Clememtia Mulenga aka Cleo Ice Queen is a hip-hop artist that was born in Zambia.
In a 2013 article on luskatimes.com some background regarding Cleo is provided. She is 22 years old and began listening to hip hop music at age 6, and started rapping herself when she was Zambia. 11 years old.
In an interview with Slam Dunk TV (sdtv) Cleo explains that she moved from her hometown in 2007 to South Africa. In the Slam Dunk interview it is explained that Cleo moved to South Africa to attend college, which forced her to put music on hold for a while, but in 2011 Cleo decided to pursue music as a career.
Luskatimes reports that Cleo is known for working with various artists from all over Africa, and has a few hit songs in Zambia, where she was born. In her bio posted on reverbnation, she is said to have started in an all-girl trio band called South West Divas (S.W.D.) that performed a variety of genres, Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, Pop, Ragga and Dance.
It was explained that her alias “Ice Queen” was derived from her love of jewelry; in hip-hop jargon jewelry is referred to as “ice”. As a result of her love of jewelry she refers to herself as a businesswoman, because she launched a successful business selling a variety of jewelry, such as silver and water pearls.
Even though Cleo is successfully exploiting the natural resources of Africa, my impression is that Cleo strives to be compared with the popular American rappers that wear the exhibit the bling and extravagant fashions.
It seems that Cleo has some notoriety in Zambia, but she is not well-known outside of Africa. As a matter of fact the artists with who she has recently collaborated with are African artists, such as Crisis from Zambia, Hanni of Big Brother Africa, and LIC of Nigeria, to name a few.
Sarah Mwamba, aka Princess Mwamba was born in Zambia, on May 1990. She enjoyed music and dancing when she lived in Zambia with her family, but it was not until they moved to the U.S. that her serious interest in music developed. Princess Mwamba explains in an interview with lusakatimes.com that she began rapping in 2010, and is asked a question regarding the male dominance of hip-hop and what message she wants her audience to get from her music. She responded that she wants her listeners to find in her music a positive message that tells women to enjoy life and not, “…selling sex and their bodies in the music…”
Unlike some female U.S. rappers, Mwamba wants her music to present an authentic and more positive image of women. Simone Walker, in an article entitled, “Females in Hip-Hop” criticizes U.S. female rappers, and in her opinion lyrical skills don’t really matter and real talent is not needed to be a successful female rap artist in the U.S. Walker states, “if a female artist puts on an outfit that promotes sexuality auto tune can make up in the areas where she lacks creativity. This is not the type of artist Mwamba strives to be; her music is fun, yet sends the message that she is in control; this is evident in her 2011 single, “I am a Princess”
It is not surprising to find that Princess Mwamba’s response to the question of who inspires her musically, she mentions Brenda Fassie, who usually speaks an African language she does not even understand, yet still appreciates her musicality. I was curious to know what Fassie’s music was like. Brenda Fassie was a South African artist, who was described as a pop singer, whose drug habits interfered with her career; her life was cut short due to a drug overdose in 2004, when she was 40 years old (sahistory.org). Here is an example of her music:
After listening to Fassie’s music, Princess Mwambe’s musical role model, it was not surprising to hear that much of her own music sounds more like dance/ pop music than hip-hop. Songs such as “Intimidated” and “Haters” have a techno dance quality to them. Then, on the song “Michael Jackson” it is apparent that she has been influenced by U.S. male pop and hip-hop artists, and on that song references the Wutang clan.