Mainstream hip-hop coverage would have you believe that there are very limited ways for women to break into the rap game. Aspiring female MCs are encouraged adopt a hardcore street, lesbian, androgynous, or otherwise sexually ambiguous persona. If that doesn’t work, be a nearly naked, straight, but preferably, bisexual boy toy, who name drops outrageously expensive luxury items in every other verse.
Fortunately, the organizers of the I Love Rap, My Chick Bad Edition provided the perfect platform for a group too infrequently seen: diverse female rappers. The show was hosted by WRFG FM’s Ms. Dia alongside, Taj Anwar. D.J. Tiffi T. held down the ones and twos.
The evening’s line-up was extensive. Khaos da Rapper, Cash Marie, Sa-Roc and Adrift Da Belle, set it off the opening performances. Boog Brown, Khalilah Ali, Coco Jones, Tiffany “Godiva” Michael, and Lyric Jones rounded out the features.
Between both sets of performers, the ladies personified the essence of hip-hop appreciation by paying tribute to their favorite artists. Lyric Jones got everybody bouncing to a smooth verse with the band over Jay-Z’s “30 Something.” She came back to set off the features in a display of lyrical agility with a rhyme over the classic “Luchini” from Camp Lo and her very own “Sunshine.”
Boog Brown captured the art of storytelling in verses ranging from betrayal of trust to the highs of the good life, casting her spell with “Dope Girl Magic.”
Khalilah Ali packed the most punch into a single set. She used current hits as a means to drop new messages. Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade” was the basis for a rhyme about radio rap’s limited subject matter. She also switched up Waka Flocka Flame’s “Oh Let’s Do It,” to “ we influence, revolution music.”
Queen Sheba, who sang backup for Ali, shined while delivering a solid spoken word poem about rejecting narrow standards of beauty. Then just when you thought it was all done, the red minidress clad Ali hit the floor like Madonna in her heyday and closed with a rocked out interpretation of Jay-Z’s “It’s Alright.”
Tiffany “Godiva” Michael, led to the stage by a slim, muscular male in a Phantom of the Opera mask, took the super-sexy female rapper trend and turned it on its head. In an open top, leopard print bra, short shorts and stilettos, she made it clear that she was in charge of her image and her lyrics.
Following her performance, Minister Server of the Temple of Hip-Hop issued the proclamation of Hip-Hop Appreciation Week, which is the third week of May. He was joined by Angie “Hip-Hop Angel” Griffin in place of Councilman, Kwanza Hall, who was unable to attend. Prior to the proclamation, Stahhr (formerly Stahhr the F.E.M.C.E.E.), who was not part of the performance roster, dropped in to greet the crowd and bless them with hot a cappella verse to wild applause.
Coco Jones, the final performer of the evening, moved the crowd with rhyme and song in a series of covers, starting with The Roots’ and Chrisette Michele’s “Rising Up.” She then spit “allow me to reintroduce myself” over Jay-Z’s “PSA” and ended with Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let You Go.”
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the show – which transcended hip-hop culture as a whole – was the total void of competition. There was an unspoken understanding among all performers as if to say, “We’re all in this together.” Each MC did her own damn thing; there was no interest in anyone outdoing anyone else. The unity was more than a sisterhood; it was a solidarity shown by people connected to the common goals of building a movement. This revolution won’t be televised, at least not yet. It will unfold in venues like Apache Café until more people stand up and take notice.
Let’s stay tuned to see what happens next.
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