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, 15 p.m., free
Dolores and 18th St., SF
For other events at Girl Fest Bay Area, July 1922, go to www.girlfestbayarea.org.