Men beware of Yo-Yo's Motherlode!
Today in 2019, most people are familiar with female rappers such as Rapsody, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. I heard in some hip-hop discussions I had with other people, and they stated that they can't stand female rappers. I was like man, have you ever heard of Missy Elliot, Eve, Lauryn Hill, The Lady Of Rage, MC Lyte, etc. Which led me to do this review on the early 90's female rapper, Yolanda Whitaker aka Yo-Yo who is the first female westcoast rapper. She was known as Ice Cube's protege and her music was about advocating female empowerment and rapping about sexism in hip-hop music. Before working on his first album "Amerikkka's Most Wanted" since leaving N.W.A., Ice Cube discovered Yo-Yo while she was working at McDonald's. They started writing and rapping for Cube's solo debut album and she was featured on the song "It's A Man's World", which gave her good exposure to the hip-hop scene. Her first album "Make Way For The Motherlode" was released on March 19th, 1991 under East West America Records and that label had a bunch of successful female artists such a Missy Elliot, En Vogue, MC Lyte, and Adina Howard. The entire album was entirely produced by Ice Cube and Sir Jinx (who is Dr. Dre's cousin). Yo-Yo did other ventures such as appearing in the classic hood movies like "Boyz-N-The-Hood" and "Menace II Society", she guest-starred in the popular 90s sitcom, "Martin" starring Martin Lawrence, The Jamie Foxx Show, and she was the voice of Kendl Johnson in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. She also dated rapper Tupac Shakur for some time and she was by his side at the hospital before he passed away. With powerful and popular female MCs before her such a Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, and Roxanne Shante let's see if Yo-Yo held her own in the early 90s.
The album starts with the introduction called "Stand Up For Your Rights" featuring Tamika Ingram, Threat and the late Ricky Harris who played the role of the DJ in this introduction. The following song is called "Stompin' to The 90's". On this "Welcome To The Terrordome" sample by Public Enemy, Yo-Yo delivers a lyrical barrage with a fast pace flow of rapping. Then we have the song "You Can't Play With My Yo-Yo" featuring Ice Cube where Yo-Yo presents herself as the new black intelligent lady and she is not to play with. I liked the metaphors where she raps that her name is Yo-Yo but she is not to be played like she was made by Mattel. She also raps about uplifting women against any male who thinks they're superior to women, and she also says that men should not be fooled by her body and nice butt because if they touch it, they'll end up in a coffin, and she could be dangerous as she can carry a gun in her purse. This song is also Yo-Yo's biggest hit. Then we have an interlude called "Cube Gets Played" featuring Ricky Harris as the radio DJ.
The following song "Put A Lid On It" is where Yo-Yo teaches the ladies to be careful when they have sex with men. Yo-Yo raps in this song about how she is cool with sex, but ladies need to be careful if they do it too often or they might end up with a title they might never recover. She also states to be careful with their sex partner, because the man can act like a lover but if an accident happens, 9 months later the girl can come up to the man and he will act like he got Alzheimer and the girl is stuck with a bun in the oven. Basically like the title says, ladies need to put a lid on it because sadly, it's too current since the 80's that young black and Hispanic ladies get pregnant at a very young age and they're stuck with the child because the man does not want to take the responsibility to take care of the child. Another metaphor that I enjoyed in this song is when Yo-Yo says "You're stuck with a fat stomach and doing sit-ups won't help you". "What Can I Do" is featuring Ice Cube and the instrumental is one of the funkiest and gangster beat I've heard from a female rapper. Yo-Yo's flow and lyrical rhyming were off the roof and with the help of Ice Cube on the last verse, it was the cherry on a sundae. I enjoyed the lyrical exchange between Yo-Yo and Cube, as Cube was rapping like a macho and his old school gimmick known as the Bitch Killa and Yo-Yo standing up to females against men like Ice Cube. Then we have another interlude called "Dedication" featuring Ricky Harris who dedicates this commercial break to all the single ladies. The following song is called "Sisterland" where Yo-Yo is proving herself as being one talented rapper and I can hear a bit of inspiration from Queen Latifah's flow in this song. The song samples "Lady Marmalade" by Patti Labelle, "The Payback" by James Brown, "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa and "Last Night Changed It All" by Esther Williams.
At the half of the album, we have an interlude called "The I.B.W.C. National Anthem" featuring Dawn, Diamond, and Sparkles, and the ladies are explaining that The I.B.W.C. is for Intelligent Black Women and they state that men were be laying by themselves if weren't for women. Then we have the song "Make Way for the Motherlode". The song "Tonight's the Night" featuring Dazzie Dee is an exchange lyrical song between Yo-Yo and Dazzie Dee where Dazzie is trying to convince Yo-Yo to sleep with her by any means but Yo-Yo turns him down by the end of the song. Another good funky instrumental on this one. "I Got Played" is a song where Yo-Yo rapped about meeting a guy and give it all up to him for one night because she liked him and by the end they exchanged numbers but the guy got ghost and Yo-Yo got played. Yo-Yo retaliates on the song "Girl Don't Be No Fool" where she raps again to uplift women to end their toxic relationships with low-class men and that they deserve a winner. "Ain't Nobody Better" is where Yo-Yo raps about her competition and that nobody can rock the mic like she can on this "(Not Just) Knee Deep" sample by George Clinton. The song also samples Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody", "Hey Ladies" by The Beasties Boys and "If I Was Your Girlfriend" by Prince. Even though that was the last song of the album, we still have another interlude "Outro" with Ricky Harris and we finish the album with "More of What Can I Do?" featuring Sir Jinx who is giving a shot out to everyone who helped to make this album together.
After listening to the 28 years old "Make May for The Motherlode" album, I can say that Yo-Yo held her own as a female rapper and she deserves to be recognized as one of the Queens of Hip-Hop as she was featured on Brandy's "I Wanna Be Down" with Queen Latifah and MC Lyte. With the help of Ice Cube, Sir Jinx and The Lench Mob, Yo-Yo left a good impression. I might have been too young to listen to the album at the time, but Yo-Yo's album is to be remembered and upcoming female rappers can look up to her as an inspiration. She held it down to her black sisters on this album, she was true to her words and her style is unique. I would say the current female rapper who is holding it down for black women today is Rapsody.