Straight Outta Mexico- Oakland’s Raw G Catches Wreck

Raw G close upGina Madrid aka Raw G is a fixture in the Bay Area’s current Hip Hop scene who earned her stripes and position by doing what so many successful Bay artist have done before her, by grinding. In addition to being a dope emcee who has opened for everyone from KRS-One to Blackalicious to Ana Tijoux to Mobb Deep to name a few, Raw G also has her own promotion company called Steelo Entertainment. She learned early on, that opportunities arise when you create them and not sit back and wait.

Coming from Guadalajara, Mexico, Raw G is part of the first wave of pioneering emale emcees who laid down crucial ground work and opened doors for what has emerged to be a vibrant scene, south of the US border. There are scores of female emcees in Mexico who bring serious heat to the game. Artists like Jezzy P,  LeazzyVicky CXimbo, Rabia Rivera Dayra Fyah and Nina Dioz  to name a few.

Mujeres TrabajandoMany of these women including Raw G and fellow local/ Oakland emcee Aima the Dreamer are featured on a landmark compilation called Mujeres Trabajando which has morphed into a collective of the same name which translates to ‘Working Women’.

Raw G noted that Mujeres Trabajando has made major headway and as a promoter she has brought a number of the women from Mexico to the Bay Area to perform at jam packed shows.

Raw G never falls back and is forever hustling. The hard work has paid off.
Her new album Esperanza which means Hope is a masterpiece that reflects her evolution and love for Hip Hop culture. It also reflects her activism, as it speaks to important issues of social justice. All proceeds from her album are being donated to  International High School which services the immigrant community in Oakland. The first single off the album Sangre which means blood sets the tone for the album.

Recently Raw G kicked things off for the Blackalicious Show held at the Filmore in San Francisco. She came with a full band a incredible back up singers like; Naima Grace Shalhoub, Lila Rose and Emily Afton Moldenhauer all have their own solo careers. But that’s typical of Raw G, she’s all about trying to bring folks together to help get them exposure and additional shine.

Below are some of the photos I took of Raw G and her crew during their performance at the Blackalicious show. Enjoy

written by Davey D

Raw-G Drops a Hard Hitting New Song ‘Sangre’

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 3.00.40 AMNo More War.. Love Flows Through these Veins… This is the hook to an incredible new song called Sangre from Oakland based artist Gina Madrid aka Raw G and singer Nikila aka MamaWisdom1. They represents a growing breed of artists who unapologetic about using their music to make hard hitting political statements.
Glad to see so many Oakland artists stepping up and doing incredible music that helps shift our thinking and get us to be more conscious.. Shout out to Raw G and Nikila for delivering an heartfelt song in such troubled times.. We Need more music like this.. ‪#‎salute‬

500 Female Emcees: Meet Mystic-Beautiful Resistance & Keen Insight

mysticMost people know the Bay Area’s Mystic as a dope emcee who put out the critically acclaimed album Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom in 2001. This album was best known for  hit songs like ‘The Life’, the empowering ‘Girlfriend Sistagirl‘  and the heart-wrenching Fatherless Child which was about her losing her father to a drug overdose.

Many know Mystic as an independent artist who broke ground with that album by having her song The W which was also  on that album and featured Planet Asia be nominated for a Grammy.

For those who are here in the Bay or in LA where she spent a number of years, Mystic is more than just an artist who can spit. It’s common knowledge that her skillz comes from years of paying dues which included singing hooks for her home girls and fellow Bay Area artists, the Conscious Daughters or hanging tough as the only female member of Digital Underground. Mystic was on the scene grinding away for a number of years before her big breaks came.

Locally we know Mystic as a sharp businesswoman who when it came time to signing her deal was adroitly able to negotiate a number of advantageous terms that very few veteran artist at the time had been able to obtain. For good measure, after she was signed and released her album, Mystic spent a number of years working behind the scenes in the industry where she was able to accrue more game. In short, she shall not get got…

Many of us know Mystic as Mandolyn the school teacher and educator who is currently enrolled at UC Berkeley getting a higher degree in that field.

We know her as a committed activist who shows up at events and places not as a celebrity but as someone who truly cares. From fact-finding trips to Haiti after the earthquake to helping maintain the Children’s Library at the Occupy LA site, Mystic stays connected and comes to the table with keen knowledge of the issues.

Many of us know her as an environmentalist who could and does maintain a garden or a greenhouse and not miss a beat. And from that garden she throws down and whips up unprocessed, non GMO meals good enough to pen a cook book or open up a restaurant which many have urged her to do..She is often online kicking out recipes and letting folks know how to combine spices and where to find the best vegetables etc..

All these activities are important to note, because they help inform, and are the core of Mystic’s searing and reflective lyrics. These activities enable her songs to be timeless, affirming and healing for many who hear them. For example, shortly after the tragedies of 9-11, a memo was sent out to the local urban station in the area to play her song ‘The Life‘ because it was one that help ease people’s tensions.

MysticSongs like Girlfriend Sistah Girl and Breath have become anthems of empowerment. While songs like Beautiful Resistance which is off a yet to be released album, reflect timeless political realities.  For example, when the song was done it was just  as President Obama was getting into office and was enjoying immense popularity with everyone talking about Hope and Change. Initially one wondered if she was taking a swipe at the President who had just made history or  was the song done with George Bush in mind and was released late?

Mystic noted that ideally she hoped that what was written would never apply to President Obama or his policies but noted the truth is the office of the President is such that very little could or would be done to change the conditions she described and many will no longer be as enamored. Hence the over riding message for people to come together and support each other no matter who is in the white house. In short stay grounded and look beyond the hype.

check for Mystic at

Mystic Beautiful Resistance

Mystic The Saga

Mystic & Da Beatminerz Pull Your Card

Mystic The Life

Mystic and the Angel Destiny Complete

500 Female Emcees: Meet Lah Tere-Chicago Born, Soulful, Mic Wrecker

Lah TereOne of the fiercest to bless a mic is Lah Tere. She’s a humanitarian, organizer, activist, femcee, songstress, proud BBW, and a visionary speaker for the 21st Century. ​​​​​The Afro-Antillian/Puerto Rican/Boricua sister grew up in Chicago’s historic Puerto Rican community of Humboldt Park near the famed Paseo Boricua. She is first generation born on the mainland, and the daughter of ​revolutionary ​​​educators and survivors of Chicago’s notorious ghettos.​​​​

Lah was a member of Rebel Diaz, an internationally known rap group that took a critical and political stance on many social issues from police brutality on the streets of New York to violence against women globally. Her dedication and hard work granted her the opportunity to travel to Spain, Germany, Guatemala, Chile and Venezuela. She is also a founding member of the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDAC), a multimedia arts and music community center in the South Bronx.

Lah writes and performs about domestic violence issues and links popular media examples of violence against women to secrets and silences in communities of color around molestation, rape, and other forms of violence against women’s bodies that is too often normalized and naturalized in popular culture. She is a proud BBW ( Big, Beautiful Woman).

Through her political and global activism, Lah Tere has worked to carve her own niche outside of the commercial hip-hop industry, and focused on building communities from within. As an emcee, she uses hip-hop as a didactic tool as well as an emotional release technique for individual and communal healing.

Lah is a co-founder of Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen: The Soup Kitchen for the Hip Hop Soul (MHHK), a multifaceted hip hop event designed to showcase intergenerational women artists, especially women of color. MHHK serves as a social justice community-organizing platform that educates and empowers women of color on issues that impact their lives, including Health, HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice.

Lah is also the founder of InnerCityQueens, an organization who is set out to provide a mobile safe healing space for children, women and men in war torn/third world countries through events, workshops, and meditation using the arts. In recent years Lah Tere’s vision of teaching women and children about the healing power of Hip Hop truly manifested itself.

She taught and performed in some of the poorest communities in Palestine (West Bank), Guatemala City (Comunidad Incencio),  Ireland’s Ballymun (like the BX) and most recently Azua, Dominican Republic.  These experiences have equipped her with a wealth of knowledge and have expanded her career. She is currently being booked internationally as a motivational speaker and lecturer on women’s rights and Hip Hop Healing.

Lah is globally sharing her message that “Self-Love dissolves Self-Hate” and is conjointly working on her own personal healing. Be on the look out for her debut solo album which is armed with piercing lyrics and a message that could change the world for better. Lah Tere plans on bringing everything to the party, and leaving no life untouched.


Lah Tere Terra

Lah Tere You Are

Lah Tere  Live at 7efa

Lah Tere Crush

500 Female Emcees: Meet Keny Arkana-She Brings Rage to Her Music

Keny ArkanaKeny Arkana  is an Argentine-French rapper/ activist who is deeply involved in the anti-globalization and civil disobedience movements. Fuled by the fact that she was placed in a foster home at a young age, her tormented childhood led to her being anti-judges, anti-police and anti-system. She was one who definitely uses Hip Hop as a tool for liberation.

In 2004 she founded a music collective called La Rage du peuple, in the neighborhood of Noailles in Marseille, where she began to make noise.

Prior to that she  founded a hip hop group called Mars Patrie, followed by another called Etat-Major. Her status in the French hip hop circles took off with the release of La rage which chronicled the Civil Unrest that engulfed France..

Keny Arkana also launched a series of local social fora through the association Appel aux sans voix (“Call to the voiceless”).

Her later studio albums include L’Esquisse 2 (May 2011) and Tout tourne autour du soleil (December 2012).

Keny Arkana La Rage

Keny ArkanaVie d’artiste

Keny ArkanaVictoria

Keny ArkanaGens Presses

500 Female Emcees: Meet Boog Brown-Grinding Hard & Being Herself

Boog BrownOriginally from Detroit and now living in Atlanta is an emcee,  songwriter and poet who many like to say has skillz comparable to artists like Nas, Rakim and Lauryn Hill. We’re talking Boog Brown who is no stranger to set-backs. After moving from Detroit to Atlanta in 2007, she found herself without a job , a car or even a mattress to sleep on. But nothing feeds the soul of a true Detroiter like adversity.

Determined to make her unique voice heard, Brown donned her work clothes, put pen to paper, Chuck Taylors to the pavement and started to grind. Boog became a regular at Atlanta’s hip-hop venues, meeting producers, promoters, writers and aficianados. The message of her music was simple and the purpose, pure: Be yourself. Grind hard. Be better. Get paid.

Since the release of her first “official” mixed tape, Grind Season Vol. 1 in 2009, Boog has grown an impressive following, both online and off. She’s been featured on,, and Boog Brown has also graced the pages of Creative Loafing and MetroTimes- Detroit.

Boog Brown signed with Mellow Music group and in September of 2010 released the critically acclaimed ‘Brown Study’ with producer Appollo Brown. An instant classic, the album earned a spot on ITune’s Top 10 New Hip-Hop Artists list as well as a 2010 Itunes Indie Spotlight.

Fresh off her stellar performance at the AC3 music conference in Atlanta, Boog Brown was featured on BET’s My Mic Sounds Nice: the Truth About women in Hip Hop and has since gone on to win Best Female Emcee from ATL’s coveted Heart of The Hood Awards.

check for Boog Brown at http:/

Boog Brown In Tune

Boog Brown Polaroids

Boog Brown Shine

Boog Brown Window Open

500 Female Emcees: Meet Awkwafina-Comedic Rapper from NYC

AwkwafinaAwkwafina hails from Forest Hills, Queens and has been making a name for herself as of late because of her satirical videos which poke fun of New York City hipsters, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg while humorously extolling the virtues and quirks of  ‘the Vag’ (women’s body part). She attended LaGuardia High School where she played trumpet and was trained in classical and jazz music.

She adopted the name Awkwafina, and began rapping and writing songs in Garage Band at age 17. From 2006 to 2008, she attended the Beijing Language and Culture University in Beijing, China, where she studied Mandarin. She also majored in Journalism at SUNY Albany.

Her recently released debut album is called Yellow Ranger.

Awkwafina NYC B#tches

Awkwafina My Vag

Awkwafina Queef

500 Female Emcees: Meet Diva aka Keldamuzik from the Bay Area

Diva aka KeldamuzikDiva aka Keldamuzik is from the San Francisco bay Area where she describes herself as someone the ‘entertainment industry has been waiting for’. According to her bio, 

she is bringing a dynamic look and sound to a game that has been watered-down as of late. She’s a vibrant Hip Hop artist whose talent will not be denied. Aside from obvious reasons Diva plans to set herself apart from the run-of-the-mill acts that come and go. Her lyrical ability puts her on a plateau most established artists only wish for or try to purchase. .

In January of 2005 Keldamuzik signed a production deal with Squad Music Group and started recording her first album entitled “Shut Up, Listen!” that was released in summer 2005.

In summer of 2006 Keldamuzik started her own imprint, Golddigga Entertainment and began recording her second album entitled “Diva“, released in 2007.

Keldamuzik created and hosted her own reality TV series called “Diva TV” as a promotion vehicle for all of her releases and videos. Diva TV aired on over 25 public access stations across the San Francisco Bay Area, and received 100,000 viewers weekly. The program showcased the life of Diva aka Keldamuzik and her weekly exploits through Bay Area Hip Hop culture, special features and interviews include celebrities such as T.I., Diddy, Young Jeezy, Keenan Thompson, DJ Kid Capri, Biz Markie, Ice T and many more.

In 2009 Keldamuzik had her first taste of Hollywood after having her song “Weight Up” placed in Sony Pictures “Please Give” starring Catherine Keener and Amanda Peete, which was released in theaters nationwide later that year. Going forward Keldamuzik’s “Squash it” an anti-violence song was also licensed in MTV’s Real World San Diego, episode 8 and in Oxygen Channel’s, “Bad Girls Club“.

In 2010 Diva released her third album “Diva TV – The Album” and her hit single “Thirsty” spent 5 weeks on Australia’s Kiss FM’s top 10 chart. Thinking “outside the box” Diva networked and created “The Bay Meets Barbados” tour where she opened for Reggae artist Kirk Brown for several shows on the island of Barbados. Later, she headlined “The Bay Meet St. Maarten” tour for a string of shows; all of the above doing wonders for her Caribbean and International fanbase. In 2011 Keldamuzik started “The Cultural Exchange Tour” in which she opened for Jah Cure at the Heroes Music Festival and appeared on Good Morning Antigua twice.

In 2012 Diva performed and toured with R&B sensation Lloyd in Tokyo Japan for the Summer Music Festival which also featured rappers such as YC, J-lie and Kid Ink. In 2013 Diva’s music was entered into Pandora and to follow up she has performed at Yoshi’s in San Francisco and Las Vegas’s Hard Rock Hotel.

Aside from many of the major success she’s had, a special feature of Diva was published in the She is now an unofficial spokesperson for Oakland’s very own clothing line Skylier Wear and has modeled for start up jewelry company by Bracelet Bizar.

DIVA (Keldamuzik) ft. Eddi Projex – I Don’t Care

DIVA (Keldamuzik) Queen For A Night

DIVA (Keldamuzik) Power Trip

3 Dope Songs from Jezzy P; the Perfect Formula, B-Girl Extraordinaire

jezzy-p HatMany like to refer to Jezzy P as one of the most authoritative voice in mexiano rap.  She’s a pioneering figure of the national movement and the founder of Women at Work , which is the first and only female collective of hip hop in the country’s  music scene…

With almost 20 years supporting and touring career in the interior of the country and abroad, Jezzy said that she was influenced by hip hop at an early age. Movies, songs and TV shows that came from the United States encouraged her to write rhymes.  Since high school she was drawn closer to do graffiti, break dance and do choreography.

Over the years Jezzy has been part of the development of hip hop culture in Mexico and has strived  to further “professionalize the scene and provide more quality events, songs and even royalty ”

check out this full interview she did with El Econimista


La Formula Perfecta‘ – Jezzy P

Mi Vida‘ – Jezzy P

Brown Sugar‘ – Jezzy P

B Girl Representa’ Jezzy P

3 Dope Songs from StaHHr a True Empress on the Mic

StaHHROne of the nicest emcees on the mic who folks need to know about is a sista named StaHHr who hails from Atlanta and can best be described as a ‘lyrical warrior’. Her 3 albums, Almost Neva Was, That Was You? and Mother Nature With A Molotov: Molotov Season are must have items..

When talking with her, she makes it clear she represents Hip Hop and its essence to the fullest hence the spelling of her name.. The 2 ‘H’s stand for Hip Hop’. She’s also clear about the fact that her lyrical prowess  and ability to execute killer freestyles is connected to her maintaining holistic spiritual, mental and physical health.

Below are 3 Dope Songs from this sista who not only nice on the mic, but dope on the crochet tip, but that’s a whole other story for another day..


Noire which is French for Black is one of my favorite songs by StaHHr. Its on this track that she shows and proves that she can take your lunch money both as a skilled lyricist and as an insightful, scholarly intellectual.

Another dope song in that same vein is Revolution which pays tribute to the late Troy Davis who many fought for when he was on death row. In this track StaHHr shows she quite capable of shutting you down and taking your money on the revolution/ freedom fighting tip

Still Dope is produced by MF Doom and captures the essence of what Hip Hop should ideally be about..

Many people including StaHHr herself, consider this 2010 joint ‘Unbreakable’ to be a classic. StaHHr flow is impeccable and is paired with a mesmerizing beat that keeps your head nodding and your ears holding on the very word she spits