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’.

 

 

Encouraging Positive Self Esteem Among Ladies

Despite what society says is beautiful or not, it is important that people feel sincerely good about themselves. I wish that more ladies would genuinely accept their beauty, and not put others down while doing so. For an example, someone who sincerely is confident with themselves won’t feel the need to give another woman dirty looks, hate on another, or give out bad energy period. I’m speaking from a female’s perspective, but it is really unfortunate to me that insecure women give out negative energy to each other, and this all boils down to how confident they are with themselves. I’m not arrogant or conceited, but despite how attractive or unattractive I am to someone…that doesn’t affect the way I feel about myself. We should not thrive off of people’s compliments or take their criticism to the heart. That is not healthy, and we will never be satisfied. This means loving our body types, our skin, putting an emphasis on inner beauty & just feeling truly great from the inside. Don’t worry about not being someone’s preference or body type, because out of all the people in this wide world….some  will definitely be attracted to you. It’s  just science & how the way things work naturally. I want people to feel better from within, and not critiquing others so harshly just to make themselves feel better. So what if some people don’t like the way you look or whatever? Love the way you look, still be humble, & don’t ever feel bad for being in love with yourself just because of society’s beauty standards! Women should smile at each other more instead of giving dirty looks. I’d rather compliment another female than to hate on her or speak negative. Uplift each other, have authentic inner beauty, and understand that true beauty is more than skin. Our true self esteem level will always come to surface sooner or later. So, let’s not be intimidated by anyone, be beautiful from within, and encourage this among other ladies. Remember, beauty is not just skin deep and being a positive person is a true indicator of genuine confidence & good self esteem.

Feminism 101: I Won’t Slut Shame You, So Don’t Virgin Shame Me.

There is nothing wrong with a female  who is against slut shaming. I don’t believe in slut shaming,  but not every woman has the same mentality when it comes to body count and sex.  We are all individuals who have different mindsets, and just because a woman wants to keep her body count as low as possible and does  not want to have casual sex without being in a relationship does not mean she is conforming to society or whatever. It just means she is doing what she thinks is best for her. It is a form of hypocrisy for someone to get angry at slut shaming,  but will turn around and virgin -shame or ridicule another woman for not being as “free” as they want them to be. People find freedom in different things,  and being modest, Abstinent, or “lady like” might give someone the same freedom and happiness that a woman with a different mindset has. The whole concept of women empowerment is supposed to be about uplifting other women with positivity and helping those in disadvantaged situations (education, health issues) & less about freeing the nipple, bashing men in general or bashing those of us who still believe in being classy/ a lady. No matter what “type” of woman you are, we all should uplift each other and encourage equality among every one on this Earth no matter what our personal beliefs are.

Gender Bashing: This is a Problem

In our society and generation, some men and women tend to bash each other alot. I notice, alot of times it is because of their own personal experiences. Yet, it is not healthy or right to decide every person of that gender is the same. Some people date or involve themselves with the same type of people,  just with different faces. They get the same results, and instead of evaluating every aspect…they decide everyone has the same intentions or mindset. Some people never ask themselves why they keep falling for, attracting, or being attracted to these people.  Some become bitter and don’t even realize it, and in reality they are just letting whoever did them wrong have power over them. You could miss out on someone who could be a blessing or a positive match for you just by your mentality.  No, all men and women don’t cheat.  No, all men and women are not scandalous, sour, dogs, unloyal, or whatever. It is a sad thing when people start having negative views on relationships and love because of who they decided to be with. Then, they assume everyone has the same intentions. I think it is simple minded to automatically assume negative things about me because of my gender and what you think most women (and men) are like. Gender bashing in any way is wrong and unless we know the individual personally….why would you place them in a box that may not even fit who they are? I’m tired of the Gender bashing from both sides. We are all individuals and the contents/characteristics of our mind & soul reveals more about us than our gender.