Queen Latifah has led a career many rappers can’t hold a candle to. To keep it totally 100, not many in the entertainment business can say they’ve accomplished half of what she has. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, Golden Globe, two NAACP Image Awards, over two million albums sold, a hit TV show, a talk show, and several movie roles. My personal favorite was Set It Off. She went out damn near harder than Tony Montana. But none of this probably would’ve happened if it wasn’t for her debut album, All Hail The Queen, which was released on Tommy Boy records on November 28th, 1989.
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All Hail the Queen was the blueprint that future female MC’s like Lauryn Hill and Rapsody would follow years later. Latifah created a perfect balance of lyricism, consciousness, and fun without sounding preachy or corny. This may be hip hop blasphemy, but if you let me tell it, “Dance for Me” is the female version of Big daddy Kane‘s 1988 classic “Raw”. The first verse alone emphasized how she wasn’t just competing with the ladies, but the fellas too; calling herself the microphone commando.
When you can hold your own on a track with De La Soul in 1989, you had to be saying something. And she did just that on “Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children.” “Ladies First” was and still is an iconic female anthem that will be around even after the apocalypse. On “Come Into My House” she blended her smooth and rugged delivery over house music. To this day, I’m almost more than certain if you throw this on at an old school jam, more than a few heads will bop and few more will get up.
The album reached gold status less than a year later. Other bangers included “Wrath of My Madness” and “Queen of Royal Badness”. All Hail The Queen was more than a debut album for a young lady out of Newark, New Jersey. It was a start of a female hip hop renaissance which gave confidence to black women across America and worldwide.
30 years later, we still hail the Queen!