One reason I wish I still had that Bo Jackson Cross-Trainer shoe-box is strictly for the cred I suppose. The physical evidence that I was old-school for as long as I can remember back. Can someone direct me towards the metaphysical landfill so I can dig up the RAP TRIVIA board-game I constructed in third grade? That would be somewhere in 1984 to be exact. Though I haven’t had enough time with Fly Girls! – B-Boys Beware: Revenge of the Super Female Rappers (but the time I have spent with it has been both historical lesson and nostalgia trip), I could tell just by looking over the track-list that this was essential listening.
Contrary to the popular belief that rap, even in it’s primitive old-school stage, was a male dominated domain, there was a time (pre-gangster) when the females were regarded with the same fervor as a Doug E. Fresh or a Kurtis Blow. Before guns and sexism, drugs and hustling, it was just about your flow and your block, and many of the women here (hell, this is almost perfect from top to bottom) could hold their own with their male counterparts. There was a time when I had just as many MC Lyte tapes as Big Daddy Kane – listening to both with equal enthusiasm. There was a time when Queen Latifah was a fierce guerilla-feminist. And yes there was a time when JJ Fad had skills despite a novelty hit in “Supersonic” – play it today and you’ll see the root of your Missies and Mayas. Though novel as it is, it has actually aged quite well.
Still as much as I claim to know about the era, Soul Jazz unearths some unknowns here that are quite enjoyable, if not superior to the queens on this survey – the Cookie Crew, She-Rockers, Sparky D and personal favorite Sweet Tee. It seems like at one point I gave up searching for a 12” version of Sweet Tee’s “On the Smooth Tip” (not included on this comp, but the clip is below) and sufficed to just imagining how killer the track was “way back when.”
Then, I'm going to say post-Salt N' Pepa, there was the drought. Of course now were in the midst of a renaissance of sorts, but M.I.A. just doesn't flow like Lyte now does she? Sidenote -- there should be some kind of comp chronicling the gangster female contingent that tried, somewhat unsucessfully to milk that sub-genre in the '90s, though I can't think of too many that fit that mold. Anyone for Boss?