Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Ladies Who Became Hip-Hop Insiders

*Hip-Hop is mostly considered a male-dominated field. One can surmise this by taking a glance at the people who occupy it. The male-centricity of the field even extends to the journalists who cover it. However, some of the most celebrated hip-hop insiders are women. These women have been on the scene, even before female rappers started to command the kind of popularity and coin that rivals their male counterparts.

The recent rise of female artists has made having a female voice in hip-hop broadcasting and journalism a necessity. However, there have always been female music broadcasters who were covering the scene and getting all the low-down. Here are three of the most prominent females who continue to play a pivotal role in the scene.

Angie Martinez

It wouldn’t feel right, if we didn’t begin this feature without a mention of “The Voice of New York”. Angie joined New York’s Hot 97 station as a 16 year old, answering listener calls. She graduated to the position of side-emcee to DJ Funkmaster Flex, which helped her learn the ropes of running an engaging radio show. She soon shared co-emcee duties on the important Afternoon Drive and never looked back. Her talents couldn’t be confined to one arena though. Angie is also a recording artist and an actor. She has worked with big names such as Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Lil Lim, Left-Eye Lopes and Mary J. Blige.

Even today, all major hip-hop artists have to make a stop at her show. She moved to Hot 97’s rival Power 105.1 in June 2014, where she continues to get the biggest sit-downs with artists like Pusha T and Meek Mill.

Minya “Miss Info” Oh

Any mention of the ladies of Hot 97 would be incomplete without the mention of Minya Oh aka Miss Info. As an Asian-American, Oh was an outsider whose passion for hip-hop and her letters to the editors of The Source got her hired as an unpaid intern at the magazine. While working there, she felt being judged and that pressure drove her to learn even more about Black culture and music. This was the genesis of ‘Miss Info’. Unlike other interns, she left her mark on the publication by writing a five-mic review for Nas’ Illmatic. That legendary review was just the beginning for Oh, who later joined Vibe and then transitioned to radio after a brief detour to TV, working with Sway on MTV’s hip-hop coverage. It was Sway who gave Oh the name “Miss Information”. Oh shortened the name to “Miss Info” for brevity and style and took it with her to Hot 97.

She continues to play a big role in hip-hop, providing all the latest details on her website MissInfo.tv and contributing to various hip-hop media shows while hosting her own web show Food Grails, produced by Complex Media.

Angela Yee

The English major from Wesleyan came into hip-hop broadcasting with a laser sharp focus. After graduating, she interned at Wu-Tang Management and ended-up writing all the skits on GZA’s “Beneath the Surface”. She started to work at Eminem’s clothing company Shady Limited, where she reached out to his manager Paul Rosenberg to get a break into Shade 45. She auditioned for the morning show, which she co-hosted with Cipha Sounds. Later when Cipha left, she got the show all to herself. She later moved to Power 105.1 as a host of The Breakfast Club, alongside Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy. As the sole woman in the trio, Angela doesn’t feel shy in chiming in and bringing in tough questions.

Karen Civil

New media that emerged from the popularity of the Internet also impacted Hip-Hop. One name that has built a new media empire out of this is Karen Civil. She had already embraced the Internet at a young age, developing fan sites for musicians in middle school. She later interned at Hot 97 while also helping The Diplomats set-up their e-store. Sensing the shift early on, she later joined Asylum records while also staring her own marketing firm that specialized working with hip-hop artists. Her most known effort is the website Weezythanxyou.com, which published Lil Wayne’s letters which he wrote when he was incarcerated at Rikers. She continues to play a massive role as a hip-hop influencer with her eponymous website KarenCivil.com and Twitter feed which always stay fresh with updates and exclusives. Currently, she can be seen on Complex Media’s entrepreneurship show “Good Looking Out”.

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