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"All Hail The Queen" dropped in 1989 and was the debut album for the New Jersey-based rapper Queen Latifah. Working then in an alternative style which brought in lots of the Afrocentricity that was peaking in the Hip Hop community during this period, it finds her working on beats by DJ Mark The 45 King and features her working with the likes of Stetsasonic's Daddy-O, De La Soul and Monie Love.
1. "Dance For Me"
The album gets underway with Latifah dropping the tune that came as her debut single, and so a perfect place to begin things. You find that here she comes through raging with her rhymes, which contrast with the general idea behind the music. However I felt that it all fell into place as you see that she was able to make it all work effectively around the Breakbeats that she goes off on (and were very popular at the time) as The 45 King samples a little Sly Stone.
2. "Mama Gave Birth To Soul Children"
As things advance, you see that with this one you get a massive link-up as De La Soul (another alternative Hip Hop act to have debuted in this year, are seen to join them here for a fresh jam. The tune sounds just like a De La joint from this year in terms of the overall style of the music and how they are seen to dominate the rhymes and you really can't say that it didn't do its job well as you get a massive collaboration.
3. "Come Into My House"
Moving back to her solo work, with this one you see that you get a massive change to the direction of the music as you see that in spite of her powerful voice, she chooses to use her female interpretation of a Chuck D style rap and uses it to some House backing. It really wasn't my thing at all and shows that she was willing to try out risky things such as a House track to pull in the listeners.
4. "Latifah's Law"
With this one you see that she gets back to much more conventional material and DJ Mark The 45 King gets back to his typical self as you see tha there he returns to one of his most popular pieces, "The 9000 Number", and adapts it to fit into the way she gets down to things with her heavy rhymes which seem to take from the style of the big underground lyricists of the time (such as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap).
5. "Wrath of My Madness"
With this one you see that she is able to get on some fly beats which enable her come out with some rather funky rhymes and appear to keep the highs in the album there as a result. You see that here her rhyming style means that you are forced to feel each and every line as it is spoken (rather than having things build up over a few of them) and so it makes it much more impactful as a result and means that you will immediately feel it.
6. "The Pros"
This one sees her really changing up everything hugely as the direction of the music as adapted to fit in with her alternative ways and it appears that The 45 King was able to effectively come out with the right backing as she tries out some Reggae-styled material here. Personally I wasn't into much of what was done by other artists at the time in this style, but having Stetsasonic's Daddy-O rapping with her helped it significantly.
7. "Ladies First"
This was the most successful single from the album and it goes down as a classic when it comes to female Hip Hop performances as she comes with the UK's Monie Love for a banger of a tune as they do damage together and rip it as they call for the females in the Hip Hop game to get the attention they deserve (since the likes of The Sequence Roxanne Shanté and MC Lyte hadn't made the kind of impact that these wished to have.
8. "A King And Queen Creation"
On this one you get The King (DJ Mark The 45 King) and Queen (Latifah) coming together for a fly joint where they show just how well their rhymes come together. It is a fly jam and you see that with the late sixties Funk groove running trough it, it enables them to come out with more effective Afrocentric material (but without it being overpowering to the listener). The Rakim influence was a bit too much, but it still went well here.
9. "Queen Of Royal Badness"
Here you see that he gets one some lively Breakbeats to enable her to show off her skills when it comes to laying down the speedy flows. I felt that she did well to manage the frantic, raging tempo to it as she seems to come with more of the sorts of rhymes that bring conations of Chuck D's political messages (without actually giving these in the flows) as well as the complexities of Rakim's style (at the time).
10. "Evil That Men Do"
Here you find that you get much more plain beats coming through with this on and I felt that it made it sound a bit backwards, when you consider how far ahead of times she was going earlier) and I couldn't help but feel that by having KRS-One feature as a guest would just increase these feelings as he comes with off-beat spoken word that just isn't nice on the ear at all and so stops you from really getting into it.
11. "Princess of The Posse"
Here she comes out with another of the singles from the album and you get more of the rather basic beats, but you see that the drum machine that as used for this one had much more punch in it and so was able to get much more energy out of it as you see that she comes with more Reggae influence in her music and in this case you get a little dancehall with Yellowman's "Zungguzungguguzungguzeng" used along the way.
12. "Inside Out"
The album doesn't end particularly well as you find that here she comes out with a rather average tune and one that sees her doing nothing more than what has been seen at every track leading up top this point where she has some decent flow, both really nothing that good to make her stand out as a lyricist (other than for being female) and o you can't say that this was a good tune to end the album will.
I personally felt that this was an overrated album as pretty much every album that came out between 1988 and 199 was considered to be a classic, whereas really, just as can be seen in this case, just because she's doing something fairly original for the time (hardly groundbreaking) doesn't mean that hit has to translate into classic status immediately, as really this is nothing special.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Dance For Me
3 Mama Gave Birth To The Soul Children
4 Come Into My House
5 Latifah's Law
6 Wrath Of The Madness
7 Inside Out
8 King And Queen Creation
9 Queen Of Royal Badness
10 Evil That Men Do
11 Princess Of The Posse
12 Dance 4 Me
13 Wrath Of My Madness (Soul Shock)
14 Princess Of The Posse (45 King Mix)