FEM:Ladies First

Where the ladies at? Yeah, it’s a common refrain uttered at rap shows all the time. But chances are the response to the inquiry has almost a 100 percent chance to only come from the audience. Never from the stage as the presence of female MC’s over the years has continued to fade like Bush’s popularity ratings.

The ladies of FEM (Females Earning Money) plan to change all of that. Notable lady lyricists Lady of Rage, Amil, Babs Bunny, and Lady Luck are joining forces, putting their solo career’s on pause, and hoping to resurrect the Femcee to marquee status again in hip-hop.

There was a time when Lauryn Hill, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, and Da Brat were top billing stars in the game.

In recent years, however, as these women went through personal trials and tribulations, the attention lavished on the first lady of many rap crews—from Roc-A-Fella to Bad Boy to So So Def—waned. Then completely vanished. That female slot on the roster become another “ya man’s and em’s” spot instead.

As the four-woman collective gear up for the release of their street album, The Fem Movement, they’re prepping for their takeover with mentors, radio jock Ed Lover and Babs’ manager Uneek. XXLmag.com caught up with FEM to talk chauvinist’s attitudes, lady liberation, and broadening the female rapper’s exchange. [Editor's Note: Amil, pictured above, was not present at the FEM press date]

Babs Bunny

Uneek is my manager and we’re also business partners. So when she came to me with the idea doing the all female movement I just figured why not? I knew Luck for a few years, we always been cool, she’s my dog, and, of course, Rage, no problems at all. I was like, Yeah I’m down, let’s do it….We all know what it is, as far as where we stand as solo artists. Being solo artists got nothing to do with this. We’re just going to gel as a team, as a movement and still do our solo thing…We respect all female MCs, but our main objective is to have females who have been in the game that have experienced it. That’s why we won’t go through too much catty stuff. We’ve been there, done that…We are going to let people know that you can be you. FEM, the movement is trying to make a change. We’re trying to inspire women. We are not just looking for rappers. We’re looking for vocal singers, females that make beats, female lawyers, female stylists, ‘cause every artist needs a team. We’re not trying to bash men, but we need dudes to support us and not control us. That is one good thing I can definitely say about Puff. He always respected a hustle from a female, always patted you on the back, only a real man can do that.

The mixtape is going to drop some time in September and after that we are going to start working on the album. I like to say it’s a street album. I really don’t like to call it a mixtape, because it’s packaged like a real album. We are not just throwing verses on beats, we’re really thinking about the songs. We are coming together with the hooks, and DJ Doo Wop, he is not just hosting, he’s putting the project together. He’s mixing it down. He’s making beats. He’s not just on it like, ‘This is the new FEM joint! Let’s get it!’ He’s not doing that. The whole album is set around the theme of [the movie] “Set It Off.” In the movie, it was women who wanted to get to the top. They were in this environment where they had to struggle, they went and took it by any means necessary, and they died for that shit. That’s how I feel at the end of the day without music I’m dead…MC Lyte hollered, congratulating me on the project. I said, ‘Shit, hop on it baby girl,’ ‘cause you know me and her we chat on the Sidekick all the time. So she was like, ‘Bab’s, not a problem, send me the music.’ We got Lyte on there, we got Rece Steele from “Miss Rap Supreme,” we got Bahamadia, we got Mia X, Rah Digga, and Diamond from Crime Mob jumping on the album. We are reaching out to other females to see if they want to jump on it because the official album is just going to be crazier than that.

Lady of Rage

I basically felt the same way [about the idea when] I met Uneek on MySpace. She just hit me up and we started talking. She sent me some music and she shot the idea to me and I was like why not? I’m not doing anything else; I mean, I am working on my album, but I looked at it as this would be the better [of the two right now] and I want to make that money so I thought, Let’s do it.

And I feel like now is the time [where] there is a void in hip-hop with females and if we break our own ground, if we do it our self it means even more, because there is no guys [involved] besides Ed Lover believing in us and wanting to put the project together. We are doing it ourselves, it’s like, ‘Okay can you help us do this we’ve been there, we’ve done that, now it’s time to do it our self and its going to be even better.’

I know who I am, I know what I believe in, I’m not going to let someone dictate what they want me to be, because I am who I want to be. And it’s either you like it or you hate it. Love it or hate it and you have people who don’t know which direction they may want to go in, so somebody can come in and whisper in their ear, ‘Well, we feel you ought to do this or come on do this and that,’ and if you’re not strong enough, or strong enough to stand on your own merit you might fall victim to that. So I don’t plan on falling victim to that. I’ve had people in my ear whispering stuff and wanting me to do certain things, but that’s not me so if you know who you are you won’t have any problems being who you are without any problems with being who you are no matter what anybody wants to do.

Lady Luck

It’s time for change. It’s time for people to have unity amongst one another. There are a lot of old traditions within the black community of separation. When it comes to females, we just have to see past a lot of things and our lifestyles. What we’ve been through makes us better people. One thing I like a lot about my group, nobody is bitter. Everybody wants to get better…I don’t want people to think that it’s a feminist group. It just happens to be a group of females that’s hot and want to rock. It’s just different, because of the obstacles that we got to overcome being females. A lot of females have been told—including me—that you got to piggy back off somebody you know? Once this dude’s album drops, we going to put you in his video, you know what I’m saying? I’m not saying that tactic doesn’t work, but you could be more creative. We have the chance to bring the spotlight to ourselves…. I can’t see to what point would it be considered a failure with the state of hip-hop right now. Personally this independent thing, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever encountered. With more fame and with more notoriety for what we’re doing we’ll just sell more things independently and we won’t have to break nobody off but each other.

That’s what Fem is trying to show you, the empowerment that you have, you know what I mean? Because with some self-esteem for yourself, if you realize a situation like that you say, ‘Oh, I am going do this all the way.’ Something like a lawsuit or even if you might have approached the situation differently, somebody won’t approach you like that, it’s all about how you carry yourself. Like the Bible says ‘You shall know them by their fruits.’ So you know it’s all about, how you carry yourself, young ladies.—Rosario Velazquez

  • http://www.hightimes.com nico

    come on now please. they have no solo careers . there all bums. so how are the going to ressurect anything. broke ass old stale “female” rappers. this is game is washed up. lil kim is plastic like well a piece of plastic. foxy dumb deaf ass still don’t get it yet. eve is well wack. and on and on and on .shout out to mclyte.queen of this female hip hop shit. this is my challenge. where yall at. anyone out there.any females that can blow the game away.please save us. first lady of atl?or nyc. or cali. somewhere. peace. lol

  • capcobra

    tell reece steele hype girl to stay home….she showed her bird feathers on that dj famous show…lol!

  • The_Truth

    **No one will admit this, but the success of Lil Kim and Foxy Brown destroyed the female MC. . .they made record exec’s sign females for IMAGE rather than SUBSTANCE. Check the timeline.

    After their success, Da Brat had to change her image because she didn’t “appeal” like Fox or Kim. Jean Grae is the best female MC since MC Lyte but she’s not “marketable” to record companies. Why do you think Trina has a name?? Definitley not talent.

    Disagree if you want. . .but it’s true.

    • niggafrommemphis

      To the truth:That was well put.i remember that brat video with the dress on.looked like an ugly bull dagger and i guess she knew it cuz she went right back to her boxing shorts.her career was over,if it wasn’t for eating mariahs’ pussy,she would have been unemployed

  • P-Matik

    The_Truth <<<<< co-sign

  • Phil

    Sad, but very true. Their success totally laid out “criteria” for success for women who wanted to be artists in Hip-Hop. Jean Grae, Bahamadia and a select few are out there, but have been criminally ignored by and ignorant industry, and an even more ignorant audience! I’ll bet just about anything that SOMEONE will get on here and think it’s cool to act sexist talking about “I never like female rappers”–and probably got “Miseducation…” in their collection—or some other asinine remark about how “women don’t need to be rappin’ anyway”. Well, I’ll tell the truth: we NEED them to balance this shit out and really push the culture forward.

  • Rich

    I feel the same way. Luck been killing shit. So have Rage and Babs. Jean Grae been hot. I always had Rah Digga on deck. Hopefully this can change the scene on female emcees and put sum of this mainstream bullshit to bed.

  • http://xxlmag.com BP

    none of these ladies or any female mc can fuck with e-v-e. enough said.

  • sozzay

    I am all for female rappers if they can spit. Rage & Luck I can get with. Amil? There is a reason she got dropped from the Roc! And Babs? Babs??? You have got to be kidding! She was trash in DaBand!Now she is supposed to help the “Fem” movement??? Please! She is easily the weak link in this group. Rage and Luck need to dump both Babs and Amil, then add some true talent. Bring back the Lyte. Add, Yo-Yo. There HAS to be 2 other female MC’s WITH TALENT that they can add to the roster. If not, this project is OVER before it even began!

  • mr.martin

    have you heard amil’s mixtapes recently? she stepped her game up since the roc days.

  • Savannah Goon

    HOLD UP!! How can u not have Nicki minaj in there. SHe is the best female mc right now, and she didnt even drop an album

    Top Female MC artist are(not in order)

    Lauryn Hill
    Foxy Brown
    Queen Latifah
    Lil Kim
    Missy Elliot
    Mc Lyte

  • G

    Does it even matter??!??!!? hahaha..

    TRUTH aint nobody said sh*t about the female MC till now…who cares..

    T R U T H

    • Phil

      SEE? It never fails. No wonder Hip-Hop gets stuck in ruts.

  • ne where gang

    AMIL fine as hell i use 2 try 2 fuck wit her when she was working at K-Mart lol but she act like that wasnt her

  • yeye

    this new site blows

  • BIGNAT

    tham when did lady luck start looking that good

  • Jason Murk

    Man all female Mc’s rap the fuckin same… I don’t want to hear Rage’s 15 year old flow, Babs annoys me, Never liked Amil, and don’t know who the fuck lady luck is

    • Phil

      And the ignorance continues to flow…

  • http://MYSPACE.COM/THETRUTHANDTHELIGHT MO BETTA

    This are my peeps and Im riding with them til the wheels fall off!

  • balaramesh

    i’d appreciate it for hip hop. i am not saying it will be classic but if it can help more young girls want be rappers instead of ehhhhhh……. video models, i am DEFINITELY all for it.

    for the record, lady luck can out rap most of the dudes out now.

    and she looking kinda good. good for her

  • http://XXLMAG.COM INTERNET BULLY

    LADY LUCK AND AMIL CAN GET IT… NO DISRESPECT FOR THE LADIES TODAY… SHOUT OUT TO BABS THE MAN OF THE GROUP…LMFAO

  • FLYTE DA FLY BOY

    My favorite Female artist is still MIA X from No Limit.

  • HERM

    Amil looking right in that flick.

  • moresickaMC

    Why yall hate women so much. r yall fags? I dunno whats so bad baout havin femcees. femcees have been there since the 80s so I dont understand the hate. I hope FEM is just the return of more females to rap. its damn near becoming a fagfest only seeing male rappers.

  • THAT DUDE

    The only one who has a little chance is Amil cuz she don’t come across as a butch like the others.
    Biggie told Da Brat dike ass back when that nobody checking for a chick who rhyme’s like she ain’t one.You don’t gotta be Kim or Foxy but you can’t be like Rage or Luck.
    If you a hard core carpet muncher then try your best to hide it like these R&B cat’s that are homo and sing for the honey’s.

  • BORN IN THE NORTH, RAISED IN THE SOUTH

    Word up, Flyte — Mia X was sick. Funny Weezy said that Mystikal & Soulja Slim were the only ones on No Limit who could spit, yet Mia X was harder then than Wayne could ever wish to be….

  • Maurice L Dees

    It good to see and hear female M.C. step up for hip hop once again. I wish yo-yo was back in the rap game, by the way jj fad had the fast flow way before tongue twister & bone thug harmony.

  • http://www.morrisleonpoolejr.com BRICKYARD PRO

    sex sells period

  • makaveli1671

    Lady luck fine as hell..damn…Her and Rage could do it by they self…They the only 2 who a git my money…far as a album goes

  • http://www.myspace.com/donewright DONE WRIGHT

    THEY NEED TO ADD CHARLIE BALTIMORE IF YA’LL DIDN’T HEAR P.S. PULIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT TRACK IS AN INSTANT REPEAT.FIRE

  • oskamadison

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Until Lauryn Hill gets her mind right, Rah Digga is still the illest female that did it. She might not have sold as much as Fox or Kim but her off the head shit would probably rip their entire catalogs.

  • http://xxlmag.com the brown

    Yo! I’m glad to hear these bitches are putting their so low careers on hold to join forces and blow this Femcee shit up cause I’ve been waitin’! If you could bring back Boss, Da Brat, Monie Love, Queen and maybe throw Lil Mama’s ass in there…(ooh, “throw Lil Mama’s ass”, there’s a thought) then I might take this shit serious.

  • http://xxlmag.com the brown

    Yo! I forgot about C.Baltimore and Rah Digga. Especially Rah. She might sound like Issac Hayes but she’s sexy as hell!…..uh, no homo.

  • Slim….

    Umm …yall stay frontin on chics tht an really rap ..Fiona Simone,Kin4life,Siya,Khaos Da Rapper … Stop talkin Bout Lamez its A New Breed of Female MC Give’em they’re Props

  • Naiya

    um…It’s Barbie! these bitches is lame!

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