JB the First Lady and the First Lady Crew: First Nations Female Hip Hop

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Back home in Coast Salish Territory (aka Vancouver, BC) over Spring break, I went out to see my friend A-leigh (aka Platypus Toof) play. When I asked her why her set was so short, she told me that the male sound engineer decided to give her an impromptu 101 on her own equipment rather than listen to her sound set-up needs (she has been playing live for eight years and could no doubt teach him a thing or ten) and was feeling blah.  Even though her set was amazing, the whole experience was covered in a rain cloud big even for Van City that made us both wilt.  We cashed in her free drink tickets for playing and stood bitching when suddenly we were stopped by a beat. Under the florescent glow of the garage-turned-smoke-pit, five women free-styled, beat-boxed, harmonized their voices and clapped in a miraculous mash-up that ended with the chorus: “We are family, I got all my sisters with me.”

A-leigh said, “It’s the First Lady Crew!” Since I had never heard this amazing all-female hip hop crew from East Vancouver Coast Salish Territory, I thought my friends to the south might be similarly deprived. These First Nations women are taking back their stolen title from Canada’s colonizing British Queen (a reference to the Queen of England as well as a president’s wife) and returning the first ladyship where it belongs—with themselves.

JB the First Lady-Indigenous Love

First Lady Crew member, JB the First Lady is a: beat-boxer, emcee, performing artist, aboriginal youth educator, single mother, award-winning actor, and member of the Nuxalk and Cayuga Nations who is “using [her] words to go upwards/not backwards.” Check out her brand new video from a new track off her second full-length album The Other Half of the Story out last month and Get Ready, Get Steady for scenes of JB’s everyday life: pouring cheerios for her three-year-old son, rapping up the escalator, bouncing with her b-girl, and sharing down-to-earth images of her smiling friends and family.

“JB wants young indigenous women to feel proud, inspired, and to finally see someone on stage that looks like them since there are not too many Canadian indigenous women represented in mainstream media,” reads JB’s bio.  With women-positive rhymes to her grandma, JB and the First Lady Crew are a rare and positive force in Canadian hip hop.

by Mel Mundell
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6 Comments Have Been Posted


Wow! Trust a Bitch contributor to tell me about an awesome artist in my own province!
Living on Coast Salish Territory (in the province's capital city named after that British queen) just across the water, I'd not yet heard of JB and her Crew. I'm really glad I now have!
Props on the positive lyrics and images in the video, too. Not much of a hip-hop fan, I might just become one with music like this! :)

what venue was the freestyle

what venue was the freestyle session at? what date? I think i saw it!!!! W2?

It was at W2 in the smoking

It was at W2 in the smoking area last month. That is so cool that you caught it too!!

new music

so glad you introduced me to first lady. i listened to an ndn radio program with her as the host, through her facebook page and listened to her stuff, as well as found out about a whole bunch more new first nations hip hop artists in the area

Awesome! Please pass on any

Awesome! Please pass on any other First Nations hip-hop artists that you find.

JB & First Ladys Crew

So great that you are raising the FLC profile: they are absolutely amazing and a force of talent!
I love JB: her lyrics, her style and her message. Extremely empowering and such a wonderful role model.
I have seen her live a few times and it gets me each time. Congrats on profiling such a powerful performer (s)

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