In Da Club: B-Girl Be at First Avenue

Lindsey Thomas

A young MC takes the stage for her First Avenue debut looking understandably anxious. The first act of Saturday's ladies' night lineup, Hashep is nervously, visibly counting the measures between her cues. After five minutes in the hot lights, the fear dissolves. She smiles and drops a song about her southside pride. "This is what B-Girl B is all about," says host Desdamona, raising cheers for the 14-year-old. Also representing the Twin Cities is Puerto Rican teen Maria Isa, who gives a show-stopping performance that involves a whole crew of conga players and dancers, both in streetwear and layers of traditional ruffled skirts.

But the big headliner tonight is L.A.'s Medusa (pictured), who throws her commanding alto over the beats of Coup DJ Pam the Funkstress. While the L.A. MC has the best call-and-response lines of the night" (When I say ho, you say not those hoes!" and "Pimps down/Flow's up!"), the DJ wows the crowd by leaning her ample chest over the turntables and stopping records no-handed. After a freestyle breakdance session from a stream of international B-girls, Medusa delivers her final song over the bounding bass line of "(Wait) The Whisper Song." As if summarizing the point of the entire weekend's events, she replaces the Ying Yang Twins' brutal, sex-as-violence mantra with "Wait till you see my clique/We gonna blow your city up."

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