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FELONi - JPop.com
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FELONi

FELONi

FELONi


Trish Best, best known by her stage name Feloni, is an African-American, out lesbian and rapper from Detroit, Michigan. She is also referenced in the Urban Dictionary as the "Godmother" of the "out" urban lesbian hip-hop movement. Feloni's story was featured on MTV's LOGO documentary show Coming Out Stories, a reality series on LOGO that depicts the lives of gays and lesbians coming out to their families and friends. Entertainment Weekly remarked, "[. Read more on Last.fm
Trish Best, best known by her stage name Feloni, is an African-American, out lesbian and rapper from Detroit, Michigan. She is also referenced in the Urban Dictionary as the "Godmother" of the "out" urban lesbian hip-hop movement. Feloni's story was featured on MTV's LOGO documentary show Coming Out Stories, a reality series on LOGO that depicts the lives of gays and lesbians coming out to their families and friends. Entertainment Weekly remarked, "[...]this touching series marks a high point for the year-old Logo channel.

[...] While reality TV can often be tawdry and shameless [...]this series stands proud by showcasing strength and tolerance." The documentary, reality series also won a 2007 Insight Award and was nominated for the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMEC) award that honors those who create outstanding content that depicts the world¹s rich, multi-ethnic experiences. MUSIC CAREER After Queen Latifah, and before Nicki Minaj, there was Feloni. While most female rappers tend to use, or need, a major male rapper's voice to help them get established, Feloni walked into the rap game and established herself. She writes all her lyrics, records and mixes her own music, and produces. Although she spends little on marketing and promotions, has never released a mixtape, and rarely allows interviews, Feloni has gained notoriety as one of the most controversial female rappers in hip-hop—strictly through word-of-mouth. Feloni is an underground recording artist, born in Detroit, Michigan, who is able to "mack" her game while expressing her sexual autonomy.

In 2005, she broke out on the scene with her racy debut single "Brand New," politicizing "the nookie" by flipping the script on male posturing and turning it into a taunt and protest against misogyny. Feloni pushes the limits of hip-hop's sexual expression by changing the politics of the game, empowering the genre’s usual subject of domination. Feloni has said that on her first album, "A Woman's Revenge," she used the current language of rap as a mirror to project the hypocrisy and misogynistic elements of the game back to hip-hop, in the hope of sparking progressive discourse. "Brand New" was first featured on the Russell Simmons & WJLB-FM 98's 2005 Detroit Hip-Hop Summit Mixtape, "Detroit's Finest, Volume 1, What's next on the menu mixtape." Initially, the radio station felt that it was too racy.

After meeting with one of the promoters at WJLB, the station agreed to allow just the first sixteen bars on the mixtape. Powerful and contagious, those sixteen bars inspired an entire movement. In 2007, Feloni became the first African-American female rapper to release (internationally) a full-length album—rapping exclusively from the perspective of a lesbian. Feloni is currently working on released her second album called "Love Spent" which is expected for release sometime in 2010. Prior to being discovered by MTV Networks, Feloni had already opened for major recording artists and some of the hottest rappers in Detroit, thanks to Roo's (R.I.P.) B Like Boyz, DJ Hen House, and the private indie CEO music organization "The Detroit Movement," which included Big Proof (R.I.P.), Eminem's best friend from D12.

TELEVISON MTV Networks offered Feloni her own episode of their LOGO channel documentary series "Coming Out Stories," to showcase what they called her "groundbreaking" music as well as document her coming-out process to her father and brother. The episode was produced by four-time Oscar nominated and three-time Emmy Award–winning producers Kirk Simon and Karen Goodman, and aired for three years. Prior to Feloni's episode, there had been few documentaries featuring entertainers speaking up about their sexuality, particularly when it came to women of color. Feloni's episode drew thousands of viewers, which is perhaps what prompted MTV to create Tila Tequila's bisexual reality show "A Shot at Love" the following year.

The rest? Well, just look around and you'll get the point that girls kissing girls has become BIG business. In Feloni's case, it's real life. RAPPING TECHNIQUE According to Feloni, her name does not mean that she is trying to show street hardness or act "hood" or "gangsta'." The name is a play on irony, just as many rappers like to do in hip-hop—giving words different contextual meanings in an effort to subvert its original usage. Feloni chose the name because, unlike most of the friends she ran with as a teenager, she never caught a felony. Feloni is a master at evoking emotion in music with catchy beats, wicked lyrics, and infectious hooks. She is known for being direct and raw with her lyrics, holding no punches.

Fans and magazine writers have compared Feloni's rapping style to the likes of Da Brat, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Lady of Rage, Tupac Shakur, T.I., and Nelly. Feloni describes her style as similar to that of Tupac's, in the sense that they are both raw yet poetic. It is important to Feloni that listeners appreciate that she has a diverse fan base. Ironically, this out artist wrote, mixed, and recorded 90% of her debut album in her walk-in closet.

Big Proof (R.I.P.), of the Eminem's group D12, and Feloni were both members of the private music organization called "The Detroit Movement." Big Proof told Feloni she would experience hate in the rap game because of her sexuality. He told her that no matter what happened, it was important that she continue to move forward, and she has been doing just that. Feloni loves the challenge because it inspires her to continue to break through barriers and open people's minds to what they fear and don't understand. Feloni wants people to approach her music with an open mind rather than with fear and judgment. THE IMPORTANCE of SELF-EXPRESSION Feloni didn’t choose to hide her sexuality—like some artists—in fear of rejection or of losing endorsements and fan support.

She believes that hiding who you are in exchange for fame and wealth is selling your soul. Understanding that it would be a challenge to get a record deal without changing her image, she operates outside of the Hollywood machine. Feloni has stated, "I think it's important that young women who want to rap don't feel that they have to exploit themselves sexually by bending to the male's perspective of how they think a female rapper should act, dress or rap. At the end of the day, you discover that it's not always about the 'fame' and 'fortune'; it's about integrity and creating a real sense of purpose.

Another reason I created Trak Diamond Records is that I wanted to set the example for men and women—of any age—that you can start your own business instead of waiting around for someone else to determine your fate." Feloni has also said that she'd rather be hated for who she is than loved for being someone she is not. While it is still true that hip-hop is predominantly owned and controlled by men, they have never owned or controlled Feloni's music. POLITICIZING HIP-HOP In December 2009, Feloni blogged on twitter that she does not believe in a "Gay" hip-hop category; she believes there's only hip-hop. Feloni feels that calling oneself a "gay rapper" is exclusionary, and detracts from the struggle for human rights. As she explains, "Black folk did not fight for 'black rights'...the Jewish people did not fight for 'Jewish rights,' and the LGBTQ community is not fighting for a special yellow bus of 'gay rights.' They have all fought, and continue to fight for, 'human rights.' Hip-hop transcends race, creed, gender, and sexuality.

As long as you speak the truth about who you are and what you've experienced in life, your reality is just as valid as anyone else's in hip-hop—whether the mainstream feels it or not. Out rappers do not need to be placed in a separate hip-hop category." Trak Diamond Records Feloni on MySpace Feloni at the Internet Movie Database Feloni at Allmusic] Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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