Us Girls members consist of MCs Sha Rock, Lisa Lee and Debbie D. As a group, we are perhaps third on the list as one of the earliest and most iconic female rap groups in hip hop history. Before Us Girls, however, each of us were founding members of three all male Bronx crews from the mid 70s. Our status as the few women who contributed in pioneering hip hop, is the reason, we are solely credited with the title Hip Hop Matriarchs.
In 1983, when the group Us Girls was created, it was originally called Empress, indicative of each of our ruling status as hip hop's Queen MCs.
When hip hop went commercial with records and movies, Us Girls were the first female group to be seen rapping on film! In 1984, the release of the international movie, Beat Street, produced by Harry Belafonte, put hip hop on the map, globally. The first party scene featured Us Girls, and our lyrical ability on the mic became a catalyst to inspire girls all over the world to become an MC. Hip hop artist and England native, Monie Love, often says in interviews, "when I saw them rhyme, I said, I want to be an MC"!
Our song, Us Girls Can Boogie Too, appeared on the soundtrack album and went certified gold! It was the first time a song by a female rap group had appeared on a movie soundtrack. The follow year, Us Girls recorded a unique "break" single exclusively for the legendary New York City Breakers, who also appeared in Beat Street. This record was also featured on the album and went certified gold! Following the movie, the NYC Breakers and Us Girls toured together in Europe.
In 1985, MC Debbie D returned to performing as a soloist and MCs Sha Rock and Lisa Lee, pursued other hip hop ventures. Nevertheless, Us Girls early accomplishment in hip hop culture is indelible and our contribution to the culture is undoubtedly the spark which ignited the sudden rise among women in hip hop worldwide!
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Scroll down for photos and footage about Beat Street
To hear the full song and see the movie scene, click below!
Empress at Danceteria
Interview by Ed Lover with Original Screenwriter Steve Hager, Melle Mel, Debbie D and others!