DJ LaJedi releases ‘World Hip Hop Women’ mixtape
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
The art of the hip hop mixtape is to bring together new artists and new sounds for listeners to experience.
Detroit-based artist DJ LaJedi has released a new mixtape on the Internet that has gained worldwide attention. Bringing together women hip hop artists from around the globe, “World Hip Hop Women: From The Sound Up” is helping change the perception of how women can participate in hip hop.
“World Hip Hop Women” features artists from over 15 different countries, representing the sound of hip hop on five different continents. The music was selected by DJ LaJedi and Greg Schick, who works with the Web site World Hip Hop Market and the record label Nomadic Wax. Nomadic Wax is a United States company that specializes in creating global hip hop albums to help give exposure to artists from around the world.
“You will hear nothing but strong, insightful verses,” says DJ LaJedi (pronounced La-head-y). “The sounds are native to locations on opposite ends of the globe, and yet the sonic journey will be familiar to anyone who has a heart for great music. Whether you understand the language or tonal origin of any song in the mix, the flow will guide the expansion of your mind and the movement of your body.”
While much of the rapping in the songs is in English, listeners will get the opportunity to hear songs performed in many different languages. Detroit-based artist Invincible is featured on two songs, one with two-time Grammy-nominated artist Ana Tijoux from Chile, who performs all of her songs in Spanish.
DJ LaJedi doesn’t see the language barrier as a problem, because the spirit of the artist will shine through in the music regardless of the language. Audiences around the world have been listening to artists from the United States, and especially Detroit, sing in only English for years, regardlesss of whether they understand the language.
“All of these women are doing the work,” she says, “and it involves a whole lot of other work and circumstances that keeps them on time with what’s hot and the ability to be able to express their art, which happens to be rap. They’re authentic, it’s not a copy cat move; it’s not a fluke. These women are out here doing different jobs — they’re being mothers, they’re being community leaders, the same as us.”
One of the songs featured on the project is called “theFOUNDATION,” which features the ladies who contribute to Detroit’s 5e Gallery’s weekly Tuesday night event for women in hip hop, where LaJedi regularly performs. Insite The Riot, Nik Nak and Mahogany Jones are all featured on this song, which speaks about the many positive roles women have in the world.
“It’s such a privilege to just be a part of DJ LaJedi’s mixtape,” says Mahogany Jones. “I just feel like it’s a beautiful thing for women to support one another, as well as for us to collectively be a voice of women. This is amazing work. She’s a beautiful person and this project is brilliant.”
In addition to spinning records at 5e Gallery, DJ LaJedi is a regular DJ at Fluent’s “A Man Can Change” monthly poetry series, and she has traveled the country performing with the Pontiac-based hip hop artist One Be Lo.
She has made it her mission to support like-minded artists and musicians, to perform at events and venues where positive individuals can feel comfortable expressing themselves freely. The “World Hip Hop Women” project reflects the unique experiences of each of the artists.
“It’s always about more than the music,” says DJ LaJedi. “This current project is just a quickening aspect of what we need to do. We’re sent here to do what is apparently the work that we’re cut out to do, so the energy now is focused and it’s amplified and you’re going to know about it.”
Bringing these artists together in one project is a statement against the negative stereotypes of women in hip hop. In each of their own lives, they have to work hard against the idea that hip hop treats women only as sex objects, or the idea that they are not as talented as the men who make the same type of art.
“I salute every artist who contributed to the mixtape,” said LaJedi, “for their courage and commitment to the spirit of creativity. Many of these women are carving paths where there are none. They embody ‘firsts’ of all kinds.”
All of the women featured are breaking ground as individuals. MC Black Bird is the first woman to release a hip hop record in Zimbabwe. Soultana comes from the first all-female hip hop crew in Morocco. Masia One was the first woman to be nominated for Canada’s Much Music Award. Shadia Mansour is known as the “First Lady of Arab Hip Hop.”
“They are assuming leadership roles in their native communities and beyond,” says DJ LaJedi, “through endeavors that prove their conscious attitudes regarding love, truth, peace, freedom of expression and social justice.”
“World Hip Hop Women: From The Sound Up” is available for free download at www.NomadicWax.bandcamp.com