Martini: Queens of the Iron MicWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Like its commercial counterpart, Underground Hip-Hop is represented in many ways. In addition to commercial or popular Hip-Hop artists, there are rappers, battle MCs, freestylers and lyricists.
All are different parts of the same machine that is Hip-Hop. Rarely is there an opportunity given for the females who perform all of these styles to perform exclusively. In the past 10 years, the thinning numbers of female MCs has suddenly produced a panic in the industry. Illegal downloads and musical piracy have reduced label budgets for developing new artists, much less female artists.
Females prove costly to labels with the high costs of maintaining a commercialized image. Instead of focusing on the talent, many focus on her body, clothes and face. This demeaning position has left women feeling their role is best served half-naked next to the hottest rapper in the game. Sometimes you want to go where you will be seen as more than an accessory.
In Cleveland, there is such a community that uplifts and encourages the artistically unique facets of women in Hip-Hop. Queens of the Iron Mic is Cleveland’s longest-running female rap showcase of talent, sponsored annually by Nappyhead Entertainment joining forces this year with Rebel Life Media.
A little more than 10 years ago, I attended my first Queens show after discovering the showcase on an online social network. Its creator, George (Poohmanchu) Goins is a well-known driving force in Cleveland’s underground Hip-Hop scene, where he and Nappyhead Entertainment also produce Queens’ male counterpart, Kings of the Iron Mic. At the time I was young and nervous, but confident in my freestyle ability, and to my surprise, well-received.
Although I have since chosen a different path, I have never forgotten the crowd standing, staring and waiting for me to say something profound and insightful. It was a less glorified scene from “8 Mile,” but four girls and I had joined a club that relished the feeling an MC gets after working to win over a new crowd. That amazing rush can only be experienced, not described, and for this reason I am spreading knowledge of this Ohio treasure.
The invitation to return has come every year and this year was no exception. Saturday March 5 is rapidly approaching and I won’t be able to attend due to a scheduling conflict with the March Madness Triple Threat Birthday Bash here in Toledo. In my place, I hope to encourage a female reader aspiring to be a performer to attend. Queens serves as a celebration of what we have missed in Hip-Hop — women. Women of different races and styles with the common goal of representing to the fullest.
The performances are all strong and lyrical, styles range from poetic soul to street knowledge. Support and observe mothers with a dream, sisters with heartbreak and hustlers with lyrics.
Proceeds always benefit a communal cause and the atmosphere represents the grimy underground scene without the formalities of a night club. This year’s all-female show is hosted by Earthtone with music by DJ COCO-Z the Mix Mistress. Featured performers are crowd favorites like Aaqila, Indica, Rain the Quiet Storm and more. Doors open for Queens of the Iron Mic on March 5 at 9 p.m. at “Now That’s Class” located at 11213 Detroit Ave. in Cleveland. Attendees are encouraged to bring $1 to donate to The Domestic Violence Centers shelter.
This event will give you goose bumps and restore your faith in women’s rightful place as ‘Queens’ of Hip-Hop.
As we continue on …