From our #264 issue
Tonight, Church Street Boxing Gym’s ring will serve as the platform for upcoming females to exchange vicious rap verses. Former Bad Boy Records protégée Babs Bunny—along with partners Vague & Debo have created the first female battle league — ‘Queen Of The Ring’. ‘Q.O.T.R.’ has broken barriers in the new emerge of female MC’s and bringing females with lyrical skills to the light. Babs explains, “They don’t really have a platform for females, my experience coming in the game was a lot different from other females so I wanted to do what Puff taught me—taking these fresh raw artist and giving them this platform.” Although battle rappers, signed artists, and independent artists are classified separately—a female who writes lyrics is a female rapper and women everywhere are stepping up to the mic. “We have put girls in the forefront that would have never been seen, never got a chance, or never got looked at, we made it to where your bars are what matters.”
The card for today includes Cee The Boss Vs My Verse, Ms. Queen Vs. Nina Cruzae, Casey Jay Vs. Deisel, Hazzy Vs. Precyse and Ms. Miami Vs. Norma Bayts. With the exception of the latter, most of tonight’s roster are less known than their more talked about counterparts. Watching ringside are top tier rappers Phara Funeral, C3, 40 B.A.R.R.S., and Don Ladyii– all fan favorites and in attendance to witness the next round of female battle MC’s ready to shine. This camaraderie is slowly making a comeback and with the new breakout of female MC’s, ladies are proving there is room for more than just one at the top. This year we saw Nicki rap besides Beyonce, Iggy gyrated with J.Lo, Timbaland’s protégé Tink buzzed nonstop and Dej Loaf’s single ‘Try Me’ was the new anthem. Other MC’s such as Nitty Scott, 3D Natee, Rapsody, Nyemiah Supreme, Asia Sparks, Tiffany Fox, Snow Tha Product, Sasha Go Hard, Dominique Young Unique, and Lee Mazin are quickly rising to mainstream notoriety while representing the less talked about rap gender. Hip-hop is beginning to revert back to talent and not the subjectification of female MC’s we’ve witnessed over the years. Babs Bunny enforces pushing talent to the front. “Body image has been important from the beginning of time until now. There was a time when the thick pin-up girls were in style. Then it changed. Now its the fake butt and fake titties that’s in,” she reckons. “It’s the guys that control it, and what their eyes want to see… that’s the reason I offer this platform, so that won’t be the case—when I’m auditioning these girls, I’m not telling them turn around let me see you’re a**, I’m telling them let me hear your bars.” Babs’ moniker B.O.E. (Bars Over Everything) is a staple at Queen Of The Ring. As in any competition, someone is always waiting to grab the top spot. “For each event, there’s a new girl who holds the crown.” Babs explains, “You’re as good as your last battle.” Although there are no official awards or accolades in battle rap, Babs considers it a favorite pastime. “It’s a sport… this game you got the MVP, lets see if you can keep it. Next game that s**t might pass to someone else.” Fortunately, Babs says if you are female with bars she’s got you covered “Q.O.T.R. is the home for female battle rappers and female rappers period. This is a movement for the females.” She reiterates, “These females are coming from the block and had 25 views on YouTube, now they have almost 1 million views. I’m the one believing in them when nobody else is and pushing out the money to give them this platform and taking that risk and saying, ‘Let me put this girl out here and see what she can do’.”
Tonight’s event, aptly titled ‘Murder She Wrote’ includes lyrics intertwined with women pulling personals, exposing secrets and some heckling– while pregnant from the sidelines. One of the headliner’s for the evening, Norma Bayts revels in returning to the ring. True to her moniker she enters the ring in a fashionable straitjacket with her game face on. “Being apart of Q.O.T.R. is always good. The best part of the night of course was my battle with Ms.Miami….a few words she was not ready for this specific night. I was out for a year. I HAD to come back with vengeance.”
Whether the ladies are in the ring, onstage at the Grammy’s or standing next to some of hip-hop’s greats—women are putting their pens to work. Will the ladies take over rap music as well? Only time will tell.