By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
In the early days, was your gender a handicap?
I get asked that question all the time, and maybe it?s ?cause of how I grew up or just the type of person I am, but I never felt slighted because I was a woman. I always had a certain respect. Maybe it?s because I respected myself that much. Back in the day, when I stepped in the cipher, nobody dissed me. If anything, they were afraid of the competition. I never looked at it as a gender thing. I really didn?t. And with me being from a pop-locking world ? this is L.A. ? when I pop-locked in the day, you battled the brothers and you better be hard. You better hit, your shit better be tight.
Where do you fall in the ?Hip-Hop Is Dead? argument?
I think when they say hip-hop is dead, they mean a certain attitude that was in hip-hop. You can?t say hip-hop is dead, ?cause hip-hop is running things. But the attitude of just speaking about politics . . . I go back to that thing of hip-hop being ?Human Beings Harboring Opinions of Politics and Propaganda.? That was hip-hop. I think people are missing the little nooks and crannies that pop shit about politics and propaganda. It?s not like it?s not there. It?s just not put in the forefront of the music right now.
How do you feel about the use of the wordniggerornigga?
Well, me hangin? with a gang of guys most of the time... [Laughs.] I understand the endearing term that they?ve developed from that. For me, the word nigga has been ours and we?ve been using it for so long, it?s kinda like abortion. You can?t give us that option and then, years later, try to take it away. It is now a part of the way we move and motivate. It?s a part of choice. [It?s been] our choice all this time to use it, flip it and make it the way we want to ? it?s hip, it?s slang, and it?s a term of endearment when these cats use it, so I understand it.
But what we have to understand, as black people, is that when you use the word nigga in the presence of other cultures... after all them niggas done fluttered around the room and I?m by myself with these other cultures, I?m left the nigga. So, they have to understand that too. It?s a time and a place for our language. You?re not gonna speak the same language at a job interview as you would when you?re with your homies hangin? out.
The last few years have seen certain hip-hop fans, especially a lot of black folk, challenge the materialism and more reactionary, regressive politics. Why do you think the push is coming now?
If you?ve already run through all the gangsta, all the watered-down rap, the only thing left is the real, the pure. You can only funnel through the bullshit for so long. Now, we?re all that?s left. And there are a lot of people that are just putting their foot down. Also, you grow. You?re different at 30 than you were at 18. If Pac and Biggie had lived long enough, we would have seen a change in them too, in their music. I think it?s just a coming of age.
I think a lot of people outside L.A. don?t realize how hard a place this can be. You can?t be a punk and survive L.A.
For real. Just the attitudes alone. [Laughs.] It?s not even a danger factor, you getting shot or something. It?s more like an attitude factor. If you are not the right person in a particular sector, then you gon? get a hard time. Period. Black, white, Latino ? it don?t matter. It?s not a color thing. It?s just, ?I ain?t never seen you before. Who are you?? L.A. is strong with that. And L.A. heads carry that wherever they go. They so cold wit? it. Mean-mugging is a profession out here. It?s interesting, though, because there is a softer side, too, that people don?t get to see. But yeah, if you come out here and think you just gon? slip in and it?s gon? be easy, we?re real protective of our areas. We?re real protective of our neighborhood, our people, our children. We funny style. We gotta feel you.