A video posted in January, titled “The Female Cypher,” features eight female Liberian emcees, each rapping a verse. Queen V, Cookie, Lady Skeet, Pillz, J Flow, Da Vero, Faith Vonic, and Pretty Zee are the emcees included. The video was released in January, but this is fairly recent as far as female Liberian hip-hop standards go. There are very few videos from 2018, and this is the only 2019 upload so far by female emcees.
Liberian hip-hop is dominated by male artists in terms of popularity, so it is good to see a video showcasing eight women. They are dressed in black t-shirts with “I REP LIB” and a design that emulates the famous “RUN DMC” logo. They rap over a simple beat, with each artist using a similar rhyme scheme in each verse. Like much of Liberian hip-hop, the language used to rap is a mix of English and local languages. There are no men shown in the video, and the female emcees all exude powerful and commanding personas, defying traditional notions that African women are docile and without agency.
Queen V begins the cypher, donning dark glasses and placing her feet on a desk. Although she is sitting in a casual stance, she gesticulates wildly as she raps, spending her verse talking about how she’s the queen of Liberian hip-hop (others within the cypher would disagree). Cookie picks up where Queen V drops off, set in front of parked cars. She also hypes herself during her verse, but uses more local language than Queen V, and is much harder to understand. The cypher continues with Lady Skeet, considered by many to be the actual queen of Liberian hip-hop. She raps rapidly and almost entirely in English, with the content very similar to that of Queen V and Cookie. Following Lady Skeet are Pillz, J Flow, Da Vero, and Faith Vonic, four lesser known female Liberian artists. Their performances are less notable than Queen V through Lady Skeet, but they hold their own nonetheless. Pretty Zee is a school aged girl, and could be likened to the American rapper Shyheim, with a higher pitched voice but no less proficient than her older peers.