Let me get it out in the open right now - I may be a pretty liberal chick, but I can't handle female emcees. As stereotypical as it sounds, their flows are fundamentally weaker than their male counterparts, their lyrical content is lacking in comparison, and their style generally unappealing. Lauryn Hill notwithstanding, the likes of Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown, Rah Digga, and Trina have done much to prove that females in hip hop are a definite waste of time
and then there's Jean Grae. Formerly known as What?What? of Natural Resource, Grae debuts her solo LP, "Attack of the Attacking Things" with strength and insight I've never seen from a female rapper before. She far outshines sometime-talents like Apani and Mystic by leaps and bounds. I first received a taste of Grae on Masta Ace's "Disposable Arts" LP, where the two collaborated on "Hold U," and she stays easily on par in her solo effort. The album is incredibly sound in all respects, and judging by its incredible reception by the hip-hop audience, Grae has exceeded everyone's expectations for another chick's attempt at making a record.
The production deserves a few words. In reviewing, I find myself holding the album to the male standard, like, "Would this be dope if a dude was rocking over it?" The answer is undoubtedly yes. With production from the likes of Mr. Len, Masta Ace, and Evil Dee and Mr. Walt of Da Beatminerz, the beats have an eerie, sleepy almost Zen-like quality that is matched easily by Grae's smooth, laid-back yet complex flows. "Attack" is definitely an endeavor into the art of sampling, and comes off successfully, with instrumentals creating a perfect opportunity for a dope project.
It's no question that beats are matched, if not surpassed, by Grae's lyrical work. The album is personal - her messages are simple, while the way she flips them are elaborate. She rides each beat effortlessly, with confidence and wisdom in her words. She stands alone throughout the album, foregoing any collaborative efforts here. Plus, she maintains this quality well, as she says on "What Would I Do" - "One for the beat, two for the real, right cats that never doubted I was droppin' the skill. For all my peoples in the NY and SA who blessed me, the gas face to all those that wanna test me I'm ready as ever, overdue like the rain in New York, sustained a steady fan base but you still don't know me." Ain't no question Grae has earned both a name, and respect to go along with it.