By A. Smith
The hip hop pioneers that paved the way for female hip hop, need to be given their flowers now.
In the late 70’s high school friends Cheryl Cook, known as "Cheryl The Pearl", Gwendolyn Chisolm, known as "Blondie" and lead singer/rapper Angie Brown Stone, as Angie were discovered when they went to a Sugar Hill show and sang for Sylvia Robinson - a musician, producer and record label executive. The trio signed to the Sugar Hill label in the late–1970’s and early–1980s. They first single was ‘Funk You Up’ was released in 1979, one of the first hip hop records to be on vinyl. The song has been sampled by the likes of Ice Cube, En Vogue, Dr Dre for his single ‘Keep Their Heads Ringin’, Mark Morrison and Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk’ – claims were made by the group that the duo were heavily influenced by their song.
The Sequence paved the way for a lot of artists, especially for female rappers. A lot of people only go far back as Salt ‘n’ Pepa when mentioning the pioneers of female hip hop, which I understand as they have broken through some barriers to get to where they are now. The music industry are known to celebrate a handful of female rappers, and need to change the narrative and celebrate others.
“The Sequence weren’t the first group of females to touch the microphone – cassettes of late Seventies and early Eighties New York throwdowns explode with the voices of Sha-Rock of Funky 4+1, the Mercedes Ladies, Lisa Lee of Afrika Bambaataa’s Cosmic Force, Pebblee Poo of Harlem’s Masterdon Committee and more. But the Sequence were the first to reach ears outside the five boroughs, an integral step in hip-hop’s rise from local sensation to Planet Rock.” – Christopher R. Weingarten, Rolling Stone
Read more in depth about The Sequence, in the Rolling Stone article: