Female emcees have always played a big part in the Bay Area’s storied hip-hop tradition. During the pioneering 75 Girls era of the ’80s, Female Fonk and Cassidine held their own alongside Too $hort, Ant Banks, and the Dangerous Crew. The ’90s “golden age” saw the rise of the Conscious Daughters, Mystic, Suga-T (The Click), Nic Nac, Passion, and Mahasin (Hobo Junction). Current female emcees repping the Bay include Miss Haze, Hopie Spitshard, Holly Saucy, and Kreayshawn.
To that list, you can add Glam.I.Rock, who was literally born into Bay Area hip-hop royalty, as the daughter of Nic Nac — the only female member of the Mobb crew (Dru Down, the Luniz, Cydal) and a featured artist on “So Much Drama,” the b-side of the multi-platinum single and all-time ‘blaze it up’ anthem, “I Got 5 On It” – and Dangerous Dame, a legendary member of Too $hort’s Dangerous Crew.
Glam-the first part of her moniker is an anagram for “good lyrics and music” — ups the versatility ante by being a double threat: she not only writes her own lyrics, but produces her own songs, a rarity for a woman in the urban music field. In fact, Glam began making tracks on an Ensoniq ASR-10 at age 10; it’s nothin’ for this female boss to create her own soundtracks to her poetic verses.
On her debut EP, The Feel, she goes hard with 11 slaps which honor the independent hip-hop tradition of the Bay Area, where Glam was born, as well as Los Angeles, where she grew up. The EP’s vibe reflects influences ranging from trap music to female vocalists TLC & Xscape, to Erykah Badu. Or as Glam explains, “real words on top of real tones, with a futuristic twist of trap and 90’s aura.” The result is a unique-sounding album which balances contemporary relevance with retro flavor and establishes Glam.I.Rock as a worthy contender for the female emcee throne.
The album’s title track and first video, “Feel,” shows off Glam’s hardcore lyrical skills and battle-rhyme credentials. Contrasting a stripped-down, bass-heavy music track with rapid-fire staccato lyrics, Glam drops ill metaphorical allusions to Jeffrey Dahmer and Big Lurch, then boasts she’s spitting it until they bold enough to spit it back at me. The second single, “Bowl,” stands out as a future-jazz slap which finds Glam putting down her mack-ass flows under the influence of purple-haired cannabis; Another strong track is “4eva Lonely,” a hook-laden, uptempo tune which muses about the hit-and-miss nature of
relationships: Got somebody new?/ I don’t wanna know/ Always take it there/ Where I don’t wanna go/Wanna brush it off/Keep it on the good/ Take another chance/ To hurt because you could.
Other tracks on the album include “Silly Heaux,” a scathing diss-track paean to jealousy and cattiness which emphasizes fake is not sexy; “Mobbin’,” which mixes atmospheric keyboards and percussive hi-hats to set an emotional, moody tone-reminiscent of broken-beat or IDM – paired with introspective lyrics; and “Cleo’s Reprise,” a song inspired by the Queen Latifah character in the movie “Set It Off.”
With its unique-sounding production, perfectly matched to Glam.I.Rock’s reality-based rhymes, The Feel is a debut release which not only crushes every stereotypical cliché about female rap artists, but is sure to have listeners’ feelin’ Glam’s highly-original flavor.
The Feel (self-released on Savvie1ent/The Olive Street Agency) is available for free download at ww.glamishere.com.
3. Silly Heaux
4. 4eva Lonely
7. Big Sexy’s Dedication
10. Cleo’s Reprise
11. Stick ‘Em Up