The Women of Rap: The 'Queen of NY'

2018-05-28

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1
  • In the last few decades, hip-hop has risen to become a multi-billion dollar industry.
  • 2
  • It was a woman who led the production of the first commercially successful rap track.
  • 3
  • However, the industry remains unquestionably male dominated.
  • 4
  • Female rappers usually enjoy less success than men.
  • 5
  • A new generation of female emcees, however, is building on the legacy of women in the industry.
  • 6
  • Meet Quay Dash, a 25-year-old New York rapper.
  • 7
  • She describes her music as real and raw.
  • 8
  • Dash has always been one to speak her mind, she says.
  • 9
  • And she has always had a mouth.
  • 10
  • "I've always been the one to express myself...," she says.
  • 11
  • Her sound pulls on the "90s golden-era rap music," which Quay Dash says she listened to religiously growing up.
  • 12
  • Her music is also inspired by modern female rappers, like Remy Ma.
  • 13
  • "...She's another female rapper that I've always looked up to that I was just like, 'wow, she's spitting some hard stuff. This is what I want my music to sound like, real explicit, real raw, like you know, a punch to the gut."
  • 14
  • Dash says she first decided to take her music career seriously when she was about 20.
  • 15
  • The self-named "Queen of NY" became involved with a music collective.
  • 16
  • Later, she decided to leave the group for other opportunities.
  • 17
  • "Things come and go, and now I'm doing my own thing," she says.
  • 18
  • Now, she is a self-managed artist.
  • 19
  • That means she does everything herself.
  • 20
  • Her photographer and videographer, Serena Jara, helps her get things done, too, she says.
  • 21
  • In her song "Shades on Top Down, Dash raps in one part:
  • 22
  • I don't care where you go, don't care how you look// I will never like a post or a pic on the book.
  • 23
  • The song is part of her first EP, called "Transphobic."
  • 24
  • It was released in 2016. It tells of her lived experiences as a black, transgender woman living in America.
  • 25
  • "Those five songs that's on that EP I just wanted to get it out there and have people listen to it and relate to whatever stories or whatever lyric that I spit on those tracks."
  • 26
  • Dash says that the message behind "Transphobic" was one of self-love.
  • 27
  • For her and others in the trans community, society can be one of their biggest barriers.
  • 28
  • "This is a world where society just kills and you have to be strong enough to just get past that...," Dash says.
  • 29
  • Dash says that her music has made a difference her community.
  • 30
  • "It definitely has made an impact within my community, you know and definitely in the music industry and I'm glad to have gotten it done."
  • 31
  • Her music has earned her an international following. She notes her recent tour in Australia.
  • 32
  • "I just feel like, everybody was definitely into it. Everybody was giving me my props and was proud to see a black, transwoman rap and travel the world."
  • 33
  • Dash says the general lack of attention female rappers receive is why she does what she does.
  • 34
  • "There's not many females out there getting as much play as male rappers, and I feel like there definitely, definitely needs to be more of a presence in the female rap community. That's why I'm here making 'herstory' by putting out music and being the best I can be in my role."
  • 35
  • I'm Ashley Thompson.
  • 1
  • Editor's note: This is the final part in a three-part series on women in the hip-hop industry.
  • 2
  • In the last few decades, hip-hop has risen to become a multi-billion dollar industry. It was a woman who led the production of the first commercially successful rap track. However, the industry remains unquestionably male dominated. Female rappers usually enjoy less success than men.
  • 3
  • A new generation of female emcees, however, is building on the legacy of women in the industry.
  • 4
  • Meet Quay Dash, a 25-year-old New York rapper. She describes her music as real and raw. Dash has always been one to speak her mind, she says. And she has always had a mouth.
  • 5
  • "I've always been the one to express myself...," she says.
  • 6
  • Her sound pulls on the "90s golden-era rap music," which Quay Dash says she listened to religiously growing up. Her music is also inspired by modern female rappers, like Remy Ma.
  • 7
  • "...She's another female rapper that I've always looked up to that I was just like, 'wow, she's spitting some hard stuff. This is what I want my music to sound like, real explicit, real raw, like you know, a punch to the gut."
  • 8
  • Dash says she first decided to take her music career seriously when she was about 20. The self-named "Queen of NY" became involved with a music collective. Later, she decided to leave the group for other opportunities.
  • 9
  • "Things come and go, and now I'm doing my own thing," she says.
  • 10
  • Now, she is a self-managed artist. That means she does everything herself. Her photographer and videographer, Serena Jara, helps her get things done, too, she says.
  • 11
  • In her song "Shades on Top Down, Dash raps in one part:
  • 12
  • I don't care where you go, don't care how you look// I will never like a post or a pic on the book.
  • 13
  • The song is part of her first EP, called "Transphobic." It was released in 2016. It tells of her lived experiences as a black, transgender woman living in America.
  • 14
  • "Those five songs that's on that EP I just wanted to get it out there and have people listen to it and relate to whatever stories or whatever lyric that I spit on those tracks."
  • 15
  • Dash says that the message behind "Transphobic" was one of self-love. For her and others in the trans community, society can be one of their biggest barriers.
  • 16
  • "This is a world where society just kills and you have to be strong enough to just get past that...," Dash says.
  • 17
  • Dash says that her music has made a difference her community. "It definitely has made an impact within my community, you know and definitely in the music industry and I'm glad to have gotten it done."
  • 18
  • Her music has earned her an international following. She notes her recent tour in Australia.
  • 19
  • "I just feel like, everybody was definitely into it. Everybody was giving me my props and was proud to see a black, transwoman rap and travel the world."
  • 20
  • Dash says the general lack of attention female rappers receive is why she does what she does.
  • 21
  • "There's not many females out there getting as much play as male rappers, and I feel like there definitely, definitely needs to be more of a presence in the female rap community. That's why I'm here making 'herstory' by putting out music and being the best I can be in my role."
  • 22
  • I'm Ashley Thompson.
  • 23
  • Rachel Dennis reported and wrote this story. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
  • 24
  • _____________________________________________________________
  • 25
  • Words in This Story
  • 26
  • dominate - v. to have control of or power over (someone or something)
  • 27
  • scene - n. a division of an act in a play during which the action takes place in a single place without a break in time
  • 28
  • legacy - n. ​something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past​
  • 29
  • confident -adj. having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something : having confidence​
  • 30
  • era - n. ​a period of time that is associated with a particular quality, event, person, etc.​
  • 31
  • inspired -adj. ​having a particular cause or influence​
  • 32
  • explicit -adj​. showing or referring very openly to nudity, violence, or sexual activity
  • 33
  • punch to the gut - expression. felt very strongly
  • 34
  • opportunity - n. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done
  • 35
  • EP - n. ​a musical recording, short extended play record
  • 36
  • trans - n. ​ of or relating to people who feel that their true nature does not match their sex at birth​, short for transgender
  • 37
  • impact - n. a powerful or major influence or effect​
  • 38
  • tour - n. a series of related performances, appearances, competitions, etc., that occur at different places over a period of time​
  • 39
  • props - n. something that is said to publicly thank and give special attention to someone for doing something : credit or recognition​
  • 40
  • herstory - expression. ​ history told or considered from a female or feminist perspective.