Female Hip Hop Pioneers Make History

 

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When we talk about the history of Hip Hop music, we seldom, almost never, mention the contribution that women have had on the industry.  Some of the women in Hip Hop have actually had greater feats than their male counterparts and have broken records.  You have the iconic female MCs such as MC Lyte, Queen Latifah (one of the greatest lyricists, including both male and female, of all time), Roxanne Shante, Monie Love, YoYo, and many others.  However, contrary to what many believe, Lil’ Kim was not the first female rap artist that combined skilled lyricism with sex appeal.  That achievement goes to the iconic rap group, Salt-n-Pepa.  Yes, before Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Trina, and Nicki Minaj – all female rappers notorious for their inclusion of sexiness in their overall images, there was Salt-n-Peppa.  Just to note, that is not a biased opinion on women in Hip Hop having to be sexy, hence LL Cool J long being noted as a good MC and sex symbol.

Nevertheless, the Grammy Award trio, including DJ Spinderella, have recently made history becoming the first Rap/Hip Hop artists, male or female, to land a Las Vegas residency. To kick things off, they recently performed a medley of their hits on last night’s Billboard Music Awards.  They performed some of their greatest hits including “Shoop”, “Whatta Man”, and “Let’s Talk About Sex” – the latter being a ground-breaking hit where musicians specifically called out sex, safe sex, and the importance of it.  They did not allude to it or may a quick reference, but they spoke specifically about it.  That is something that was never done before until them.  It came during a critical time in history when the HIV and AIDS epidemic was gaining attention, but there still wasn’t enough effort made to combat the disease.  During the 80s and 90s, the FemCees solidified their place in Hip Hop, paving the way for many of the rappers today.

While we are on the subject of groundbreaking female rappers in history, there have been others that have broken records and paved the way.  In 1984, a 14 year old rapper from Queens, NY by the name of Roxane Shante became the first known female battle rapper, crushing guys in battle raps while still learning the basics of Algebra (insert Daaaammnnn! here).  Then there is my personal favorite, deemed one of the very first “conscious” rappers, Queen Latifah.  Overall, she is the most successful in terms of fame.  She is a rapper, singer, actor, producer, talk show host, movie star, Broadway star, and the list goes on.  Yeah, I love me some Queen La (insert head nod to U.N.I.T.Y. here).  Then there is MC Lyte who was the first solo female rapper to release a full album.  Da Brat was the first solo female rapper to have her album go platinum.  And Lauryn Hill is a whole other conversation (a good one).  And of course, Lil’ Kim.  Salt-n-Pepa may have opened the door for being sexy and still having good rhymes, but Lil’ Kim undeniably kicked the door down.  Not only was she forward about sex, and the personification of it, there is no denying that she is also one of the most skilled rappers ever.

Yeah, so, the ladies of rap deserve acknowledgement as well.  Personally, I am an old school Hip Hop head. I’ll just say the classics.  I am not feeling the direction that rap is going in at all.  Skills are a thing of the past, and auto-tune appears to be a thing of the future (insert screw-face/it’s lame/shaking my head here).

In the meantime, walk down memory-lane with me below.

 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

Recently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held its annual induction ceremony.  As expected, it was Rock-Star-studded.  There were phenomenal tribute performances from music artists such as Lauryn Hill, the Killers, and even an overdue reunion by 2018 inductees, The Cars.  There were also appearances from stars such as Mary J. Blige and the ever controversial Howard Stone.  Recognition was given to performers that we have lost recently as well, which drew emotions from the crowd.

It was a great show.  Below are the 2018 inductees.  Congratulations to them all!

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi is probably the most well-known group on the list.  The American rock-band was started in 1983 and between 21 albums, they have sold more than 100 million records.  They are one of the most successful groups of all-time.  They have too many hits to name, but my personal favorite is “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

 

The Cars

Formed in the 1970s, The Cars are another successful rock-group, with 23 million in album sales in the US.  Their hits include “Dangerous Type” and “Drive”.

 

Dire Straits

Crossing over to the US post-British Invasion era, Dire Straits were also inducted into the hall of fame.  They are a British group formed in 1977, with over 100 million records sold.  Top hits include “Down to the Waterline” and “Tunnel of Love”.

 

The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues were a part of music’s British invasion.  They were formed in 1964 and have 18 platinum and gold albums.  Their hits include “Nights in White Satin” and “Ride My See-saw”.

 

Nina Simone

Singer, song writer, producer, pianist, and civil rights activist, Nina Simone is one of the most celebrated musicians of all time.  Although Simone may not have had the sells of her counterparts, she certainly has the impact.  Her hits include “Feeling Good” and my personal favorite, “I Put a Spell on You”.

 

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Known as the “original soul sister” and “godmother of rock and roll”, Tharpe received the award for Early Influence.  She began her career in the late 1930s, singing rock, blues, gospel, and other genres of music.  Her top songs include “Strange Things Happening Every Day” and “Up Above My Head, I Hear Music in the Air”.

Breakthrough in Death of Prince

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I’m sure everyone was shocked to learn that two years ago, on April 21, 2016, Prince had suddenly passed away. Prince, a singer, songwriter, musician record producer, actor and director was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was best known for his uniqueness in music, often flamboyant attitude and daring fashion choices. One of his greatest feats was his impressive vocal range and the innovation, similar to pop icon Michael Jackson, which he instilled in many musical forms. Prince was involved with such styles as funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul psychedelia and especially pop music. Worldwide, record sales were over 100 million which made him one of the best selling music artists of the time. Prince won 8 Grammy Awards, 6 American Music Awards, 1 Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. Among his many accomplishments, Prince was also an inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Prince had an outstanding wave of success throughout his time as an artist and was often considered a symbol in defying societal or industry labels. He was one of the most versatile artists and showed continuous artistic brilliance with his ability to experiment with a myriad of sounds, textures and genres. Although considered “different” he was well respected by everyone he came across and praised for his prowess. It was indeed shocking to learn that he had passed supposedly from drug overdose. However, recent news has identified Prince’s cause of death a result of ingesting a counterfeit pill filled with a powerful drug called fentanyl which Prince assumed was a common painkiller. What is even more shocking is that a prosecutor in the case states that no charges would be filed in Prince’s death even with the recent discovery.

Sources say Prince was addicted to pain medication as the artist had suffered from pain for years, but there was no direct evidence that a specific individual provided the fentanyl. Investigative materials were revealed which showed that Prince had been found on the floor of his Paisley Park estate near an elevator with his back on the floor and his eyes closed. In fact, the doctor previously accused of prescribing Prince illegal drugs was acquitted as the prescription he provided was not linked to the death. The autopsy revealed the dose of Fentanyl in his system which is a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.

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Many knew Prince as someone who lived a clean life, but uncovered documents say otherwise. He was supposedly a man struggling with an addiction. Nights before the passing, Prince passed out on a flight from Atlanta which had to make an emergency stop. He was revived with two doses of drugs that reverse effects of opioids. It is clear that Prince was struggling with pain and addiction. However, it is heartbreaking that he could not retrieve help before the situation turned fatal.

Check out Prince’s Purple Rain below…

Upcoming Concerts 2018

APRIL 15TH, 2018 – Panic! At the Disco w/ Hayley Kiyoko 7:00pm
(Staples Center – Downtown Los Angeles, CA)
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APRIL 20TH, 2018 – Diplo (21+) 10:30pm
(Intrigue Nightclub – Las Vegas, NV)
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APRIL 20TH, 2018 – Drai’s Beach Club w/ Walshy Fire and Snoop Dogg and Drai’s Nightclub 10:30pm
(Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub – Las Vegas, NV)
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APRIL 21ST, 2018 – David Guetta 10:30am
(Encore Beach Club – Las Vegas, NV)
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APRIL 23RD, 2018 – Lily Allen (18+) 9:00pm
(Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY)
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APRIL 25TH, 2018 – CeeLo Green 9:00pm
(Faena Theater – Miami Beach, FL)
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MAY 5TH, 2018 – R. Kelly w/ Lyfe Jennings & K. Michelle 7:00pm
(UIC Pavillion – Chicago, IL)
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MAY 5TH, 2018 – Gucci Mane (21+) 10:30pm
(Tao Nightclub – Las Vegas, NV)
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MAY 8TH, 2018 – Sum 41 w/ Seaway 6:30pm
(Revolution Live – Fort Lauderdale, FL)
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MAY 11TH, 2018 – Haim w/ Lizzo 7:30pm
(Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL)
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MAY 12TH, 2018 – Sly Stone Tribute: A Family Affair feat. Members of Prince, Turkua 8:00pm
(Nublu – New York, NY)
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MAY 13TH, 2018 – Patti LaBelle w/ Sevyn Streeter 7:00pm
(Hyatt Regency Miami, Miami, FL)
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MAY 16TH, 2018 – Kool & the Gang 7:30pm
(Hard Rock Event Center – Hollywood, FL)
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MAY 18TH 2018 – Big Sean w/ Playboi Carti, Shy Glizzy and GASHI
(Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY)
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MAY 22ND, 2018 – Pitbull (19+) 8:30pm
(Niagara Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, ON)
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MAY 22ND, 2018 – U2 8:00PM
(United Center – Chicago, IL)
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MAY 31ST, 2018 – Pink 7:30pm
(Staples Center – Downtown Los Angeles, CA)
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JUNE 1ST, 2018 – Depeche Mode 7:30pm
(United Center – Chicago, IL)
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JUNE 12TH, 2018 – Kendrick Lamar w/ Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab Soul & SZA 7:30pm
(Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON)
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JUNE 13TH, 2018 – Imagine Dragons w/ Grace VanderWaal 7:00pm
(Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON)
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JUNE 17TH, 2018 – Maroon 5 w/ Julia Michaels 7:30pm
(BB&T Center – Sunrise, FL)
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JUNE 21ST, 2018 – BET Experience w/ LL Cool J, Neyo & Ludacris 7:30pm
(Staples Center – Downtown Los Angeles, CA)
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JULY 2ND, 2018 – Paramore w/ Foster the People 7:00pm
(Huntington Bank Pavillion at Northerly Island, Chicago, IL)
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JULY 19TH, 2018 – Radiohead 7:30pm
(Air Canada Centre – Toronto, ON)
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AUGUST 3RD, 2018 – Charli XCX 7:00pm
(Rogers Centre – Toronto, ON)
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AUGUST 4TH, 2018 – Kesha & Macklemore 7:00pm
(American Airlines Arena – Miami, FL)
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AUGUST 15TH, 2018 – Sam Smith 8:00pm
(United Center – Chicago, IL)
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AUGUST 18TH, 2018 – Taylor Swift w/ Camila Cabello 7:00pm
(Hard Rock Stadium – Miami, FL)
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SEPTEMBER 8TH, 2018 – Fall Out Boy w/ Rise Against & Machine Gun Kelly 7:00pm
(Wrigley Field – Chicago, IL)
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SEPTEMBER 8TH, 2018 – Childish Gambino w/ Rae Sremmurd 7:30pm
(United Center – Chicago, IL)
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OCTOBER 4TH 2018 – Bruno Mars w/ Cardi B  8:00pm
(Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY)
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OCTOBER 4TH, 2018 – Ed Sheeran 7:00pm
(Soldier Field – Chicago, IL)
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NOVEMBER 27TH, 2018 – Justin Timberlake 8:00pm
(Staples Center – Downtown Los Angeles, CA)
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You are Personally Invited to Chance the Rapper’s Birthday Party

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He has three Grammys, he is a songwriter, record producer, activist, philanthropist, mentor, CEO, and he wants to give his money away. Could anyone ever find anything bad to say about Chance the Rapper? The Chi-Town rapper will be celebrating his 25th birthday this month, and you’re invited! The event will be open to the public and all proceeds will go to his non-profit organization, SocialWorks. This will not be the first time the rap artist has held an open invitation birthday celebration and given all the proceeds to charity. He did the same last year, and the event saw guest appearances from the likes of Ludacris and T-Pain. No celebrity appearances have been announced so far, but who wouldn’t want to celebrate with this awesome guy?

Click on the flyer below for event details and to purchase tickets.

Chance The Rapper Flyer

Click here to learn more about his non-profit organization, SocialWorks.

DAMN! Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize

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DAMN!  Rapper Kendrick Lamar has made history recently after receiving a Pulitzer Prize in music for his album, DAMN.  This historic achievement was announced on Monday.  This is the first time in 102 years that a music genre outside of non-classical or jazz has been given the award.  However, even greater than that, this is the first time that a hip-hop artist has ever won the award.  DAMN is Lamar’s fourth studio album.  It was released in April of 2017 and instantly praised as a classic by critics and fans alike.  It has since won five Grammy awards.

Kendrick Lamar is a rarity in today’s generation of hip-hop.  He is conscious, contributory, and raps relevancy.  This, no doubt, is a huge win for Lamar, but also for the hip-hop community.  It is good to see that skilled rappers are still winning.