Old School Moment of the Month: February 2015

The Queen L-A-T-I-F-A-H in command
The Queen L-A-T-I-F-A-H in command

My Old School Moment of the Month for February is another album from 1989. When I first saw the video for “Dance For Me” I was immediately drawn to her. My favorite female MC at the time was MC Lyte, but Queen Latifah was different. While Lyte was a traditionalist in the sense of her male counterparts Rakim and Big Daddy Kane, Latifah channeled a strong Afrocentric vibes reflected by her Native Tongue brethren. She carried herself as her moniker states: as a queen.

She was like nothing before her. Just pure, uncut, raw, dope Hip-Hop music. The video channeled the feeling of the moment in Hip-Hop. Creativity with a great sense of pride and awareness.

Her second single was a favorite of me and my sister’s. Whenever the video came on, my sister would dance to it in my room, practicing her steps. in our full length mirror. This was created in a time where Hip-Hop could always interweave another music genre into it, and make it their own. The “Queens from Queens”, Salt-N-Pepa did this a year earlier, mixing Hip-Hop and Go-Go with “Shake Your Thing”. This time, the genre was known as “House Music” and an instant classic was created.

I actually played “Come Into My House” over the winter holidays with my 12-year-old nephew in the car. He asked me who it was and I told him. His response was simply “Wow…Queen Latifah used to rap?!?!?” That she did young sir, that she did.

The next single was even bigger than the previous two. It was a perfect mix of black pride and female empowerment. The feeling here is almost alien in today’s world, full of “Thots” and “Bad Bitches”. Accompanied by her fellow Native sister, Monie Love…

This video brings back such fond memories. I often find myself trying to pinpoint when we lost our way from songs about strength and pride, to celebrations of materialism and mediocrity.

This album, to this day, and in my humble opinion, is Queen Latifah’s best work. While she had other big songs throughout her storied career, she never released a full body of work that came close to this album. Songs like “Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children”. “Wrath of My Madness”, “A King and Queen Creation”,  “Queen of Royal Badness”, and “Inside Out” are all prime examples of what songs that aren’t singles on your album, should be. All vary in style, tempos, and cadences, while still reflecting the strengths of the artist. A landmark in Hip-Hop, I would go as far to say as this is, by a large margin, the best Hip-Hop album by any female artist, ever. Take a listen and enjoy!

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