Female, Christian and homosexual, Yo! Majesty manage to tick almost all of the unlikely-to-be-in-a-rap-group boxes. But loud and proud, the dauntless duo of Shunda K and Jwl B are producing some of the freshest and most vibrant hip-hop of the moment.
As you might expect, it hasn’t been an easy ride for Yo! Majesty; the group split up in 2003 when Shunda K renounced her homosexuality and married a Christian missionary. But one divorce and five years of Myspace reputation-building later, and Yo! Majesty have put all that behind them and fully embraced their sexuality.
“I’m saying to the ladies”, Shunda K raps over frenetic, skittering drums and grimy synth-bass on their Kryptonite Pussy EP, “put your hands between your thighs and rub on your monkey” – which is, incidentally,
exactly what happened at their show in San Francisco last year, when a fan got up with the band, pulled down her pants and proceeded to masturbate on stage to the delight of audience and artists alike.
Nakedness, it seems, is a regular feature of Yo! Majesty gigs. Both Jwl B and Shunda K frequently shed their clothes – if 50 Cent can perform topless, why can’t they? And with lyrics like “You can knock out my teeth / I don’t give a fuck” and “I can’t stand the way you breathe / But I like the way you fuck me” on the ever-so-appropriately titled ‘Fucked Up’, it’s clear that these girls aren’t afraid to offend.
‘Nakedness, it seems, is a regular feature of Yo! Majesty gigs’
But there’s more to Yo! Majesty than brazen sexuality and filthy lyrics. Punk-funk electronica duo hardfeelingsuk produce Yo! Majesty’s tracks, and their debut album, Futuristically Speaking…Never be Afraid, has a grimy-yet-groovy funkiness – a synth-laden, crunk-tinged ferocity that it is impossible not to want to dance to. Coupled with Jwl B and Shunda K’s blistering1000-miles-an-hour spits, this is pure party music that fuses the best the US and UK have to offer. Basement Jaxx even got in on the action, adding their unique brand of funk to ‘Booty Klap’, a bottom-bopping standout on the album.
This isn’t hip-hop for the hardcore. It’s light-hearted and fun – it’s accessible. A fact made obvious by Yo! Majesty’s choice of touring partners – they have already been on the road with CSS and The Gossip and are currently supporting Neon Neon on their British tour. Boot Camp Clik they are not! But with Yo! Majesty it’s not a case of being hardcore or underground or anything else. It’s about having a good time – with clothes, or without.