Keeping up with Melina Jones - Page 2

The SF MC finds her balance at GirlFest

No option but to follow, submit to the underground."

If there's a hint of the maternal in Jones's attitude toward hip-hop — she is, after all, the mother of an 11-year-old ("I'm constantly putting that boy in check," she jokes) — she's anything but matronly. Nor is the stylish MC afraid to reveal her glam-y, girly side, a move that hip-hop's hardcore and most highly respected female rappers were hesitant to make in the beginning of their careers (think MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, Eve). Jones, who professes to "love to play dress-up" and "invest in hella makeup," acknowledges how difficult it is to be taken seriously as a woman in the rap game and how a lot of her peers "kind of grime themselves out."

"When I spit," she explains, "I'm really not interested in trying to make my voice sound like a dude or even taking the place or the role [of a man]. I'm not trying to bust anyone's balls, unless you take me there ..."

Given her cover-girl good looks, the MC likely has to go there fairly often. She recounts one time when she had to deflect a cheesy come-on by a club-owner type — behavior that in any other professional field would clearly be defined as sexual harassment. "I definitely get challenged by men all the time who are in the game," she confesses. "[It's] nuance[ed]; it's not like somebody just coming right out.... It's those little tiny inflections of body language that tell me [they're] sexualiz[ing] me."

Jones doesn't waste too much time playing the victim, however, or complaining about misogyny in hip-hop to the point where there's no joy in it or room to maneuver. "These clowns can say what they want," she defiantly proclaims. "I'm gonna do my thing. There's a power in that."*


Appearing at "Women Re-Birthing Justice"

Sun/22, 1–5 p.m., free

Dolores Park

Dolores and 18th St., SF

For other events at Girl Fest Bay Area, July 19–22, go to

Also from this author

  • Scraper success

    The Trunk Boiz are ridin' for Oakland

  • Up against the wall

    Amid controversy, HOMEY brings together a Mission neighborhood with its latest mural

  • Hispanics go hyphy

    Mission entrepreneur reps Latin rap on Thizz Entertainment offshoot

  • Also in this section

  • Good things, small packages

    33 1/3, the ultimate record collector's novella series, turns 10

  • No thanks, Bono

    Three new albums that should magically appear on your iPod in place of Songs of Innocence

  • A show a day: Your fall music calendar

    FALL ARTS 2014 Like a daily multivitamin, your recommended dose of live shows through November