One rapper, two completely different fanbases. One group know her as the MC behind the seminal hit "All Glocks Down" and a string of collaborations with underground rap producer Kenny Parker. The other know her as a cast member from the first season of MTV's "The Real World." Incidentally, she was probably the last 100% authentic "no bullshit" person on that show; a 'round the way diva who didn't need to be told by behind the scenes crew to create drama worth taping - she BROUGHT the drama.
Despite resurfacing in 1998 with the hip-hop hit "Do You," B has been nearly invisible on the hip-hop scene for most of the last decade. The sad truth is that "Eternal Affairs" may not raise her profile, given the obscure Sai Records International label this CD was released on. Heather is a phenom that was long overdue for a higher level of exposure though, and this LP proves that her "I'm just gonna be me" attitude is exactly what rap needs. The Buddah & Shamello produced "You Goin' Down" really says it all:
"Heather B and I'ma spit it for a minute
Watch my team and my money while I'm in it
Hurt the competition - start a rap clinic
My repoitoire; I own it and I live it - can you dig it?
I'm here for the long haul
Who stoppin me from ballin like Chamique Holdsclaw?
Single, black female, outlaw - most wanted
Hardcore, to make a brother want more
Put nobody on a pedestal
Too many garbage MC's, rap residue
E'rybody talkin righteous ain't responsible
You so busy judgin me, but God judgin you - I know scriptures too
Play me? Doubt that; gettin it? Bout that
I waited for the right one - it's crazy now I found that"
I don't often quote rappers twice from the same song in one review, but hearing her words in the second verse moved me to do it again. It's hard to quantify how dope this is just by reading it alone, but mark my words - when you hear her velvety voice flowing over the violins and bassline you know that this is a one-of-a-kind rapper:
"The truth will get recognized; can't fight the fact
that I rip tracks better than some of these guys
Hella tight from the Bay, to Bed-Stuy; and when I come
I'm comin through with my head high, fresh off the red eye
Zonin, all night; rippin, all mics
Put me at the top - lonely WHAT I'll be alright!
Nothin, won't stop me kid
I'm livin life to the fullest thinkin positive
All these killers on wax sound stupid; hope you're ready
Hope it wasn't the Henny cause you might have to prove it
Got fakers thinkin twice now
Cause the moment, of truth might be right now
I'm raisin E'RYTHING from stakes, to eyebrows
So if you want in you gotta PAY DOWN 'pon in"
If these words haven't given you the idea already, Heather B doesn't need to prove her credentials to anybody. As a female rapper she should have already been recognized in the company of Queen Latifah, Bahamadia and The Lady of Rage, but as a rapper PERIOD she belongs right up there among the likes of Black Thought, Guru and Nas. As B herself claims to up the ante at every turn, so too do the tracks provided by everybody from Comissioner Gordon to Luis 'Sabor' Tineo to Chucky Madness. A couple of the musical rap heavyweights even drop gems - DJ Premier funks up "Steady Rockin'" while Pete Rock provides a down to earth groove that's easy for B to dominate on "Dedicated."
For those people who've reached this point in the review that aren't in either of Heather B's fanbases, congratulate yourselves on sleeping longer than Rip Van Winkle. Since you're awake, now is the time to shave off your long beard and trim those foot long fingernails - and who could give you a better musical manicure and lyrical trim than Heather B? "Live MC" has been pushing the rotation on video music channels for a while now, but it doesn't really give you any depth of the dopeness on this CD. If you take my word for it though you'll see that Heather presents a profound sense of both self-awareness and supreme confidence in her abilities most contemporaries could only HOPE to duplicate.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: June 25, 2002