Review Summary: Dialect perfected with two lines connected..
Repping Philadelphia on the Gang Starr Foundation’s roster, and ever-so patently East Coast, Bahamadia’s 1996 debut Kollage
delivers swirling rhymes with sharp, deadpan confidence that played so perfectly against a steady backdrop of melancholically swaying, jazzed-up beats.
Her ties to Gang Starr are in strong presence, with Guru and Premier producing a good half of the track-list, and fellow Philly natives The Roots showing up to play on “Da Jawn,” Black Thought sliding into an easy back-and-forth with Bahamadia over "uestlove’s familiar snapping percussion, providing a great sister song to her appearance on “Push Up Ya Lighter” off retrospect classic Illadelph Halflife
that would come out just six months later.
On the dreamily sinister “3 Tha Hard Way,” she, K-Swift and Mecca Star take turns coasting on DJ Premier’s beat, collated from James Brown and LL Cool J samples; three MC’s, each more smooth and assured than the next, an impressive example of the stance female rappers were cutting before the Lil Kims and Foxxy Browns of the genre traded in wordplay for G-strings and ran off with it, squeezing the already-meagre populace of female MC’s sporting any sort of artistic cred into almost-total obscurity.
The rest of the LP keeps up the mood, Bahamadia showing an easy lyrical prowess and flow over a slew of laidback, jazz rap production, casually transcending the genre’s gender imbalance, her skills passing over a good portion of the males in the field.
was released to critical sanction and scant sales. Though her strong connection to some of Brooklyn’s most lauded underground acts played in her favour, it isn’t like Gang Starr were moving mass units even at their peak, and The Roots were still a few years away from starting to stake their claim as a household hip-hop outfit. All of that (shamefully) ensured Bahamadia’s inevitable drift into forgotten cult status, a curio that most people now arrive to by Wiki’ing the early work and collaborations of some of East Coast’s most revered conscious rap artists.