Yo Majesty, Natalie Stewart, Rocktapussy | Empty Bottle | Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader

Yo Majesty, Natalie Stewart, Rocktapussy Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Sun., Feb. 1, 9:30 p.m. 2009

“Fucked Up,” the lead track on YO MAJESTY’s 2008 full-length debut, Futuristically Speaking . . . Never Be Afraid (Domino), adds a whole new page to the tradition of surreal and profane rap established by such unhinged characters as Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Kool Keith, Biz Markie, and Blowfly—not least because this Florida group consists of two women, and women are even rarer in this subset of hip-hop than in the genre as a whole. Jwl. B makes Kathleen Hanna sound like Laura Nyro, spitting incitements like “You blame me ’cause I fuck up your car,” “Hit me, I want some attention,” and “I love you, I’ll bust you in your face” as though she’s trying to destroy the mike solely with her voice. If there were any justice in the world, Yo Majesty’s explosive presence would upend a club-music scene that considers sourpuss Frenchmen with huge stacks of fake Marshall cabinets “dangerous”—not only are they refreshingly free of self-seriousness, they can conjure a real aura of risk. Jwl. isn’t on this tour (the group’s PR agency cites “personal reasons making it impossible for her to travel”), so her equally capable partner, Shunda K, is performing solo. —J. Niimi NATALIE STEWART, aka the Floacist, made her name (or I suppose her pseudonym) with Floetry, a heavy-grooving hip-hop/spoken-word duo she formed with school friend Marsha Ambrosius. After they moved from London to the States in 2000, their intimate, R & B-wrapped rhymes quickly hit the charts—of their three albums, one went gold and another cracked the top ten—but a couple years ago the group slipped into an indefinite hiatus. Stewart has started her own label, which is due to release her album Freedom any minute, and on her own she seems to have grown ethereal: “Get Away,” with its breathy choir of vocal harmonies hovering over a hip-hop beat, sounds like what might spill from the tissue between fantasy and reality if you tore it right where Jamaica lines up with Lothlorien. —Ann Sterzinger Yo Majesty headlines; Stewart and Rocktapussy open.


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