Hip Hop Ladies Night – Artist Review – Lady Of Rage

The Lady of Rage

Birth name – Robin Yvette Allen
Born June 11, 1968 (age 45)
Origin – Farmville, Virginia, U.S.
Genres – Hip hop
Occupations – Actress/Rapper
Years active – 1989–present
Labels – Death Row Records (1991-1997 or 1998), Boss Lady Entertainment, Doggystyle Records
Associated actsDr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, RBX, 2Pac, Gang Starr
Robin Yvette Allen (born June 11, 1968), better known by her stage name The Lady of Rage, is an American rapper and actress best known for collaborations with several Death Row Records artists, including Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg on the seminal albums The Chronic and Doggystyle.[1] She has been described as “one of the most skillful female MCs” with a “mastery of flow” and “hard-core lyrics”.[1]

Musical career

In the summer of 1988, the Lady of Rage met Shahkim of the Original Outlaw Brothers, an upstart rap group from Queens, New York. From the moment Shahkim heard her rap he was convinced she was the best female rapper around and after convincing her he could get her a record deal, he brought her to his group. The members of the Outlaw Brothers made Rage a member of the group and they eventually were signed to a production deal with the L.A. Posse ( who went on to produce several big hits for LL Cool J). At the time, the LA Posses had several artist in the camp. MC Breeze, The Real Roxanne, and they also had several relationships with different labels. Rage, along with all the artists in the camp worked diligently out of Chung King Studios in lower Manhattan recording, writing and more recording. In 1991, Lady of Rage met with Chubb Rock, providing vocals for his track, “Bring Em Home Safe” on his The One album, which she recorded under the name of ‘Rockin’ Robin’.[2]

Dr. Dre then discovered her after the L.A.Posse were letting him listen to some of the tracks on their album and the vocals she recorded for the L.A. Posse’s They Come in All Colors in 1991.[3] She appeared on several tracks from Dr. Dre’s 1992 classic The Chronic album, and on Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle in 1993.[4]

In 1994, she had a hit single with “Afro Puffs” (from the soundtrack to Above the Rim) which reached #5 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart.[5] She also made an appearance on Tha Dogg Pound’s album Dogg Food on the track “Do What I Feel”. Though she had made more than a dozen appearances on soundtracks as well as albums from her Death Row Records cohorts, the Lady of Rage didn’t release an album until ’97. Her debut solo album, Necessary Roughness, was released in June 1997 and peaked at #7 on the Billboard R&B Album chart and 32 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.[6] Her solo album was originally called Eargasm and was continually pushed back – it was meant to have been the next album on Death Row Records after The Chronic, and then after Doggystyle, before finally being released in 1997.[7]

After the release of her album and a guest-appearance with Gang Starr alongside Kurupt (“You Know My Steez (Three Men and a Lady Remix)”) in 1998,[4] Rage left Death Row Records and the music industry generally to focus on acting, appearing in an episode of Kenan & Kel.[8] The Lady of Rage also went on to be featured in several television sitcoms, most notably as Coretta Cox in the very well received The Steve Harvey Show on The WB from 1996 to 2002 – she also had a small part in Next Friday as Baby D, big little sister of Day Day’s ex girlfriend.[9]

In 2000, she made another rapping appearance on Snoop Dogg’s “Set It Off” on his album Tha Last Meal, a solo track “Unfucwitable” on Snoop Dogg Presents…Doggy Style Allstars Vol. 1 and “Batman & Robin”, which appeared on Snoop Dogg’s Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss album.[4]

In 2007 she signed to Shante Broadus’ label, Boss Lady Entertainment, and recorded a street album called From VA 2 LA.[10] She also made appearances on Bigg Snoop Dogg Presents…Welcome to tha Chuuch: Da Album and Cali Iz Active.[4]

She is currently a part of the FEM (Females Earning Money) Movement along with fellow female rappers Babs (of Da Band), Lady Luck, and Amil.[11] In 2008, she performed with MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and Salt-n-Pepa at the BET Hip Hop Awards.[12] In the summer of 2010 she joined Snoop Dogg during his headlining set at the Rock the Bells festival concert series, along with Warren G, RBX and Tha Dogg Pound for a performance of the classic Doggystyle album in its entirety.

Rage is currently part of the group N’Matez, along with Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, and RBX.

Rapping technique

Lady of Rage describes much of her rapping technique in the book How to Rap – she notes the importance of having a strong vocabulary,[13] writing poetry,[14] having different styles of flow,[15] using ‘rests’,[16] researching lyrics,[17] taking your time to write lyrics,[18] working with producers,[19] doing guide vocals,[20] and her compound rhymes in the track ‘Unfucwitable’ are broken down.[21]

Discography

Studio albums
1997: Necessary Roughness
2005: Va 2 La – (Label: Boss Lady Entertainment)
TBA: Verbal Abuse – (Label: TBC)
Filmography

The Steve Harvey Show
Kenan & Kel
Next Friday
Ride

Red Everything Movement

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