Review ·

Hip-hop is a man’s game. The lack of visible female emcees and producers is slowly becoming an epidemic, and females are evaluated not on their skills, but on their potential marketable value. Can any one explain how Carmen Electra and Gloria Velez were able to release albums without mentioning tits or asses? Why does the debate for best female emcee in hip-hop end with Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown and Eve?


On the eve of the release of her second LP, This Week, Jean Grae has hit the mixtape circuit to get the streets buzzing and the promotional machine rolling. She enlists none other than DJ Kay Slay to host the mixtape, which features a preview of tracks off This Week and her guest appearances on the Roots’ The Tipping Point and the Okayplayer compilation True Notes Vol. 1.

There are no big surprises on the mixtape; The Grae Files merely re-emphasizes that Jean Grae is the best female emcee in the game. A number of quotable lines are dropped, but the mixtape is really a warm-up for the full-length, and Grae often sounds like just a mixtape emcee, flipping freestyles over classic beats. That perception will change with This Week and an EP exclusively produced by 9th Wonder. I see it like Miss Cleo: 2005 will be the year of Jean Grae.

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