DUTCH REBELLE / Dutch ReBelle Mixtape”
She is an emerging emcee, coming up out of Beantown, aka Boston. She was born in Haiti and sounds like she’s been in the USA for more than a minute. It’s the same story: a young person decides to take a shot at making their mark in the music business.
There’s not only the attraction of the possibility of wealth and fame, although that is a real draw. There is also the often unspoken but frequently thought: “I’m as good as _____.”
And in truth, there are literally hundreds of young people trying to catch a break who are as good as the majority of what you hear on the radio or watch in videos. That’s part of the secret of the entertainment game: make the highs low enough for most people to see themselves reaching for it. That way there is a steady supply of applicants grasping for the brass ring.
That not only ensures a steady supply of exploitable talent and labor, the eagerness of wannabees also keeps pressure on those who have arrived. Don’t believe for one minute that entertainment moguls don’t remind stars that they are only minutes away from fading and that there is a horde of emerging artists eager to take the place of veteran entertainers.
Which brings us to Dutch ReBelle and the almighty question: what does it take to garner some attention and make a breakthrough? For sure you need some talent—but beaucoup people got talent up the whazoo. You also need some luck and it helps to have a hook, i.e. something particular that taps into a general interest.
In Dutch’s case she has two hooks, the second of which is not immediately obvious. First off, she’s Haitian and Haiti currently has a high profile. But far more important than ethnic identity, Dutch is filling a slot that has been vacant for a long, long time in the industry. Dutch ReBelle could be the second coming of Lauryn Hill.
Despite rumors of Lauryn’s imminent return—the few youtube videos of recent performances did not excite anyone—the truth is the pump is primed and people are waiting for a serious female rapper. And no, that is not a dig at Nicki Minaj; I’m just saying: as attractive as Lauryn was, she never made a fetish out of flashing her ass. I’m going to be blunt because the exploitation of female flesh has increased rather than decreased over the last decade, and it will take a serious challenge to reverse that trend.
I know that Janelle Monae represents an alternative but Janelle is making it as a vocalist and not primarily as an emcee. Yeah, yeah, I know Lauryn sang also, but it was Lauryn’s verbal flow that put her into a category of her own, the singing was lagniappe, i.e. Louisiana lingo for “something extra.” There are other female rappers out there but the stars have just not aligned for them. Jean Grae is one notable example of talent deserving of wider recognition.
And once again that brings us back to Dutch ReBelle. She’s young and hungry, plus she’s got sass and class. And she can sing a little bit. Her strong suit is that same combination that Lauryn had: she can flow and she can write.
When I first heard Dutch, I wanted to hear more. But she doesn’t have more yet. This Mixtape consists of a handful of singles and one cut from Appeteaser, a five-track mixtape that includes most of these tracks cobbled together inside a skit. Ironically, although it is released under Dutch ReBelle’s name, the project is a skit of a bunch of dudes dining out and Dutch is their waitress.
Dutch is the only female member of the Famous Nobodies crew, and of course Lauryn was the same with the Fugees. We can argue about the extent of the syndrome but the reality is that not since Nina Simone has there been a self-directed black female who has risen to the top of music business without the assistance of one or more males. And before somebody thinks I’m forgetting Lauryn’s accomplishments, check that The Miseducation Of… was produced with the assistance of a production crew; disputes over authorship and copyrights were settled out of court and surrounded by a big, fat silence clause. While I don’t know the extent of the male input to Miseducation, I do know that Lauryn has not produced anything comparable since (and that was twelve years ago in 1998). Is there some kind of invisible barrier preventing a female emcee breakthrough?
Sisters have a rough way to go climbing the industry mountain. I don’t know whether Dutch will make it; whether she can keep her head together and fight the good fight; whether she can keep producing quality material year in and year out. I do know Dutch ReBelle is off to an excellent start. We wish her good luck with going the distance.
—Kalamu ya Salaam
Dutch Rebelle Mixtape Playlist
Except for “Like Whoa Freestyle,” all of these tracks are available on Dutch ReBelle’s Reverbnation page.
01 "RockWild'n" - Dutch ReBelle & C. Brook
02 “Fruads (Gucci Bandanas)”
03 “C'Mon” - Dutch Rebelle ft. Cam'Phlahj
04 “Like Whoa Freestyle”
05 “Off The Books Freestyle”
06 “When I See You Freestyle”
07 “Leve, Kampe (Get Up, Stand Up)”
08 “I'm Ill”
This entry was posted on Monday, December 6th, 2010 at 2:20 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.
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