Bahamadia is an American rapper and songwriter who first gained attention with her 1996 album "Kollage." She has since collaborated with various artists, including Jean Grae, Gang Starr, etc. She was a founding member of the music group BBU with whom she released an eponymous album in 2016. In her own words: "I am a spiritual being, first and foremost; I also happen to be a woman, I also happen to be black, I also happen to be gifted, and those are all of the things that inform the person I am. If you take away any one of those things, I would not be who I am." Bahamadia is known for her fusion of eclectic sounds rooted in hip hop and jazz. Her style of rapping is often described as both aggressive and intelligent.
Born Edwina Williams, her life started in Philadelphia, which she would later describe as a "food desert" because of its lack of healthy food and high crime rates. Bahamadia described her childhood as "difficult" because she grew up with a single mother who was also trying to raise five other children.
At the age of nine, she began rapping despite having no aspirations towards it until recently: "I never wanted to rap - I had no idea what rapping was, I had no reason to rap. I used to listen, but I never thought that that would be my calling."
During high school, Bahamadia began getting involved with Philadelphia's music scene and performing at local open mic nights before releasing her first album "Kollage" in 1996, the proceeds of which she used to pay for her first car.
Bahamadia released her debut album "Kollage" in 1996 on the now-defunct Philadelphia-based label, Good Vibe Recordings. The album would eventually gain a cult following and was praised for its fusion of hip hop with jazz and soul elements.
In 2005, Bahamadia appeared on Talib Kweli's album "Train of Thought" and later signed to his Blacksmith Records Label. In the same year, she released her second solo full-length album entitled "BB Queen," which featured several artists, including Mos Def and Q-Tip.
Along with recording music, Bahamadia has made numerous appearances as a featured guest and collaborator, including Gang Starr, Jean Grae, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli, The Roots, and Slum Village. She was also featured on the song "A Little Part of All of Us" in the 2002 film Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
Bahamadia is one of the few female rappers who have received praise from underground and mainstream hip-hop fans.
In the Eyes of the Fans
For fans of rap and mainstream hip-hop, Bahamadia is the epitome of the best that hip hop offers as a music form and culture.
With contemporaries like Queen Latifah and Salt-n-Pepa rising to some level of commercial success, Bahamadia's lyrics and lyricism continue to propel her ascent within the heads and hearts of underground hip hop fans.
She was the original "female emcee" that defied gender lines to rise to a level of créme-de-la-créme, and at the same time, trailblazing a path for the likes of Lizzo and Rhapsody!!