I can remember like it was yesterday. Toward the tail end of LL Cool J’s surprising hard-as-hell single “I Shot Ya,” some deep-voiced, heavy-on-the-New-York-accent having shorty started waxing poetics about diseased-infested sex, Chinese women getting handed minks by thugs and delusional Mafioso tales of grandeur, and it all sounded heavenly. Then it turned out that said deep-voiced shorty was actually attractive, which was unheard of at the time as most femcees with that kind of lyrical dexterity at that time looked more like Baby D than Ms. Parker.

Alongside another future fall-off, Inga Marchand ushered in a new era of female rappers who were as equally lyrical (read: having one helluva ghostwriter backing them up) and raunchy as their male counterparts yet easy on the eyes. That combination pushed her debut album Ill Na Na, to platinum sales or – if you were up on your music snatching game – free.99.

I know I’m not the only one who used to use fake names to get six free albums from BMG’s music service back in the day. I was stealing music before it became all trendy. But I’m straying from the point.

Unfortunately – and as is the case with many artists of that generation – Inga couldn’t sustain her momentum, and each subsequent album resulted in lower and lower sales. Toss in a couple bitchfits toward nail salon employees, randomly losing her hearing and getting it back, getting dumped by, reuniting and getting dumped again by her former “mentor” (read: butt buddy [||]), more bitchfits toward nail salon employees, a prison bid for said bitchfits and having bitchfits in prison, and before you could figure out what exactly was Inga’s ethnic makeup she’d fallen off the face of the hip hop planet.

I think I covered everything. If I didn’t, it’s because I didn’t have the time to read her Wikipedia entry all the way through.

What got Inga caught up the worst was a combination of her unrelenting diva attitude and trigger temper, as those two have led to her having to take to rap’s understated and often utilized Chitlin Circuit of “old man rap” to maintain her relevance. Now, with yet another court case, some rather unflattering pictures of her recent show (her body – once taut, tight and desirable – now, more or less, resembled a cracked toothpaste tube) and other up and coming femcees, Inga’s chances of returning to a past glory are slim to none.

Will we ever see Inga Marchand back at her best? Who knows really? At least we got her past to dwell on, as it’s essentially the only thing she has going for her now.