Retrospective: Underrated & Under Appreciated Women Pioneers in Hip Hop

We are aware of the many legendary men pioneers & innovators of Hip Hop like Grand-Master Flash, Cold Crush Brothers, and D.J Cool Herc. However, throughout Hip Hop’s history, there has always been iconic female artists who were influential MC’s, producers, and D.J’s. These ladies have never really gotten their full credit compared to their male counterparts. Here is a  brief description of some underrated women Hip Hop innovators & pioneers who deserve much more recognition than they have received so far. Of course, this list is not meant to be exclusive to only the women mentioned here. There are many equally notable underrated women pioneers not included, such as Nikki D, Oaktown’s 357, The Sequence, and so many more. Despite their lack of recognition, they will always be a major influential part of Hip Hop culture and it’s foundation.

238BEATS: #ClassicPic Sweet Tee & DJ Jazzy Joyce

Pioneer D.J Jazzy Joyce (left) with rapper Sweet Tee. 

Although D.J Jazzy Joyce is considered a pioneer female rap D.J/producer, she is still not as celebrated as her D.J/producer male counterparts. She was born in Bronx, New York and has collaborated with other female rappers such as Sweet Tee & produced her 1986 single ‘It’s My Beat’. She began recording in 1983 with Whiz Kid and Globe as a vocalist on the song ‘Play That Beat’.  She participated and won many D.J battles, including winning her first D.J award in 1983 at the New Music Seminar. Some of the artists she has deejayed for and collaborated with includes the 90’s rap trio ‘Digable Planets’,  M.C Lyte, Rich Nice, Africa Bambataa, and Nenah Cherry. Black Girls Rock awarded Jazzy Joyce and named their D.J award the ‘Jazzy Joyce D. J Award. Currently, she is a producer on New York’s Hot 97 radio station.

MC Debbie and DJ Wanda Dee - Harlem World by MC Debbie D on ...

D.J Debbie D (left) & D.j Wanda Dee

Here's a Tribute to Some of the Women MCs Who Raised Hip-Hop (THE ...

D.J Debbie D

D.J Debbie D was born in Harlem, but raised in the Bronx. She was the only female M.C with the 1979 rap group D.J Patty Duke & The Jazzy 5. She got her first start as a M.C while attending summer D.J block parties in 1977. After going solo in 1981, she began calling herself ‘The Grand Mistress’ and was one of the first Hip Hop female soloists. After joining the group US girls, she was featured in the film Beat Street, and collaborated with the Juice Crew as an M.C Soloist as well. D.J Debbie D is not only one of Hip Hop’s first female rappers, but a fashionable pioneering Fly Girl who is now a published author, earned a doctorate, and a preacher.  She has a non-profit organization called Us Girls, which aims to empower women and girls.

 

Sweet Tee | Discography | Discogs

Rapper Sweet Tee and her 1988 song ‘On The Smooth Tip’

M.C Sweet tee was born in Queens New York and was signed to Pioneer Records. Her first single was the 1986 ‘It’s My Beat’ featuring female D.J/producer Jazzy Joyce. Her debut album included the hit ‘On The Smooth Tip’ in 1988 . Some of her associated acts includes Kwame, Salt-n-Pepa, and Antoinette.

Bahamadia - Hip Hop Golden Age Hip Hop Golden Age

Rapper Bahamadia

Underrated lyricist and rapper Bahamadia was born in Philadelphia, and debuted her first album Kollage in 1996, which featured the classic single ‘Uknowhowwedu’. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with artists such as The Roots, Jedi Mind Tricks, Morcheeba, Guru, and Erykah Badu.

Exhibitions, events celebrate hip-hop culture | Cornell Chronicle

MC Sha Rock (center) of the ‘Funky Four Plus 1’

MC Sha Rock was born in North Carolina, but raised in the Bronx, New York. She is one of the first female rappers and is often dubbed as the ‘Mother of the Mic’. The Funky Four + 1 was one the first rap groups to appear on television and MC Sha Rock inspired many other legendary female rappers like MC Lyte and ‘DMC’ of rap trio Run DMC with her style of rapping on early mixtapes. She began rapping with the Funky Four + 1 in the late 70’s and also began her career as a b-girl/break dancer as well. She was affiliated with the Zulu Nation, and she had her first hit as a member of  The Funky Four + 1 with their 1979 hit ‘Rock The House’ on Sugar Hill Records and the 1980 hit ‘That’s The Joint’.

 

 

My Voyage ATL Interview: My Personal Inspiration & Encouragement to Others

I am grateful to be featured in Voyage ATL magazine Trailblazers Series for my passions and antique dealing business, Zanathia Jewelry. I not only wanted to spread more light on my business but also encourage others to never give up on their dreams, goals, and purpose in life as well. It was an honor to mention one of my inspirations, my lovely grandma Elizabeth, who passed away last July. I am constantly striving to be the best version of myself, put God first, and focus on my passions in life. Remember: If you’re still breathing, then you still have life purposes to discover and fulfill…never forget that! Keep going and striving on your quest. 🤗

http://voyageatl.com/interview/life-work-tanzy-ward/

Daily Gratitude: Sentimental Moments, Blessings, & Perspective!

Recently I created a list of things I consider blessings that makes me happy. I believe it’s important to remind ourselves daily how blessed we truly are…to never stop being thankful & reflective as we continue to work towards our goals. I hope you have a list of blessings that makes you feel genuinely happy as well. Let’s make time in our daily schedules to reflect on our individual lists & keep on striving forward!

Making America Great… ‘Again’?: Historical Hypocrisy & Modern Change

President Donald Trump claims to want to make America great…again. The word ‘again’ is a stretch, because depending on who you ask and their personal experiences throughout the history of the country…America was never great. Nevertheless, for those of us who still have faith that America can someday be great & actually reflect what it has promised/envisioned, it is obvious that hypocrisy and systematic discrimination thrives in the land of the free. The poem by Emma Lazarus on The Statue of Liberty in New York, ”the New Colossus” is suppose to stand for immigrants and refugees coming to a welcoming and compassionate/empathetic safe haven , a home for those who desire to leave or force to flee their homelands. Of course, Trump is not the first who discriminated against certain groups of people because for as long as the poem was first engraved on Lady Liberty in 1903, the poem’s message has always had it’s ‘terms & conditions’ depending on what ethnic or religious group people belong to. There is a clear long history of America showing more acceptance to certain groups of immigrants & refugees in comparison to others. Still, there are many immigrants, refugees, and forced migrants who have continued to have faith in America and want to come through the ”golden door” despite hostility/prejudice towards them . I encourage all to not be discouraged or faithless, but to continue to make our own positive marks in the world…let’s not wait on political leaders to make America (or anywhere) great. President Trump’s executive order and extreme vetting policies for Muslim-majority countries is just one of many hypocritical happenings that should not be accepted or validated if we want to make America great for everyone…not just selective groups. Over a century ago, The New Colossus was as new and promising as the Liberty Statue it was engraved on. Now, in modern times and after hypocrisy has continued to be prevalent in the U.S, it seems as if it’s the ”Old Irrelevant Colossus” because often times throughout the years…Lady Liberty is not a truthful representation/image of the actual freedom, justice, and liberty that is denied to many. However, instead of just complaining about the cons of America and hypocrisy in the nation, we should also encourage and implement positive change/actions. No matter who is in office, what awful/evil doings we witness personally or see constantly on our news’ channels…stay faithful and remember we are all equally important in creating positive change with our actions and mentalities, triumphing over negativity in the world.

 

The New Colossus Poem by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Decision to Remain a Virgin: Others Who Are Abstinent After Teen Years

Of course, it is normal and common for people to have already engaged in sexual activity before they are well into their twenties. However, deciding to be abstinent and remain a virgin after adolescent/teen years is a choice that can often have an awkward phase/stage at certain points & times in life. Personally speaking, although I still do not regret my decision to not engage in sexual activity now, there was a time when I did feel awkward & from the ”outside looking in” in relation to some of my peers’ experiences. Now, in the present I am comfortable and at peace with my decision and here are a few encouraging words for people who are abstinent/waiting for whatever reason & who may feel awkward, uncomfortable, or aberrant. Not an overcritical perspective, just positivity, encouraging confidence, and inner peace from a personal point of view.

  • Deciding to remain a virgin should not feel like a burden. Just like the decision to have sex, it should be an embraced choice that feels like the best option for oneself. Letting people who are not you validate your choice/reasoning will only cause internal conflict and over thinking because everyone will have their own opinion/beliefs in relation to your decision. So many voices belonging to others in one head is not healthy and can delete our own unique voice/intuition. At the end of the day and reflecting, we are the ones who have to be comfortable and think , ”yeah, it is/was worth it.”
  • There is this false rationale accepted by some that implies a person needs to be with someone intimately/romantically  to feel & be whole and truly happy. Many people often correlate being single for a very long period of time with something negative or as if the person has a flaw that keeps them ”alone”. I know sex is probably amazing and positive romantic love is beautiful, but focusing on what we’re passionate about and what makes us happy can help immensely while being abstinent. There are a variety of experiences and memories, beautiful ones, that you can create and partake in while being abstinent, which will contribute to inner happiness.
  • Not everyone is abstinent for religious reasons, but spirituality certainly helps in the process of waiting for whatever reasons. If someone truly feels in their spirit that what they are doing is the best choice for them, then it will create peace and assurance which grows. When I decided that I wanted to wait and remain a virgin when I graduated high school, I asked God to help me with my choice because this was a decision that I really wanted for myself. I am only in my early 20’s, but I am no longer in the ”awkward phase” where I felt weird for refraining from sex and often contemplated how realistic it was. I hope who ever is still a virgin long after teen years, or even those who may be celibate, to keep your faith in why you’ve made your choice, create peace within yourself with your decision, and don’t let those who are on the outside looking in dictate or influence the choice YOU have to live with.

 

Elon Musk’s Space X Project: Interplanetary Spaceflight & Exoplanet Exploration Possibilities  

Perhaps, in less than ten years, people will get a chance to live on planet Mars and eventually create a sustainable civilization there. Elon Musk, president of Tesla Motors, has been interested in colonizing Mars for awhile. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation was founded by Musk in 2002 and 14 years later, he announced at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico his plan to send humans to colonize Mars with his future Interplanetary Transport System spaceship-rocket. Residing/moving to other planets is a science fiction dream that is possible, especially with our constant advancing aerospace technology. Of course, this fascinating news has its pros and cons. Musk also explained that the very first colonists (he does not recommend children of course) who are brave enough to try & reside on Mars should understand it will be a dangerous first journey and be prepared to die…if it comes to that. This possibility may terrify many people, but there are some who are willing to be a part of the “trial and error” phase of a new settlement/colony in a foreign world, while most would prefer to go after everything has been figured out and deemed ‘safe”. The Universe, as expansive as it is with all of the galaxies out there, humanity should be curious to know where else could life forms and sustainable living exist. One of the interesting things to ponder is that out of all the countless planets in our Universe, there are probably other forms of life that look alot like us and/or beings that differ quite alot in physical appearance and biology depending on the planet. Worlds with features/climates that are probably breathtaking and amazing. Colonizing Mars would be the beginning of a future that brings a new age to our civilization and space travel. Of course, let’s just make sure we do not get to travel to new worlds, planets located in different galaxies and do a “Avatar” like mission, which has been done before throughout history within our own world. Nevertheless, I have faith in humanity responsibly visiting and inhabiting livable planets in our galaxy and beyond. The process will be controversial, trying, costly, and with error…but may be a astronomical phenomenon that is both exciting & will change the course of science and humanity, perhaps sooner than later.

Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince Treatise : A Philosophy That Is Still Relevant Today

Machiavellianism, introduced in the Niccolo Machiavelli book The Prince, is a term that does not just apply to the Dark Triad subject in applied psychology. Machiavelli’s philosophies in The Prince included the belief that it is okay to use immoral/foul means such as manipulation & showing a disregard for morality in relation to personal gain and self interest. Some people argue that Machiavelli’s acceptance of immoral actions was due to the fact that he lived during a time in Rome when political conflicts and success through criminal actions were common among it’s leaders. However, this time period is not the only era where immoral actions have been common in society. As long as societies have existed, baleful actions have been used throughout history for different reasons…not just among princes vying for power. Unfortunately, it is accepted and a normal/common practice for societies to manipulate and commit evil doings toward others for their own personal gain/self interest in our world. Many people have developed a “that’s just the way it is” perspective on this detrimental behavior because it has been universally prevalent throughout our timeline so far. Therefore, Machiavelli’s philosophies are not just historic political science lessons that reflect the world he knew…but it also can be used to compare what is now, the present. It has gotten to the point where we question & categorize just what is immoral and moral depending on a society/culture’s accepted practices. I may be speaking from a bias point of view because I believe in not perfection, but at least trying our best to be morally upright and emphasizing virtue & genuine goodness. However, no matter what different ethical/moral philosophies exist, Machiavelli’s The Prince should have been a reference for what to avoid, but it now seems as if it is a repeated pattern that does not just apply to old Rome’s royal hierarchies or a personality test. Nevertheless, since the future is not yet written and the present is still unfolding, there is no universal rule that implies history has to keep repeating itself. Yet, even though we are one humanity, we are also individuals who do not share the same mentalities and belief system when it comes to virtue and morality. ..perhaps that is why treatises like The Prince and Machiavellianism seems to have been a relevant philosophy for a very long time.

Underground to Pop Music: The Art of the Evolution of Music

Manipulating the sound of a record while someone spoke on a microphone was not widely accepted less than 40 years ago. Before the musical art form we call Hip Hop and the method we know as rapping was an internationally recognized fixture in popular music culture, it was a underground innovative movement. It is always exciting and refreshing when a new form of musical style (which eventually is often considered a subgenre) has been introduced & created. Whether it was the origins of punk music with bands like The Kinks and The Ramones  or the “college rock radio” era of alternative music with musicians such as R.E.M & The Smiths, they all have one thing in common. Rebellion. They all rebelled against what was popular and mainstream. Yet, often times in history an underground musical art form became a part of the mainstream popular music culture if it was accepted on a massive level. Case in point: Kurt Cobain was not comfortable with Nirvana’s music being a part of pop music culture (In Bloom song speaks about this). However, that is what “Grunge” music became…chart topping hits that was played continuously on heavily viewed channels such as MTV. Nevertheless, it was their decision to  sign with a major record label, and “bandwagoners” naturally came with this. In fact, there is often a repeated pattern in music with this, which will probably always be. There are many factors such as generation, society/cultural events, technology, and demographics that correlate with an underground “alternative” sound being popularized. The problem is when a new musical style/sound starts off as fresh and different… then is transformed into something that has lost its “edge” and individuality due to exploitation in the music industry. The art of “underground”music becoming popular mainstream music has its pros and cons, all how we perceive it. Either way, music has & always will be an ever progressing art with many different colors. Hundreds of years from now what we listen to today, what we call “rebellious”, “alternative” or “innovative” in comparision to a “pop music” sound will be so interesting to compare with what sounds/styles may be introduced in the future. The evolution of all music is inevitable. 

More Than Protesting: Strategic Action, Effective Change

Protests are not always effective when it comes to progression/change. So, what is? To help gradually decrease police brutality, there needs to be reconstruction , change & progress  on the federal, state, and local levels of government. The reason why unfit and bad cops keep getting away with these crimes is because they are protected by policies that are flawed. We cannot keep simply protesting, being out raged on social media, and accepting that this is just how it is. Effective change means not just discussion and protest signs, but it also means strategically planning & taking action. So, let’s contemplate a few effective actions we can do that will help implement change.

1. Educating ourselves on the policies/laws already enacted and policy solutions that needs to be enforced, then demanding action from policy officials at all levels of government. Don’t complain, but then refuse to actually be a part of change. Don’t shoot down my suggestions, then refuse to try or give better solutions.

2. It’s okay to be angry, but create positive change from that anger. Saying “fuck the police” and then ranting on social media is not going to solve anything.

3. I encourage all to learn more at joincampaignzero.org, which goes into detail more specifically on the  problems, solutions, and actions we can take to implement effective change.

All in all, if we live in a place where issues like police brutality and basic human rights violations plague the land, then we all should help implement change and discuss/take actions concerning effective solutions…. Especially for those of us who complain and are angry.

Boogie Down Bronx:Classic Photography

1520 Sedgwick Avenue and D.J Kool Herc are names forever synonymous with a part of the origins of rap music. In 1973 on August 11th, Kool Herc hosted a back to school party for his sister at the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue apartment building. At the community house party, he introduced a technique that involved two turntables, a mixer, two copies of the same record, and playing another song at the beginning or middle of the record while focusing on ”the break” in each one. With D.J Kool Herc presenting his technique, his friend Coke La Rock began to rap and many legendary rappers like Afrika Bambaataa and Grand Master Flash all claimed to have witnessed this historic significant event in music history. In honor of The Boogie Down Bronx, here are some truly amazing and influential photos that shows why  The Boogie Down Bronx will always be considered a birthplace of the rhythmic poetic art we call Hip Hop.

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mixtapes

coldcrush

gman 2

 

boogiedown1

party1

red alert

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