Although details are still few and far between Okayplayer has learned that rap pioneer Ms. Melodie (born Ramona Parker) has passed away. After tweets in tribute to the Boogie Down Productions-member (and former wife of KRS-ONE) appeared online, the story was reported by Urban Daily and has now confirmed been by Melodie’s BDP crewmate D-Nice (also on twitter).
Like many okayplayer readers I remember the self-described “born-again rebel” best from her verse in the Yo MTV Raps staple video “Self-Destruction” (watch above) stating for the record that hip-hop rules (“the enemy knows–they’re no fools”) although In my case her passing hits a little closer to home, made a little more personal by the fact that the very first rap concert I ever attended was a BDP live appearance at the Detroit African Arts Festival circa 1990, during which Melodie held her own alongside KRS, D-Nice and Jamal-ski.
A key part of the post- Scott LaRock sound of the influential outfit, the Flatbush, Brooklyn native only released one solo project (on Jive Records–listen to “It’s Fresh” and “B-b-b-bklyn” after the jump). But Melodie’s involvement in the Self-Destruction all-star project and its successor H.E.A.L. (Human Education Against Lies) ironically make her the rare female MC who may be remembered less for opening doors for women in the rap game than for expanding its possibilities as an activist artform and vehicle for education. She will be missed.