Long Live The Rugged Female – Heather B
March 1, 2007, 6:14 pm
Filed under: Album Reviews

Hip hop is such a male dominated musical genre that there is no denying that women have struggled to make a credible impression upon it. Of course you’ve got your Foxy Browns and Lil’ Kims, but I think it would be fair to say that their rise to fame may have been due to a little timely arse shaking here and there as much as it has been about their musical prowess. Bottom line, they’re marketable: they look good (if that’s your thing), can hold a microphone and deliver some verses all at the same time. Imagine that! The scope for genuinely talented female artists within hip hop is regrettably limited, and as such, there have been very few quality releases from the fairer sex that are on par with their male counterparts.

Heather B.’s 1996 release ‘Takin’ Mine’ is an exception to this rule, pairing quality production with Heather’s tight flow that makes for an enjoyable, if not mind-blowing, release. Da Beatminerz pop up on the production credits for a track, but the majority is handled by BDP affiliate and brother of KRS One, Kenny Parker. ‘All Glocks Down’ was the lead single off the album, and does a good job of flipping the well used ‘People Make The World Go Round’ sample that has appeared on numerous cuts within the genre. It is without doubt the highlight of the album and sees Heather B. in strong form advising all comers to be aware of her role as the ‘bulletproof lyricist’

There are other good cuts here too, but it is really the consistency of this release that wins me over. There really isn’t a bad beat on here and although Heather’s style is nothing phenomenal, she carries the material well over the course of the album. ‘Takin’ Mine’ can be played from front to back with no need to skip, and this is more than can be said for a lot of albums released during this period. Thankfully, she also avoids over-playing the ‘female card’ and instead sticks to some boasts and brags that she pulls off with a gritty and accomplished delivery. You go girl!

The great thing about this album is that it does not feel like a novelty. This in itself is a success: when I listen to ‘Takin’ Mine’ I am simply enjoying a decent quality hip hop album that removes itself from the ‘female rapper’ tag. With no sign of breasts or an arse in sight, this goes down as a slept on release that I imagine most heads will appreciate: cop it and find out.

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