Tiye Phoenix Half Woman/Half Amazin'

Tiye Phoenix Half Woman/Half Amazin'
Tiye Phoenix may not be an instantly recognizable name to many but if you've ever heard her rhyme, you're not likely to forget her. Phoenix has definitely been paying her dues for an inordinately long time, having contributed her writing talents to Public Enemy's He Got Game project, and was one of the first artists to hook up with the groundbreaking Rawkus indie imprint in the late '90s. On Half Woman/Half Amazin', she continues in the vein of her track-stealing appearances on Polyrhythm Addicts' Break Glass…, showcasing her seasoned delivery, clever wordplay and production skills, which come to the forefront on the standout title track. Consequently, she avoids the pitfalls regularly faced by female MCs. On "Stop Right There," she passionately spits: "Guess that's why they use their ass, hips, breasts and thighs/I don't feel 'em, like a patient that's anesthetized." While it's clear her battling skills are well-honed, Phoenix is more than willing to explore her artistic and emotional range on efforts like the self-produced title track. Most notably "Too Late For Us," a singing and MCing duet with Little Brother's Phonte, which previously appeared on an LB mixtape, is rightfully included, as it's one of the most honest and heartfelt songs about relationships hip-hop has produced in recent memory. It's this relatable quality that's Phoenix's strength, so when the production occasionally lags, despite the backing of heavyweights such as DJ Spinna and the Beatminerz, and DJ Scratch, Phoenix still shines within spitting distance of the lofty aspirations of her album title. (Babygrande/Fontana North)