In the small pond of female MCs, an artist like Bahamadia who has not had to resort to selling sex appeal, is a rarity. Her unique, soft-spoken yet eloquent words made her debut Kollage an album that is both relaxing and challenging. With a backdrop of all-star production from DJ Premier, Beatminerz and Guru, as well as a guest spot from her hometown natives The Roots, Bahamadia brings a wide variety of material to the table. She can rhyme smoothly or she can enunciate target words in lines to provide a punch. She can spit slow or speed it up to give us a precursor to the style of Big Pun. No matter what her approach to tracks is though, she always came correct with intelligent bars and thought-provoking lyrics.
Kollage is an album filled with soft keys and snare drums. Bahamadia enlisted top quality beat makers and got a huge co-sign from the Gang Starr camp. But she also branches out a little bit with Beatminerz production, on a track like “Total Wreck” which sounds like a Black Moon outtake. Bahamadia showcases her own versatility on this song too as she steps out of her soft voice and crushes the track with energetic bars. The second and third verses of “Rugged Ruff” find Bahamadia effortlessly flowing in a fast-paced fashion reminiscent of Big Pun but recorded two years before his debut. “I Confess” is a beautiful love song which interpolates a Marvin Gaye classic while “True Honey Buns” oozes sexuality and allows Bahamadia to open up about how sometimes women just wanna get down too.
The two highlights of this album are the Roots-assisted “Da Jawn” and the DJ Premier-produced “Three The Hard Way”. The former gives Bahamadia a chance to rock out with her Philly cohorts as Black Thought and Dice Raw book-end the track.“Three The Hard Way” finds Premier providing funky boom bap with west coast influences as well as old school hip hop cuts. K-Swift and Mecca Star join Bahamadia to giving us a three woman show backed by one of Premier’s hidden gems of a beat.
Even with a couple of follow-ups and appearances with everyone from Erykah Badu to Jedi Mind Tricks, Bahamadia never quite found great success, but certainly not due to her lack of talent. An incredible songstress, her words glided over the beautiful sounds that accompanied her. Diverse in her abilities from subject matter to flow, Bahamadia provided us with a solid debut in Kollage that gave us proof of the ability for females to hang in the typically all male hip hop culture. — C-Dub
3 Tha Hard Way