Hurricane G deserves to be considered a pioneer of female rap
Screenshot via YouTube
Hurricane G should be recognized among the best female rappers that ever existed, along with some of rap’s other underrated but excellent MCs.
On November 6, 2022, news broke of Gloria “Hurricane G” Rodriguez’s untimely death. The cause of death was unknown until his daughter, Lexus Sermon, paid tribute to her mother on Facebook, revealing that the rapper succumbed to her battle with stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 52. The underrated hip-hop figure is best known for her lyricism and bilingual dagger-spitting ability as one of the genre’s first Afro-Latina female rappers. during her rise in the early 90s. She freestyled alongside other rising women who were also known for their fight raps at the time like Rah Digga and Bahmadia, and eventually found her own calling on the New York music scene.
G first gained attention as the first female member of the rap group Def Squad (originally Hit Squad, which later disbanded due to internal conflict) which included Redman, Keith Murray , K-Solo and Erick Sermon. The band often featured on tracks and mixtapes, with G appearing on some of them, including Redman’s 1992 hit “Tonight’s Da Night.” In typical New York fashion, G urges Redman to “fuck the hell off that slick punk shit, man.” Get with the rough shit man, you know how we do. G’s split-second cameo speaks to the distinction of his vocals, his tacky Nuyorican accent stealing the intro to Redman’s beloved track.
Hurricane G was also featured on “We Run NY”, a standout track from Redman’s 1994 album Daring is a dark side. In it, her out-of-tempo rhymes and stretched accented vowels shine as she establishes a seemingly endless verse. But the unsung hero of it all is how she accentuates the word “now” towards the end of the verse, punctuating it in a creative way that allows her to catch her breath and start her flow again, ending it all with this very memorable line: “Throw it here on those big boobs.” It’s a line that highlights how G was one of the first women in gaming to cross the line into owning her female sexuality in a male-dominated genre.
As Hurricane continued to rise as a rapper, she was offered more and more lucrative opportunities, such as appearing on “Just Maintain” and “Birds Eye View” from Xzibit’s 1996 debut album. At the speed of life. Of the two, it’s the former that stands out the most, with G delivering a verse that mirrors Xzibit’s aimed at rappers who are only in it for the glory and glory. Her vocals provide a welcome break from the grunts of her male counterparts, as she serves up humility and relentless confidence in seconds. The song hits its climax during its closing verse, where it falls perfectly off the beat to talk its shit, only to return right away without missing its cue:
Mimicking the hurricane flow for wealth,
you don’t know half, I have the wrong vocabulary,
Doobie rap style, get beat up,
weirder than your last good fuck,
milk you like pieces of ba ba,
meetin’ ni** like lyrical wishes.
Another lucrative opportunity G got as he rose was working with one of the industry heavyweights of the time – Diddy. Before the release of his second album Still (1999), Diddy shared his debut single “PE 2000”, which featured G. Although essentially relegated to Diddy’s hype-person on the track (similar to his intro on “Tonight’s Da Night”) , interestingly, she is actually listed as a feature on the track (which was not the case for her appearances in “We Run NY”, “Tonight’s Da Night”, “Just Maintain” and ” Bird’s Eye View”). It was a nice look for a female rapper, with the collaboration blossoming into another opportunity where G got to show off her lyrical prowess alongside Diddy.
That opportunity came in the form of a Spanish remix of “PE 2000,” where G got to stretch his bilingual legs and deliver a spoken-word delivery at the start and end of the track in Spanish. Since its inception, rap as a genre has included both black rappers and Latino rappers. But it wasn’t too common to see mainstream artists drop bilingual collaborations, which became more prominent over time. That’s what makes the “PE 2000” remix so interesting, as the track also has Diddy rap only in Spanish.
Although G is primarily known for her appearances in other rappers’ work, her solo material was just as prominent. In September 1997, she released her first (and last) solo album All Woman via the New York label HOLA (Home of Latino Artists) Recordings, which had delayed the release of the album. In an interview made around the time of the project’s release, G opened up about the delay and attributed it to “politics, personal stuff…it just wasn’t my time,” before going to take a quick peek. Look at the label: “They just couldn’t get in front of one of the best females…they knew they had something good, sometimes I think they forget.” But I hope the album I got will still be the bomb because of the fans and the love I got.
Due to a lack of promotion for the HOLA album, All Woman didn’t end up getting the recognition it deserved. Still, the album contains some of G’s best work, especially in his singles: “El Barrio”, “Underground Lockdown”, and “Somebody Else”, which made it onto the Billboard Top 10 Hot Rap Singles list. Even now, it’s easy to see why “Somebody Else” became a hit. The lyrics and flow are timeless, sounding so much like what women love to hear from female rappers today, as G reclaims her power from a relationship that takes more than she gives. Overall, the album perfectly encapsulates Hurricane’s ability to focus on her great rapping ability and address themes of womanhood, motherhood, grief and the survival skills needed to grow up on the streets of New York in the 80s and 90s. It also allowed her to start exploring sounds outside of the harder beats she had contributed up to that point, as evidenced by “Intro”, where G plays with the sounds of a real hurricane and merges them into a native rhythm and song, before ending the song with a prayer.
But if there’s a song that truly embodies how good a Hurricane MC was, it has to be a fan favorite.”Milky.” An unreleased deep cut that was first heard on 89.9 WKCR-FM The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show (to this day, finding a clean rip or hiss-free version continues to be a challenge), “Milky” found Hurricane offering a fun freestyle that not only showed how cute she was, but how much fun she had rapping. Bars like “when I catch a model, I get money honey” and “the first woman to freak funk, and dissing idiots with a little dress and high-heeled pumps” to “I live like Thanksgiving and chillin’, the almighty will never stop jinglin’, the earrings I’m wearing are called bracelets shinin’ dangle do the mash potato tango’, it’s clear that rapping was a joyous act for G.
As people continue to discover his music amid his passing, they’ll see how Hurricane G’s distinct flow, lyricism, and raw talent defined his legacy as a rapper. She opened the doors to other Latinx, female, and bilingual rappers, and showed that she deserved to not only be included among the best female rappers that ever existed, but also among some of the other underrated MCs but also excellent of its kind.
Rosy Alvarez is a freelance writer with signatures in Remezcla, We Are Mitú, Latino Rebels, and more. Follow his daily work, adventures and nonsense on @aroseinbklyn.