Chase: “It’s pretty amazing how hip-hop is such a global phenomenon now. Here we are talking to you, Kadyelle, an amazing emcee all the way from Australia. I tell you, I am so glad that I found your music online. I know we sometimes get stuck in our regions. There is hip-hop coming out of Hamilton and there is a lot coming out of Toronto and New York and we sometimes get stuck on that.”
Kadyelle: “I know what that’s like.”
Chase: “When I interviewed Eternia last year we talked about that and she said that if you ask people who their favourite MCs are, they will name 20 or even 50 rappers but if you ask them who there favourite female MC is, a lot of people will name 1, because you can only have one. It’s like, “Who’s your Top 20 and who’s you favourite female? (and you can only have one.)
That is really a shame because when I took psychology classes we covered how women have more of a brain for linguistics and I always thought it was strange that if women are more wired for linguistics, why aren’t there more women in hip-hop?”
Kadyelle: “I think a lot of people think that there isn’t any room for females in hip-hop. A lot of males are completely offended by the idea of a female rapping. You see this online a lot because they don’t have the courage to say it to your face. I think that intimidates a lot of women. They lose the courage to get up on stage and put out releases and put themselves in that situation. Getting attacked by people is a worry.
It’s also a fairly new thing for women to get involved. I haven’t heard of women being involved in hip-hop to an extent anywhere near as long as males have. I don’t know why it is the way it is.
I also think the general consensus to hold females to a far lower standard than males is also a part of it. Women don’t aspire to be greater that what they possibly could be because they are expected to be bad, I think, to be honest.”
Chase: “Yeah, I don’t know what happened there because I did some research of hip-hop in the 70’s and right when hip-hop started getting big, there was a female crew called The Mercedes Ladies in 1976. They weren’t sexualized like a lot of the female rappers are nowadays where they seem to sell an image more so than their lyrics.
When hip-hop first started females were seen as equals and something has happened over the years where that has shifted somehow. In the 21st Century, I really want to bring that back. If you look at my Top 10 Albums of 2010, there are 3 female MCs on there. And I didn’t put Top 10 pop albums, Top 10 Country albums, that was my Top 10 albums list.
Number 1, 2 and 10 on my list were female MCs and I don’t think people are thinking like that. There is some amazing rap coming from, as Shad would say, the better halves of dudes.”
Kadyelle: “There is. I’ve been keeping an eye and ear out for a while now and some of my favourite musicians are female emcees and I honestly have no idea why they aren’t respected more or even grouped in the same category as males in the industry.
Considering basic hip-hop culture is about respect and humanitarianism and love and mutual appreciation for each other, and yet when you bring females into the equation, it really brings out the worst in a lot of males in the industry.
It’s a shame that I am constantly being told that if I want to be out there touring and putting out releases that I just have to accept it. It’s the kind of criticism that you get that not a single person will comment on your songs, they’ll comment on the fact that your skirt maybe isn’t short enough, or your top isn’t low-cut enough, or maybe there is another female rapper out there that happens to be skinnier than you or hotter than you. It’s pretty ridiculous.
I don’t know why there’s so much tolerance for that kind of behaviour in hip-hop culture. I don’t know why it exists. It’s a shame and I hope over the next decade or two we see the last of that. It’s a ridiculous, out-dated situation that really needs to end if people want to see more females in the industry be successful.”
Chase: “It certainly does. It’s a shame that we even have to speak of this and spend 15 minutes of the hour we’ve got with you because, for me, it’s a non-issue.
I’m a teacher and when I teach drama to my class, we discuss the terms actor and actress. The –or suffix means “one who” so I call the girls actors in the class because we are all acting, we don’t need that separation there.
I think things are starting to change a little bit. I’ve noticed in the hip-hop community that I circle with, and the blogosphere, and with some of the artists that I interview and talk with all the time, that we are more open and showing more love and respect to the females on the mic. I hope that trickles down to the general audience. That really is my goal here.
I hope our special evening for International Women’s Day helps. An entire evening highlighting the women in hip-hop will hopefully influence a few people.”
Kadyelle: “It’s well past the hour where we need to all put our prejudices behind us. It would be completely unacceptable if these prejudices existed racially. Everyone needs to support the notion that having prejudice against someone’s gender is wrong in society and it’s wrong in music.
I really do think the bar needs to be raised. I think holding females to this lower standard is just silly and detrimental. I think there are so many females out there that are, or could be, as good as any of their male counterparts. It’s time that that got recognized.”
Chase: “Yeah, when I talked to Eternia about the lack of female MCs, she said that there isn’t one. She said, ‘Everywhere I go, I see women involved in hip-hop culture.’ There are tons and they just aren’t getting the exposure. Speaking of exposure, you were nominated for female MC on the Oz hip-hop?”
Kadyelle: “I was nominated in 2009 before I’d released anything and I ended up getting fourth. Keep in mind, that there were only 7 females nominated in the entire country. This year, I ended up getting second so I was slightly happier with that. Next year, I’ll be aiming to be first. That would be nice. It’s a bit of a popularity contest. It definitely pays to be popular for these hip-hop awards.”
Chase: “Were the other artists in your category more commercial because you are an underground artist, so were the others more pop or jiggy?”
Kadyelle: “Not at all. The girl who got first, I had never even heard of her. I checked her out and she is really heavily influenced by the UK grime style. Last year, or the year before that, Class A won it, and she’s a really good friend who was on ‘Earthworthy’ and on my new album too. She’s got that cleaner, more commercial sound, I suppose, but the reality is there are no females that are commercially successful in hip-hop here, they are all underground.”
Chase: “We have commercial radio here and there is a real difference in the sound. We only spin underground here on our show. It’s interesting to see how grime isn’t popular here at all. I thought that was pretty much relegated to UK.”
Kadyelle: “I guess we are influenced by a lot of different places. We are an English Colony so we are influenced by the UK and the underground US. Over here, it is kind of unacceptable to be commercial. It’s more about being raw but doing it in a way that doesn’t sound bad – raw in a quality way, I guess. The acts that have commercial success are the ones that manage to keep to their underground styles the best. There isn’t really much over here that is horribly commercial and poppy that is going to be successful, especially to really staunch hip-hop supporters.”
Chase: “That is really interesting because there are a lot of regular commercial listeners over here and the stuff that gets played on the radio and the stuff that my students listen to, I would never listen to, strictly underground here.”
Kadyelle: “If there is even the vaguest implication that you are going to move on to a big label and basically sell out, then you’ll lose support. That’s just how it is. It’s underground or nothing with Australian hip-hop. It’s got a sense of nationalism and extremely rigid set of rules of what it has to be.
We have national radio over here. If you get played on Triple J, then you’re basically in and then if you move from Triple J onto commercial radio, then you’re out. I’ve never really noticed that anywhere else.”
Chase: “Okay, I think we should play another song. Is there anything you like the Canadians to hear?”
Kadyelle: “Let’s play the first single off my album. It’s called “Safe” featuring the vocals of Brooke Taylor and it’s produced by The Digital Assassin, who is a producer from Melbourne. It’s probably my favourite song off the album so far.”
Chase: “Okay, we’ll spin that one and we’ll be back to wrap up the interview with Kadyelle, all the way from Australia. Daddy J is manning the boards, Chase March on the interview tip, and we’ll be right back.”
Download or stream this interview with the player at the bottom of this post to hear Kadyelle’s new track from her forthcoming album. For the blog, I will embed this one from her last album.
Chase: “That was the lead single off Kadyelle’s new album “The Tree That Kept Apart the Stars.” That song was called “Safe” and we are fortunate enough to have Kadyelle, one of my favourite MCs out right now, on the phone. This has been an awesome interview. Thanks a lot for taking the time to be on the phone lines with DOPEfm.”
Kadyelle: “Oh, that’s not a problem. Otherwise I’d just be lying on the couch watching cartoons.”
Chase: “Yeah because it’s the evening for us but it’s only the morning for you over there. Time difference. So tell us where people can find out more about Kadyelle.”
Chase: “Well, I hope people take the time to listen to your music and I hope that they enjoy what we’ve spun today because I am totally sold. I am so in love with you and your sound and your music. I hope that you continue to bless us with your music for long time.”
Kadyelle: “That’s the intention. I only hope for bigger and better things. I hope to be doing this for a long time. It’s such an amazing experience to be a part of the scene over here. I really hope to get my music out internationally, digitally, and by coming over there to do shows and sell stuff out of my backpack, old school style.”
Chase: “I really hope you come to Toronto sometime soon. I would love to see you. I am going to champion you music on my blog, Daddy J and Gamma Krush are going to spin you as well. DOPEfm is supporting Kadyelle!
Kadyelle: “That’s awesome. Thanks so much.”
Chase: “It’s been such an honour and privilege to have you on the show.”
Kadyelle: “Thanks so much for having me. It’s been fun.”
Download this podcast for free to hear this entire interview and hear some amazing tracks from Kadyelle. You can also subscribe to the podcast to hear the best in underground hip-hop each and every week. And best of all, it’s free!