*New Column* “NEGROES IN THE NEWS” – Dawn Hill gets Face Time, G-Dep gets Jail Time!

This is going to be a new monthly segment of the blog entitled Negroes in The News. I think it’s apropro considering how often we make it into the pages and headlines of your local news provider.

What I’ll be doing to counter-balance the overwhelming influx of negative Negro news is highlighting both the good and the bad that I feel deserve light. For every crazy story being told, there’s always an uplifting and positive one to be brought to the forefront.

We’ll set things off with 2 stories from this weekend. Bad news first…

I’m sure by now, you’ve all heard the story that the internets have been buzzing about concerning  rapper and fellow Harlem Representative G-Dep‘s recent interview with Miss Drama and his confession to a 17 Year-old murder. If not, then please read the full story here

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/oh_shoot_now_it_slay_rap_dxCdwPWJw56rt17lP5thSL

To make this part literally bad news, his story was told to the New York Post.

The tragedy of the tale is compounded by his admission to his failed rap career and his struggle with extreme drug addiction. Both of which, he describes in the interview here;

15 Minutes of Fame indeed…

On a brighter note, the good news is just as literal, as it is from what many consider the best news in America – the New York Times.

Featured here is my fellow HU Bison, Ms. Dawn Hill.

I had the pleasure of meeting ms. Hill a few months back this summer at my job and she’s definitely got spirit and ambition. A true Aries and a true Midwest girl, Dawn works the boards for 2 stations, most notably on Egypt‘s afternoon show on New York’s WBLS. The fact that her story is being shared with millions via the world reknown Times is not something to be taken lightly. We should all take a cue about following our dreams and mapping our goals out from this young lady.

Read about this Move-Maker here; http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/nyregion/16entry.html?_r=1&src=twr

I’m sad and proud at the same time. I was rooting for Dep back when I heard he may be making a comeback and was unaware of how deep his issues were. I’m motivated by Dawn.

That’s this month’s segment. Let’s see what the future brings us.

The Top 15 Female Rapper Fails

Well this is the big one.

So big apparently, that I had to take it there and raise the number from 10 to 15. There’s just that many fails in the world of female rap. Some slight missteps, some EPIC. Nevertheless, they are all worth mentioning. You can probably think of a bunch more, but this is what I have gathered picking up from my previous two lists.

The female rapper is an interesting breed. True enough, their presence alone is a stride for feminine empowerment, but sometimes that very presence can be a step back for the entire gender. Or at least that’s how it gets perceived by critics.

They fight for equality in terms of respect and sales, but the tactics they employ have become almost predictable after the last 2 decades. There’s a few categories you can squeeze the typical female rapper into…blame it on the pressure by themselves to prove that they can swing with the big boys, or coaching by their male backers that they need to be attention-grabbing, but it’s usually an over-exaggerated caricature of a tangent of their personality – if not an overall act completely! And being that since the 90’s, the dominant lure of hip-hop has been authenticity, you can see that those caricature-type personalities didn’t have too long of a shelf life.

The phenomenon, is when every blue moon or so, there comes that one woman who breaks the mold and can forge her entrance through an unprecedented angle. She manages to meld personality, believability, style and originality so seamlessly that her gender becomes a secondary issue in the face of her music. She doesn’t come across as try-hard and manages to escape falling into one of those pesky categories.

Of those categories, we’ve all seen them displayed; the over masculine, gangstress who neglects as many aspects of her femininity to the point where it’s non-existant, or the feminine gangster who puts in as much work as her thug counterparts, but has time to play men for money and stay fly. The all-I-care-about-is-my-lyrics-and-that’s-all-I-want-you-to-care-about, underground rapstress who rarely makes mention of anything remotely romantic or visually appealing in attempts to really get you to focus on her ability. The bohemian half/poet/half/rapper/half/singer with an abstract style. The Sex-pot who calls herself turning the tables and liberating herself through a personal form of sexploitation, usually accompanied by rhymes steeped in materialism.

All of the ladies in this list easily fall into one of these categories. And now I give you…

The Top 10 15 Female Rapper Fails

15. Nadanuf

This was Legendary hip-hop pioneer Kurtis Blow‘s foray into introducing new talent. I’m sure he thought he had the golden ticket by bringing us 2 chics remaking his classic “The Breaks” with a new millenium twist for the younger generation. Not Quite. I’m pretty sure NONE of you remember even hearing of these 2 in your lives. They even had a full length album

14. Hurricane G

While not quite a failure in the eyes of many who have heard or seen her on so many different rappers’ projects, including Diddy‘s “Public Enemy no.1” remake in ’99 (“Yo Puff! Kick that ol’ hydro ghetto shit!!”) she makes this list for 2 reasons;

1. She’s failed as a soloist, never garnering enough attention to even gain a major label contract, nor enough to become an underground mainstay

and

2. She’s pretty wack to be honest. The Sadat X of female hip-hop, her offbeat flow and super stretched out syllables were cute in the early to mid 90’s then you realized damn, that’s not really a style, that’s her delivery!

I actually like shorty because she’s so different. I had a slight crush on her and she pops up on a few of my favorite songs, but I’m sorry, being Eric Sermon‘s baby mama does not make you a rap legend.

13. Smooth

Another one who may not be seen as a failure because of her moderate success in the Adina Howard days of west-coast inspired hip-hop r&b, the female mac lasted about as long as the word “mac” did as far as popular slang. She was kind of a more sexual Yo-Yo, and she did have a flow. Matter of fact, she was kind of Niiice with it. And an overall bad chic.  Shoooot…I still play “Strawberries on top of me” on my freak mix when it’s called for.  She may have popped up on a few random Immature joints later on in the decade due to her brother Chris Stokes, but I’m pretty sure that being the sister of an alledged incestuous pedophile and industry lame doesn’t help your legacy.

12. The Real Roxanne

This chic’s alter ego was actually admittedly contrived after the infamous feud between true pioneer Roxanne Shante and U.T.F.O. Her whole existence was retaliatory – like an experiment. I’m pretty sure she had one or 2 songs out in the world (including the moderate buzz joint – “Bang Zoom..”) but ultimately, how wack of a career basis?

11. Gangsta Boo/La Chat

This is where you may seriously disagree with me.

I guess depending on what region you’re from, or how close to Orange Mound, Memphis Tennessee you are, you may look at these chics as stars.

True enough, they had their fame and were on famous joints, but they fail because that fame was never far beyond hood fame to begin with. It wasn’t exactly national. Then to make matters worse, they lost that fame so easily and played themselves in the process.

Now I could clown her on her name alone, but Gangsta Boo surprisingly had some of the better verses on 3 6 Mafia joints. She used to spit for real on their faster flowing cuts and for some time, she was the star attraction of the group. But somewhere down the line with the business dealings, something went wrong with the click, both personally and financially. Go figure…

She retired from rap, re-emerged and went through some kind of life change after that and changed her name to Lady Boo, making an attempt to clean up her image. This proved frivolous, as she came right back on some Mase shit and returned to form as Gangsta boo. A little too late tho. So far the music has fallen upon deaf ears

I’ve heard that La Chat actually gets more respect than Gangsta Boo, but that didn’t stop her from getting dropped from the 3 6 Helmed Hypnotize Minds camp and having to fend for herself. She broods about it on the low-budget video cut, “Use what You Got”

10. Lady May

Quite possibly the Prettiest Female Rapper ever, I was really waiting to see what she was going to do. She was the lead artist off of what was going to be then super-producer D-Dot Angelettie‘s camp, also including his alter ego, The Madd Rapper. She had a good balance of things, and her lead single was pretty dope, as well as the video (how ironic that it features Blu Cantrell, an r&b fail?). But I guess it takes more than a pretty face…

9. Stringz (A.K.A. Tateeze)

Rumor has it that she’s a former stripper, which would explain her frame, but I remember this chic from a little song called “Gotham City Remix” by R.Kelly off of the Batman & Robin Soundtrack. Then she returned with an answer to Sisqo‘s “Thong Song” called the “Tongue Song”. Yikes! I don’t know if that was big in the Chi, but YOU probably only remember her as Birdman‘s arm candy. She was slated as a Cash Money Records Artist back in the post-Juve days at the label, when Wayne first began making a name for himself, but I guess that comes with boning the boss huh?

8. Deadly venoms

I mean…Rap chics affiliated with Wu-Tang?? It was bound to happen, and maybe it would’ve worked if they would have been put together earlier in the 90’s when the Wu could do no wrong as opposed to the turn of the century, but there was never a real chance at commercial appeal here. That’s a lot of underground hip-hop money to split 5 ways. They weren’t exactly The Roots you know. What I will say tho, is that the variety within the group was their best attribute. Each chic had their own presence and style. They probably only wanted underground respect to begin with now that I think of it. The ranks were noteworthy. Not only did I kind of like the Kung-Fu theme of the venoms, but I liked that N-Tyce was a member. I used to see her ads in the magazines and she had a video or 2 back in the day, but I was glad she had another chance and another vehicle to do her thing. The same goes for members Finesse and Synquis, who were founders along with Lin Que. No matter how I feel about an artist, I do love a good comeback story. Lin Que and Synquis left the group early, so by the time they released videos, there were only 4 venoms, which scaled down to 3. Their first album was never actually released and they went on to try one mo’ gain – but ehh…They tried, despite the heavy dyke-ish aura that probably stigmatized them.

7. Gloria Velez

Why Does she rap??? She may be a Murda Mami, but can we take her seriously after having champagne spilled down her fake boobs in the “Big Pimpin” video? Speaking of which, here’s a clip of her dissing Nicki Minaj. This is beyond ironic!

6. B.W.P. (Bytchez Wit Problemz) & H.W.A. (Hoez Wit Attitudes)

The 2  groups who’s purpose was to revolutionize the game by capitalizing off of the ethos glamorized by rap rebels and envelope pushers, N.W.A. and 2 Live Crew. This acronym laden trio was designed to get a rise out of people by being as explicit as possible. They employed shock value under the guise of female empowerment, but were such obvious pawns, complete with a look straight out of Regina King‘s closet from her John Singleton Movie days. Nice Try B.Y.T.C.H.E.Z

H.W.A.

Designed to get another kind of rise out of people, the group that Eazy E fostered, Hoez With Attitudes, never stood a chance. If the name didn’t do them in alone, the EP covers (yes, EP, not even album) and titles like Az Much Ass Azz U Want should be a big enough nail in the coffin. These are probably somebody’s mama right now. Good Job!

5. Boss

In a way, she’s a pioneer. One of the few brave enough to go it alone as a soloist in a barren field for female rappers, Boss was responsible for Russell Simmons opening up a left coast wing of his label and forming Def Jam West. She was setting up the Blueprint for Da Brat and making headway until her Over-the-top, super gangster with the sunglasses and bandana routine got murdered by her revelation of being from a middle-class suburban background and having private school education. You hear that Shawnna??!

4. Sole

Ever heard the saying that women are better seen than heard? Sorry, but we like seeing you at award shows with Ginuwine more than we like your songs. Nice album cover tho. At least you knew when to call it quits

3. Amil

Do I even need to say anything?

2. Khia

Why?

I don’t know what voodoo she had to pull out to get on a Janet Jackson single, but besides her ghetto fabulous and gag-worthy one hit wonder, “My Neck, My Back”, that’s her biggest claim to fame. Not to mention the beef that’s she’s gotten herself into with almost every florida based female rapper (Who inevitably aren’t that much better than her). But here she keeps going, digging the hole a little deeper with every move.

1. Vita

Damn shorty. How long did she stay on Murder Inc.?? When did the album drop? Oh yeah, never! That may have been her fault, or Irv‘s fault. Maybe she didn’t pull an Ashanti and do the boss, but anybody can look and see that it’s kinda grimey to be one of the first artists on a label and have to sit and watch  newer signees get more light. I guess Charli‘s arrival was the straw that broke the Camel’s back. I mean Charli is nicer, and she had a better shot at commercial appeal. Vita never really had a memorable presence on the mic. She was clearly from the same school of delivery as Papoose and Young Memphis Bleek (you know, the school of yelling your verses?), and wasn’t a lyrical giant if you dig me. But she should’ve at least had an album see the light of day so it could be up to the public. Who knows? Maybe some of that Murder Inc. Golden touch would’ve carried her to a hit single with Ashanti or something. We’ll never know now will we? I ‘m supposing this is what happens when you start your career off on your knees, under a steering wheel (*See Belly*).

Ali – The G.O.A.T. of Cute Queens?? the growth of ms.Tatyana M.

Safe to say, Ashley Banks is blowing up like you thought she would.

Have you seen ms. Ali lately?

I mean, all adolescent boys like myself who grew up under the charismatic vice grip of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air couldn’t help but have the biggest crush if not more “impure thoughts” of the youngest of Banks’.

You remember that episode where she wanted to be a singer and she got on stage and sang “RESPECT” in that one outfit? or how about the episode that spawned the phrase “filthy McNasty” where she started dating  and looking grown in that mini-skirt?

But I was never on the Ashley Banks bandwagon. Either I was too young to really lust after her like that, or maybe I just looked at her like she was a kid and I was into fully developed and mature women. Around the time the rumor started spreading about Chili from TLC being her bigger sister and her being a relative of Muhammad Ali, I was thinking…damn, I’d much rather have Layla or Rhozonda over Ashley.

Or maybe it was because, as I mentioned in my Brittany Murphy Crush Alot post, that she went out with Former SeaQuest actor Johnathan Brandis, and her then Jungle Fever kind of made me think she was a corny Hollywood chic.

And I’m sure by now you’ve seen all kinds of threads across the internets about how she’s blossomed, littered with alot of these very pictures, but I’ve discovered in my more recent years that I’m much more of a fan of  Tatyana M. Ali than Ashley Banks.

Something tells me that she has an innate warmth, maybe it’s that smile or the dimples, but I get girl-next-door from her. Well, surely not any door in my hood, but you get the point. Sometimes she looks Eartha Kittish, other times she looks like a browner version of young Janet. But it’s all to the good because as you can see, the dangerous curves paired with the innocent appeal make for a nice tag-team. Add to that, the appearance that she doesn’t seem to come off as bourgie or seditty, more so genuinely cool, and it’s a done deal. But of course…I don’t know her.

It’s this presence tho, that makes her a part of the clan that I refer to as the Queens of Cute:

Those starlets and pretty women who don’t necessarily exude the sexual lure of say…an Angelina Jolie. Nor do they necessarily possess that hands down striking Beauty like say..a Halle Berry.

But what these Ladies do have is an undeniable gleam, a feature that makes you want to think of them as girlfriends rather than one-night trysts. A face that you want to take home and introduce to your mother. This is the category where your Ashanti’s, Hilary Duff’s and Lauren london’s fit. On the outside, that is.

You do understand the difference now right?

So I’m officially crowning Tatyana as royalty and cheering her on in the moves she makes… From the drama over the  “Buppies”  fiasco to whatever may come next…Even that Martin Lawrence – produced sitcom on TVOne entitled Love That Girl (props for the use of Raphael Saadiq’s song for the opening sequence) where she stars. Let’s see how long that lasts…

Hell, I feel so good, I’m throwing in her Debut music video from ’97 featuring Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz  (Yikes! bet you never thought you’d hear those names together. Or mentioned for that matter. And as you can see in the video, that Jungle Fever thing was still very much alive for Taty).

I think I like the second, cornier joint with Will Smith better!

(You know you liked it too!)

So here’s to you,

although you may not be Truly be related to THEE Ali,

you may very well be the Greatest Of All Time when it comes to the Cute Queens.

Tatyana,

you were, and are now doubly so,

My New Crush!