The 411 on Rap Music for Young girls in 80s and 90s Lagos with Dara Makanjuola
So I think in essence, my earliest hip hop memory in terms of being in Lagos as a young girl, I was probably between ages 8 and 10 just as I was finishing up primary school about to go into secondary school. You know funny enough, mainly I remember being influenced by female artistes, not albums but you know songs. There were female rappers like Queen Latifah, Mc Lyte, Monie Love talking about songs like "fly girl" "girl it’s a shame." To be honest with you, those were kind of positive messages.
I remember all of us girls rapping to the lyrics of all those things and again looking back at it now, there were body positive, self-esteem positive messages which is something that is actually nice to think about.
Then probably as I got into secondary school, then age 11-13 based on my age demographic, I kinda missed the early N.W.A thing which is at the end of the 80s into the early 90s. So really for me the stongest hip-hop memory that I have in terms of an album is Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. I just remember you know ‘Ain’t nuthin but a thang’ on that album. I remember young male friends I had at the time trying to get their dad’s cars that they were sneaking out to drive, trying to get them to bounce up and down, trying to get them to do all the things they saw in the song.
I think looking back at it, that was a gentle introduction to the next album which I think was probably the definitive rap album that really introduced me into rap and that was Doggystyle by Snoop Dogg. Now, that was just a completely…thinking about it now I don’t know whether to say…
Looking at it now, it probably wasn’t the most positive influences in terms of the lyrics and the rap but definitely there was something audacious and bold and I think a generation of us may imbibe that audacity in a sense. It’s just very interesting. It was like being introduced to a different culture, a different language, a different style of dress, a completely different way of looking at things and so that was probably my first pure shape up album of which I knew several of them, the songs and the words. To be honest with you, I and my older cousin, we used to roll to school together, I probably shouldn’t have and then came WARREN G’s ‘regulate’ that album was huge actually that album wasn’t called ‘regulate’, it was called something else but it was the album that had ‘regulate’ on it. For me, because of my age demographic, I was primarily affected more at the time by West Coast before we got on to ‘bad boy’ coming into play.
But the hip-hop album, the whole R&B album that really defined me and my early days in Lagos; going out with my female friends the way we use to dress, the driver picking us up to pick up from each other’s houses the weekend when our moms had let us go and play was really Mary Blige’s ‘The 411’. I mean that album, every single song from ‘real love’ to ‘reminisce’ was seminar. I have been to 3 Mary J. Blige’s concerts in my life and I’ll probably still go to more and that affected everything. It affected the way we dressed, we all were women now wearing big dresses with white tank tops inside, shorts, big hoops then we didn’t have extensions, but your timberland boots or any boot you could find with your socks. But really the more you could dress like that, the cooler you were, the cooler you wanted to be and again very body positives. That wasn’t about wearing skimpy or tight clothes, it was about individuality and those are really my early memories of being in Lagos as a young girl and hip-hop and R & B.