SISTER SOULJAH (Buy CDs by this artist)
360 Degrees of Power (Epic) 1992
On her album, Bronx-born, Ivy League-educated community activist Sister Souljah (Lisa Williamson) raps her angry black nationalism in an articulate voice pumped up with melodramatic outrage. Simply produced in old-school style by Public Enemy studio associate Eric "Vietnam" Sadler and others, Souljah preaches "The Hate That Hate Produced," making the solipsistic proclamation that she "was not born to make white people feel comfortable...if my survival means your total destruction, then so be it." Souljah's militant Afrocentricity contains such positive elements as self-reliance, self-defense, entrepreneurship, unity and education, but proceeds into paranoia ("The Final Solution" is a fantasy scenario in which the US government reinstitutes slavery), syllogism ("There's no such thing as a Black racist!") and absurd sexism ("White women...want to sleep with your Black man...White feminist say that they are the sisters of Black women/Ask you to join their women's movement/And then they want to give you five hundred reasons why you should leave your Black man/And let them eat your pussy!"). Chuck D. alternates verses with Souljah on "State of Accommodation; Why Aren't You Angry"; Ice Cube's supportive appearance on "Killing Me Softly; Deadly Code of Silence" sets his calm intensity against Souljah's shrill hectoring. For all of its didactic tedium, 360 Degrees of Power is way more compelling than the tiresome relationship exploits of Souljah's 1995 autobiography, No Disrespect.
Souljah published a 1999 novel, The Coldest Winter Ever.[Ira Robbins]
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