Season 2, Episode 3: Underrepresented

After the whole SHEther beef between Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj, we started thinking about women in hip-hop. As 80s babies who grew up in the 90s, we grew up during the Golden Age of women in rap music. In this episode, we’re taking a walk down memory lane and discussing the women rappers who were also role models when we were growing up. We are also digging into the state of women in hip-hop today and hopefully introducing you to someone who might become your new favorite MC. Below we’ve listed the names of women rappers who have influences our culture. Be sure to tweet us @unbasicpodcast and let us know which female rappers are spitting new flavor in your ear!

Angie Martinez
Azalea Banks
Briana Perry
Charlie Baltimore
Da Brat
Foxy Brown
Iggy Azalea
Jean Grey
Lil Kim
MC Lyte
Missy Elliot
Naeemah Supreme
Queen Latifah
Rah Digga
Salt N Peppa
Yani Mo

Season 2, Episode 2: Unleashed Pt. 2

This episode is geared toward those who are looking to take their creative careers to the next level. Earlier in year, we did an episode called “Unleashed” as a part of our New Year’s resolution series about finding joy in your career, while you are on the journey to fulfilling your purpose. In this episode, we’re debunking the myth of the starving artist and encouraging you to turn your creative hobby into your creative business. We’re telling our personal stories about time management, finances,  and calling inspiration to you.

Remember: “Ideas are a divine invitation and the work itself is a reward. It’s a reward because of the way it changes you, not necessarily because of the way it changes the world. At the end of a creative encounter you will be different than you were before, and that in itself makes it worth doing.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Season 2, Episode 1: Unraveled

In this episode, we start out by keeping it light with a discussion about 2 Chainz’s Pink Trap House (which has since closed and is moving) and Jay Z’s new “4:44” album. Then, we segue into saying the words left unsaid about stereotypes of toxic masculinity in the African American community, depictions of black men in the media, and how to empower and support black men, while still preserving the souls of black women.

We’ve also issued a challenge to the world. For the next 100 days, tell someone that you love them and that they are worthy. Say it in person, say it on social media, say it on the phone, say it in an email, say it everywhere! SPREAD THE LOVE! 

Can we talk about 2 Chainz’ pink trap house?

For the past couple of weeks Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz has been causing traffic jams in the west midtown neighborhood. As a part of the promotions for his latest album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, he painted a home pink, put a hoopty in the front yard, and painted the word TRAP in black capital letters on the front. People from all over Georgia and the southeast have been driving to Atlanta to see this monument of trap music’s integration into pop culture.

For those who are unfamiliar with trap music, it is a subgenre of rap that emerged from drug houses during the era of the crack cocaine epidemic. The music is meant to be motivational– to encourage those who are making, weighing, measuring, and bagging drugs to work faster and harder to earn more money. During the 1980s and 1990s crack cocaine wreaked havoc on communities of color, leading to the incarceration of black men and women. Literally, a generation of children were left without parents and lived in dire poverty because of drug addiction.

So, it’s a bit conflicting to see the glorification of trap music and the dark realities that it narrates. The black community has not recovered from the splintering of the black family perpetuated by crack, and black people have not forgotten the government’s hands-off approach to helping black people. We’re reminded every time we hear about a white person’s life being saved by a Narcan shot after a heroine overdose. Yet, on any given Sunday, there are more people at the trap house than the church house.

That said, the pink trap house is also a genius guerrilla marketing scheme, and it is not the fist that the rapper executed to promote the Pretty Girls Like Trap Music album. 2 Chainz hosted a group workout class where attendees participated in a 45-minute workout while music from the album played. At the end of the class, they passed out pink yoga mats. As of last weekend, a pastor has started having church in the backyard of the trap house and says he wants to find ways to help those people who are still caught up in the trap house. This is a righteous cause, especially since Atlanta has the widest income inequality gap in the country. Less than 5 miles from the extremely gentrified west midtown neighborhood it has never been more visible.

How do we reconcile the popularity of trap music as the beat of the club, the gym, and rush hour traffic, but also as the rhythm of oppressive socioeconomic circumstances? Is it empowerment or exploitation for a rapper to capitalize on the popularity of trap music in order to make money off of the white people who download it? Tell us what you think by tweeting us @unbasicpodcast with the hashtag #pinktraphouse.

Episode 6: Undressed

I’m too fat.

I’m too skinny.

I wish my boobs were bigger.

I wish my hips were smaller.

We spend so much time lamenting over the size of our thighs and for women of color, often we lament in the dark and alone. Issues with body image, eating disorders, and disordered eating are often seen as “white girl issues,” but many women of color grapple with these same internal conflicts. Yet, no one ever talks about it until now.  Haze and I have very different experiences of living in our bodies, but we both know what it is like to look in the mirror and feel let down. We also know what  it looks like to be inching toward victory and have that glimmer of internal light that comes from healthy eating and exercise. In short, we both know what it is like to have some level of happiness and self-worth hinged upon body weight.

In this episode of the podcast, we’re getting undressed and talking about body image, weight, healthy eating and the historical exploitation of black women’s bodies in the media. We are breaking the silence. It’s time to get naked and hopefully get healed.

Episode 5: Unable to can

We’ve been away for over two weeks and so much has gone down in the world. From Muslim bans to the GRAMMYs we are saying all of the words left unsaid about current events. We’re talking about the “Cash Me Outside” Girl, Hurt Bae, the Remy Ma/Nicki Minaj “ShETHER” dis track, and everything that has gone down in the meantime and in between time. We also have a new #QTNA (questions that need answers) segment where we dissect national and world politics. Give us a listen and tweet us your thoughts @unbasicpodcast.

Episode 4: #Oscars

The Academy Awards are Kelundra’s favorite television event and Ashlee Haze indulged her by doing an Oscars live cast. I (Kelundra) used to have a tradition of waiting for the Oscars to come around and then spend the year leading up to the following year’s awards watching the movies that won the previous year. Nowadays I just watch the movies that I have an inkling will be nominated, and this year I managed to see La La Land, 13th, Hidden FiguresFences, and Moonlight. And, Haze watched all of the animated and short films. We watched the entire a show, from Justin Timberlake’s opening to Halle Berry’s wig to Gary from Chicago to the La La Land/Moonlight mix-up, and we’re breaking it down.

Photo from Getty Images.

#ThisBody, The New York Times and more shameless plugs

Ashlee Haze #unleashed

If you go to your local Lane Bryant, you might see a familiar face on the displays and advertisements. Ashlee Haze is one of the faces for Lane Bryant’s #ThisBody campaign, and she’s in great company with singer Lizzo and the dancers of Pretty Big Movement. Be unbasic and press play.

And if Haze wasn’t being amazing enough, she recently did an interview  with Nylon magazine about empowering women of color through spoken word. Read it here.

Kelundra #unleashed

Kelundra recently did an interview with American Theatre magazine about the role of race in theatre criticism. The article was written in response to the recent New York Times Big River controversy. New York Times critic Laura Collins-Hughes reviewed the Encores! production of the musical Big River, which is loosely based on Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. In the original review, Collins-Hughes brings up the issue of race, which struck a nerve with the show’s producer Jack Viertal, so much so that he wrote a letter to the Times’ editor. Get caught up the in the drama (all puns intended).


#HurtBae, we need to talk

So, last night Haze sent me a message on Facebook, and here’s how it went:

screenshot_2017-02-16-22-20-25          screenshot_2017-02-16-22-20-35          screenshot_2017-02-16-22-20-49

For those who do not know, #HurtBae is a series in The Scene’s “Love” section where exes have the opportunity to confront each other about the implosion of their relationship.  Watch the video here. This type of closure is rare when these ephemeral millennial relationships end and after watching the video, you’ll see that the emotional investment in their dynamic was completely one sided. Please believe that we will be dissecting this on a future episode of Unbasic. When he said “I did everything” and when she said “Today, I couldn’t see my life without you,” I knew they both needed to listen to the Uncuffed episode. Get yourself some boundaries, people!

What is most astounding is when she said she forgives him and he didn’t understand why he would be extended any mercy, even though that is fundamentally what love is about– the extension of grace, mercy, and charity from one person to another. However, one has to wonder whether she forgave him, or blamed herself, because that is not the same thing. Tell us what you think about #HurtBae in the comments section or on Twitter @UnbasicPodcast

Episode 3: Unleashed

This week, we’re continuing the New Year’s resolution series and talking all about finding your purpose, making the most of where you are now, and setting measurable, attainable career goals. We know that most millennials have a 9 to 5 and a 5 to 9, and we want to encourage you to see your 9 to 5 as an investment in your 5 to 9. It’s time to stop ignoring your something bigger and be you UNLEASHED!