Before Beyonce told guys who really run the world, Queen Latifah and a fresh faced cutie from the UK taught girls everywhere that Ladies were first. Simone “Monie Love” Wilson and her four friends formed a group in South London called Jus Bad Productions where they created their shows and showcases that they promoted to create a platform for themselves. They would perform throughout London at community centers to display their talents and recorded the song “Free Style/Proud” on the independent label Tuff Grove.

After being noticed by Queen Latifah she landed on the universal hit “Ladies First” and everyone wanted the British MC on their record. Monie Love became an official member of the Native Tongues which included an eclectic, yet poetic group of young MC’s who stood together before ego’s affected hip-hop. The group consisted of the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and another female MC, Queen Latifah, who all embodied unity with clever, age appropriate rhymes. Monie captured our hearts on the 1989 classic, “Buddy” when she spit rapid rhymes alongside her Native Tongue members back when hip hop was still full of innocent fun. Monie impressed American listeners across the pond with her distinct voice and diction that made her easy to listen to. She appeared on the Jungle Brothers’ “Doing Our Own Dang” and Warner Brother Records decided that the young female MC would be one of the first hip hop artists from the UK signed to a major label.

Monie represented for ladies from day one speaking for girls who affectionately imitated her style and recited Monie’s verse’s word for word. She dropped her debut album Down to Earth in 1990 which garnered two Grammy nominations, the single “Monie in the Middle” and “Its a Shame” which embodied female empowerment. Her second album In a Word Or 2 was released in 1993 and included a song produced by Prince, “Born to B.R.E.E.D” and he later requested her to write lyrics for a project he produced for Carmen Elektra. Monie was also featured on a track with Whitney Houston, “My Name is Not Susan” as well as collaborated with a slew of hip hop stars. She released her last album Slice of Da Pie in 2000 before becoming a full time radio personality for numerous syndicated stations. Today she takes time from being a mom to four children and her radio gig on Sirius/XM to prepare other female MC’s for the stage as host of her showcase in Miami ‘Ladies First‘. Monie Love’s ability to create her own–and her dedication to uplifting females makes her our own UK classic.