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  • Writer's pictureOmar Holloway

Queen of Hip-Hop Queen Latifah’s first rap she wrote was for a battle - Will Smith's Class of '88 podcast

Queen Latifah gave a grassroot insight on Will Smith‘s new podcast, "Class Of ’88":

"... my sophomore year at high school... I was like let me just see what's up and you know I would wind up hanging out in the bathrooms and girls would just start rhyming in the bathroom and really dudes would be coming in the bathroom too cuz it was the place to be so I would just start hitting the beats on the bathroom stalls... I just keep the beat going while they would just start rocking... eventually I start beatboxing you know with them in the bathrooms.

It came to a point where they (her 2 homegirls) had to battle these girls from another school and there were three of those girls who were on the mic and only two of us... so I had to write my first rhyme... so I wrote this battle rap and we wound up battling these girls and we killed them."

When the New Jersey-bred pioneer signed her deal with Tommy Boy Records in 1988, she was one of the emcees who set the standard for women in Hip-Hop. So, when she dropped her debut album, All Hail The Queen, the following year with the breakout single, it became both "hardcore" and "revolutionary".

She confessed that her goal with creating her signature hit “Ladies First” (featuring Monie Love in 1989) was to promote unity among female rappers, "I had to [do it] because how am I going to make myself different from my heroes [MC] Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa, [and] Sweet Tee? How am I going to do this?", Queen reflected. "I need to carve a path that’s different from them. You know, maybe not so far, but it has to be different, you know, and so that was the goal."


When speaking on the record’s actual conception, the actual Queen of Hip-Hop explained, "I decided to call the record 'Ladies First', and so a lot of it was, 'Why am I beefing with these girls? Why do these girls keep beefing with each other? We can do a lot more if we stood together… i.e., ladies first. Why don't I just embrace you, and maybe you’ll embrace me and let me encourage you, you know?' Rather than saying, 'Why you dissing each other?'… it was more like, 'Hey, we ladies, let's do this together. We can do this; we can do more together!'"


Throughout her career, Queen found herself immersed in rap beefs with Roxanne Shanté and Foxy Brown; however, all of that has since subsided.

Last year, Queen Latifah, Roxanne, Da Brat, Latto, Saweetie, MC Lyte, and others took part in Netflix's docuseries, "Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop", which detailed the impact of female rap artists.


Will Smith's "The Class Of '88" podcast tells the story of Hip-Hop's most pivotal year through the lens of Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa, Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels, Rakim, Fab 5 Freddy, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and more.

• SOURCE: Queen Latifah Shares This Hope For “Ladies First” On Will Smith’s ‘Class Of ’88’ Podcast; The Jersey native talks female unity in Hip-Hop with the Fresh Prince. VIBE >

*VIDEO: Queen Latifah: I Learned How To Rap in the Bathroom. Class of '88 >

*RehaB101 Original New School Webcast > #RehaB101ONSW newsfeed.

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