'Rapper Girls'. Here, Psalm One expresses her discontent with the current crop of femcees. As Psalm One eloquently puts it...
"Never be more than that girl who raps 'good for a girl',
But really those titties is giving wood to the world,
They keep you around to prevent a sausage fest,
And you'll do just fine cos of the gloss and chest"
Ouch. Fellow Rhymesayer Brother Ali features on 'Standby'. By now, anyone who has heard Ali knows that he can spit, and any MC, male or female, would have trouble keeping up with him. However, Psalm ups the bar and manages it quite effortlessly. The two actually compliment each other very well on what sounds like an Ant beat. The rest of the production is handled by underground producers Overflo, Madd Crates & V-Traxx. I especially like the beat on 'Rap Girls', which samples a Bollywood singer on a loop.
Fellow femcee Ang13 features on 'Prelude To A Diss', in which the two discuss the current crop of female MC's ("I hate these muthafuckers"). My favourite cut on the album is 'Peanuts', in which Psalm vents about her rise in the industry. It features a simple beat, and lets Psalm One shine lyrically.

So, if you were like me, I thought female MC's had nothing to offer: Think again. This album will keep you listening long enough until Columbia decide to release Lauryn Hill's new joint.


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Kazeiro said...

Another amazing post, damn everytime I read your posts I think "this is exactly what I think about this".

Screw Lil' Kim and Remy Ma
Thumbs up for Apani B and Jean Grae

And that Psalm One album is gold, one of the most underated records from last year.

psy said...

i think whutwhut was one of the best names for a rapper ever. especially ill for a lady too.

aside from her & lauren, i've always loved ladybug, lyte, & rah digga too...and i think that's about it.


La said...


just wanted to share what i'm doing in the hopes that you might have some input. know any MCs that i should know?

La Blaxicana