Release Date: Oct 7, 2008
Record label: Domino
After ten years in the game, with enough headline fodder to drum up major attention for the group -- including extremely explicit musical content, consistent on-stage nudity while supporting the Gossip and CSS, and contradictory lifestyle choices (Shunda K. , a God-fearing Christian, briefly became Muslim and married a man after coming out as a lesbian) -- NME listed Yo Majesty as one of the top up-and-coming bands of 2008 and the burly Jewel Baynham (Jwl B. ) and thuggish LaShunda Flowers (Shunda K.
Determined to take hip-hop back for female MCs everywhere are Jewel B. and Shunda K, a.k.a. Yo Majesty, a Florida-based act that has been getting attention for some time thanks to some rather risqué stage performances and dirty rhymes. Topless performances and lesbian pride aside, Yo Majesty fearlessly mixes genres on its debut, Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid.
Rappers Shunda K and Jwl B, from Tampa, Florida, could have been a couple of characters written for The Wire: they're portly, punky, God-fearing lesbians, prone to stripping down to the waist on stage. They are, on this startling debut, X-rated, terrifying and funny, not least on brutal opener Fucked Up, which has the girls slashing tyres and asking to be hit in the face - all in the name of a skewed love affair. They handle sex in a rather more direct fashion than Salt-n-Pepa did two decades ago, hollering on Hott: "Have you ever had an orgasm when you're pissed?" The music is provided by half a dozen hip producers, including Basement Jaxx, who back the girls with crunk, Miami bass, dancehall and house.
Perhaps most notable about Yo Majesty, the female Tampa hip-hop duo, is Jwl B’s tendency to perform her concerts topless. As she succinctly put it in an interview with the International Herald Tribune: "I got stretch marks, and I’m fat, and I’m wildin. But your boy 50 Cent does his show with his shirt off. Why can’t I?” That quote sums up Yo Majesty’s music, captured on the group’s debut full-length Futuristically Speaking .