You gotta let them know, you ain’t a bitch or a ho

I had a blast on Jezebel last night. I have found some fellow female hip hop heads and we have these amazing musical exchanges on-line. Last night, we got to putting up a ton of vids from when we were in high school and college, back in the late 80’s – early 90’s. I have been re-watching these vids and I am proud to say, they have really stood the test of time. What’s more, it’s given me a better understanding of why I can be a feminist and a hip hop head.

One of them grabbed my booty, he was nasty.

For example, this vid from Queen Latifah (posted by Green eyed Feminist) was a reminder of why I am a fan for life. It’s so great to see young, scrappy, early Latifah. Before Chicago, before her jazz album, hell, even before Living Single. Those jean shorts and work boots, check, so had them. I also tried to emulate her attitude of confidence and power.

After the jump, more girl power from back in the day. And big ups to Valkerie607, Erinna, Green-eyed Fem and Reno Martini,  because last night a jezzie saved my life.

Salt-n-Pepa: Express Yourself

This is one of MANY Salt-n-Pepa songs that I know ALL the words to. We jammed it my junior year of high school. It was every high school girls dream combo of killer lyrics coupled with a killer dance beat. We car danced to this bad boy on the daily for months. And you can only imagine what happened at high school house parties when this song came on, after we’d had a couple of wine coolers.

Yes, I’m Pep and there ain’t nobody
Like my body, yes, I’m somebody
No, I’m sorry, I’m-a rock this Mardis Gras
Until the party ends, friends
Yes, I’m blessed, and I know who I am
I express myself on every jam
I’m not a man, but I’m in command
Hot damn, I got an all-girl band
And I wear the gear, yeah, I wanna wear it, too
I don’t care, dear, go ahead and stare (oooo)
Afraid to be you, livin’ in fear (boo)
Expression is rare, I dare you!

Don’t tell me what I can not do baby. Come on and work your body.

MC Lyte – Cha cha cha

This was another MC who had MANY jams which I learned ALL the words to. I love watching this vid. MC Lyte was a female hip hop pioneer. So many women have careers today because of MC Lyte, yet so few people know who she is.

MC Lyte is the reason I have no patience for hyper-sexualized women in hip hop. For example, I respect what Little Kim is going for but her nastiness is off-putting and gets too much attention for the wrong stuff. I’m sad to say that there are not enough strong female voices in hip hop. But that’s not to say there are NO positive female voices and we all have MC Lyte to thank for that. Just a sample of the her killer lyricism.

Now it’s time to kick a rhyme out the batch
And you’re the receiver eager as a beaver
Time to convert the non-believer
That I’m a roadrunner leaving you in the dust
I can adjust to the times and at times I might just get quicker
Than the ticker of your pacemaker
More tender than a roni but harder than a jawbreaker
So don’t ever second guess me
And if you’re wondering who could the best be
Think a second and recollect the worst whipping you ever had yet
And I’ll bet that I did it
My fingerprints are still on you
How many times I gotta warn you
About the light? It’ll blind your sight
But the rhythm will still guide you through the night

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I could watch this video over and over. She is such a class act. Cool, assured, stylish. Rocking suits in a limo. She’s not asking, she’s telling. And she is every bit as good as her male counerparts. In fact, she’s better than most.

Oaktown 357 – Juicy

Another FAV from high school. What I love about this vid (like all the vids on this post) is that the woman are SO dressed for other women, not men. I mean the polka dot hats / outfits are insane. And that’s before the spangled bra / hammer pants combo! Bravo, ladies!

The funny thing is, I never saw the vid in high school but the song conveyed exactly what the vid does. Two bff’s who have clearly spent a LOT of time dancing and hanging together, writing the ultimate party jam. Discovering the video as an adult is just icing on the cake.

And this would be considered a highly sexual song based on the lyrics alone, but I love that they speak of their sexuality from a place of power and confidence. It’s the guys who are working hard. The girls are just having fun being themselves together.

Mary J. Blige – Family Affair

One of the things I love most about Mary J is how the hip hop boys treat her like the royalty she is, always showing respect and mad love. No one has been through more and worked harder for continual personal betterment than Mary.  And she has taken her fans along every step of the way. I don’t listen to much Mary J, but she has inspired countless women in her ability to keep on getting back up and striving to be your best. And I gotta say, when Mary is on, Mary is on. ‘Nuf respect to Ms. Blige.

Doesn’t matter if you’re white or black, let’s get crunk cuz Mary’s Back.


Me vs. Vibe

But like a brick wall, I’m too hard to break

Those Chi City Boys – Lupe, Rhymefest, Common and Kanye


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lizzie (greeneyedfem)
    Jan 09, 2010 @ 19:47:06

    Seeing Queen Latifah and Salt-n-Pepa and MC Lyte up here makes me a little sad for hip-hop today. I know there are lots of great woman rappers out there who don’t set themselves up as sexual objects for men, but they don’t get on the radio much. How are the girls of today gonna find ’em?

    I guess we still have Missy Elliot. Isn’t her new album coming out soon?


  2. Melissa
    Jan 09, 2010 @ 21:44:47

    For contemporary female rappers, I like M.I.A., Princess Superstar, and Kid Sister, and also liked T.K. Wonder, a rapper who has an insanely good flow.

    MC Lyte is one of the best rappers ever, her lyrics just spit out and her voice is unmistakable.

    I think Lil’ Kim is a great rapper, but she started off the “sex sells” trend of female rappers posing in bikinis and jewels rapping about money and sex and using one to get the other. I think she’s great on “Big Momma Thang” and is a sharp lyricist, but allowed herself to fall into becoming a caricature.

    Just last week I was dancing in my room to “Ladies First” and missing those kind of strong female rappers with so much power and strength. They still exist, it’s just harder to find them out there.


    • Bonita Applebum
      Jan 09, 2010 @ 23:15:28

      I love that you know Princess Superstar. I went through a wicked ps phase which included an entire cd of my favorite ps songs. Her flow is amazing! She is so smart and funny, totally on the same level as her male counterparts in NYC. She is a total self made girl, LOVE her.

      I can’t hate on Kim because she has flo for sho. I just can’t stomach it. And I do think she has been a huge part of the negative portrayal of women in hip hop. I get frustrated because she’s better than that. She doesn’t need to show up in pasties, her music stands on it’s own.

      MIA has been hard for me to get into. I love Paper Planes, but it took a long time for it to grow on me. But I believe MIA is totally holding it down for females in hip hop. That grammy performance of Swagga like us ! Dayum. She Totally holds her own against these the rap superstars bringing their best game. She’s half their height and 10 months pregnant and she still comes across cool as hell. She makes us all proud.


      • lizzie (greeneyedfem)
        Jan 10, 2010 @ 06:02:21

        Love Princess Superstar! I made a mix CD for a friend a couple years ago called “white girls rap 1” — it was PS, Northern State, Lady Sovereign, and Diam’s. Should I send you a copy as part of your repayment? Do you have a lot of their music already?

  3. Trackback: The best (on-line) friends a homegirl could have « Bonita Appleblog

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