I'll never forget when 69 Boyz' "Tootsie Roll" came on at an elementary school dance in 1997. This wasn't the first time I had heard the Miami bass hit — my PE coach had already used the tune to choreograph a line dance for the girls to perform at an upcoming field day. But, in my school's cafetorium, there were no rules. Fifth-grade boys perched their lunch boxes on their shoulders like they were shooting a music video. "Booty cam!" they shouted as hordes of girls convulsed their pre-pubescent bodies back and forth. It was too late for the DJ (who was also our music teacher) to change the song. And suddenly I understood that a "Tootsie Roll" wasn't just made of sugar.
Although fun to dance to, Miami bass is known for being misogynistic and full of blatant slut-shaming. Song titles ranging from 2 Live Crew's "Face Down Ass Up" to "We Want Some Pussy" give a glimpse into the exploitative and thirsty world of early Miami hip-hop.
But what about the female MCs of Miami Bass? Despite rampant sexism, there were queens who emerged as powerhouses from the era, tearing through all the bullshit the boys were slinging. It wasn't easy to find creative autonomy if you were a female rapper, but these ladies fought for it, paving the way for foul-mouthed wonders Trina, Jacki-O, and many other women topping the charts today.
Here are some of the most important female trailblazers of Miami bass.
5. Dimples Tee.
Girls get a bad rap for being jealous. Rap group J.D.C definitely thought so, releasing "Jealous Girls" in 1986. But Miami bass duo Dimples Tee wasn't going to let that slide. Their 1987 clapback, "Jealous Fellas," doesn't just point to boys as being needy and insecure — Dimples Tee calls out overly controlling men for "want[ing] [women] to stay in bed" and keeping them from the greatness they deserve. Although Dimples Tee's career was short-lived and, even today, not much is known about the two, they were 100% on point with this one. We can only guess where they would be now if there weren't so many jealous fellas standing in their way.
As the story goes, the Kendall-bred Lady Tigra and Bunny D met in high school. During lunch, they could be seen rap-battling boys. That's where they caught rapper Mighty Rock's attention. They were just 15 and 17, respectively, when they signed with Hot Productions, but a year later "Cars That Go Boom!" was already a top-40 hit. L’Trimm's ode to subwoofers is playfully femme, stylish, and honest: it doesn't matter if you're smart or cute, but if you can't play my bass, why bother?
3. MC Luscious.
"Boom! I Got Your Boyfriend" was another comeback track inspired by the Boys From the Bottom's "Boom! I Got Your Girlfriend." But, as most comeback tracks go, the female version was far more successful and poignant. There's no better way to start a night dancing with your girls than to play MC Luscious' 1991 hit.
The cousin of 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell, Anquette Allen, was truly the first lady of Miami bass. She first came on the scene in 1986 with a come-back track to 2 Live Crew's "Throw the D." It was aptly titled "Throw the P." But if the power of the P wasn't strong enough on its first track, Anquette — a trio — soon came out with a truly 305 anthem: "Janet Reno." In the song, the then-State Attorney becomes a mythic heroine, taking from the child-support evading douchebags, and giving back to the hard-working mothers of Miami. Anquette makes sure to remind: "Make sure that you got some protection/Think twice the next time before you jump right in the bed/Take a minute out to put a rubber on your head."
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"Da Baddest Bitch" from Liberty City is probably the best thing that came out of Miami bass. Period. Like Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown before her, Trina does not give any fucks about gender roles. Over a heavily Miami bass-influenced track produced by Black Mob, Trina lets everyone know sex is her sport. Lyrics like "I make him eat it when my period on," and "See if I had the chance to be a virgin again, I'll be fucking by the time I'm 10," positioned Trina as one of the rawest female MCs of her time. These days, she's still giving fuckboys shit, but we'd give anything for another "Pull Over" music video. As she rides a jetski, dances on a beautifully green-screened ocean, and slides down a water park tunnel, Trina is the epitome of '90s Miami bass feminism.