Rah DiggaSecond in an occasional series, celebrating the many women who’ve earned their place in the hall of greats:

RAH DIGGA

Is Rah Digga on YOUR list of the best MC’s of all time?

No? Then like she said on the track, Made MC, your list was dyslexic.

Rah Digga is hard enough, smart enough and quick enough to hold her own against anyone in the game – gender is irrelevant.

She’s acknowledged as one of the most skilled MC’s in Paul Edward’s book “How to Rap”, and she’s rhymed alongside legends old and new including luminaries like MC Lyte, Missy, Chuck D, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli, Black Thought, Rapsody and Jean Grae.

Rah Digga didn’t take the easy road to success: she’s built a reputation based on rhyming and skill, not twerking and flirting.

Her early career began to take off when she joined the Outsidaz – the New Jersey crew that also gave us Young Zee, Pacewon, and some bloke called “Eminem” who did kind of ok. It was as part of the Outsidaz that she guested with the Fugee’s on the Score – the track is Cowboys and I can’t be the only person that thinks that she blew everyone else on it out the park (including, and I know this is heresy, Lauryn). Legend tells us that a heavily pregnant Rah Digga impressed Q Tip so much, he organised her signing with Electra, and introduced her to Busta Rhymes. According to an interview with Hiphopdx, after she wiped the floor with the rest of the squad on “We can take it outside”, she became the only female member of his Flipmode Crew.

Her first solo album was Dirty Harriet, based on her alias Harriet Thugman, (referencing Harriet Tubman, leader of the underground). Hard to pick favourites from such a great album but if you’re new to it and don’t want to download the whole thing, buy So Cool, Imperial and Break Fool

The follow up, Everything is a Story, should have been released in 2004, but it wasn’t. No one seems to know why.

Rah Digga parted company with Flipmode in 2007, amicably by all accounts.

In 2010, she put the unreleased album out herself. 2010 also saw an EP – Prelude to a Classic, and the album, Classic. If you get this from bandcamp, it comes with a bunch of remixes thrown in. Highly recommended.

But you know what the BEST thing about writing about Rah Digga is? She’s still producing tracks and they’re not some watered down overproduced shit aiming for the mainstream and the money *cough*latifah*cough*. Rah Digga’s new stuff? It’s better than before. This is an artist who’s evolving without losing a single sharp edge. And you’d be mental to mess with her. Listen to the kicking she gives to Tyler the Creator and Trel for being dumb enough to publicly slate her on “The N*gga in me”.

I’ve written elsewhere about the whole Iggy Azalea episode before so I won’t repeat myself, other than to say again, everything she’s ever rhymed about women in rap strikes a loud chord with me. Listen to the lyrics on Storm Coming, or of course, all of Angela Davis.

And if all of this isn’t enough to persuade you to make room for Rah Digga in your hip hop hall of fame, how about the fact that she does more than talk a good talk about “each one teach one”. She walks the walk in her native Newark, as part of a youth programme teaching about hip hop culture, history and business.

She’ll show them how to be an MC

ESSENTIAL RAH DIGGA

We can take it outside

stepping on toes I crush the whole shoe

So Cool

writing rhymes like you wish you could

 

This ain’t no l’il kid rap

try ‘n keep up, young uns

 

Made MC

better respect it

Angela Davis

they don’t know about me? they gonna learn….