It's so easy to forget that before she was all big media, Latifah was an MC. Like a hardcore MC. We could take it back to the days of Sha Rock, but for me it was her and Lyte in a world of dudes. I was never a huge Shante fan, Nikki D was nasty, and Queen Mother Rage had something for em. Lauryn is Hall of Fame. But Latifah had this smooth, butter flow and (in the words of Keith Murray) always represented intellectual violence.
Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.