With Nicki Minaj leading the pack for female rap newcomers, hip-hop veteran Talib Kweli recently hit up SOHH to remind fans of how lyrical his artist Jean Grae is on the microphone.
Comparing her skills to artists even outside lady emcees, Kweli believes Grae has proven her emcee abilities are not coincidental.
“Jean Grae, she’s a better MC than just about everybody,” Kweli told SOHH via statement. “There are very few on her level. With respect to her albums, including the one we released, Jeanius (with 9th Wonder), there had never been a major push behind what she has put out. This year, ‘Cake Or Death’ will roll out properly, and people will feel it. Also, being a female in hip-hop period seems to be very hard sometimes. It must be hard to love something for it’s purity and potential and have it sh*t on you so often. I respect female MCs a lot.” (SOHH)
Last January, Kweli opened up about Grae’s underrated status.
“Jean has never had an opportunity to release an album on a major level. It took an MC like Lil Wayne to have faith in what Nicki was doing and place her on that pedestal. I’m not as big as Lil Wayne, but I’m big enough to where I can take someone like Jean Grae, and not take away from what she’s doing, but add to it to the point where she gets a proper, proper release. I feel like when Jean does get a proper release, the world will know and there won’t be any more question.” (All Hip Hop)
In the mid-1990’s, Grae was associated with a group called Natural Resource before venturing into a solo career.
Natural Resource broke up in 1998 due to creative differences, but the exposure with the group worked towards Jean’s benefit. Changing her name from What? What? to Jean Grae, she was asked to appear on a number of songs with artists such as Herbaliser, High & Mighty, the Mumia 911 Project, the Hip-Hop For Respect project, Mr. Len, Da Beatminerz and Masta Ace. In the summer of 2002, Jean Grae released her debut album, Attack of the Attacking Things. The album featured the assistance of Da Beatminerz, Mr. Len, and Masta Ace. The album received much critical and fan acclaim as one of the best female hip-hop albums since Lauryn Hill‘s 1998 album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This Week followed in 2004. (All Music)
Grae is featured on Kweli’s latest solo album, Gutter Rainbows.
Talib brings his artist Jean Grae to the mix for Uh-Oh, produced by Oh No, this will no doubt be in the iPod of every backpacker. Spitting through violent organs and strings, Jean Grae shines hard on the track; “Psychopath/ Ride a tricycle in a bikers club/Mike Tyson face tatted addict like you like it rough/Hey scatter brain don’t get your grey matter punched up/Till you hunched up talking like you punch drunk.” (Yo! Raps Magazine)
Check out Talib Kweli & Jean Grae’s “Uh Oh” below: