by Kitty Savage
July 19, 2012
News is pending on the cause of death of Ms. Melodie. Originally born Ramona Parks, the rhyme artist is perhaps most known for her musical and matrimonial affiliation with KRS-One and his group Boogie Down (& Boogey Down Productions), who are credited for masterminding the first blend of dancehall with hip hop. As a producer, KRS used the group to shed light on several commanding talents of the time, including DJ Premier, DJScott La Rock, D-Nice, and of course, his wifey Ms. Melodie.
Ms. Meoldie released just one album, called Diva, which was produced by KRS-One, Sam Sever and Awesome 2’s DJ TeddyTed. She did reach considerable heights on the rap charts with her single , “Wake Up, Wake Up,” (above) though it was not her first. However, this was no small feat. At a time when female emcees were still earning their cred in the mainstream, Ms. Melodie was cutting tracks on Jive Records.
Though connections certainly assisted in her success, the femme-cee’s raw talent proved that she could represent her own prowess; she was the type to punch once and knock out a sucka with uncompromised style and no regrets. In fact, just to make that point clear and push her debut along, she combined her anticipated album release with BPD cameos in the hilarious parody of blaxploitation films, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Directed by Keenan Ivory Waynes, the film is a cult classic that also cast several budding comedians, including Chris Rock and Isaac Hayes (who went on to be the voice of South Park’s “Chef” character before his passing in 2008). Dig a short clip of those two wild castmates in the flick—
And don’t ya think that the feline royalty of the era didn’t take notice of Melodie’s hard grooves– Queen Latifah invited her to make a cameo in her “Ladies First” video (below).
Beyond the solo effort, was featured on selected tracks, such as “Self Destruction” for the Stop the Violence! movement (below). This movement was an organization created by KRS to respond to the tragic killing of a fan at one of his shows, around the same time another member of BPD had been shot. Last year, 13 Baltimore emcees collaborated to redo the video and revive 1’s message for a new generation of hip hop fans.
Because KRS-One was so involved in Parks’ music career, after the divorce, she did not release any more major label material. For many, she may have faded from memory. Let’s remind ourselves of the pioneers to hip hop, those who carved the way and still lack comparable talent to match. Miss Ramona, we’ll keep that torch burning for you.