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Soundcheck: Return Of The Female Emcee?

Last week, the music industry lost a female veteran when Ms. Melodie of Boogie Down Productions died on Wednesday. Her 1989 release Diva made her one of the first emcees to spit alongside the heavy-hitting male rappers of the day, like ex-husband KRS-One.

The loss made me reflect on today’s female rappers, and the position they hold in the hip-hop world. Aside from Nicki Minaj, it seems that female rappers have all but disappeared from the mainstream landscape over the past few years.

But times may be changing. The days of Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown may be over, but a slew of new spitters have been staging some serious attacks, and a few familiar faces are poised to return, ready to make a big impact on the rap game.

Eve recently announced plans to release her oft-delayed project Lip Lock this fall. It will be her first album since Eve-Olution hit the streets 10 years ago. If things go her way, the former Ruff Ryder will be rocking radio waves again, showcasing her sick rhyming skills and ever-present ability to get a party started with her sexy but scathing style. She recently made her first-ever appearance at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and received a warm welcome from legions of loyal fans who can’t wait for her return to the mic.  Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: Return Of The Female Emcee?’

The Second Coming of Lil’ Kim

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome musical artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, “Where are they now?”  You may not know it, but many artists you loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more.  Fortunately, you now have “Second Coming” to reintroduce you to some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future!

THEN: A protégé of the late Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim made her debut as a member of rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A in 1995. A year later, she reintroduced herself to the world as a solo artist by dropping her own album, Hard Core, and appearing on tracks by Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott in 1997. The album, which was very accurately described as “gangsta porno rap” by US politician C. Delores Tucker, raised more than a few eyebrows. Kim’s sophomore album, The Notorious K.I.M. (see what she did there?), reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 charts. The same year, she contributed to the anthemic “Lady Marmalade” cover sung by Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott, P!nk and Mya for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. She saw additional success with her duets with 50 Cent (“Magic Stick”) and X-Tina again (“Can’t Hold Us Down”), but her fourth album, The Naked Truth, didn’t do so well, commercially. In 2005, she served  a year-long prison sentence for perjury. Four years later, Kim returned to the spotlight when she appeared on Dancing With The Stars and finished in fifth place.

NOW: Though she hasn’t released an official album, Kim has been in music news lately, thanks to her ongoing rap feud with Nicki Minaj. Soon after accusing Minaj of stealing her style, Kim became the subject of Minaj’s biting, diss-laden track “Roman’s Revenge,” which featured Eminem. Kim responded with a mixtape titled Black Friday, taking multiple shots at Minaj’s album Pink Friday. The rap battle rages on, as Nicki has seen recent success with her Kim-targeted single “Stupid Hoe,” and has named her sophomore album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded after Roman, her angry male alter-ego who loves to hate on Kim.

But, feuds aside, Kim’s gearing up for a big year in 2012, including the release of her new album. She enlisted the help of rap heavyweights 50 Cent and Dr. Dre for the record, which has not yet been titled. Kim has also written a book, titled The Price of Loyalty, which is set to be released simultaneously with the album, as well been the subject of a documentary. According to ThisBeatGoes.com, Kim said the following about her book: “When I did my book deal they were basically like ‘we want the Kim life story.’ But my lawyers were like ‘no, no, that’s like four different checks. ‘Cause [my story is] to be continued, to be continued, to be continued.”

It’s everyone’s favorite stripper quartet! Check out Lil’ Kim’s appearance in the video for “Lady Marmalade” below:

Rapper’s Delight: Hip Hop Girls

Women have played a critical role in the evolution of hip hop; Queen Latifah, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj, to name a few, have all left distinguishable marks. In 2008, the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem recognized their importance with its first annual tribute event called “The Impact of Women in Hip Hop”. Our very own fast-growing pool of female talent, living in the Hip Hop Channels on OurStage, also deserves some love, and we thought that featuring a playlist with a few of them was apropos.

Nikki Lynette

One prime example is Nikki Lynette, who won our “NextMovie Review” competition just weeks ago with her upbeat, genre defying dance jam “Love U Crazy.” Check out her review of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie for MTV’s NextMovie.com. And that’s not her first big moment on OurStage; Nikki was a finalist in OurStage and New Music Seminar’s “Artist on the Verge” competition last year. “I was competing against all male rock bands,” she recalls, “and I still managed to come in 2nd. Black girls know how to rock, too!” She’s lingered in the Top 100 of our Best of Urban charts for nine weeks this year, too, peaking at 11.

Another exciting artist to follow is @Ibtunes. This Houston sensation has opened for Drake, J. Cole and Wale and was featured as the Unsigned Band of the Month in this past March’s edition of High Times Magazine. She’s also been doing very well on OurStage this year; take a minute to check out some of her mixtapes here. I mean, c’mon, they’re free!

IB

The Lyrical Maze is another one to keep your eye on. Given her childhood interest in writing and poetry, TLM is aptly named. Her confidence on the mic is not surprising either—she’s been competing in and winning talent contests since she was thirteen. More recently, she’s transferred these skills into live performances and even a headlining slot at the NWO Word Warriors Tour. This interview with Female First sheds some more light on the person behind the music.

The Lyrical Maze

Tracks by these women, along with other female artists, are included in the player below. We’re proud of their achievements, and we’re sure there’s something here for everyone. Do any of these tracks really stand out to you? Write us a comment and tell us why.

Soundcheck: Girlfight – Nicki vs. Kim vs. Foxy

Meow…

The claws are out, with female rappers sharpening their fangs and tongues in an ego-filled catfight. Reigning queen of the hip hop charts, Nicki Minaj has been fielding insults from Lil’  Kim since the summer, when Kim called out the rookie for biting her style—specifically her wigs. During a New York concert, Kim and guest, Ray J took digs at Minaj, saying, “You respect me, I respect you. If you don’t respect me, then f—k you.” Kim elaborated on her feelings during a Philly radio interview with Kendra G, where she explained that Nicki hadn’t paid proper homage to the Queen Bee.

While this didn’t prompt an immediate response from Minaj, her friend and labelmate, Drake took up the fight at a Connecticut concert, where he used no uncertain terms to take sides. “I don’t give a f— what Lil’ Kim or nobody else is talking about—you’re the baddest chick to ever do this sh–.”

Kim continued her crusade against Nicki, this time adding Diddy to her list of offenders, saying “Puffy should be ashamed of his f—in’ self,” likely airing her disappointment that he was now managing Minaj.

Nicki, who has at least publically paid homage to the female emcees who came before her (most memorably during last year’s BET Award acceptance speech, and repeatedly during radio interviews) initially responded as a hurt fan of Kim. She explained numerous times that she loved and respected Lil’ Kim, and that while her intention was never to “bite her style” she was undoubtedly influenced by the prolific rapper. As the accusations continued, however, it seems Nicki had a change of heart, and enlisted Eminem to help her deliver the message in a late addition to her album, “Roman’s Revenge”. In the track, Nicki takes aim at Kim, calling her a has been, and telling her to send her a thank you note for making her relevant again. “Is this the thanks I get for putting you bitc–es on?/Is it my fault that all of you bit—s gone?/Shoulda sent a thank-you note, you little ho/Now I’ma wrap your coffin with a bow…” She even filmed the recording of this track for her MTV special, My Time Now where she explains Roman’s origins, as an aggressive persona “brought out of her by the haters.”

In an interview with New York’s Hot 97, Minaj told Angie Martinez that she was puzzled by Kim’s harsh words. She impersonated Kim’s Brooklyn accent while recounting their conversation at a Lil’ Wayne show, which Nicki says was an amicable clearing of the air. Minaj claims that at that same show, Foxy Brown told her that Kim didn’t like her, and constantly spoke ill of her. Minaj called Kim out on her insecurities, claiming the former Queen was threatened by her success. She showed no signs of backing down, saying “You gotta be careful when you pick fights…”

Foxy jumped in on the action, Twittering that Minaj was a liar, claiming that the conversation never happened.

Kim’s response to the song was a diss track, “Black Friday”, released in November. In it, Kim calls Minaj a clone, call her a gimmick, a wannabe, rapping “I’m the blueprint you ain’t nothin’ brand new/Check your posters and videos/You’ll always be number two.”

Foxy Brown has piped up again, perhaps in an effort to catch some shine off the situation; and released her own diss track, “Massacre” last week. Brown takes shots at Kim (rekindling a years long beef) calling her diss track garbage, “That bullsh—‘Black Friday’ shit was garbage/ How the f—k you love B.I.G. and shit on Ms. Wallace?” alluding to Kim’s previous dispute with Biggie’s mother over her unflattering portrayal in the Notorious biopic.

Now that we’ve hammered out the details, whose side are you on? Has Kim been disrespected, or is she simply riding Nicki’s coattails to revive her own career?  Can the Queen Bee reclaim her crown? Or is it time to pass the femcee torch?

This Week on VIBE.com

Check it! Every Friday on the OurStage Blog, we will be featuring exclusive content from the one-and-only VIBE.com. Stay tuned for weekly photos, music, news and reviews coming straight from the source that’s redefining hip hop.

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Tweets Is Talking: Celebrities Respond to Drake’s ‘Thank Me Later’ Leak

It’s finally here. After months of anticipation, Drake’s debut album, Thank Me Later, finally leaked to the Internets yesterday—two weeks before its planned June 15 release date. The response? All depends on who you ask. Continue reading on VIBE.com…

‘Greek’ Co-Star Aziz Ansari Praises Diddy’s ‘Comedic Timing’

Sean “Diddy” Combs is amusing, but is he funny ha-ha? His Get Him to the Greek co-star Aziz Ansari tells VIBE whether the mogul-actor’s first comedic turn will have us choking on our Whoppers. Continue reading on VIBE.com…

 


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