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"Billboard called music production “the ultimate boys club of the industry,” and it’s true. Since the introduction of the Grammy category for producer of the year, non-classical in 1975, only a handful of women — including Janet Jackson, Paula Cole, Sheryl Crow, Lauryn Hill, Mariah Carey, and Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin from Prince‘s band The Revolution — have been nominated. No woman has ever won it. Beyond shiny trophies, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift are the only two women to land on Billboard‘s year-end Top Producers chart in the last decade. Yes, you read that right. The disparity is just as evident when you look at Hip-Hop. Despite the presence of chart-topping women on the mic like Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, the majority of the producers are men. In fact, most Hip-Hop fans probably can’t name enough woman Hip-Hop producers to count on one hand.” ~Nadirah Simmons, The Gumbo
On March 15, 2019, Jovan Landry released the first all woman produced and performed Hip-Hop album "Synergy", supported by WeWork Creator Awards. The Chicago based album that features over 50 women & femme identified collaborators including nine up and coming artists: Jovan Landry, Sundé, Tweak'G, Tee Spirit, Jade The Ivy, Sauda Muse, JuJu MinXXX and Glitter Moneyyy; and four producers _Qisum, Schenay, K Flow and Jovan Landry. The idea was inspired through a conversation Jovan had with TeQuila Shabazz where Shabazz said "I want to see a female rap album." The rest was history.
The format of the album consist a total of 11 orignal tracks: Nine up and coming Chicago rappers/emcees were divided in half to contribute to one of the 2 lead singles: "Synergy Cypher Pt. 1" and "Synergy Cypher Pt. 2". Following the singles, the artist are randomly paired with another based on an original instrumental they chose. As the artists worked with each together for the first time, writing and recording sessions were scheduled so they can meet and create their concept for their song. 5 songs resulted from these collaborations. The remaining 4 are interludes that consists of interviews with Chicago Hip-Hop "Veterans" who has been involved in Hip-Hop for several decades. These women are emcees, educators, event organizers and mentors. It is important to allow their voices to shine and to show them how much they are appreciated, as they’ve paved the way for the artists after them.
By defintion, Synergy is "the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects" which exactly that this album stands for. Synergy is the embodiment of Chicago Hip-Hop, women empowerment & collaboration, showcasing women not only being the artist, but the engineer, producer, photographer, filmmaker and graphic designer. Synergy has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Vocalo Radio and NPR to name a few, and graced opportunities to speak on the project at WeWork Creator Awards in Berlin and at the Women in Hip-Hop Conference at St. Louis University.
In addition to releasing the album, our goals is to create citywide, national and international Hip-Hop Exchanges. Synergy is important to the Hip-Hop culture because women in Hip-Hop are typically seen as just the artists, while the women who produce, engineer, even other artistic disciplines stand in the shadows. Through our exchanges, we plan to uplift our women in all music disciplines at events and in existing music conferences though discussions, workshops and showcases. Our other goals include implementing our album in museums and archives that touches on Hip-Hop, black music, women, and the arts. [ Album Artwork by Damaly Keo ]