One of the most underappreciated elements in popular music is women’s contribution to hip-hop. That impact that has been suppressed by prearranged mainstream strategies to box hip-hop into a ridiculously restrictive space of hypermasculinty and chauvinism. Soul Jazz Records has come forth to tell the untold story with a celebratory compilation: Fly Girls! B-Boys Beware: Revenge of the Super Female Rappers. A fitting title — revenge is best served cold on two turntables and a microphone.
Fly Girls! commemorates thirty years of women MCs. It was Sugar Hill Records entrepreneur Sylvia Robinson, in fact, who produced "Rapper’s Delight," the first commercial hip-hop album. But the line can be traced even further back, to the funky-sassy-attitude of Millie Jackson, “the grandmother of rap,” and, depending on how flexible your definition is, to Nina Simone’s “Funkier Than a Mosquitoes Tweeter.”
Soul Jazz has done a bang-up job blending legends like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Roxanne Shante with forgotten artists such as JJ Fad and Cookie Crew, while also mixing in contemporary names like Missy Elliott. From the old school to the new, from boom-bap to club bangers and G-funk, Fly Girls! exudes diversity. It’s all sewn together with the flow of empowerment.