The Lady Of Rage Discusses Death Row Records "Crumbling" & "Necessary Roughness"

The Lady Of Rage: "I wanted to be in the discussion of dope female emcees and some of the greatest to do it. I feel like I did achieve that."

The Lady Of Rage, who calls her time at Death Row Records a "dope experience" where she learned about musicality, recently spoke with Billboard about witnessing what she calls the "crumbling" of a "dynasty" when it was time for her to craft her debut album, Necessary Roughness.  

"When I first got to Death Row, the lineup was going to be Dr. Dre, Snoop [Dogg], myself, and then Dogg Pound," Lady Of Rage says in an interview for Billboard's Ladies First: 31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop article. "For whatever reason, Dogg Pound came out before me. I don't know the reason, but I know that when it was time for my album Necessary Roughness to be produced, the dynasty was crumbling. Dre was leaving, Snoop was unhappy and on the verge of leaving, Suge was locked up, and [Tupac Shakur] was assassinated. And then it's like, 'Alright Rage, you're up next.'

"I didn't have the conductor and I didn't have the same help that everyone else had when it was time for their albums to be produced," Lady Of Rage continues. "Everybody came in and contributed for The Chronic, Doggystyle and Dogg Food. Everybody came in for Above the Rim and 'Murder Was The Case.' When it was my turn, it was just me. I second-guessed myself. I have the highest confidence in my lyrics, but when it came to formatting and the sound, I depended on somebody else for that. That's always how it was always done, even with the L.A. Posse and Premiere. I'm not the producer. I'm the lyricist and I brought my part of the equation to the table. When the other part of the equation was missing, I had to fill in, but I'm not skilled on that level. I had bitter feelings and I held a grudge about that for a long time. But I got over it because I felt like if it was meant to happen another way, it would have happened another way."

Lady Of Rage says her album, Necessary Roughness, features some of her best lyrics and she says she feels her lyrics from then could "rival some of the stuff that's out today." She also says the album helped her achieve a goal.

"Back then, it was so much about respect from your peers," she says. "I wanted to be known as a dope emcee. In future years, I wanted to be in the discussion of dope female emcees and some of the greatest to do it. I feel like I did achieve that."

Lady Of Rage recently signed with the Shirley Wilson Agency and she is working with Fred Hampton Jr. on a docu-drama about the life of Fred Hampton. She says she hopes to release the docu-drama by the end of 2014. She is also working on her final album. 

"I'm going to put my all into this project and that's going to be my exit," she says. "It's like a relationship. If it's over, it's over. [Hip-hop] I love you, but I don't want to be with you anymore. I can still admire you from afar, but that's it. I will always love you, but I have to move on."

In 2007, Lady Of Rage spoke with HipHopDX about what she missed most when thinking of Death Row Records.

"Just the camaraderie," she said at the time. "The little functions that we would have. It was like your own little family, and just the things that we would do together. Studio vibes. Going to the studio smoking, drinking, just listening to beats, creating on the spot and that whole little flavor right there. I miss it." 

RELATED: Where The Hell Have You Been?: Lady Of Rage [Feature]


  • funk master flex

    Lady Of Rage is one of the best female hip-hop artist ever.. It's just unfortunate she got affiliated with Suge Knight he destroyed a lot of superstars careers

  • Anonymous

    Lady of Rage is tge female Freddie Foxxx.......She'll kick your ass on the MIC and with her hands!

  • Anonymous

    Lady of Rage is dope but Tha Dogg Pound dropped first because Kurupt is the dopest emcee in the West Coast and Dogg Food is pure gangsta shit .. Smooth is a better track then 98% of the stuff on the radio these days ..

    • motun

      Everyone that keeps claiming someone else produced doggystyle, chronic other than dre are trippin and do not understand music. who is the common denominator in ll of these records and who do they ALL always run to in the end, Dr DRe. so please all of you haters shutup. All of these guys tht so-called produced the records have had solo careers and a chance to show their skill and ive heard their records and it sounds nothing like anything produced By Dre so i donot know what you guys are smoking nd why re they ll still craving Dre if all those records were not Dre produced.

    • anonymous

      Natural Born Killaz beat was co-produced by Sam Sneed. Even Daz himself says he didn't do the whole of Doggystyle, lol, he says he did a couple of the beats on there, and that Dre revamped them totally.

    • Malik

      Your take was interesting and informative until u said "...Dre to do all the beats..." That had me going 'uh'? Dre doesn't do JACK other then sequencing and arrangement. Daz produced the WHOLE of Doggystyle. 'Natural Born Killaz' was done by J-Flexx

    • peterp

      I think Kurupt and Daz said that Dogg Food dropped first because they basically went into the studio and made the album themselves (as it's mostly Daz production), and so they just gave it to Suge and he was like, well this is done, let's put it out. So it was because they had a producer within the duo to make the album. Lady of Rage would have had to wait on Dre to do all the beats basically, and it would have been amazing, but we know how slow Dre can be with beats... Also it seemed like Dre was then more interested in making the Helter Skelter album with him and Cube, as the Natural Born Killaz single had taken off... And then of course 2Pac got signed and Dre had to put beats on that project...

  • Anonymous

    damn she looks good in that pic

  • jlpl

    To me, Lady of Rage is the best female MC, no one can touch her flows, she can flip crazy rhythms. I like Lauryn Hill too, but I find Lauryn's flow pretty boring. Lady of Rage's "Unfucwitable" is the best performance from a female MC, and among the best of any MCs, ever. The only track that comes close to that is Queen Latifah on "Elements I'm Among" because she tore it up on that track. If Rage had had a Dr Dre produced album, or even all Primo beats, it would be one of the best albums of all time. The album still came out pretty good though, it was just not the best beats.

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