Bahamadia Digital Biography
“I’mma rap fanatic…phenomenal at it a syllable savage written or off the cabbage this chick is bananas.”
Bahamadia rose to prominence on the hip-hop scene as the female protégée of Gang Starr's Guru, and lent her smooth-flowing raps to a variety of projects during the late '90s, including several electronica and acid jazz artists. Bahamadia is an innovative talent acknowledged in various musical genres as a forerunner of tomorrow’s music. Born Antonia Reed in Philadelphia in 1970, Bahamadia started out DJing at local house parties in the early to mid-'80s, and soon stepped out front to prove her skill on the mic as well. She remained a presence on the Philly hip-hop scene, but didn't make her first recordings until hooking up with producer/radio personality DJ Ran, who helmed her independent 1993 single "Funk Vibe." "Funk Vibe" caught the attention of Gang Starr MC Guru, who took an interest in Bahamadia's career and helped her get a record deal with Chrysalis. Her first singles, 1994's "Total Wreck" and 1995's "Uknowhowwedu," were well-received in the underground for their jazzy flavor and laid-back raps. She also appeared on the second volume of Guru's acclaimed Jazzmatazz project. The full-length LP Kollage followed in 1996, and featured production by both Guru and DJ Premier of Gang Starr, as well as fellow Philly natives the Roots.
Illadelph Halflife Unfortunately, Chrysalis folded a year later, and Bahamadia chose to wait out her contract before resuming her solo career. In the meantime, she made a string of musically adventurous guest appearances that solidified her underground reputation: the Roots (Illadelph Halflife's "Push up Ya Lighter"), Sweetback (Sade's backing band), drum'n'bass auteur Roni Size (the title track of the landmark New Forms), Towa Tei, acid jazzers the Brand New Heavies, the Herbaliser, trip-hoppers Morcheeba ("Good Girl Down"), Rah Digga, Slum Village, and Talib Kweli's Reflection Eternal (their collaboration, "Chaos," appeared on the seminal Rawkus compilation Soundbombing, Vol. 2). She also hosted a hip-hop radio show in Philadelphia from 1997-1999. In 2000, she signed with the L.A.-based indie Goodvibe and released the chilled-out seven-track EP BB Queen (as in "beautiful black"), which received excellent reviews.
She has expressed a positive attitude toward globalism as an emerging trend in hip hop. For example, in a 2003 collaboration with little-known group the Sisters of the Underground on a track entitled "Global", she performs lyrics in the chorus which acknowledge Japan, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and Thailand, among other countries, for fostering vibrant hip hop communities, and Japan in particular for the dedication of her Japanese fans. She has recorded a number of bootlegs exclusively released in Japan. Her reputation in North America has been enhanced by a number of highly regarded guest appearances on tracks by artists including Talib Kweli, The Roots, Jedi Mind Tricks and Planet Asia, and through her association with the Philadelphia hip hop collective Army of the Pharaohs.
"There is less balance in the industry of music as it pertains to women getting adequate exposure for two main reasons in my opinion. The first is because from a label stand point it has been deemed too expensive/high risk to invest in the overall logistics necessary for female emcees to be marketed aside from sex objects or novelty acts. The second would be the male-dominated industry thrives on controlling the oppressed (in this case women’s) presence and original voice." - Urban Cusp
photo credits include: crowd-travi-trav (tumblr), nhhn be magazine, lolasambitions (tumblr), mike cartel rawkus, the source magazine, women-in-music (tumblr)