The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop (2021)
The Motherlode highlights more than 100 women who have shaped the power, scope, and reach of rap music, including pioneers like Roxanne Shanté, game changers like Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott, and current reigning queens like Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Lizzo—as well as everyone who came before, after, and in between. Some of these women were respected but not widely celebrated.
Some are impossible not to know. Some of these women have stood on their own; others were forced into templates, compelled to stand beside men in big rap crews. Some have been trapped in a strange critical space between respected MC and object. They are characters, caricatures, lyricists, at times both feminine and explicit. This book profiles each of these women, their musical and career breakthroughs, and the ways in which they each helped change the culture of rap.
Story: Clover Hope, art: Rachelle Baker
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Tupac Shakur photographed by David McLean during Milan Fashion Week, June 1996.
The Versace shows always had the best guests. Milan was a rock and roll circus, and Versace was always at the top of it. I knew Tupac was in town and would be walking in the show, so I just waited outside to get his picture. And sure enough, afterwards, he came down the road – Via Gesù – with one bodyguard, wearing this incredible leather outfit. At the time, Tupac was famous in America but he wasn’t really famous in Italy. But some people just have an aura, they stand out from the crowd. Tupac was very sexy, very attractive: he was wearing this fierce Versace waistcoat with his tattoos and beautiful eyelashes. That’s what the aura was. I ran after him, and I got three shots. I developed them and noticed that, in one of the images, he looked very pensive. And it did make me wonder what he was thinking about. He’d just walked the show, and then he’d left. A few months later, he was dead.
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