Sassy, edgy, empowering and real are just some of the words used to describe PHAYME (pronounced fame), the fiery female emcee who is poised to give hip hop a kick in its proverbial rear end. This wordplay wizard got her first dose of hip hop listening to DJ Red Alert and Mr. Magic mix shows while living in New Jersey as a teen. She spent her formative years in Jersey, Detroit and North Carolina crafting her first rap lyrics, cutting demos and performing at talent showcases.
With further inspiration from her father, a popular radio personality turned television show host, PHAYME debuted into the late 90’s Detroit underground hip-hop realm. Her hit single, “What Your Man Can Do,” recorded with female emcee Acapella, was featured on the Wad Squad compilation album. The two femmes also dropped lyrics at various open mic sessions and showcases throughout the D.
Eventually going solo, PHAYME (whose name is an acronym for Player Haters Ask Y Me) released the EP in 2002, Do Yo’ Thang. which gained her a lot of attention among the Detroit hip hoppers. She then went on to open concerts for major acts such as Lil’ Flip and Do or Die. In 2004, PHAYME relocated back to the east coast, settling in Philadelphia to get back in touch with her hip- hop roots.
Of her musical predecessors, PHAYME says,
“Anyone I ever heard rap has influenced me musically, but of course it’s the women who do it that get my respect, ‘cause I know how hard it is for them to break through.”
She counts MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill, Lady of Rage and Rah Digga as influences, and Brand Nubian, Nas, Talib Kweli, 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G. as men in the game who have affected her style. With her inspirations, PHAYME wants to share her love of hip hop with the world and give an alternative to what listeners are presented with on commercial radio and T.V.
In addition to being topically versatile in terms of subject matter, PHAYME chooses to keep her raps relatable to the everyday person. She approaches subjects,
“From making it in the rap game, to cheating spouses, to hooking up in the club. Heck, I even got a song about looking good in a bikini.”
She declares, “A real woman has layers to her personality,” stating that “The day of the one- dimensional female rapper is over.” Her vision of female rap is empowering yet still sexy.
PHAYME chooses to offer her music via the Internet where she feel the playing field is most level for independent artists. Among some of her diverse new cuts is “Nickel Bag,” a lyrical vignette using coins as a metaphor about how we shortchange ourselves in life. Then there’s “Hood First,” PHAYME’s personal ode to her childhood set to poignant music from hit producer Rockwilder. This tune is a softer bit of introspection than offered by the search-and-destroy PHAYME of the 2002 EP. Experienced, determined and interesting as all hell, this emcee has a career that shows all of the signs of longevity and ascent of a hip-hop heroine.