‘What up pop, brace yourself as I ride on top!’
With Australian Rapstress Iggy Azalea, Anaconda-enthusiast Nicki Minaj and Pottymouth- extraordinaire Azealia Banks releasing some of the year’s most accomplished efforts, 2014 easily witnessed the fiercest battle among femcees in recent memory – Azealia Banks being christened a ‘syphilis-lipped rectum’ and Iggy Azalea renamed Igloo Australia were just some of the greatest highlights of the year!
The last time an onslaught of such epic proportions defined the charts? Almost two decades ago, in 1996. To be fair, Twitter didn’t exist then, hence the ladies of Hip Hop had to make do by releasing diss tracks.
Let’s take it back to the time when music was good now, shall we?
1996-1997 witnessed the meteoric rise of 5 of the biggest players, trendsetters, trailblazers and icons of Hip Hop/Rap – Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Eve, Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill. Never before in the history of Hip Hop had the genre been so radicalized by a group of fire-breathing female Rappers riding diabolically hot beats and spitting out the slickest verses in the game!
While Missy, Eve and Lauryn kept it slick, the diminutive Lil Kim got down and dirty – becoming a pioneer of Glam-Rap that defined her raunchy yet chic style. With a stellar onslaught of multi-platinum hits, Kim owned the throne. Her biggest rival? Former friend and fellow raunch-enthusiast, Foxy Brown.
Both Kim and Brown unleashed their supernova star power on their respective début albums, both released in 1996. While Kim released the iconic ‘Hardcore‘, Foxy did her thang with the equally genre-defining ‘I’ll Na Na‘.
Ridiculously dirty, sex-drenched and surprisingly sophisticated – ‘Ill Na Na‘ was the album that made Foxy a Rap Royal. Fashion, sex and the mafia were her obsession, as she barked red-blooded bars over distinctly catchy beats and displayed a seductive yet bratty disdain for any authority.
The moves worked of course, as ‘I’ll Be‘ (feat. Jay-Z) – the second single from ‘I’ll Na Na‘ became a cross-continental smash, peaking at # 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and # 9 on the UK Top 40, eventually being certified Gold in the US.
The album itself peaked at # 7 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart – selling over 1.5 million units in the US alone. And this was just the beginning of Foxy’s reign, she followed the success of ‘Ill Na Na‘ with the Platinum-certified ‘Chynadoll‘ in 1999 – which debuted at # 1 on the Billboard 200, making Foxy one of only four female Rappers to earn a Billboard # 1 album, the other three being Eve, Lauryn Hill and Nicki Minaj.
Major nostalgia y’all – I grew up listening to ‘I’ll Be‘ on loop on my poor old disc-man back in the day! The sound of the latter half of the 90’s was defined by these iconic ladies of Hip Hop – too bad she fell off the radar after 2001’s critically hailed, Gold-certified, # 5 peaking ‘Broken Silence’ due to her numerous feuds. It’s time these ladies made a solid comeback – especially Missy, owing to the reception of her stellar performance at the Super Bowl this year.
Fact : Minaj, Azalea and Banks live in the house that Kim, Brown, Missy, Eve and Hill built.
Check out Foxy Brown’s ‘I’ll Be‘ feat. Jay-Z right here :