‘Who You Calling A Bitch?’
Latifah’s in the house y’all – so get your asses off your seats and take a bow!
Mizz Dana Elaine Owens adopted the moniker Queen Latifah with an agenda – to take a stand and make herself heard in a male dominated genre. Since her 1989 début ‘All Hail The Queen‘, Queen Latifah has established herself as a tough-talking, strong-willed pioneer of the game, unafraid to demand her due respect, and arguably one of the biggest and most successful female rappers of all time.
‘Black Reign‘, released in 1993, was Latifah’s third studio album and her first for Motown. A personal fave, I rank this album as one of the all time greats along with Missy’s ‘Supa Dupa Fly‘, Lil’ Kim’s ‘Hardcore‘ and Eve’s ‘Scorpion‘.
With an imposing dignity and authority, Latifah tackled social and personal issues, baring her soul after experiencing the horrific tragedy of her brother Lance’s death a year earlier.
Out of all the cuts on this masterpiece, the classic ‘U.N.I.T.Y‘ remains her biggest hit to date.
Peaking at # 2 on the Billboard Rap Charts, the defiant track is pure Hip Hop supremacy, dealing with issues like domestic violence, disrespect of women, harassment and the general trash talking violence that defined Hip Hop . The old school beats, Latifah’s soul-drenched vocals and the fierce lyrics redefined the rules of the game back in the day, with Latifah growling –
‘There’s plenty of people out there with triggers ready to pull it
Why you trying to jump in front of the bullet (Young lady)
And real bad girls are the silent type
Ain’t none of this work getting your face sliced’
‘U.N.I.T.Y‘ won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance, and ‘Black Reign‘ was certified Gold in the US – one of the highest selling and most successful albums of her impressive discography.
Iconic in every possible way!
Check out the Mark Gerard-directed video for the classic ‘U.N.I.T.Y‘ right here :