Women and Hip Hop: Part 4
featuring mc/singer pHoenix Pagliacci
Extinction of the crew:
no crew, no collective, no family
Now many people will argue that major record labels have been involved with hip hop for a long time, which is true. So why is is that we've seen such a drastic change in female emcee's within the world of mainstream and major record labels?There were a wide variety of emcees back in the day that signed major record deals, yet still managed to have a balanced variety of topics in their music. So what did artists like Eve, Trina, Ladybug Mecca, Remy Ma, Da Brat, Lauryn Hill, Shawna, Missy Elliot, and Lil Kim all have in common? At their peaks of success, they were all supported by strong crews.
I chatted with another mc out of Toronto (if you're sleeping on Canadian mc's right now wake up, there's a lot of dope hip hop), the talented pHoenix Pagliacci:
pHoenix touched on a great point, the “crews” that we used to see were a platform for all of the artists involved. Having a crew helps to protect you as an artist in many ways. Especially as a female artist, when listeners are introduced to you they stop seeing you as a “female mc” and instead recognize you as a talented member of a crew. So many female mc's become segmented in the hip hop world; instead of being seen as another artist, they're segregated into the “female mc” section. Many male hip hop fans that I've spoken to on the topic of female mc's think that on a large-scale the content of female mc's won't be relevant to them. It's that fear or uncertainty of the unknown. But when someone else that they can relate to introduces them to the mc, they're more likely to listen.
When we were introduced to female mc's like Lauryn Hill and Ladybug Mecca as part of a crew, they were exposed to audiences that may have not listened to them otherwise. But more than exposure, they had support groups that helped protect them artistically. As we saw more artists separating from crews and following individual career paths with major labels, the content became largely dictated by the label rather than the artist. It seemed like for the longest time, the goal of the artist was to “get a deal”, and that's how you knew you made it. Yet we're seeing more and more established artists that have historically been signed with major record labels now moving into the independent realm; and they're taking the true hip hop heads with them to the underground.
Lauryn Hill has been very vocal, and in the process portrayed as a looney, about his distrust and unhappiness with the major record labels in the music industry. Dessa (of Doomtree) and Rapsody (Kooley High), are just two examples of female mc's that are up and coming and have a dope crew to support them. Both Dessa and Rapsody are beasts within their respective groups but are also strong solo acts. The importance of artists like them are that they are talented artists that can stand on their own two feet, and they're dope.....point black period. Not dope “for females”, not dope when compared on a lowered bar or “graded with curve”, they're just dope as lyricists and mc's. Jean Grae is the perfect example. She's got dope flow, her lyrics are top notch, and her fans recognize her as a talented mc without any prefix or asterix (go ahead and say feMC to Jean Greasy's face and see if you don't get slapped up or laughed at).
So what's the lesson here? The current state of the media and the music industry is not presenting a platform for female artists to express themselves artistically as they see fit. If you're a female mc/lyricist and you fit into the cookie cutters then the mainstream is for you. But for most female artists who don't fit in those few little cookie cutters? Start your own crew (or join one), create your own platform, and just do the damn thing as you see fit!
Healing With Music - a playlist to remember Smitty
It's hard to believe it's already been 2 months since my cousin passed. No matter the capacity that you knew Chris Smith, you probably know of the love he had for music. I've promised many of you that I would send out copies of the memorial playlist, and thanks to some good music and a look through old pictures, I found some motivation to get out of my "writer's block". Take a look/listen and enjoy memories of Chris, you are deeply loved and missed cousin. Forever Young...
LoDo's Women & Hip Hop Series: Part 5 - Creating Solutions
We've finally reached part 5 of LoDo's "Women and Hip Hop" series! In part 5, LoDo chats with Nadia Piet, owner and founder of The TIKA, and Mark Patton of Amplifiher Media and #TheListening. There's enough complaining in the world, it's time to be a solution. We discuss creating solutions to problems that female artists and fans have faced in the hip hop world and ways we can continue to expand on the positivity and empowerment that is embodied in hip hop!
In light of the rape accusation against Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston that has become public knowledge (details of the case which are still unclear) we've seen another wave of "victim blaming". With the various recent public rape cases including the Steubenville Ohio incident in 2012, we are missing an opportunity to have a serious about rape, victims, and our justice system.
LoDo returns with part 4 of her "Women and Hip Hop" series. LoDo chats with pHoenix Pagliacci and discusses the fallout of the crew, and how the lack of family bond has negatively impacted female artists. pHoenix shares some recent collaborations as well as who she's listening to and which dope females are keeping her on her toes.
[Listen] MiKHAL - Live at The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (12/21/13 Downtempo Mix)
Check out the mix of the day from MiKHAL. This Downtempo mix was performed live on 12/21/13, aka the Winter Solstice, at The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Check the link here to listen to MiKHAL's dope mix (headphones on/subs up)!
Today's Mix of the Day brought to you c/o our new Electronica contributor Brian Baer, follow him at soundcloud.com/brian-baer!
New Music Friday! The Workin Class "Through The Storm" ft Nisha Nandez & Malik Diamond
The Class got so much love for "All So Simple" & "Oath To The Money", so they decided to drop a new track featuring friends of wC Nisha Nandez & Malik Diamond! "Through The Storm", features a dope instrumental by Dree combined with a powerful N^2 hook with thought-provoking lyrics by Malik Diamond & Unknown. The combination is dope, but don't just take my word for it....click the play button and see for yourself!! (Available streaming free on soundcloud & also available as a free download).
Today marks 1 week until the release of Daydream, The Workin Class's sophomore EP, and to celebrate we've released the official tracklist! Check out the update to see the official tracklist, along with the dope album art (c/o the talented Noah Surratt). Is it July 4 yet? Cause I'm ready for the world to hear some new Workin Class!!!! wC^ aToJ^
LoDo may have been a little quiet on the aToJ blogoshere, but we've been hard at work! The month of May was a busy and exciting month, including the second WPRK 91.5 Our Show's "LiveR" hosted at Orlando/Winter Park's very own hip hop community center The BBoy Spot. June is set to be an even busier month, leading up to the 4th of July release of The Workin Class's sophomore project "Daydream".
Music has many different powers, but it's ability to console and heal during painful and trying times is why I have always been drawn to it. On the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, LoDo takes a look at music and how it was used to heal and console those mourning the death of our greatest leader.