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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.


Here is she is with the almighty Daddy-O. Love this joint.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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