Wednesday, September 23, 2009

R.I.P To Female Emcees- Jean Grae

Quoting the Godfather of Soul James Brown seems very appropriate when describing hip-hop’s present and past environment- This is a man’s world. Male figures have long dominated all facets of this industry despite the fact that women have progressed immensely in other fields by contrast. In spite of the disparity in numbers, there have been several women, albeit few and far between, who have made their names in this male-dominated industry (they seem to come in waves, almost as if it were a trend and they almost always seem to be a part of a larger collective); my favorites have always included Lauryn Hill and Bahamadia, amongst a short list of others. But these are names of yesterday; I am not necessarily saying they don’t have it in them anymore, but they have not released any credible material in what seems like forever. Nevertheless, there are still some femcees today who could run circles around many emcees and rappers alike, but for whatever reasons are merely overlooked; relegating them to WNBA status. Accordingly, when highlighting who I believe are the best femcees in the game today I will be comparing them with the best female basketball players of all time. It would have probably made more sense to compare the best female rappers of all-time with best female basketball players of all-time; but this would have almost certainly resulted in a list of typical names (rightfully so, mind you) i.e. MC Lyte, Queen Latifah. My aim is to shed light on talent that would otherwise go unnoticed to certain listeners, and occasionally make a case for talents who should be appreciated case in point, Jean Grae.Qualifying Criteria: All qualifying emcees have released or have been featured on material from 2005 till the Present, they write their own ish, and don’t use their assets to enhance their lyrical appeal.South African-born, New York-bred Jean Grae’s catalogue easily trumps those females who have garnered mainstream success. Unlike those aforementioned female rappers who will remain nameless that relied on their sexuality to bank a quick buck or had their mans and ‘em craft their lyrics, Jean has consistently let her lyricism speak for itself. Her rhymes vary from the brash braggadocio exhibited by her male counterparts to more personable topics take for example, Fade Out or My Story; the latter a heartfelt string of rhymes detailing an abortion. In spite of the many hardships Jean Grae has encountered over the years (label B.S., the idiosyncrasies with being a woman in a male-dominated genre, relationships, “Ms. Grae I could be your Supa Luv”), she has always managed to stay on point - never compromising her image and never faltering lyrically. Jean Grae is easily the Cheryl Miller of this rap shit. Like Cheryl her [Jean Grae] exploits have been well documented with acclaim. Like Cheryl, Jean Grae could hold her ground when it comes to the boys. Cheryl was a model of consistency throughout her collegiate career (In 1986 Sports Illustrated named her the best male or female college basketball player); likewise Jean’s music has always been unfailing displaying both self-confidence and a fragile sensibility.

Cheryl Miller, a four-time All-American and three-time Naismith winner had a 23.6 career scoring average while averaging 20.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.2 steals and 2.3 blocks in 16 NCAA Tournament games.


Jean Grae - The Story

Jean Grae - Jean Experience

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