On April 1st five women rappers from the Midwest turned The Corner Bar in Kalamazoo, MI into a sweaty basement party. For three hours Miz Korona, Mz Jonz, Ms. Chyna D., MizJes and DC created the ambience of a block party with rugged rhyming in the lounge. There was a balance of local emcees blended with Detroit rappers Miz Korona and Mz Jonz. The Kalamazoo hip-hop scene has had its ebbs and flows but there has never been an evening devoted to the lyrical effusions of women. I spoke with four of the performers before their show and listened to mini-histories of their art. At the end of the night they set the bar higher for these kinds of shows in the area and made an excellent stand on the necessity to support local hip-hop.
What does DC stand for?
It stands for Dust and Clay. My father is a pastor so itâ€™s the spiritual sense of a dust and clay I try to keep it for the family. I like to make my music my roots.
How long have you been rapping?
About five years ago my brother started a label when he was in school and he brought it here. Iâ€™ve always written since I was 12 years old. So when he saw my work he put it to a beat.
Do you have a project out right now?
Yes, I actually have a CD called Rhythm and Hip-Hop my mixed tape. Iâ€™m coming out with a project in the Fall called Mind Real. But they can get my mixed tape online at CD Baby and iTunes. Kalamazoo people can get it on Drake at Greenlight Music.
You have your second project out right now what can you tell me about it?
Itâ€™s called JesInTime the first project that I had was called Just Because. Iâ€™m doing a lot of songs from the project tonight. I do a lot of collaborations and most of my partners are male so I bought some of them with me.
What took you from being a fan to being an artist?
My dad plays bass guitar and I would perform at his shows when I was little playing the saxophone in between the sets. Run DMC, The Fat Boys and Ice-T they were my inspiration. I was going through a hardship in life all the songs that I had been writing since 1997 starting coming to life. I recorded one and it was on. I needed producers, I needed beats I needed collaborators.
How did you choose your style?
I donâ€™t feel like I chose my style I feel like I was just being myself.
Youâ€™ve been rapping for a while and a lot of people donâ€™t know you were in â€œ8 Mileâ€ what was that experience like?
It was a little scary at first once I found out who the star of the movie was the they told me I was going to be rapping thatâ€™s something that I do everyday. It was kind of different because there were so many cameras around at the time but it was second nature. It was cold as hell out there but it was a wonderful experience. I would love to get into some more movies and show some acting that I donâ€™t do on a regular basis but it was cool.
So whatâ€™s on the agenda for 2011?
Iâ€™m planning on releasing a mixed tape in the next 2 to 3 months Iâ€™ve been working really hard on that. Later towards the end of the year maybe the top of 2012 I think Iâ€™m going to release the follow-up to The Injection. I got a nice line-up of people a lot of local people and a lot of people who are in the industry. I got Bahamadia on one of the joints on the new album so thatâ€™s really huge Iâ€™m like thatâ€™s one of my heroes. I met her in Austin last year at SXSW and we connected we did a showcase together and sheâ€™s so cool. So 2011 Iâ€™m just working on a new album and a mixed tape still pushing The Injection still pushing Dope Muzik.
Ms. Chyna D.
How would you describe your style?
Iâ€™m a little bit grimy, a little conscious, a little club, I have sentimental heartbreak songs R&B and hip-hop.
How long have you been making music?
About four years now.
How can people keep up with your work?
Iâ€™m on ReverbNation.