Two of the hardest working women in the national indie hip hop scene join forces on a 12 date tour to share their unique sounds and inspire female artists from the East Coast to the Midwest.
Corina Corina and Abiyah were introduced to each other in early 2013 via a referral from NYC based rapper PremRock, who Abiyah, in her local promoter role, had booked in Cincinnati in late 2012. After two visits to Cincinnati in 2013, Corina and Abiyah began brainstorming about touring together, and the impact an all female tour bill would have on other similarly situated female artists. They settled on the name “The First Ladies Tour” as a sarcastic take on how male rap collectives sometimes tokenize the women artists in their ranks by dubbing them “The First Lady of Such And Such Entertainment,” but, more importantly, as a means of breaking free from that designation and leveling the playing field.
Where possible, they are including, or being included, with other female artists in order to help build a larger network of women in hip hop. At Cornell University on March 21, for example, they are performing at an all female event that includes seminal nerdcore rapper/producer Sammus, as well as an all female hip hop dance troupe, Urban Blaze, who will choreograph works to perform behind each of the artists. The Cincinnati stop on March 28 will include openers Mahogany Reign (DJ Apryl Reign and MC Mahogany) and avant hip hop rapper Lionesque, previously associated with Anticon act Themselves, and Lexington will feature the mellifluously voiced neo soul vocalist Emtre.
The tour was also bolstered by the efforts of recently formed The DreamBoots Collective, a group of female indie hip hop artists and promoters from around the country; related to the First Ladies Tour, promoters Helen Kuveke in Ithaca (NY) and Lisa Downie in Grand Rapids (MI) were instrumental in securing venues for Abiyah and Corina, and are leading indie hip hop promoters in their respective cities. Coincidentally, the First Ladies Tour is occurring during Women’s History Month.