A rapper from Atlanta, GA
All Hail the Queen is the debut album by hip hop artist Queen Latifah, released on November 7, 1989 (see 1989 in music) on Tommy Boy Records. The album was unusually successful for a hip hop record at the time, buoyed by the single "Wrath of My … see full wiki
For some reason the ladies are always left behind; either in sports or their man's ride (literally, "get in the back"), but back in the 80's they weren't getting much love in hip hop. Despite a few notable artist it still seemed as if women were just unworthy to pick up the mic and show they could spit bars. Queen Latifah, one of the latest members at the time to be inducted into the Native Tongues Posse indeed was fed up with the stereotype, and she came out with the roar of a true lioness in her debut album, All Hail the Queen. Admittedly, I wasn't really feeling most femcee's either with the exception of MC Lyte. However, Queen Latifah did grab my attention around that time mostly for her mic presence and intense delivery. Looking at her now, it's hard to believe that this movie star was once one of the most vicious battle femcees to pick up the mic.
All Hail the Queen is a very well assembled album that contains a few different blends of music: reggae, house, and of course, hip hop. The production, which is mainly handled in house by DJ Mark the 45 King, meshes perfectly with Latifah's Afrocentric and feminist delivery. Immediately on the opening cut Dance For Me, Latifah opens up letting us know that she's not an average MC, instead more of an elite: It's a fact I'll attest to, mess around and I'll arrest you I ain't playing, you know what I'm saying?, This ain't the best, you've ever hear coming from a female MC, But you know what I mean? (Hail to the Queen!), This MC stands for "Microphone Commando" . Although she comes off hard, it's no question that this is pretty much a fun-filled dance song, and Come into My House is no different, accept in the production which boasts more of a house music influence with a catchy hook.
The Queen draws the line and proves that she's ready for battle in Queen of Royal Badness. And Daddy-O of Stetasonic joins her for the mic ripping in another battle oriented track The Pros, which is one of the albums highlights for me as they come very hard here, going on about how they mercilessly dispatched the weak competition. But without a doubt, the best joint on the album features fellow Native Tongues member Monie Love on the classic duet Ladies's First. The two femcees trade off and even join in as they not only lay down some of the best battle lines on the album, but also touch on how easily women are dismissed in this male dominated cultural art. It's said by many that Monie Love is the stronger of the two. I found them both to be equally charismatic here, and even up to this day and after many listens, the jury is still out on this one as far as I'm concerned.
One thing is for sure when looking at All Hail the Queen, the lyrics are indeed the show, but what must also be mentioned is the cohesiveness between MC and DJ. 45 King's production displays and even dictates how versatile Latifah is with the flow. Dance for Me, Come into My House, and the reggae joints, Wrath of the Madness and Princess of the Posse are very different as they showcase her technical prowess. Something that isn't exactly a surprise, but usually these type of lyrical emcees normally excel when telling a story or getting a message out there, and Latifah shows she's very strong in the KRS produced Evil That Men Do.
When looking at the aforementioned cut, although Latifah's boasting can be entertaining listening, it can grow repetitive and make you want those intellectual tracks even more. Unfortunately, the boasting is what she focuses on more, and the way I listened to hip hop then is drastically different from how I listen to it now, therefore, the boasting which can come off as one dimensional is the albums only real shortcoming.
In closing, All Hail the Queen was a very strong debut, from the outstanding lyrical delivery by Latifah to the guest features, and the heavily jazz oriented production. This is definitely a golden age hip hop album that belongs in the collection of anyone claiming to be a hip hop head. Recommended.
1. Dance for Me
2. Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children f/ De La Soul
3. Come Into My House
4. Latifah’s Law
5. Wrath of My Madness
6. The Pros f/ Daddy-O
7. Ladies First f/ Monie Love
8. A King and Queen Creation
9. Queen of Royal Badness
10. Evil That Men Do
11. Princess of the Posse
12. Inside Out
13. Dance for Me (Ultimatum Remix)
14. Wrath of My Madness (Soulshock Remix)
15. Princess of the Posse (DJ Mark the 45 King Remix)
-Outstanding lyrics and mic delivery, Excellent production, Solid guest appearances
-Queen Latifah could have limited the boasting
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A rapper from Atlanta, GA
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