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Bahamadia: The HipHopGods Interview - Part One

Bahamadia: The HipHopGods Interview - Part One

Bahamadia is one of Hip Hop’s most powerful female voices. The Philly-based MC came up during the Rawkus Records era, a time when lyricism and individuality was valued above all else. In 1996, she released her debut album, Kollage, which featured the classic cut “3 The Hard Way.” Two years later, she popped up on the celebrated compilation album, Lyricist Lounge, Volume One. From collaborations with Guru on the Jazzmatazz series to her work with The Roots, Bahamadia has carved out her own spot in Hip Hop history. 


Now, as the founder of B-Girl Records, she’s at the helm of her own imprint. She’s currently wrapping up her highly anticipated fourth studio album, HERE, and continuing the Dialed Up series. In Part One of the HipHopGods interview, Bahamadia had some time to talk being a woman in the industry, running her own label and the need for more unity. 


HHG (Kyle Eustice): Why does it feel like women in the music industry are sometimes pitted against each other? 


Bahamadia: I think it's separatism. A lot of that is because there are people in between us actually communicating directly consistently. We have social media and sometimes at events you’ll be able to discuss things, but those days are far in between. I think it’s a lot of it. I think it’s perception, too. 


Can you recall any times you got treated a certain way because you’re female? 


I was kind of naive about it sometimes. Some of the different stories I would hear, I had never experienced those firsthand. Mine usually showed up more when it came to negotiating terms for my services as a professional artist. If you stand up for yourself, you’re considered challenging or hard to work with. Or even if you inquire about something you’re versed in knowing about. You’d think if you’re in the industry, who wouldn’t research? Especially if you a DIY artist — if you do those things and come to your set of … I don’t want to say demands, but it’s a challenge. It’s always their way. They want to underprice you or give you a hard time. 


I feel like when you came up in the ‘90s, artists were more cultivated. 


Exactly. From that time, everything else is just a rendition of it now. I think the cool thing about it is that the DIY model now can be supported because of the internet. It’s still a window there. There are other routes you can take. You don’t have to take the traditional route. 


You don’t need a major label behind you. There's a lot of garbage out there, too. 


I agree with that a degree, but also too, if you’re really talented and you really stand out and exceptional, people will find you. You’ll stand out.  


You’ve done your own thing. You know where you shine.


Exactly. There’s so many different realities. On the business side, certain things have to be implemented because there is a standard. People like us are created to go against that [laughs]. 


Forever. But we as women need more unity I think. 


It can’t be anything pretentious or have that catty element that we’re so prone to gravitate towards as women. It’s like a gene or something. We have to put the ego to the side. I can sense when it’s not genuine and that’s when I don’t want to be open or supportive. I remember when people would sell stuff on Apple Music. If you like this artist, then you’d like these artist. I didn’t like that cross marketing. You should have a say in who you’re associated with in terms of selling a product. I’ve donated 20 plus years to this. 


It’s like piggybacking off you. 


They might not even have the same ideals as you or anything like that. It’s just about them aligning themselves with you for the visibility and monetary gain that comes along with that. It’s a whole different thing. There’s nothing you can control a lot of in this day in age, but I’d like there to be some kind of etiquette, especially on a social media platform. 


You run your own label now, right? 


Yes. B-Girl Records. It’s a super challenge, but it’s cool. Everything is coming from me and my heart. 


That’s a huge blessing to get to do what you love. 


That’s why it’s so important to stand on what you believe. 


I feel like people get so caught up in what the next person is doing. I know people that are constantly ranting about other people on social media. If you keep your head down and do what you gotta do, you’ll get somewhere. 


That’s true. You have to wonder about the intent of the person’s heart. Like what’s your motive for ranting? That angle is not conducive to anything positive. 


Exactly. It just spreads negativity. 


Sometimes again, the internet is a whole other beast. Sometimes it’s etiquette and learning the best way to conduct yourself, especially in a business context. 


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