Monday, August 16, 2010 at 1:28 p.m.
When America Ochoa immigrated to the United States from her native Michoacan, Mexico, she, like many others, eventually settled in the Orange County city of Santa Ana. Before ever coming to the States, however, she developed an interest in music and awakened to the possibilities of Mexican rap after listening to a Control Machete album. After years of practice, Ochoa later began to make a name for herself on this side of the border as "Ms. Krazie" dropping her debut rap album Brown is Beautiful in 2006.
Since that time, as the only female rapper promoted by her Urban Kings label, Ms. Krazie represents for las mujeres in a hip-hop culture where, as Chicano Rap scholar Pancho McFarland notes, "The role of women is often overlooked." Bucking the trend, her ever-expanding listener base is quick to christen the rapper as 'the best' among her female counterparts as young Chicanas emulate her flow and distinctive application of make-up alike on YouTube videos online.
Always staying active, the latest installment in the young rapper's growing body of work is last Tuesday's release of Firme Homegirl Oldies 2. On the new album, Ms. Krazie, who has since moved from OC, displays a proficient and aggressive delivery. The second edition digs deeper than its predecessor both in terms of "oldies but goodies" samples to update into hip-hop beats and emotional rawness.
Alongside old school samples, Ms. Krazie also utilizes 1970's bolero-psychedelic bands from Latin America to create a sound for her bilingual 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' raps on songs like "Te Deseo Lo Peor (I Wish You the Worst)." Focusing on the agony and ecstasy of relationships throughout, the tone comes down a notch, but not by much, on other tracks like the immensely catchy "Don't Come Too Close."
The Weekly recently caught up with Ms. Krazie to get the "homegirl's point of view," on her new album:
OC Weekly (Gabriel San Roman): Your latest album is the second volume of "Firme Homegirl Oldies." What is the concept behind these albums and what made you come back to it this time around?
Ms. Krazie: The first Firme Homegirl Oldies album was released simply because I've always had love for the oldies and wanted to give the remakes the female touch that was almost completely dominated by male rappers at that time. The second volume, Firme Homegirl Oldies 2 came about because of a lot of tears, suffering, loss of love, regret and a lot of pain. I felt that only with the oldies beats as the backdrop would the album be done justice. Firme Homegirl Oldies 2 is a lot more to me than just recorded audio for the world to hear.
The album is billed as presenting a "homegirl's point of view." Can you explain what that is and some of the themes you rap about in songs like "Te Deseo Lo Peor" and "Don't Come Too Close?"
Firme Homegirl Oldies 2 is a lot of pain converted into words to try and get rid of the anger, sadness and frustration of a broken heart. All of this came from directly from me. I didn't just hear this or see this happen; I live it. So this is a message from me to the world; "From a homegirl's point of view."
Many young Chicanas today have you as an example of a female Chicana rapper. Back in the day, you were originally inspired by Mexican rappers Control Machete. Did you have any Chicana or female MC's that you looked up to as you came into the game?
I fell in love with the music scene itself; its people, the stage, the noise, the feelings I would get from just seeing my father perform during one of his group's events and living through it all as if it were my own. It was all of that which I wanted so badly. Yes, I listened to a little bit of everything both from male and female rap artists, but it was much more than that to me, much more than just having an
example to try and be like or look up to. I visualized myself on stage, and that is the only person who I wanted to be like.
You've likened yourself as the 'hardest female rapper' and your aggressive delivery certainly wins respect. How did you find and develop your flow?
My voice has always been a strong one so I've just learned to work with what I have. I've had my share of life experiences which have sadly helped me bring that much more anger to every word I rap when the song calls for it, when I write what I do. It's my nature and in Spanish it's more noticeable.
Your loyal fan base calls you the queen of Chicana rappers. Where do you see yourself in the game?
I see myself continuing to do what I love for as long as 'Diosito' allows me to. Something you have to understand about me is that at the end of the day my music is all that I have besides family. I am not a professional. I don't call this my job. This is part of my being, my air, my water, my laughs and my tears. It's the sense of, "You know what mijas, with babies and all...dry your eyes and move forward." Writing the things that I've written has helped me personally through some of the hardest times of my life and as long as I have a need for that, I will continue to expel everything I have inside through my lyrics.
Ms. Krazie's "Firme Homegirl Oldies 2" is now available on iTunes.