Bahamadia’s “Uknowhowwedu” Remains an Undeniably Groovy Jam, More Than 20 Years Later (Video)
Nearly twenty years ago – on April 2, 1996 – Philadelphia MC Bahamadia dropped her debut album Kollage, an oft-overlooked classic by a uniquely feminine artist whose lyrical style and tonality were unlike anything else her contemporaries were releasing. With DJ Premier production credits on five of its tracks, Her acclaimed collaborations include work with the late, great Guru, with whom she performed a duet on his 1995 classic “Respect the Architect,” from his Jazzmatazz Vol. 2 LP; her fellow 215 representatives, the Roots on “Push Up Ya Lighter” from the group’s 1996 masterpiece Illadelph Halflife; Talib Kweli on his 1999 cut “Chaos,” from Rawkus Records’ Soundbombing II; and an appearance on the Erykah Badu-led ladies anthem “Love of My Life Worldwide,” off her 2003 album Worldwide Underground. In the years since her debut, Bahamadia has released two projects, 2000’s BB Queen and 2006’s Good Rap Music, after which she took a significant break from her solo work. However, last January she dropped “Here,” a loosie that knocks. Her work managing B-Girl Records has kept her busy, and while Heads anxiously anticipate new music, today we turn back to 1995 Bahamadia.
“Uknowhowwedu” served as Kollage‘s second single, and the stylization of its title was something Musiq Soulchild – another Philly cat – would soon incorporate in his songs, as well. This straight jam managed to crack the top 20 on Rap charts and its video is filled with mid-90s cultural touchstones. Shiny, poofy jackets; big, chunky jewelry; thin-rimmed sunglasses, and more. However, it’s the tune itself that gets the heads nodding. Ski Beatz and Juan “Red Handed” Cordova’s production makes it nearly impossible to avoid the groove, a smoothly infused beat with hints of A Tribe Called Quest and Schoolly D intertwined. Her verses feature language play (“stere-ere-o”, “discombobbaboobalate”) and a classic outro in which she shouts out all peers, her homies, and fellow artists (who can forget “Cash Money, Money rock rock on”?). Remember it all over again by watching the video below.