emcee Tag

Kindred Journey 22 – Mountain Brothers

Mountain Brothers are a hip hop group from Philadelphia with members Styles, Peril-L, and Chops. Besides Key Kool & Rhetmattic, Mountain Brothers were some of the only Asian American cats rhyming and putting out records. Coming from the Bay you see lots of writers, B-boys, and DJs, but very few MCs. That all changed when I saw this trio from Philly. Their first album “Self: Volume 1” came out in 1999, and their second and last album came out in 2003. They also had an EP titled Microphone Phenomenal. MB were pioneers for Asian Americans in hop hop and although Peril-L and Styles are pursuing medicine and science Chops still continues to make music. In fact the group united for a song on a Chops record in 2013 along with cats like Dumbfounded, Bambu, Rocky Rivera, Geo of Blue Scholars, Neil Armstrong, DJ Roli Rohl, and more. The guys are Chinese Taiwanese and simply by making great music and being themselves they have made history and given young Asian American artists role models. Galaxies!!!

Sources: Wikipedia, TaiwaneseAmerican.org,

Did you catch the one of Mndsgn ?

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Who is She? 17- Queen Lisa Lee

MC and rhyme champion Lisa Lee. I saw her in Wild Style and Beat Street and wondered, “yo, who is that rhyming” and then she said her name. Lisa Lee was born and raised in the Bronx. In an interview she said her and her brothers started to learn drums and mixing at a very young age in the 70s. She went to a party being held by Afrika Bambaataa and Disco King Mario where she got on the mic and started rhyming. She went on to be a part of the Universal Zulu Nation, an organization founded by Bambaataa to unite all the gangs in the Bronx around peace, love, music, and culture. Lisa would go on to star in the films I mentioned as well as make several records such as “I’m a pioneer”. I feel like she does not get enough shine and there needs to be more of a spotlight on her life and achievements while she’s still here. Much respect to Queen Lisa Lee!

Sources: Bee Shine (youtube), Real Queens of Hip Hop (site)

Special One- Black is Beautiful 9

Man, rest in peace to “Special One” aka Karryl Smith from the Conscious Daughters. The first time I hear the daughters I was like “I’m getting that tape” and I still have some TCD vinyl. Her style was rough, feminine, and masculine and she just had flow, timing, and cadence that its hard to find now days in the Bay. You could tell they took the time with their craft. Special One and her partner CMG were an incredible duo, classic Bay Area hip hop group who sold plenty records, toured extensively, and still have a loyal fan base. Shout out to CMG who I believe is still making music! And shout out to Paris of Guerilla Funk. Just wanted to pay my respects to this Bay legend who is dearly missed. “How we roll” is one of my favorites that I heard on a compilation and of course “Fonky Expedition” and “We roll deep”.

Guru-Black is Beautiful 5

“Even in this rap game, all that glitters ain’t gold. Now that rap is big business, the snakes got bold. They give you wack contracts and try to make you go pop, because they have no regard for real hip hop. They’ll compare you to others and say -but yo he sells!-when you know in your heart, that he’s weak as hell” -Guru on The Conspiracy
This is brother Keith Elam, better known as Guru from the mighty Gangstarr. Guru, originally from Boston moved to Brooklyn in the 80s as an MC and started a group with DJ Premier that touched a lot of people. I’m one of those people and the first time I ever saw a Gangstarr tape, it was “Step in the Arena” and my cousin Mook had it. After that I bought Daily Operation, Hard To Earn, Moment of Truth, The Owners, etc. And there are so many incredible poetic lines from Guru in them, besides his many side projects such as Jazzmatazz. He passed away in 2010 abut his spirit lives on.
“Ever since the declaration, of independence we’ve been easily brainwashed but just one sentence. It goes-(all men are created equal). Thats why corrupt governments kill innocent people……..And every time there’s violence shown in the media, usually its a black face so where are they leading ya? To a world full of ignorance, hatred, and prejudice. TV and the news for years they have fed you this”. Guru on “The Conspiracy”

MC Sha Rock-Black is Beautiful 4

“Sha-Rock is the woman with the magical touch. I’m like burning fire! You know I’m much too much!” was the line I remember from seeing Sha Rock on the mic in Beat Street as a kid. Later on I would hear “They’re four fly guys, i’m the best female. I’m telling the truth not a fairytale” while she rhymed with the hip hop legends “Funky Four + 1”. Sha Rock, is the earliest women on the mic during the birth and pioneering years of early hip hop mcing. She’s still alive and rocking, but I wanted to give her some props for Black History Month! Much love Sha, I play your records for my son so he knows the sisters were there from the start.

Edit: Sha Rock is the first woman to be known as an MC rocking parties, doing shows, battles, routines, and appearing on live TV. Before she was in the Funk Four + 1 she was a founding member of the group “The Funky 4”! And she used to bgirl!  Source: Sha Rock interview w/ DJ Premier

Did you catch the painting of Phase 2? or Phife?