Fly Girls!B-Boys Beware: Revenge Of The Super Female Rappers

Soul Jazz Records
  • 1. JJ Fad – Ya Goin' Down
  • 2. Princess MC – Pump Up The Funk
  • 3. Tanya Winley – Vicious Rap
  • 4. Sweet Tee – I Got Da Feelin'
  • 5. Nikki Giovanni – Ego Tripping
  • 6. MC Lyte – Cha Cha Cha
  • 7. Two Sisters – B-Boys Beware
  • 8. Cookie Crew – Secrets of Success
  • 9. Sequence – Simon Says
  • 10. Bahamadia – Paper Thin
  • 11. Sparky D – I Can't Stop
  • 12. Queen Latifah Featuring Monie Love – Ladies First
  • 13. Lady B – To The Beat Y'All
  • 14. Camille Yarbrough – Take Yo' Praise
  • 15. Missy Elliot – The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
  • 16. Dimples D – Sucker DJ
  • 17. She Rockers – Give It A Rest
  • 18. Sarah Webster Fabio – Glimpses
  • 19. The Kryptic Krew featuring Tina B – Jazzy Sensation
  • 20. Roxanne Shanté – Bite This

‘Fly Girls!’ celebrates the 30th anniversary of female rap on record

This double-CD (and limited edition two volumes of super-loud double-vinyl) narrates the story of female rap from its birth in the tenement block parties in New York City’s outer boroughs through to the dizzying career heights of Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott and other modern day power brokers. ‘Fly Girls!’ also discusses the influence of an earlier generation of black female poets whose ideals (both in their art and how they established career paths) helped lay the foundations for birth of the genre.

The history of female rap on record begins in 1979 in New York City as the clamour of the city’s artists, record companies and producers strove to make it onto vinyl in the wake of The Sugarhill Gang’s squillion-selling hit, ‘Rappers Delight’ – released that year on the former soul singer Sylvia Robinson’s Sugarhill Records. It would be the Winley family - comprising sisters Tanya, Paulette - who made the first female rap record produced by their mother Ann and released on their father’s label, Paul Winley Records.

Aside from the singing/rap styles that earlier soul artists such as Aretha Franklin, Shirley Ellis, Millie Jackson and Laura Lee would occasionally adopt in their songs, female rap (like rap itself) had its antecedents in the groundbreaking black poetry of the 60s and 70s with radical, free-thinking poets such as Nikki Giovanni, Camille Yarborough and Sarah Webster Fabio - all of whom are included here – vocalising hitherto unheard expressions of female and black self-determination in their work. These strong, educated, political women not only led the way stylistically but also helped define how a female artist could make their own career path - weaving creativity, politics and family in a way that Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah and others have since followed - establishing the boundary-breaking career paths of many female artists in rap. Hip-hop is a culture of which music is only a part; nowadays (and to an extent from the very beginning) the most successful female hip-hop artist is often singer, DJ, actress, manager, political and social agitator and more in multiple combinations.

Hip-hop’s story begins in the tenement blocks and community centres of the South Bronx. In the first three years-or-so history of hip-hop (1976-9) - before the first rap records were made - aspiring female artists could watch onstage the early female MC role models of Sha-Rock (the first female MC in the group The Funky Four plus One) or the Mercedes Ladies (the first female MC and DJ crew). With Tanya and Paulette Winley’s ‘Rappin and Rhymin’ on vinyl by 1979 it would not be until the following year that the first all-female crew made it onto vinyl when Sequence (featuring a then unknown Angie Stone) was astutely signed, once again, by Sylvia Robinson to Sugarhill Records.

Robinson was not the only woman on the business side of hip-hop. There was Kool Lady Blue who first brought rap out of the Bronx and into downtown NYC at the Roxy nightclub and also later managed The Rocksteady Crew. Monica Lynch who rose to head of A and R and president of Tommy Boy Records, and later vice-president of Warners, comments that because hip-hop was new it did not have the hierarchy of the traditional music industry and women were thus able to move more easily into executive roles. Later, as we shall see, many of the artists moved into the business themselves taking control of their careers and aiding others.

Roxanne Shante is certainly the first female rapper to make a career out of her music. Shante and fellow Queens-resident and producer Marley Marl fought their corner for both their borough (taking on Boogie Down Productions and the Bronx) and anyone else who dared call themselves ‘Roxanne’ in a slanging-match known as ‘The Roxanne Wars’. This verbal jousting had its antecedents dating back to the ‘dozens’ of the playground and tower-block (‘Your mother is a …’, ‘No, your mother is a …’) and to th

e Griot storytellers of Africa. Roxanne Shante, and many others here, effortlessly subverted this - and many other - male-dominated traditions to create and re-write new histories.

Female rap is thirty years old (yes, thirty) and it just don’t stop. Here is a snapshot of that history. The album includes so many firsts – first solo record, first crew on record, first number one, first grammy winner, that it would be easier to list the few records featured here that are not historical landmarks in the ongoing tale of female hip-hop.

REVIEWS:
"An incredibly entertaining selection of trailblazers that consistently hits the right note" OBSERVER

"Soul Jazz provide the ultimate sourcebook" TIME OUT

"It's not easy to imagine a more enjoyable survey of female MCs" THE GUARDIAN

"An excellent album that is quite simply tons of fun" THE WIRE 

"This is the sort of thing Soul Jazz does best: a history of an under-anthologised corner of the musical world. 'Fly Girls!' collects many of the major names from the first wave of female rappers. INDEPENDENT

French Reviews:

LES INROCKS

TELERAMA

The Vinyl is in two double-album editions:

 VOLUME 1 - Tracks 1-10

 VOLUME 2 - Tracks 11-20

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Soul of A Nation: Afro-Centric Visions in the Age of Black PowerUnderground Jazz, Street Funk & The Roots of Rap 1964-79Soul Jazz Records
This album coincides with the massive new exhibition Soul of A Nation - Art in the Age of Black Power at Tate Modern, London. Watch Channel 4 news piece...
  • 1. Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
  • 2. Mandingo Griot Society with Don Cherry – Sounds From The Bush
  • 3. Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Red, Black and Green
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Count Ossie & The Rasta FamilyMan From Higher HeightsSoul Jazz Records
This album is a strictly 1000-copies only worldwide digitally remastered exact repro LP+ download code. Also available as a very limited...
Venezuela 70 : Cosmic Visions Of A Latin American EarthVenezuelan Experimental Rock In The 1970sSoul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records’ new Venezuela 70 is the first-ever album of its kind to take a look at the groundbreaking experimental rock music made in Venezuela...
Betty HarrisThe Lost Queen Of New Orleans SoulSoul Jazz Records
Betty Harris’ The Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul features all of her classic deep soul, sister funk and northern soul songs recorded in New Orleans in...
New York Noise 2016 EditionDance Music From The New York Underground 1977–1982Soul Jazz Records
This is the new edition of Soul Jazz Records’ long out of print first New York Noise collection, Dance Music From The New York Underground 1978-82. This...
Space, Energy and LightExperimental Electronic and Acoustic Soundscapes 1961 - 88Soul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records’ new Space, Energy and Light is a collection of music by early electronic and synthesizer pioneers (from the 1960s through the 1970s),...
Africans With Mainframes (Hieroglyphic Being and Noleian Reusse)K.M.T.Soul Jazz Records
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Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation Of RastafariTales Of MozambiqueSoul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records are releasing Count Ossie and The Mystic Revelation’s seminal 1975 album Tales of Mozambique in an expanded double album/single CD/digital...
Tee MacNight Illusion (1980)Soul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records’ are releasing Tee Mac’s ‘Night Illusion’, a lost classic Nigerian Afro soul meets disco boogie funk album originally released...
Nigeria Soul Fever - Afro Funk, Disco and BoogieWest African Disco Mayhem !Soul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records’ new Nigeria Soul Fever is their first release to explore the vast wealth of Nigerian music recorded in the 1970s. The new album comes...
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Nigeria Freedom Sounds ! Popular Music and The Birth Of Independent Nigeria 1960-63Calypso, Highlife, Apala, Mambo, JujuSoul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records’ new Nigeria Freedom Sounds! features a stunning selection of material spotlighting the vibrant musical scene in Nigeria at the start...
  • 1. I.K. Dairo and his Blue Spots – E Ma Mobun Saya
  • 2. Chris Ajilo and his Cubanos – Ariwo
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Boombox 2Early Independent Hip Hop, Electro and Disco Rap 1979 - 83Soul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records’ new Boombox 2 is a new selection of early rap music from the period 1979-83, with barely a household name in sight. Featured here...
The Skatalites: Independence Ska and The Far East SoundOriginal Ska Sounds From The Skatalites 1963 - 65Soul Jazz Records
Fantastic new collection of rare and classic killer ska from the legendary Skatalites, one of the most important groups in the history of Reggae.This...
Lloyd McNeill QuartetAsha (1969)Soul Jazz Records
New edition of this very rare deep spiritual jazz album, the debut release from flautist Lloyd McNeill released on his private-press Asha...
Studio One Dub Fire SpecialChapter 3: 18 Heavyweight Dub Cuts From Brentford RoadSoul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records’ new ‘Studio One Dub Fire Special’ brings together 18 heavyweight dub cuts all recorded at 13 Brentford Road in the 1970s. Featuring...
Soul 70Collectors 7" Box SetSoul Jazz Records
LAST COPIES EVER!! GOING FAST!! Soul Jazz Records’  Soul 7” Box Set comprising five fantastic 70s soul seven-inch singles reproduced...
Lloyd McNeill QuartetWashington Suite (1970)Soul Jazz Records
New edition of this very rare deep spiritual jazz album (currently £400 on Discogs for an original!) first released as a private-press album in 1970 on...
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!00% Dynamite first night at Electrowerkz!PosterSoul Jazz Records
What a night! This was the first night that our club moved to the new venue - there was a queue 500-long of people waiting to get in! Oh yes! 50 x 70cm...
Vodou Drums in Haiti 2: The Living Gods Of Haiti21st Century Ritual Drums & Spirit Possession - Drummers Of The Societe Absolument GuininSoul Jazz Records
Soul Jazz Records’ new album features the truly intense, hypnotic and fascinating Vodou drums of Haiti, a stunning collection of trance-like rhythms...

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