Guerrilla Queenz on the Scene
Female trio infiltrates underground hip hop. See them at Se??or Fish, March 26
Gabriel San Roman
For the past three years, Sista Eyerie, Sista Cenzti and DJ Papalotl have formed the unapologetically revolutionary trio "Guerrilla Queenz."
Published on LatinoLA: March 25, 2010
Mixing reggae and hip hop influences with searingly subversive rhymes in English and Spanish, the fierce mujeres have been perfecting their craft throughout the years in the diverse communities of Los Angeles and beyond. Networking and collaborating with underground hip hop acts from all over Latin America, the Guerrilla Queenz have been hard at work recording their debut album. In the meantime, they will be getting down with the Havana hip hop trio Krudas Cubensi and local MC Xaris at Senor Fish in Los Angeles. But before that, LatinoLA.com spoke with Sista Eyerie about her group.
LatinoLA: When did the Guerrilla Queenz form? And what does the band name signify?
Eyerie: We came together in 2007 right after Centzi and Eye released our first album with Cihuatl Tonali. DJ Papalotl joined us shortly after. However, Centzi and Eye had been working on collaborating creatively on a world music reggae tip. Hip hop was a natural evolution and progression from Cihuatl Tonali. Guerrilla Queenz is in remembrance of the guerrilleras that have done their part to fight for justice and freedom for their seeds and their people and the land. They are the courage behind da lyrics and we are the voice of the voiceless.
As you and Cenzti were previously in Cihuatl Tonali, tell us why in GQz the sound gravitates more towards reggae and hip hop?
Eyerie: Our approach was always that these two genres are one. They are natural evolutions of the same music revolution and coming from two different backgrounds of music, Centzi- punk rocker & Eye-undaground hip hop poet, joined to play & create ceremony songs through the music and journey of Cihuatl Tonali. We still had the same common like, love and passion for reggae. It was inevitable as reggae is da mutha culture of hiphop and we, like sista carol says are "da teachers & muthaz of cul'cha."
Tell us about the album the GQz have in the works. any collaborations on the record? when can people expect it to drop?
Eyerie: out2infiltr8 is the album title, and it is kinda self explanatory in the sense that we are out to do what it states: infiltrate the system, the industry, music, the hiphop/reggae scene etc‘«™ Our idea came from the same concept of wombmyn having to infiltrate to get justice or even an opportunity to fight for it. We don't have to ask permission to be free. We don't have to ask permission to be heard. We infiltrate. On the album we've laid down tracks with a range of artist globally minded and diffusing borders in their own works. Krudas Cubensi, 2mex, and Bocafloja just to name a few. Chairman Fred Hampton Jr blessed us with a piece and we hope to seal the deal w/ a track with Chilean artist Moyenei and cover all Anahuak. Our plan is to leak it into the system, let it infiltrate then drop it when it's least expected!
What's the significance of being an all female group in hip hop; even underground?
Eyerie: More than what it means. We always ask ourselves why it matters so much when its hip hop‘«™like you can't have full line ups of wombmyn-feMCee's unless it is organized that way or why doesn't it matters as much in other genres of modern music. If music is about talent then so be it, gender free. However, having done the footwork for 10 years ‘«Ű 7 with Cihualt & 3 as GQz ‘«Ű we know that this "structure" in the hip hop "industry" (and to some degree music industry as a whole) isn't designed to make it easy or be 'equal' for wombmyn-feMCees. We are not asking for hand outs. We are asking to be heard & taken seriously. They say you earn respect, well we think plenty of feMCees have mos def earned the respect, especially in the underground. We are here to recognize the importance of decolonizing our wombmyn so we can start to diffuse that into our communities. We just happen to be wombmyn who use hiphop, reggae, music-palabras to do so, for the betterment of the whole comeUnity.
Politics play a central part in GQz lyrical identity. What are some of the core messages the music represents?
Eyerie: The message in the music is always gonna carry some type of political message when your using your music like Fela Kuti says as a "weapon" for liberation. We knew that when we decided to speak on subjects that are touchy during our Cihuatl Tonali years and we weren't afraid of that now as Guerrilla Queenz. There is no compromising inspiration. It's spontaneous and all the messages come from inspiration. Whether politics or love or love politics, all things become political when your music is there to reflect the needs, worries, happiness, struggles and sorrows of your comeUnity. We aim to represent the people, and express that through our art. For example, we worked to spread the word about 'NO 2010 Olympics' on stolen native land of the Secwepmec peoples up north. Inevitably defending the earth is also politics. We are dealing with preserving nature and it's still about politics.
Lastly, what do you say to a young girl out there who is thinking of picking up a mic and expressing herself?
Eyerie: YESSSS EYE!!! do it!! All young wombmyn who even think about it should do it, get beyond the mic, pick up an mpc, learn some recording programs, edit your songs, make videos, etc. Be heard, seen and dream big. Show the world a young wombmyn's perspective, and let them know that wombmyn have many talents on many levels. Make sure you are representing your peoples, with respect, dignity and light..keep spreadin' light!
Guerrilla Queenz perform with special guests Krudas Cubensi and Xaris at "Noches Guerriller@s" this Friday, March 26, 2010 at 9:00pm Senor Fish, 422 East First Street, Los Angeles, $5.