These are the Question Marks. The could-have-beens.
Usually delivered to us in the form of glossy ads in the SOURCE‘s days of Yore, or the inside CD jacket of your favorite male rapper’s latest release telling you she’s coming soon, these are the artists who were supposed to kill the female Rapping game. These ladies were slated to be the second coming of Lauryn Hill. Taking her multiple Grammy wins as a cue, it seemed every double-X chromosome spitter now had higher aspirations and a new bar to raise. Due to the era of the clans, posses, crews, cliques and families and it’s domineering trend, the majority of them were introduced to us by some label head, super-producer trying to make himself seem more important than he was, or another rapper…All with the tagline of them being “the first lady of” blah blah blah.
Despite this, Alot of them showed Promise, even managed to rile our excitement and have us anticipating. Some were just really skilled or had a refreshing angle. Others just got lucky with a good song or hype around them. In the end, none of them delivered what was expected or promise. That is, IF they even got the chance to deliver at all.
In some way, I think it may have been better to have done it, had a run and lost and wound up on my next list, than to just have put in all of the hardwork that Hip-hop requires, just to never fully realize an iota of your success. Maybe they didn’t work hard, maybe some of them were just a pretty face put forward to embody some man’s vision of what the game needed, complete with ghostwriters and image branding – who knows? What I do know is, In some strange way, that makes the failures more winners for at least seeing their wackness through. Having that said, let’s see who had our hopes up for a minute.
The Top 10 Female Rapper False Starts
10. Mocha/Babe blue
Tell the truth,
you know to this day, you still probably recite her whole verse without even thinking everytime you hear Nicole Wray’s “Make it Hot”. And that’s just it, nobody ever really thought about her, what was her purpose on the song, would we even know that it wasn’t Nicole rapping herself if she didn’t tell us her name was “Mocha, Latte” in the song? We just kinda like how she said “Idiaats”. I checked for her, and saw that she wound up on Dj Clue’s classic album, The Professional, with her then, label-head, Missy Elliot, and Nicole as well. But that was it! She was never to be heard from again. At least she left a verse that has lived on waaay beyond her career.
And I couldn’t mention one female rapper affiliated with the house that Timbaland built without throwing in the female member of one of his many failed artist-development projects. Babe Blue was one thrid of a group primed to be the next Fugees. I thought they were all pretty nice as far as late 90’s rap goes, especially her, because I heard one or 2 more songs, but alas….Have we not learned from Tweet and Bubba Sparxx that Timbaland and Missy are the best to work with, but some of the worst to work for??
Speaking of which, where’s that chic Shawnta from “Luv to Luv ya”??!!
I have no idea where this ruffneck torch carrying rapstress came from, besides the obvious, Brooklyn, but at one brief point in ’97, she had caught plenty of underground East Coast heads’ attention; filling in a void, and blessing us with one of the dopest Dj premier song instrumentals to freestyle over to date. There were stickers all over New York promising an album, but…no dice….
Yet another one who was graced with the coveted oppurtunity to have a Primo beat thrown their way and placed on a popular single, this chic had a co-sign from both Eve and Rah Digga in a rare display of female solidarity. She even had the dope name to bat. Dudes respected it, and for a minute there was a little curiosity about the girl with the murderous namesake. Guess it was politics that had to “Finish Her!”
7. Jane Doe
Why did she do this? She waved the indie hip-hop flag for female rappers during it’s renaissance via Rawkus in the late 90’s. Among the ranks of such leaders of this revolution such as Apani B. and Tiye Phoenix, Jane’s name was ringing bells. Although she was getting confused for another contemporary who had recently changed her moniker, she made a heavier impression with the now classic and super -risky “Bi-Sexual”, and a feature on the posse cut “Twice Inna Lifetime” on the critically acclaimed Blackstar album. She let other chics take her spot and put her in a position to truly live up to her name. Unknown.
There’s not even a picture.
She scared me a little. Her face made her look like a grown evil baby in a Chucky kinda way, but before I get castrated and lose merit for doing a female rapper blog post and making mention of their physical features, I’ll just say that her body was banging from what I remember and I liked that she can rap fast. Then again, that’s all I remember. How about you?? Point your attention to Jim Jones the..uhmm.. businessman for the answer.
We all watched the beginning and ending of her career on national Television. Correction, on the largest music-related television network of all time. That kind of sums it up. Now keep in mind that the person responsible for that beginning and end was Diddy. Need I say more?? Truth be told, I was kind of curious to see how the magic man was gonna turn this BK bandit into an overnight success. I wondered as the show, Making The Band ended and the band fell apart, what was he keeping her on the label for and what his motivation behind that? What did he see in her in relation to the general hip-hop audience. I’ve seen Diddy make alot of shit work surprisingly, but Babs is rough around the edges. This would’ve been a job for sure. Even for the Starmaker himself.
Can’t talk about one rough chic without talking about the other. Now my history with Luck is interesting. I have a silent, self-imposed rap-beef with her, because I remember when we were both young, and she moved in around where my family lived in Teaneck, New Jersey. My brother told me that the girl up the block could rap, so when I visited out there, I used to ride my bike up the street looking for her to battle. Turns out she wound up winning some kind of weekly freestyle contest over the radio back when Hot 97 was actually cool and did stuff like that, and she was all abuzz that year. She landed on the EPMD single “The Symphony” which was a big fuckin deal in hip-hop because it was their comeback single, and the remix had like 10 big rappers on it. But, you guessed it, after that – nada. No album, her name lingered a bit as some heads still mentioned her as far as female spitters and were checking for her, but she just dropped out of site. She returned on the mixtape circuit trying to make her name back, but then whatever hope she had of shining got crushed by the now infamous battle against Remy Ma. Honestly, it wasn’t even a murder…it’s just that Remy was cooler and calmer, and Luck made the mistake that many a female rappers do, she delivered her lines anxiously and overly aggresive to get her point across. Not to mention fucking up! I’ve rhymed with Luck and copped one of her projects and I can say she is a beast on the mic! I still wouldn’t wanna get into a fight with her tho…
Oh boy, what can I say? If I can speak for a generation or community of hip-hop fans waiting for the next holder of the crown who saw a candidate in jean, I can feel comfortable at this point in stating that the thrill is gone. We stopped holding our breath in 2008. It’s been over 13 long years as we watched the artist formerly known as What? What? hone her craft and gain her status as matriarch of Lyricism. She rose from part of the trio Natural Resource who released some dope singles in the late 90’s and then she broke out and gave us classic songs and lackluster albums. We heard her delivery tighten up and grow from flat, wordy to conversational, to well-timed, chraming with dashes of her vocal skills. We just knew that once Myspace blew up and she had a vehicle to lift the mystique behind her and let us into her mind as we got to know her for her quirkiness and sarcasm, that we were gonna finally get the solid release from her. We sat on the edge of our seats as we heard that Talib kweli signed her to his imprint through Warner Bros. and she was going to get an industry push at last. We thought…wait a minute, Kweli? He can’t even get himself on the radio! but we let it slide cause we figured, hey, she’s Jean and anything is better than before. Besides, he’s from the underground too – he’ll know the hurdles to jump. Then, even though we heard the leaked version of it, we waited for Jean’s legendary Jeanius album with 9th Wonder to be repackaged and formally released. And when it was, it was too late. the video was ehh… the hype died, song titles were not the ones we were used to, the release itself – strictly a digital one. And what does Jean go and do? Put up a blog post saying she’s retired. I officially have given up on knowing the status of what she’s doing right now. I know it’s been a hard road, but damn…
One of my all-time favorites, Shorty could spit. Not only was she hyped by Biggie as apart of the much rumored commission supergroup with her and Jay-Z (Who she apparently dealt with romantically as well as Big), but then she was chartered as Biggie affiliate – Lance “Big Un” Rivera’s flagship artist alongside Cam’Ron only the newly Formed Undeas entertainment, or Untertainment. She had a sick line-up of features and producers for her album. I remember hearing so many of those joints and being hyped. She seemed to get a real sense of respect from the rap world. She had ghostwriters in the beginning, but she definitely was the woman behind her bars later on. No album ever dropped, but she was promised a return to glory by joining Murder Inc.‘s roster when they were on top of the world. She made her way on a few hit singles, but no album materialized as the label got caught up in drama and went down. Safe to say ms. B’more has had her fair share of chances. It’s all good tho…rumor is she’s a well off daddy’s girl and her daughter raps too. Who knows?
You’d be surpised how many people I have to tell that the Free who destroys the song “Patriots” on Canibus‘s first album is the same Free from 106th & Park fame. Yeah, It’s obvious that he wrote it for her, but she had the voice and charisma to pull it off convincingly. She also had the look, and she could actually rap on her own. I used to love when she would actually freestyle on Freestyle Fridays. She pulled an Angie Martinez and teased the viewers for years with the prospect of releasing an album that people were actually receptive to hearing. You think she dropped one? Missy liked her as much as the people did, and threw her on the soundtrack to The Fighting Temptations to whet people’s appetites. It all came crashing down once her age came out in an article and we learned that she was pushing 40. We didn’t seem to care as much as she did. However, once she left BET and those Jay-Z baby rumors came out, she faded to black. The rapper Cardan admitted that he was ghostwriting for her, which I’m sure didn’t help, but let’s face it, she wasn’t gonna put something out anyway. She started her career out working with Wyclef. Haven’t you learned yet?