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|More from Khary Kimani Turner|
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She was able to get close to the places where the action was hottest. The C-Note Lounge on Mondays. The Ebony Showcase on Tuesdays. Napoleon’s Lounge on Wednesdays.
She was hungry and willing, but sometimes appeared too close to the ones who were shining. They didn’t know her. And she was young, with a misleading name, Pimpette. Pimpette? It sounded like a gangsta rapper’s name. This was not the place, they said, for gangsta rap. Yet she conducted herself dutifully, and didn’t drink. That impressed the people who could get her in the door. They granted access, then gave her a little mic time. That was all she requested. And she made the most of it.
It’s a shame / they only in the rap game / only for the money and the fame / They talk about the same damn thing / Sippin’ on this / Platinum on this / claimin’ people slippin’ on they wrist / Investin’ in whips / What about your stocks and bonds? / When I drop the bomb / all that glamour is gone / What!
They called her hot, and gave her carte blanche at open mics after that night. Still, her name remained misleading. She corrected that in an East-Side Detroit neighborhood one day, practicing her hot lyrics in, of all places, a cool setting.
“I was rhymin’ with this guy I know in a store on Harper and Nottingham,” she says. “We were in the back, in the cooler. And I saw the Corona (beer). The name kept clicking in my head, so I said ‘I’m a try to place this in a rhyme.’ One day, something told me to look it up, and the definition captured me. I was like, ‘Man, this is my new name.’”
The name’s Miz Korona. “The outer premises of the sun, moon and stars,” she explains. The sun’s corona, the writer continues, is a colored ring, sometimes a set of rings, often appearing close to the sun or moon when viewed through a thin cloud composed of water droplets.
Korona is a female MC close to the shining ones who made the C-Note, Ebony Showcase and Napoleon’s Detroit hip-hop landmarks. But when contrasted with those names — Westside Whosane, Kilo Parker, Undertaker — she distinguishes herself. It’s not that they’re not talented — Korona’s a lioness in a lion’s den. And she’s worked hard to make a name for herself. Don’t make the mistake of viewing her through a thin cloud.
I bring it to your Tommy Hilfiger / meltin’ all icebergs / with words that perve like jigga / The wig splitter / like a neurologist / Some of y’all buy clothes and ain’t even went to the dermatologist.
Of all people, Miz Korona’s parents are responsible for her initial inclination toward hip hop. Her father wanted her to sing, like him. “But I couldn’t hit the notes that well after a certain age,” she says, poking fun at herself. “So my mother bought me a record player. And the first records she got me were Run DMC and JJ Fad. So I was just fascinated after that.”
She began writing and reading poetry to her fourth-grade class at Marquette Elementary. Soon after hearing “My Adidas” for the umpteenth time, Miz Korona wrote her first hip-hop lyric, in pre-Lil’ Bow Wow fashion, about school. She doesn’t remember it, but it served its purpose. She was hooked.
Over the years, the MCs she would grow to admire would be nothing like JJ Fad. Korona’s the Rah Digga, Heather B type of MC. Her style gets at you with backbone and frank attitude. It’s gritty and sensible, and it comes nonstop.
these kids ain’t gettin’ it / they thinkin’ it’s cool / so they droppin’ out of school tryin’ follow after you / after the video shoot / when it’s over and you yell “cut!” / will you continue to act / or put that fake rapper up?
She’s 23 now, and a recognized face in the hip-hop community. She’s recording songs for her as-yet-untitled CD, and her collaborations include many local notables. Supaemcee and Guilty of The Almighty Dreadnaughtz show love, as do Ekonomiks and J-Kidd. Local producer Jewelz mans the boards on a couple of tracks. And with this support, Miz Korona performs at this year’s Hamtramck Blowout. Joining her will be Fat Killahz, Ill One, Elzhi, DJ Houseshoes and the Dreadnaughtz.
“Expect nothing but raw talent, pure talent,” she says. “It’s unexplainable, man. I’m just gonna give it my best, and hopefully they will enjoy it. Years from now, I want my name in the mouths of all the young children who want to do what I’m doing.”
Check out the rest of our features on this year's talented Blowout artists:
• Go back to the future with The Bloody Holly’s
• The eclectic Brothers Groove are driven by white-hot funk
• Clone Defects front man Tim Vulgar lives the punk life
• esQuire’s frenetic but fabulous rise to fame
• Robert Jones is Detroit's quintessential bluesman
• The Kielbasa Kings' tale of accordions, beer and never-fail pickup lines
• Inside King Gordy's heart of darkness
• Stowing away on Sista Otis' path to enlightenment
• The Von Bondies are on the edge … but of what?
Khary Kimani Turner pulls up to the beat for Metro Times. E-mail him at email@example.com.