The female game in hip-hop has grown tremendously over the years, but the fight to become equals with the men is still ongoing.
We’ve seen sexy superstar MC’s like Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim, as well as conscious voices such as Lauryn Hill, Left Eye, and Jean Grae throughout history, who have all created a path for the future generation.
In North Philadelphia, there is one lyrical talent who is ready to fight for the feminine voice, and to help bring it back into today’s sound. Let me introduce to you, Isis The Saviour.
The MC is extremely outspoken, and is using her passion to her advantage, as she addresses today’s most powerful and controversial issues in her music.
Speaking on a slew of topics, such as race, social injustices, diversity, and much more, Isis is definitely what the future holds.
I got a chance to talk to Isis, who told me all about her views on feminism, race in hip-hop, her influences, and how she plans to use her passion in the future.
Check out my conversation with Isis The Saviour below, and check out her music here.
How did you get your background in music?
My family. Growing up music was a very big part of our household. Whether it was gospel music on Sundays echoing through the house, or R&B and hip-hop reverberating through the speakers during house parties and cookouts, it was always there. Like a moth to a flame, I was naturally magnetized to it, shaped by it, and eventually inspired to create my own.
You are very outspoken in your music, as well as your social media. Where did that come from? What triggered you to speak your mind so easily?
I guess just growing up in North Philadelphia, we’re exposed to so much so young, so it was in the necessary order of things for me. It’s my outlet, my perspective, my passion, my pain and ultimately, my therapy. I think being raised in the golden era of hip-hop laid that foundation. I grew up on Public Enemy’s “Fuck The Police”, Notorious BIG’s “Everyday Struggle,” Nas’ “Life’s A Bitch,” and so on. So speaking my mind has always been synonymous to hip-hop. Now, rap – that’s a totally different animal. When you’re young, you have so many dreams and things that you want do with your life, but then you get older, and you began to notice the societal differences in class, race and gender, that you sober up. You start to realize how disposable you are. That’s what fuels me – my refusal to be discarded. Although it can be very frustrating at times because some people won’t get it, I still realize how necessary it is to use my voice.
What are some of the key topics you’re most passionate about these days?
I’m drawn to topics that effect me, and the demographic I grew up in, as well as issues that effect minorities around the globe. Whether it’s the dynamics of government, religion, education, poverty etc. It usually comes from some particular life/world event that I’m intrigued by, and/or responding to when I write music.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
Honestly, I would like to see people grasp the concept of interdependence. We live in such an individualistic society, so at times it’s very difficult to connect with people outside of superficial vantage points. We are taught from a young age “to be all you can be” and as a result, a lot is lost in translation. I believe it creates an atmosphere of unnecessary competitiveness, selfishness and to an extent, narcissism. Instead of focusing on the whole, and working together, we become compartmentalized, and fixated only on ourselves. If we looked at the world through the lens of interdependence, we would constantly be reflecting, reviewing and reevaluating how our actions are not only effecting us, but the planet as well. Global warming, war-ravaged countries, and ethnic cleansing are just a few indicators of this type of idealistic, self-centered and inhumane way of thinking.
If you could change music in one big way, what would it be?
I’d appreciate a little more diversity. I’d like to hear MC’s create songs in 2nd and 3rd person, and embrace a little more creativity. Sometimes when I turn on the radio, it’s like listening to one long ass run-on sentence. I’d like to see the major labels embrace more positive voices, and DJ’s stop rotating the same 6 artists all day. I’d love to see more artist deal with their personal issues and stop trying to sell me products every other bar. I want to be able to feel the music again.
How do you feel about feminism? Would you consider yourself a feminist at all?
I feel that feminism is important, especially in an era where women are constantly being objectified in the media and subjugated to gender stereotypes. We can’t just be reduced to eye candy or traditional domestic roles anymore, when we are actively maintaining families, households, and careers simultaneously. I believe that women only reinforce this type of narrative when we stay silent and allow ourselves to be exploited through overly sexualized music, movies and magazine propaganda. I’m not here to downplay my relevance, strength or power to make anyone feel more comfortable. If I start to do that, I am ultimately only doing a disservice to myself and all of the young women that look to me for guidance or a reference point for womanhood. Our children must always come first.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
The usual suspects – Tupac, The Roots, BIG, Rakim, Wu~Tang, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, Cool G Rap, Nas, Public Enemy, NWA, Mone Love etc. I could literally go on for days…
Where do you feel your role stands in hip-hop today, especially amongst the females?
Honestly, I feel like I’m at the pinnacle spearheading a renaissance. Even though I still consider myself “underground,” I feel like my voice is necessary and my style is authentic. I don’t have any gimmicks. I’m not selling no sexuality, and I’m just giving you classic storytelling, sophisticated cadence, a full palette of topics with a moral at the end of the story. Put me up against whomever, and bar-for-bar Imma hold my own. I’m also an Art & Design major, pursing my bachelors in visual communications, so I think that adds a whole other dimension to my artistry.
What’s the number one thing you want to accomplish in the game?
I want to raise the bar. I want to bring back self-respect, self-reliance and self-control. I want intelligence to be sexy again. I don’t want to just make music that is limited to evoking dance; I want to make music that also encourages people to think, analyze and solve problems. In other words, less twerking and more thinking.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years as far as your career and your effect in music?
Graduating college with a degree in visual communications, starting my own multimedia firm, mentoring aspiring artist form all mediums, and transitioning myself into film and television are things I want to accomplish. I feel like music is just the beginning. Right now, it’s all about diversifying and expanding your market. I don’t want to be one-dimensional, because as people, I believe we are not just one thing. As a single mom you learn the importance of multitasking early, and I want to encompass that in my art, as well as my entrepreneurial path.
What do you have coming up for the rest of the year?
Besides finishing up my debut EP “The Isis Papers,” and gearing up for the tour and promo campaign, I will be studying abroad in Belize at the end of spring, continuing college classes in the Fall, and incorporating my son into every step of the journey.
You can follow Isis on Twitter: @IsisTheSaviour