It’s something about the female emcee…
She has to dance between two worlds. One that recognizes she has two ovaries, and the other that mandates that she has two nut sacks (at least metaphorically). Laugh all you want, but it takes balls to spit with the guys. It takes balls to rhyme and perform on a high level. And when these ladies pledge to uphold the sacred mantle of emceeing, it is an oath taken with blood, sweat and tears. Sometimes, it is devastating; taking tolls on your mind, body and soul. Particularly, women in battle rap.
And you don’t have to ask Roxanne Shante about it… watch her film on Netflix Roxanne Roxanne. It details the balance of this extraordinary gift, with the pressures of being the only girl in her crew. Or we can ask C3.
As a rapper, C3 took her passion for poetry to help her cope with growing up young, Black, poor and female in the mean streets of South Jamaica. Sounds familiar, the Queens’ connection to rap music’s first recognized and most successful female battle rapper, Roxanne Shanté is not the only thing they have in common. The two both grew up trading lyrics with hard rocks in some of the borough’s most notorious projects. Another thing that the two share is that they are “the only females in their crew… and they kick sh*t like a brother do…” As Shanté was down with infamous The Juice Crew (still rocking mics when booked for a show or daily on her “Have A Nice Day” with Roxanne Shante featuring DJ Sylk on LL COOL J’s Rock The Bells Radio on SiriusXM), C3 is a respected member of the battle rap group, The Goonies. While sharpening their pens and their minds (as both of them are brilliant freestylers), depressing and bad decisions intertwined with the heartache of absent fathers (death or choice), they have created a catalogue that when listened to or unpacked like poetry are simply…unfuckitable. Yet can C3 carry the torch lit all the way up by her predecessor?
Clearly C3 understands the enormous amount of pressure on her shoulders. Brands like the Dominican Republic imported tobacco brand Hotskull/ Triple 3hreat rocks behind her because she can handle that pressure like a champ.
Mec says that part of the reason they rock with her is because of her “ability to freestyle and go off the head so effortlessly.” She continues with a perspective about the lyricists that seems to come up over and over again, “I invest in her because I admire her, and I see her talent. I’m a woman, and I like to see other women doing great things. She’s very strong, and she’s been out on her own since she was kind of young. I respect the fact that’s she able to overcome some of her adversities the way that she does. Mostly, she reminds me of myself in some ways.”
Check out what she shared with The Source about her role in battle rap.
What was it like coming up as a rapper?
As a kid it (rapping) was my getaway. As a teen it made me one of the cool kids. As an adult it’s both lol
What are the biggest pressures you encounter as a female rapper?
Being a female really never caused much pressure coming up… me being an AG (stud) I always rapped with the guys and was considered equal. But when I came to battle rap and forced to compete with other girls the pressure came. The pressure came because I was being judged not for my bars, making me have to work harder since I was essentially battling against my opponents “looks” and “cattiness.”
How much does being from Queens influence your style of emceeing?
I grew up listening to Nas, The Lost Boyz, and LL Cool J. I would go out to park jams with Grand Master Vic. Which made me a great story teller, a true performer and also gave me my laid back Queens swag.
It is well documented that you have struggled with depression. How does rhyming help your depression?
Rhyming helps me let out the anger and pain, and prevents those feelings from coming out in the wrong way (sometimes lol)
How do you survive?
I honestly don’t know.. I just keep going. Even when I want to I can’t quit… in any aspect of life!
Who are your influences in commercial rap and battle rap?
In commercial rap, I’m currently into Meek Mill, J. Cole, Migos, Lil Wayne, A Boogie. They’re rich but still have a certain hunger when it comes to rapping. And even though they don’t put out much music any more, I will always love 50 and Nas #qgtm.
While we talking about Queens emcees, Roxanne Shante was a big influence. I mean I’m from Queens, and I’m female battle rapper. How could she not be? I was mainly inspired about hearing stories about how she didn’t let the industry take advantage of her. She actually flipped the script and took full advantage of them. When I first heard about it, it had me in awe. But more recently after seeing her movie, and seeing how she was hitting the streets, kicking ass and taking names, inspired me even more. Her journey lets me know I’m on the right path. I hope my work can inspire other emcees they way her’s did for me.
As far as battle rappers, the whole current URL roster right now. The energy is back. The hunger is back. Everything the artists and staff are doing right now is crazy inspiring to me. URL changed the lives of their artists for the better. Not only do the guys know how to compete without emotion, but they have fun with it. I can’t wait to say the same for the ladies.
What is interesting is what Eric Beasley from URL has said about her. He said that she is one of those talents (females or males) that have been around for a while, but has just started to really take her skill set to the next level. Some of that is her renew confidence- sparked by her inclusion in The Goonies.
C3, many have noted that you were a “beast” on your own… why did you join a crew?
In my crew, The Goonies, I have found my soul family. It is clear that I was a “Goonie,” before I ever met The Goonies. I just feel like it was meant to be and those guys inspire me so much by just being themselves.
While she has kind words about The Goonies… it is interesting to hear what they think about the first and only sister in their crew:
“C3 is one of the only females that has touched many platforms. Male or female it doesn’t matter she won’t duck any wreck. Punchlines, rebuttals, and cadence makes her tough to deal with. She’s a legend in this game.”
“C3 is very creative! Her freestyle ability, as well as her wit, combined with a powerful and suspenseful cadence makes her one of the most dangerous ladies in the game!”
Nu Jerzey Twork:
“C3 is a one of a kind talent, an innovator of her own style used by many in the female battle rap culture. She is “The Gate Keeper.” C is the real test for those girls. If you can get past her then you earn my respect. Throughout her career she’s faced some of the toughest opponents and prevailed. She also means a lot to the sport as a whole, not only female rap. She’s paved the way for other women who came after her. Year in and year out showing why she is who she is. I’m honored to not only have her on my team, but in my life as a sister . C3 is the “Rock Of The Goonies” the foundation, the First Lady. Nothing comes or goes without her say so, I wouldn’t replace her for anyone in the world.
If all reports about her star is true, she will gladly walk in the tradition of Shanté… only adding her own twist to it.