What a terrible blow. Just awful awful news on-line today. It seems like I only just knew them and they get taken away from me. Why does life have to be so hard?
Sigh…just when I start fully crushing on a band, what do they do? They throw a strop and split up. I’m not having it. Seriously, Yo! Majesty. I’m not kidding. Get your shit together.
I was just starting to feel like I was part of something.
89. Yo! Majesty
Though they’ve been around for about eight years, the Tampa-born trio–and more recently duo–have only really caught fire with their first LP Futuristically Speaking…Never Be Afraid. (Previous EPs included Yo! and the unbeatably titled Kryptonite Pussy. ) Since 2001, the revolving door of membership has included Windy Baynham (who goes by JWL B–naturally) Shon B., Shunda K–with all three of the members either throwing tantrums and temporarily leaving and returning at one stage or another and one of them even serving jail time. NME mag explains it better (or perhaps as best a recap as we may ever see). Keep in mind, this is only the most recent episode in the drama:
Let us explain. First there were three MCs in Yo! Majesty: Jwl B, Shon B and Shunda K. By the time debut album ‘Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid’ dropped late last year, Shon B had left the fold. Jwl B and Shunda K then fell out very publicly, suggesting Yo! Majesty was over. Now, this is where it gets complicated. In January, Jwl B did some time in a Florida prison, leaving Shunda K flying solo and claiming her partner-in-rhyme was sacked from the group. Then when Jwl B got out, ignored her and rejoined the tour, Shunda K quit immediately. Shon B returned to take her place. Confused yet? You’re not the only one.
I suppose most people, or at least Beth Ditto, could have seen this break-up coming. This interview–which was pre-arranged– is a hot mess thanks to Yo! Majesty’s nonsensical rambling. Pay attention to their response to the ‘what are your star signs’ question:
Naturally, I’m all for their support for the gay community and their ambition to help the downtrodden gay youth of America look up and feel empowered is happy times. But, there are very few fragments of that session that are coherent. At any rate, they still look like one of the most awesome acts to catch live–as evidenced by the clips that intersperse their interview ‘answers’. Here’s what they looked like when all three were playing together nicely–I believe this is put together by their UK-based producers HardFeelings:
It’s the unapologetic blend of punk and hip-hop that makes their music so refreshing and appealing…as well as their general in your face attitudes so very entertaining.
Most recently, Yo! Majesty recorded a track for the new Basement Jaxx album. “Twerk” sounds excellent. You can listen to it on Yo!’s Myspace page: Yo! Majesty Myspace Of the experience of working with Yo! Majesty, Felix Buxton –a Basement Jack–says (from BBC news site):
The pair got another shock when rap duo Yo! Majesty dropped by to lay down their vocals.
“We were in this tiny room,” gestures an animated Felix.
“There was a sound engineer shaking his head going, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this ever’.
“It was great. They were a real refreshing slap in the face.”
Apparently in the recording session, at least one of the members of Yo! took off her shirt (probably JWL B as that seems to be her modus operandi). I’ve tried to ascertain what incarnation of Yo! Majesty contributed to the track. I’m assuming it’s Shon B. and JWL B. as Shunda K. is now flying solo. You can check out the material for Shunda K.’s upcoming album at this link from AfterEllen: Solo Material
It doesn’t look like the split has damaged the performance ability of either party. Here’s Shunda K. performing one of my fave Yo! Majesty tracks “Grindin’ and Shakin'” all by her lonesome
The remaining two members also look like they are still a force to be reckoned with:
This is punk excitement at its best but unfortunately, the dyke drama aspect is winning. The mere fact that they’ve had soooo many problems just when they’re starting to get some attention does not bode well. If three of them couldn’t make it work, who’s to say that the remaining two are going to survive?
Come on, Yo! Majesty. The world needs a chance to fully enjoy a Christian lesbian punk-edged–often shirtless– hip-hop trio. Now get your asses back in the recording studio and get along.