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From the Washington Post:

In an age when the leading female hip-hop artist has crossed over to be a pop cultural icon, it may be hard to grasp the significance of one Ramona Scott, aka Ms. Melodie, the old school rapper who died Tuesday. The Flatbush-born artist only had one album, which didn’t sell many units. She wasn’t a sex starlet like Lil’ Kim or a transcendent performer like Queen Latifah.

But in the mid 1980s, when there were only a few female rappers of consistent note not named Salt, Pepper, Lyte or Roxanne Shanté, you can’t help but think of Melodie now as her own kind of hip-hop pioneer who often gets lost in the shuffle. Like other now-forgotten female rappers like Boss and Nikki D (who came along a little later), there were no gimmicks to her game or extra flourishes to try and make her more than what she was: about the rhyme and how to hang with the boys (and perhaps a few fur coats). And she often used her words to challenge what was becoming an increasing trend of violence in urban communities.

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CORRECTION: Ms. Melodie died in 2012.