TIYE PHOENIX / “Tiye Phoenix Mixtape”
I’m a Jean Grae fan. In the new millennium no other female emcee had my ear until Tiye. Sister got skills plus a whole bunch of that Zora Neale Hurston spunk and sass. And the literary reference is no mere throw-away line. Tiye has read and studied her history from the pyramids to the projects. Plus Tiye got some Nina Simone in her. Tiye Phoenix is Baltimore born. She studied classical piano between ages seven and thirteen and attended Baltimore School for the Arts during her high school years. She prepared herself to be herself. Tiye made some choices, made some noise. Decided to be an emcee. And a producer. And a lyricist. But not as a jack of all trades. Her goal was mastery. She is the first female beats maker to make a mark as a champion. In 2006 Tiye won the MTP (Meet The Producer) All-Female Beat Battle Invitational. And then, went on to win the MTP Championship competing against eight other (all males) previous winners. That’s not a pedigree, that’s a resume. Success was not given to her, she earned it. She had signed with Rawkus Records in the nineties but that didn’t work out as far as her own release goes but that stint did put her in contact with a bunch of others. She had cameo appearances on Talib Kweli’s Train Of Thought album, did some work with Public Enemy and Hank Shocklee, eventually signed on as the female voice in the Polyrhythmic Addicts and was featured on their 2007 Breaking Glass release, which is when she first came to my attention. But like many, I kind of nodded, ok, it’s ah-right, but nothing special. So earlier in 2009 Tiye dropped her debut release, Half Woman, Half Amazin'. That title was a riff off of a Nas line. Although I should have, I didn’t rush to give her a solid listen. A quick audit didn’t deeply impress me; I didn't hear anything new so I slept on it. Then I heard a track on a DJ Spinna release. I’ve always admired Spinna’s work even when he was doing stuff that wasn’t to my taste. When I heard “Still Golden” that sent me back to Tiye for a second and closer listen. I’m truly glad I double checked myself, otherwise I might have completely missed the emergence of a young fem-cee who represents a significant facet of the future of Hip Hop. Finally women are beginning to emerge as producers, women with the skills and the charisma, with the aura of feminine attractiveness augmented by a foundation of feminine consciousness. Finally, we are witnessing the emergence not of female symbols but rather of females comfortable in their own gender and ready to take full charge of their own careers. Tiye Phoenix does not need a man to produce her and at the same time, if she chooses, she can, without complexes or inadequacies, work with men to produce her music. I’m sure there are other women with both skin and skills, both charisma and consciousness but in hip hop they have yet to fully emerge. The Mixtape starts with three features and one track from Black Athena, Tiye’s self-produced Mixtape. The final seven tracks are from Half Woman, Half Amazin’. You don’t have to be an engineer or connoisseur audiophile to hear how strong the production is on her debut album. It’s a beautiful beginning. The rise of Tiye Phoenix is cause for celebration. Whether you dig her music is a mater of taste, whether you respect her music is a matter of consciousness. Don’t be like yours truly, don’t sleep on this. Listen to how deep her imagery flows, the relevance of her references. Tiye has both verbal dexterity and intellectual acuity; plus, like she says, she got a M-I-C and a MPC, what more does she need? All hail women’s rebirth. All hail Tiye Phoenix. —Kalamu ya Salaam Tiye Phoenix Mixtape Playlist 01 “Come Along (feat. Tiye Phoenix)” - Dynas - The Apartment 02 “Still Golden (feat. Tiye Phoenix)” – DJ Spinna – Sonic Smash 03 “Can I Keep It? (Feat. Talib Kwali And Tiye Phoenix)” – Kendra Ross - New Voice 04 “You Dont Get It” – Tiye Phoenix - Black Athena Vol II (Mixtape) These tracks are from Tiye’s debut album, Half Woman, Half Amazin’. 05 “Stop Right There” 06 “Master Plan” 07 “Bless Me” 08 “Too Late For Us (Feat. Phonte)” 09 “Revolving Door” 10 “Just Go! (Feat. Dynas)” 11 “Shinin' Star”
This entry was posted on Monday, December 7th, 2009 at 1:39 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Leave a Reply
| top |