Top Pre-1990 Female Rap Songs
Roxy Music: Having a nice day but too old to be playing on that thing
After months of research, trawling through our record libraries and interviewing thousands of Fat Lace readers for their input, we give you the definitive list of the best pre-1990 female rap songs. OK, we interviewed nobody and it’s formed of our own bias but it’s a valid study. We’re working on the post-1990 list as we speak. Popular opinion dictates that Women are only good for managing hedge funds, heading up international peace keeping missions, flying jets and baking cakes but we think that’s unfair, they can also rap, well some can and a few even do it quite well, so let’s celebrate the fairer rapping sex in all their perfumed glory.
Isis ‘The Power Of Myself Is Moving’ (4th & Broadway)
The title would suggest this song was about flicking herself off but no, she was talking about her independence and inner- female strengths. Girl power 101 by Isis. The Slave sample really hooked us in and there’s even a guest appearance by Professor X who apparently loved to show the ladies his big black staff.
Roxanne Shante ‘Have A Nice Day’ (Cold Chillin)
KRS One once said “Roxanne Shante is only good for steady f**king”. Did he know something we didn’t? Marley struck gold when he discovered this Queen Of Rox. The feisty Queensbridge raised Juice Crew MC debuted in 1984 and never looked back since, well until she recorded the Large Professor produced ‘Brothers Ain’t Shit’. She was exposed as a fraud when it was revealed she didn’t even have a brother, proving her tale of sibling rivalry was totally unfounded. She never quite recovered. Come back Rox, all is forgiven.
Sparky Dee ‘vs. The Playgirls ‘The Battle’ (NIA)
Sparky’s talents were totally overlooked until DJ Red Alert became her DJ. Well she recorded a song called ‘He’s My DJ (Red Alert)’, whether that was true or not has never been proven. They were never seen together. As part of our research we examined New York City court records and uncovered a restraining order by a Mr. R. Alert filed against a Miss S. Dee. Apparently when he found out she recorded the song withiout his permission he flipped his lid, hence the term ‘DJ Red Alert, goes berserk’. We’d like to see the video for this track, we imagine it would be like the x-rated version of Duran Duran’s ‘Girls On Film’.
Queen Latifah ‘Latifah’s Law’ (Tommy Boy)
Hail Fat Queen. It’s an anagram, we pointed that out in an old issue of Fat Lace. She’s like the Oprah Winfrey of rap, annoyingly self-aggrandising and but we’re not going to put down the ‘Princess Of The Posse’ too badly, anyone who’s a friend of the 45 King is a friend of ours and this Louie Louie produced album cut was a bonafide killer. If anyone knows where the horn sample is from we’d love to know.
Turbonator X: Self-aggrandising
Tanya Winley ‘Vicious Rap’ (Paul Winley)
The intro, you may recognise, was used on Diamond D’s ‘Best Kept Secret’. This early classic on Paul Winley records has to be one of the first female rap records. Who’d have thought that a girl called Tanya could rap for over seven minutes about sweet fuck all and it be considered one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time. Also an early example of rappers using their real names. People accused Anya Hindley’s ‘Handbag Rap’ of copying her.
Dimples D ‘Sucker DJ’s (I Will Survive)’ (Partytime)
This record was made more famous for its use in Marley Marl and MC Shan’s ‘Marley Scratch’. Listening back, nearly every line by Dimples, real name Crystal Smith, has become a classic hip-hop sample. Not exactly a stand alone great but certainly immortalised for its later use. This was her only release but we guess calling every DJ a sucker didn’t inspire them to play her records.
MC Lyte ‘Cha Cha Cha’ (FPM)
Where do we start with Lyte? She’s recorded so many classic tracks spanning her career it’s unfair to single out any one in particular. Lyte’s probably the only female rapper who lasted the test of time in terms of credibility. She’s never quite been a sex symbol although she is attractive. Not being objectified probably helped her status as becoming one of the greats. Blimey, Germaine Greer would have a field day with this wouldn’t she?
A pensive Lyte sipping on a nice cuppa-cuppachino
Antoinette ‘Hit ‘Em With This’ (Sound Check)
Although her career was short lived, Antoinette released a string of great singles taken from two albums ‘Who’s The Boss’ and ‘Burnin At 20 Below’. Much like Salt N Pepa, Antoinette was under the tutelage of Hurby ‘Luv Bug’ Azor but never went the ultra commercial route like her peers. Probably why she’s broke today. Hurby had a real eye for the ‘talent’ didn’t he? First Antoinette, then Salt N Pepa. Totally transparent.
Salt N Pepa ‘My Mike Sounds Nice’ (Next Plateau)
This was as underground as it got for Salt N Pepa, pretty much everything else they did was nothing less than a commercial success. Let’s face it through, we all loved DJ Spindarella, albeit a tad cross-eyed, she was the girl next door type. You just wanted to spy on her getting undressed after practicing her scratching. We hear VH1 are running a reality show about them, well all that money lasted a good ten years, not bad going.
Blondie ‘Rapture’ (Chrysalis)
Not strictly a rap record and Deborah Harry wasn’t strictly a rapper but ‘Rapture’ was a huge hit and Grandmaster Flash etched it stone by including the rapping part on his classic ‘Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel’. Damn, she even rapped in French. Maybe that will catch on one day and folk will start rapping over there in Franceland. Nah, it will never happen.
Who’s that girl?: Can anyone name the mystery rapper? (not mentioned in our list)
Shazzy ‘Keep It Flowin’ (Elektra)
Not too many people have heard of Shazzy, She’s not the female version of Shaggy put it that way. On the 12” of Shazzy’s ‘Keep It Flowin’ it states the album was to be titled ‘The High Priestess of Newfunk’, when it dropped it was called ‘Attitude: A Hip-Hop Rapsody’. Convoluted either way. Regardless, it’s a slept on classic notable for production by the Stimulated Dummiez a.k.a. SD50. A project Dante Ross will probably want to forget.
Ice Cream Tee ‘To Be Continued’ (Uni)
Bettina Clark made her debut on Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s debut album ‘Rock The House’ on the track ‘Guys Ain’t Nothing But Trouble’. She was quickly snapped up by Jazzy Jay and one year later released her debut album ‘Can’t Hold Back’. It was nothing like her syrupy debut though. The beats were hard as nails thanks to Jazzy’s influence. She never made it to the big time but let’s hope she still gets some change from Will and Jeff. Or at least a Christmas card.
Big Lady K ‘Don’t Get Me Started’ (Priority)
Big Lady was the first female artist to get signed by Priority Records. Her career never amounted to much but this particular track was a smash with the real heads for it’s faultless sampling of Ike & Turner’s ‘Bold Soul Sister’, which considering she was from the West Coast had a distinctive East Coast feel at the time. Not much else to say really, she was overweight and made one great record.
COMMENTS & FEEDBACK PLEASE, DID WE GET IT RIGHT, WHICH TRACKS WOULD YOU HAVE PICKED?