When it comes to female MCs in the mainstream nowadays, is is the likes of MC Sha-Rock, MC Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa and Queen Latifah who paved the way for what we see today. Queen Latifah has had an enormous run in her career and is a genuinely versatile woman. From being a gold-selling, Grammy-winning female rapper to an Oscar-nominated actor, there is no denying her talent.
However, although many consider her more of an actor nowadays, akin to Will Smith, she started off as a highly popular emcee with a love for hip-hop. The Newark native broke into the mainstream after the release of her first single, ‘Wrath of My Madness’ and from there rose to the top.
Although Latifah didn’t have didn’t continue her music career for a sustained period of time like Missy Elliott or Lil Kim, she still is one of the icons of female rap and is respected as such within the culture. As a businesswoman, Latifah became the CEO of the Flavor Unit Records and Management Company and sold many units.
As a fan of the culture, Latifah knows the music from back to front and watched it grow. In an interview with the Associated Press, the New Jersey native explained how the Sugar Hill Gang dominated hip-hop in the late-1970s and unveiled that the likes of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five were some of the hottest artists out at the time.
Furthermore, she even delved into how the Funky 4 + 1 made a huge impact on her concerning females in hip-hop. However, for the ‘UNITY’ lyricist, there was one song that changed the culture forever.
Speaking to the publication, the artist (real name Dana Owens) revealed that the most pivotal moment in hip-hop is when Afrika Bambaattaa and the Soul Sonic Force released the 1982 single ‘Planet Rock’.
“It changed the sound,” she said. “It’s more of a synthesized 808s, hi-hats. The whole sound of it was different. Some of hip-hop in the original days was live music. It was live bands playing break records. Like ‘Good Times’ was the beat to ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ Some of those records took actual disco records, played the music and rhymed to them.”
‘Planet Rock’ did indeed see the start of a shift in hip-hop from an upbeat funk beat to a harsher, more aggressive sound that would end up becoming electro hip-hop made popular by the likes of Stetsasonic and Man Parrish with tracks such as ‘Just Say Stet’ and ‘Hip-Hop Be-Bop’.
You can listen to ‘Planet Rock’ below.