Milwaukee's Female Takeover Puts Women on the Same Side
One of the most romanticized ideals in rap music is the “greatest rapper alive”—the notion that one artist, through sheer talent, gets to claim the Iron Throne. It’s a myth, though. Rap has never been a winner-takes-all endeavor. In truth, there’s plenty of room in the pasture for everybody, as evidenced by the literally dozens of nearly indistinguishable, mumbly male rappers all sharing the limelight right now.
If only women rappers were treated the same way. Too often the media covers women hip-hop artists with a tokenism their male counterparts are never subject to. In the eyes of the press, there really can only be one reigning woman at one time. That’s been the case at the national level—as this summer’s highly hyped Nicki Minaj/Remi Ma feud illustrated—and it’s also true at the local level, where women artists are similarly pitted against each other. That mindset never made sense to Milwaukee rapper and singer Kaylee Crossfire.
“When I first started doing music in the city I didn’t see too many female rappers, and the ones that I did see that were dope, I feel like people tried to divide us, tried to cause that tension,” Kaylee says. “I decided I wanted to link up with these girls who were so dope and so talented and so unique, and luckily they agreed to do it, so we made a video called Female Takeover.” That 2013 video—featuring Kia Rap Princess, Lady Sabo, Remedy Da’Kure and Young Key—made an impression on those who saw it.
“We came together and we did this dope thing this city hasn’t ever seen before, with five females going hard and slaying a track,” Kaylee says, “and it received such a great response that my partner Key asked, ‘Why don’t we turn this into a dope showcase?’”
In addition to rapping, their first Female Takeover Showcase featured singers, dancers and a fashion show. It was followed by a second Female Takeover Showcase in 2015, which Kaylee says drew an even bigger turnout. The event will return for its third installment on Sunday, Aug. 20 at The Point, 906 S. Barclay St.
“People can expect a range of female talent, right down to our caterer, who is this amazing woman,” Kaylee says. “It’ll be a combination of live performances from some of the top ladies in the city, female rappers, female singers, some amazing dance teams, a hair show, multiple fashion shows from top boutiques and designers in the city. All the ladies have been working really hard to deliver something amazing.
“It’s a family event, an all-ages event, so we really want the youth to come out, especially our young ladies,” Kaylee continues. “It’s a chance for them to see you can do something great. We’re also donating a portion of our proceeds to Pearls for Teen Girls, which does a lot for youth in the city.”
Kaylee says that, especially for the younger talent on the bill, the event is a chance to hone their craft. “This is about artist development for the newer ladies working with us, so we’ve been really dedicating all our time and energy to preparing,” she says. “You know, most of the time when people throw events here, they’re not really planning rehearsals or anything. Oh no, not us. We’ve got rehearsals going on a few times a week, because we want the ladies to understand that rehearsals are important, and they can be what make you stand out from other individuals. You can perform on stage, or you can PERFORM. ON. STAGE., you know what I mean?”
Mostly, though, Kaylee says she’s trying to create the type of event she would
have liked to have seen when she was younger. “I honestly can remember when I
was a young girl, and I went to a show and saw another amazing performer,”
Kaylee says. “I still remember her name, ShebaBaby, and it was my first time
seeing a female artist really light up the stage, and I remember thinking I
wanted to be just like her. She was so cool, dominant and fierce! That’s the
experience I want to give ladies with this event—I want them to come and see somebody
on stage and think, ‘I want to be like her!’"
The Female Takeover Showcase takes place Sunday, Aug. 20 at The Point, 906 S. Barclay St., from 5 to 9 p.m. Find more information at facebook.com/Female-Takeover-Showcase.