On this day in music history: November 7, 1989 – “All Hail The Queen”, the debut album by Queen Latifah is released. Produced by DJ Mark “The 45 King”, Louis “Little Louie” Vega, KRS-One, Prince Paul, Daddy-O, it is recorded at Calliope Studios, Greene Street Recording Studios in New York City, Power Play Studios in Long Island City, NY, Island Media Studios in West Babylon, NY and Studio 1212 in Jamaica, Queens, NY from Late 1988 – Mid 1989. The daughter of a school teacher and a police officer, Dana Elaine Owens is born in East Orange, NJ and raised in near by Newark. Her stage name Latifah, a word meaning “delicate and very kind”, comes to her when she sees it in book of Arabic names. Excelling at both sports and music, Latifah plays basketball while attending a Catholic high school, and singing in various shows and plays. While in her teens, she discovers Hip Hop, becoming a member of a group called Ladies Fresh. Latifah also becomes part of the DJ and MC collective known as The Flavor Unit. One its key members is DJ Mark The 45 King, who’ll be a central figure in Latifah’s rise to Hip Hop glory. With the help of DJ King Gemini, she records a demo of the song “Princess Of The Posse”. Impressed with her MC skills, he passes on the demo to Yo, MTV Raps host and hip hop renaissance man Fab 5 Freddy. The same demo is heard by Tommy Boy Records A&R man Dante Ross, who quickly signs her. Her first single “Wrath Of My Madness”, performs well enough to OK a full album. Now re-dubbed “Queen Latifah”, she also works with KRS-One (BDP), Daddy-O and Prince Paul (Stetsasonic), and house music DJ and remixer “Little Louie” Vega. Titled “All Hail The Queen”, one of the immediate standouts is the duet “Ladies First” (#64 R&B, #38 Club Play), with UK born MC Monie Love. With the two ladies trading off verses with finesse and deft skill, the single not only becomes a street and club hit. Its message of female empowerment and Afrocentric positivity, becomes an anthem. The music video directed by Fab 5 Freddy, which features images of strong black heroines including Harriet Tubman, Winnie Mandela and Angela Davis, is rotated heavily on MTV. It spins off three other singles including “Dance For Me”, “Mama Gave Birth To The Soul Children”(w/ De La Soul) and “Come Into My House” (#81 R&B, #7 Club Play). “All Hail The Queen” establishes Queen Latifah as one of the most influential women in rap. The original CD and cassette come with additional remix versions of three tracks. Out of print on vinyl since its initial release, it is reissued by the subscription service Vinyl Me, Please in 2018. It’s is pressed on clear vinyl with red, black and green splatter colors, and contains a custom punch out stencil. “All Hail The Queen” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number one hundred twenty four on the Top 200.
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