Saturday, April 20, 2019

Sha-Rock

Sharon Green (born 1962), is hip hop's first female emcee, but is commonly referred to by her stage name, MC (Master of Ceremony) Sha-Rock. She was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, but grew up in the South Bronx, New York City, where hip hop culture was born. She is also referred to as the "Mother of the Mic", or the "Luminary Icon" in the hip-hop community.

Sha-Rock is the first female emcee-rapper of hip hop culture "on wax" or record on vinyl from its inception in the 1970s. She began as a local b-girl, or breakdancer, in the earliest days of South Bronx hip hop scene and culture in the late 1970s. The Funky 4 + 1 had their first significant hit with the 12-inch single "Rapping and Rocking the House" on Sugarhill Records (1979) as well as "That's the Joint" (1980). As an early pioneer affiliated with the Zulu Nation, MC Sha-Rock inspired a style of rapping emulated and made notable by Run DMC called the "echo chamber".


In 2010, Green published a book about her experiences titled The Story of the Beginning and End of the First Hip Hop Female MC: Luminary Icon Sha-Rock

Sharon Green Jackson aka MC Sha-Rock was a member of the first notable hip hop group that included a female MC and, according to popular music scholar, Kembrew McLeod, "the first group of their kind that released records commercially." Sha-Rock became the first prominent female MC in hip-hop, and the Funky 4 + 1 was the first rap group to appear on national television. Her contributions were groundbreaking in the early era of hip hop culture in the mid - to late 1970s. Sha-Rock was a founding member of the Funky 4 MC's, which later evolved into the Funky 4 + 1.

On March 2, 1981, consumer guide to LPs, pop critic Robert Christgau may have misled general public into the popular belief that Sha-Rock was the "+1" in the group. He framed his perception of the group as if it consisted of four male emcees and one female emcee as if an excess. "Quick tradeoffs and clamorous breaks vary the steady-flow rhyming of the individual MCs, and when it comes to Sha-Rock, Miss Plus One herself, who needs variation?" Male dominance has been a popular assumption about the genre since its earliest recorded moments.





Later, McLeod framed her performance her presence in the early Bronx crews of emcees as defying the norms associated with women in hip hop:

A unique aspect of the group was that Sha Rock wasn't portrayed as a sex object but was more or less considered equal among the male members of the group. Aside from the minor success of the all-female Sugarhill Records rap crew Sequence, Funky 4 + 1 signified the last moderate success of a woman in the rap industry until Roxanne Shanté and Salt-n-Pepa came along in the mid-'80s.

On February 14, 1981, The Funky 4 + 1 were introduced as New York City "street rappers" from the Bronx along with headlining musical guests Blondie with its lead singer Debbie Harry on Saturday Night Live. The Funky 4 + 1's appearance reflected a local connection that introduced the uptown musical youth of the Bronx and Harlem to the downtown Lower East Side scenes of graffiti art and music that was represented with the original hip-hop artists playing themselves in the 1983 film Wild Style by Charlie Ahearn.

This creative link between various youthful artists was forged by the influencers like Fab Five Freddy and Ruza Blue, nicknamed "Kool Lady Blue", who curated acts at the Roxy NYC nightclub, which featured early hip-hop DJs and breakdancers.Blue appeared in classic hip-hop films like Stan Latham's Beat Street (1984) and has been honored in recent decades by various organizations for her pioneering contributions to hip hop emceeing. Sha-Rock has received many awards in her lifetime, including the honorary award from the Council of the City of New York.

In April 2013, MC Sha-Rock was appointed as a National Advisor for the Cornell University Hip Hop Library collection. In addition, she has also worked in the criminal justice field for many years. Sha uses her knowledge to bring awareness, by mentoring and educating young men, women, and at risk youth. Sha delivers the importance of choices, education and self-empowerment.



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