Hurricane G

Born and raised in Brooklyn, female rapper Hurricane G is among the Puerto Rican MCs who came out of New York in the '90s. Hurricane, whose real name is Gloria Rodriguez, took a bilingual approach; most of her lyrics are in English, although she has no problem flowing in Spanish. And when Hurricane provides Spanish-language lyrics, she raps in the Newyorican dialect; a type of Spanish (or "Spanglish") that is spoken by Puerto Ricans in and around the Big Apple. (Other Puerto Rican MCs who have rapped in Newyorican-style Spanish have ranged from Mesanjarz of Funk to the Mean Machine, whose 1981 hit "Disco Dreams" was the first rap single to include Spanish lyrics.) Those who speak Spanish would have no problem identifying Hurricane as a Puerto Rican New Yorker; her use of Spanish is different from the Cuban-American rapping one hears in Miami or the Mexican-American "vato loco" rhymes one associates with West Coast MCs like Kid Frost, Cypress Hill, Lighter Shade of Brown, and tha Mexakinz. In the '90s, Hurricane became the first female member of the Def Squad, an East Coast hip-hop clique whose other members have included Erick Sermon (of EPMD fame), Keith Murray (best known for his 1994 hit "The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World,"), and Redman. EPMD, in fact, is among Hurricane's influences; like EPMD, Hurricane favors a deadpan, very direct and straight-forward rapping style and doesn't inundate listeners with technique for the sake of technique. Around 1994, the Brooklyn native signed with Capitol, but she didn't get far with that label; when Capitol did a lot of downsizing, Hurricane was among the victims and found herself without a record deal. It was in early 1997 that she resurfaced on producer Jellybean Benitez' New York-based H.O.L.A. Recordings, whose name is an acronym for "Home of Latino Artists." (Benitez is best-known for being among Madonna's early supporters.) H.O.L.A. released All Woman, Hurricane's debut album, in September 1997; Benitez was listed as the executive producer. Regrettably, the album wasn't a big seller, and when the 21st century arrived, Hurricane had yet to provide a second album. ~ Alex Henderson

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