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 http://www.twitter.com/thatgirlmystic

Mystic Beautiful Resistance


Mystic The Saga


Mystic & Da Beatminerz Pull Your Card


Mystic The Life


Mystic and the Angel Destiny Complete


HKR Interview w/ Mystic.. The Life, Her Life and Then Some

mysticMystic is one of Hip Hop’s most overlooked emcees..She’s incredibly talented, extremely prolific and a serious artist who brings thoughtful lyrics in the form of singing and rapping to every song she records..

Mystic who originals hails from Oakland and now lives in LA is more than just an emcee. She is also an activist and educator.. For years she cut her teeth as a school teacher. Her passion for uplifting kids has only increased over the years as she is now pursuing additional degrees in that profession..

In our interview which was done about a year or so ago.. Mystic talks about her love of kids and teaching. She talks about her involvement in Occupy LA and of course she goes in about her music, future projects and the current state of Hip Hop among other things.. She also talks about how to be business savvy in an industry notorious for taking advantage of folks.. This interview originally aired in Jan 2012

Listen to the Hard Knock Radio interview by clicking the link below

Hard Knock Radio logo

Mystic, Freestyle Fellowship, 2 Mex, LA Breakers Come Together for Earth day Celebration


The 2nd Annual EARTH DAY SOUTH LOS ANGELES EVENT, Saturday April 17th 2010 from 11am to 6pm will be at Normandie Avenue Elementary School, 4505 S. Raymond Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045. A growing movement in South Los Angeles area has serious momentum and is being expressed through the arts, workshops, and food culture.

Over a hundred artists will participate in performances and ceremonies of Music and Dance, Community Mural, Graph Art Pieces, Recycled Art Exhibit and Fashion Ahow, and an Art Sale. Local food will be showcased with recipe demos, food vendors and produce for sale. Information tables will showcase the work of our partners and other community organizations.

Earth Day South LA (EDSLA) will include performances by Aceyalone of Freestyle Fellowship, Mystic, La Santa Cecilia, 2Mex, Rifleman, Dyane P, Buyepongo, the Caribbean Dynamics, LA Samba Kids and the Normandie Avenue Elementary School Student Orchestra. Dance features the World Famous LA Breakers, Just Wanna Step and Bharata Natyam.  The event will begin with a gathering call from the Freedom Sounds Korean Drumming and an opening ceremony by Azteca Dancers.  A featured project will be the Southern California Library’s Sounds of Justice presented by Jeremy Sole (KCRW) and Kaos Network Beat Cypher Collective.

Normandie Avenue Elementary will be beautified with live graffiti art by Cre8, Duce, EnkOne, and Jeyd curated in collaboration with I.C.U. Art and a Community Mural, Art Sale, Recycled Art Exhibit and Fashion Show by Liliflor Collective. A Hip Hop Poetry Room will feature an Open-Mic and workshops from BessKepp, NHS Poetry Club and the Get Lit Players. A mini EDSLA Film Festival will show films that reflect the work for a sustainable community, for example, A Drop of Life and The Power of Community. Workshops include Composting, Fruit Tree Pruning, Yoga, Capoiera, Healing With Herbs, Son Jarocho Dance, Recycled Art, How to Start a Food Not Bombs Chapter, Bike Safety and Maintenance and African Drumming. Also on offer will be activities for kids and a local fruit pick.

“Beyond organic” local produce will be featured in cooking demos by chef Gino Campagna (star of Kitchen Kids on AOL.com), Chef Jason Michaud of Local, a Chef from Chi Dynasty, Sirena Pellarolo from East Side Café and Lisa Nunez Hancock and youth of U R What U Eat. Produce will be available for purchase at the South Central Farmers booth. Pure fruit smoothies, iced herbal/fruit teas, tamales and salads will be on sale.

Our Partners include Councilmembers Jan Perry and Bernard Parks, Bike Oven, City Year, Caracol Marketplace, Community Build, Eastside Café, Food Not Bombs, Hunger Action Los Angeles, Garden School Foundation, Hip Hop Association, ICU Art, LA Conservation Corps, Kaos Network Beat Cypher Collective, Lilliflor Collective Studios, NAES Environmental Club, SOL Cooperative, South Central Farmers, The Tree People, USC Student Activists for a Beloved Community, Southern California Library, Women Organizing Resources Knowledge and Services.

Together we envision an annual Earth Day event where community residents in South Central come together in a safe environment to have fun, celebrate our foods and cultures, learn about and participate in sustainable practices, and connect with each other and organizations working to make positive change in our neighborhood.

Women Rock the Mic & Hold Up the Sky: Where are the Female Emcees? Right Here!

Women Rock the Mic and Hold Up the Sky

by Davey D

In celebration of International Women’s History Month we decided to highlight the voice of many who are often overlooked, taken for granted or forgotten about. Those are our sisters in Hip Hop. Women have always been on point from day one when it comes to architecting this culture called Hip Hop. We can start with Cindy Campbell-the sister of Hip Hop’s father Kool Herc. had it not been for her suggesting and ultimately setting up the now landmark party on 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in August of 1973, we might not be on the mic, yes yes y’alling at all today in 2009. Here’s a rare interview w/ Cindy Campbell..


During the pioneering years we had stellar emcees like Zulu Queen Lisa Lee who was down with Afrika Bambaattaa, Pebbly Poo of the Masterdon Committee and Sha Rock who was down with DJ Baron & Breakout-Funky 4 Plus One More.. Of course we have to tip our hats to the one and only Mercedes Ladies-the first all female Hip Hop Crew.. We have an interview with original member Sheri-Sher



Over the years lots of women have blessed the mic and left their mark from Salt-n-Pepa to Roxanne Shante to the Real Roxanne to Queen Latifah to MC Lyte.. The list goes on.. Sadly we’ve had a situation within the music industry that had decided that women artists are not marketable. The conventional wisdom has been that the average listener can’t distinguish their voices. Hence its always been situation where you always find maybe one or two females at most on a major label with them being released and marketed at different times.

Of course here at Breakdown FM, we see it differently. There’s a world of difference between MC Lyte and Queen Latifah, just like there’s a world of difference between Chuck D and KRS or 50 Cent and Ice Cube. Different looks, rhyme styles, subject matter etc. So much for industry wisdom

This week we went and dug deep and highlighted some folks you need to check for.. We kick things off with Seattle sensations Canary Sing and their dope new song ‘Heroines‘. We proceed their cut with a short tribute to Shirley Chisolm who kicked down the doors for both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama-She was the first to run for President back in ’72 around the birth of Hip Hop.


Here’s a dope video from Canary Sing’s ‘Freak Show’


Also out of the Emerald City which has plethora of female emcees. To be honest we could’ve done a 25 Joints just with Seattle women-that’s how deep they’re rolling. Artists like Toni Hill, Felicia Loud, Southern Komfort, Sis Moni Tep, beyond Reality, Christina Orbe are just a few of the many. On this 25 Joints, we feature DJ B-Girl and her cut ‘Murder She Wrote‘ featuring Julie C and Sister Hailstorm. We also have pioneering emcee Laura ‘Piece’ Kelley and her classic song ‘Soundwave‘.

Right next door to Seattle is Portland which has a wealth of talent in the form of groups like Siren’s Echo. We featured Queen Nasim who has been doing her thing for minute with a song called ‘I’m Original’. It has that old school sound and feel. Because of Seattle and the NW’s deepness in talent we’ll probably have to do pt2 on the all female 25 Joints. So stay tuned.

The midwest came hard as we drop gems from artists like Invincible out of Detroit with her song ‘Regonize‘.  Her album ‘Shape Shifters’ is what Hip Hop should really be about. We have Nefertiti and with her slamming joint ‘Addicted‘ and San Jose transplant to Grand Rapids Brazen who has a wonderful spoken word song called ‘Grand Plight‘. Not to be missed is TMD who we’ll have to highlight next go round.

Here’s a dope video from Invincible for the song SledgeHammer


Also out the midwest and holding down Minneapolis is Maria Isa who we featured last year. Her piano laden Latin flavored joint ‘Die Not Kill‘ is pure butter. Lastly we have Chicago native Lah Tere from the group Rebel Diaz. She’s currently working on a solo project. She laced us with a head nodding cut called ‘You Are

Mystic blessed us with an exclusive cut that will be a cornerstone to her upcoming album bearing the same title ‘Beautiful Resistance‘. This Grammy nominated artists has serious fire and deep insights to our minds and souls. Don’t sleep on her.


In the same vein is Pittsburgh native Kellee Maize who recently was cited as one of the best in the city that now calls itself ‘Sixburgh’ because of the Steelers 6 Superbowl wins. Last year Kellee hit us over the dome with an album called ‘Age of Feminine‘that centered on Women’s empowerment and spirituality She returns with a new song called ‘Third Eye‘ which takes us deeper.

Chuck D of Public Enemy has been backing an all female crew called Crew Grrrl Order. They came hard with a new song that pays tribute to the First Lady Michele Obama. Longtime producer Johnny Juice does a nice remix which accenuates these sister’s flows and lets us know that they will be around for a minute. He also gets busy cutting in excerpts from Michelle Obama

Like Seattle the Bay Area comes deep with female talent. We have Mystic who we highlighted along with Jennifer Johns who is on fire. The Conscious Daughters of course who we’ll feature on pt 2 are the best known names. But the Bay has a lot of folks like Aya De Leon, Joyo Verlarde, Kofy Brown, Goapele are just a few of the other names that are stellar in talent and presence.

On this new episode we bring the spot light to Queen Deelah who comes out of East Oakland the the Silence the Violence Movement. She’s part of a larger collective of artists who have dedicated themselves and Hip Hop to stopping the carnage that plagues the mean streets of Oakland. Deelah’s song ‘Mind Yours‘ is dope and captures that vintage Bay sound.

Another up and coming talent starting to make noise is Kenyanna Bean. Her new song ‘Good Wit Me‘ is also popping. Like Queen Deelah Kenyanna is also out there making noise in the community trying to make a difference. Big shout out to Simone Nia Rae who could’ve also been on this episode if we had more space. She too is also a part of the new school of Bay talent. Her new song ‘Jealousy‘ has been featured on local radio stations in nearby Stockton. We’ll be rocking her in upcoming 25 Joints.

As we close out we’d be remissed not to acknowledge the Queens from the Big Apple who are seriously on point. If you never heard of Tiye Phoenix you’re slipping. her joint ‘Nicewitis‘ lives up to its name. When her project finally drops, I guarante she’ll be turning Hip Hop upside down. She’s joined by Jean Grae which whom no all female showcase would be complete without her in the building. Grae can do no wrong when she touches the mic. Her song Supa Jean makes you wonder why people have been overlooking her.

Here’s Jean Grae’s song ‘My Story’


Eve, Queen Latifah Isis aka Lin Que hold us down with some classic joints from their catalogue. We also have a dope joint from Hip Hop MC Lyte produced by DJ Premier called ‘Wonder Years‘. That song which dropped in 07 is vintage on Breakdown FM. Medusa is also a pioneering figure from the west coast who is still snatching heads when she gets on the mic. She’s blesses us with a new song called ‘Cali Fame‘ which proves that assertion.

Zulu Queen Rha Goddess and Sarah Jones show us just how potent spoken word can get. The lyrics to the songs ‘Revolution‘ and ‘Immaculate Conception‘ will make a whole lot of artists step up their lyric game.


Another artist who’s banging right now is Dessa Darling from Doom Tree Collective out of Minneapolis. Her album ‘A Badly Broken Code’ is dope.  We have a seperate profile on her.. But here’s taste of who she is…


Here are some good resources where you can find communities of women on line doing it big..




Catch this week’s show by clicking the link below:

Here’s the playlist

01-Canary Sings ‘Heroines'(Seattle)
02-Dessa ‘Chacone’
03-Vanessa German ‘One Wing’
04-Toni Blackman ‘Freestyle’
05-Bahamadeia ‘Spontaneity’
06-Kellee Maize ‘Third Eye’ (Pittsburgh)
07-Isis ‘Rebel Song’ (NY)
08-Jean Grae ‘Supa Jean’ (NY)
09-Eve ‘Life Is So Hard’ (NY)
10-Mystic ‘Beautiful Resistant’ (Bay Area/ LA)
11-Laura ‘Piece’ Kelly ‘Soundwave’ (Seattle)
12-Nefertiti ‘Addicted’ (Grand Rapids, Mi)
13-DJ Vadim w/ Sarah Jones ‘Revolution’ (NY)
14-DJ B Girl w/ Sista Hailstorm & Julie C ‘Murder She Wrote’ (Seattle)
15-Queen Latifah ‘Latifah had It Up To Here’ (NY)
16-Rha Goddess ‘Immaculate Conception’ (NY)
17-Invincible ‘Recognize’ (Detroit)
18-Crew Grrrl Order ‘Official First Lady (Johnny Juice Remix)
19-Macy Gray w/ Mos Def “I Committed Murder’ (gang Star rmx)
20-Tiye Phoenix ‘Nicewitis’ (NY)
21-Mala Rodriguez ‘Ajierro’ (Spain)
22-Chihualt Ce ‘Dreamah’
23-Queen Deelah ‘Mind Yours’ (Oakland)
24-Bernice King & Sister Souljah meet the Rhondo Brothers (interlude)
25-Medusa ‘Cali Fame’ (LA)
26-Jennifer John ‘Painting on Wax’ (Bay Area)
27-Queen Nasim ‘I’m original’ w/ Rosa Clemente (Portland)
28-Maria Isa ‘Die Not Kill’ (Minneapolis)
29-Lah Tere ‘You Are’ (Chicago/NY)
30-Brazen ‘Grand Rapid’ (San Jose/ Grand Rapid
31-Psalm One ‘Rappper Girls’
32-Conscious Daughters w/ Mystic ‘Come Smooth Come Rude’

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner