So I am now nearly out of my former domicile and almost fully into my new one. Man, moving is stressful. I feel like my mind is in just about a million places trying to keep up with a dozen last-minute errands and projects. One such errand had me at a junk store looking for an end table for our new place and guess what? They had records. I was good though and only picked up two: The stellar two-sided 12" disco single of Sister Sledge's "He's the Greatest Dancer" b/w "We Are Family" and the Millie Jackson LP "I Had To Say It." My friend and record collector guru, Greg aka Caz aka Gregzinho had been telling me about this record ever since I mentioned I was living with the "ghost" of Millie. He even had a double he was gonna give me, but we never got around to making the exchange. So for a mere $1.99 it was mine.
On this 1980 recording Millie takes a stab at this newfangled thing called "rappin'" and does a hell of a better job than Debbie Harry did on "rapture." Many of the first female MCs consider Millie to be the O.G. The current issue of Wax Poetics, their first photo issue, has an excellent article called "Who Shot Ya: A History of Hip-Hop Photography" that references a photo by Janette Beckman called "Women's Class of '88" with Monie Love, MC Lyte, Roxanne Shante, the Real Roxanne, Queen Latifah, Ms. Melodie, Sweet Tee, Yvette Money, Sparky Dee, Finese and Synquis . . . and Millie Jackson, who was referred to as "the Mother of them All."
I wish I had that picture to post; couldn't find it anywhere online. Instead I'll post this other album cover of Millie's that my friends Brig and Lynn have in their collection, specifically for the cover.
Butt, I digress . . . the song we have here is the title track from her 1980 "I Had To Say It" where she raps and raps fairly well. I'm not gonna say its the best example of early MCing, but Millie definitely brings her own style to the track and even references Fat Back and Sugar Hill as the other crossover hits of the time. Listening to her dish shit on all kinds of deserving and undeserving demographics its fitting that Millie of all soul singers would be the first and (best) to take a stab at rapping.
Here's "I Had To Say It"