She’s been in the industry for over a decade. And she’s been solo for four of those years. Formally known as Norma Bates, rapper Bates ditched the Norma once her friends started calling her Bates. Embracing the name, she figured it was different and wasn’t gender specific. To Bates, being a female rapper without a feminine name helped, and kept the DJs from skipping over her music.
Because let’s be honest, when you listen to her drop bars you are automatically a fan. Prior to going the solo route, she joined a crew named H.A.R.D Asylum. That chance encounter is how she met St. Louis’ own super producer, True on Tha Trac.
The dynamic duo has released some amazing tracks over the year. If you’re wondering what sets Bates in a different category, I’ll tell you. It’s the fact she doesn’t just hold the space as a female MC. It’s a competitive industry and her competition is the male MC’s rather than the female MC’s. As far as skills, we all know they clearly have them, but it would seem they are in the way of women being properly represented in the music industry.
However, she seems to be the best artist across the board not just among women. Because of that, a lot of people have stop looking at her as simply a female rapper. That perspective is much needed in the male-dominated industry. She writes as a woman not for woman.
She has kicked in the door waving the 44. She has open for Scarface, Nappy Roots, Young MA, and Young LA. She has even help create Femfest, a platform held yearly in St. Louis, for women to celebrate the contributions to the music industry.
When creating FemFest, Bates teamed up with SLUM Fest (St. Louis Underground Music Festival) to make it happen. It was only right she did seeing as though, SLUM Fest has played a large part in her career. She was the first woman nominated for the Album of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Artist of the Year, and Best Video at the annual Slum Fest awards. Showing women are a force in this industry, she took home many of those nominations.
With advisors in the underground community like Robboo, Finster, and John Harrington, Bates was given a platform for her music. Each of them gave her advice and believed in her. So’ and So’ from Midwest Adventures even called her Beast Mode. When Bates writes, she writes from a place of pain, while channeling the oppressed, and the light hardness of the festive types of people.
The soul of her ancestors she speaks from others while also speaking for herself. Which is why her new album, Strange Woman is so important. The origin of the name is a biblical term. In the Bible, the strange woman is someone who is portrayed as promiscuous, or someone who can’t be trusted. Basically anybody different than what society says is normal.
Focused on this album, Bates and Kourtney Harris (her partner, her lead vocalist, and her muse), dug deep to see how this idea could really work. Critics say this is Bates’ best piece of work. She touches on molestation, how she met her life partner, and even gives us some club bangers. She even pays tribute to Tupac. Be sure to check out Strange Woman on all major music outlets and follow her at bates_stl on Instgram.
I know I will!
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