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The best kept secret in music


"Bee True... From wowing locals to impressing P. Diddy, rapper Rebecca "Bee" Plasencia is on her way"

By Ben Westhoff
Article Published Jul 26, 2006

Even though she arrived here from the Detroit area only six months ago, she's already drawing notice for her stage skills and can be found freestyling at the Hi-Pointe and the Red Sea, or doing short sets before packed crowds at Club Viva and Club Legit. Audiences can hardly believe their eyes when the petite, blue-eyed Plasencia climbs onto the stage. Her confident delivery and out-of-the-box lyrics, however, usually win them over.

Earlier this year Bee self-released a self-titled EP, one that invites comparisons to Eminem — and not just because they're both from Detroit. Like Em, Plasencia raps with superior cadence and a unique point of view. In fact, hearing her rap about female empowerment is almost as shocking as Shady rhyming about throwing his wife in the trunk of his car.

On "Girlfriend," which samples Pebbles' '80s classic of the same name, she raps: "You give him the boot, but he call in the middle of the night and he cryin'/That he can't see his life without you, and he wanna make a wife about you/'Come through cause I just wanna see you. I need you, I would never leave you'/Just leave him, you don't need him."

Sporting dyed-red hair, a Hard Rock Café tank top and high heels, Plasencia says she thrives on the fish-out-of-water experience. Growing up in the white, middle-class suburb of Commerce, she played open-mic nights in the city, but her friends refused to come along.

"They were afraid of the 'hood," she says. "But that's the only place I've ever felt like I belonged. The world's just racist."

She says she first became aware of racism's haunting effects after seeing the John Waters flick Hairspray. Her rap name, she adds, is intended to emphasize the contradictions within her and comes from Muhammad Ali's famous phrase, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." (A charcoal drawing of Ali is one of three portraits that grace her bedroom wall — the others are of Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls.)

Plasencia is only 22, but she's already been around the proverbial block too many times to count. After graduating from high school in 2002, she intended to go to fashion-design school in Long Beach, California. But at the last minute, she met a local producer who said he would help her hit the big time.

Bee was on the cusp of fame that year, in fact, when she appeared on Diddy's first season of Making the Band, beating out thousands of contestants and nearly making the "house."

"I was one of only two female emcees out of 25,000 people trying out," she says. "Puff was really nice to me, but I guess I just wasn't what he was looking for."

In 2003, thanks to connections from a neighbor who did booking for the Michigan State Fair, Bee opened for Dru Hill, Fabolous and 112 at that annual event. Since then, she's played showcase concerts all over the nation, from Los Angeles to Newark. Along the way, she's met people who have told her the same old story.

"I've met with a lot of labels," she says. "They're like, 'You're so great,' but they don't call. LA Reid heard one of my songs, but he said, 'Female rappers don't sell records.' It was right after Shawnna's first album (Worth Tha Weight) had just flopped."

But while she moved into a University City apartment with her older sister in January (joining her as a server at CJ Muggs in Clayton), Bee was also drawn to St. Louis for the opportunity to work with entertainment lawyer Eric Kayira, who works with Ebony Eyez and Chingy. His promise to hook her up with influential local queen-makers has already paid off, as she recently worked with TrackBoyz Entertainment producer Versa.

Still, as committed as Plasencia is to her dreams of rap stardom, she vows to never, under any circumstances, sell herself out.

"It's unfortunate that women rappers get on some 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em' shit," she says. "Like, 'I'll give you some head for some money.' Since Lauryn Hill, there hasn't been a woman who portrays us in a positive light. And video girls, they're acting as if they're a doll — not even human, just something to look at. I'll never sell my body for quick cash."

- Riverfront Times By Ben Westhoff


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Lately the music industry has become more and more predictable. Meet Bee born Rebecca Plasencia. Bee was born and raised in Commerce a suburb of Detroit. Bee’s influences were Pac, Nas, and Andre. They affected her because she was emotionally affected by their struggle. And that is how she fell in love with hip-hop. When she was 15 Bee sat down and wrote her 1st rap and that was the beginning of what many people say is one of the best rappers of this generation. Bee argues, “ I am not just a rapper or an MC. I am an artist. I’m an entertainer.” When Bee was 18 she was on a few episodes of MTV’s Making The Band with P. Diddy. Though She was not what Puff was looking for, for the band, she was one of two female rappers out of the 25,000 interviewed nationwide to make it to the semi-finals. During the next year Bee was performing all over the Detroit area building up her fan base and respect from the local MCs. “They say Detroit is the toughest city to get dap from and if you can be respected there you can make it anywhere. It’s crazy to me though, cuz ever since I first touched the mic the crowd has shown so much love. No matter where I go the crowd b getting so live! I love the D.” When she was 19, Bee opened up for Dru Hill, then 112 and Fabolous the following week both at the Detroit State Fair. “The girls were goin crazy and they had never heard me before. I remember when I spit my first line all these little girls in the front just started screamin'. I almost f***ed up. It was amazing!” This past year, Bee has been grinding in the studio with many producers including multi-platinum producer Rockwilder, Missy Elliott's multi-platinum producers Soul Diggas, Disco D (who has worked with Nina Sky and produced Ski-Mask Way on 50 cent’s album The Massacre), Hellava (a highly respected local Detroit producer), and has done collaborations with Mya, Teairra Mari (Def Jam) and Yani (who is signed with Blackground Records). With more hits under her belt than Mike Tyson and a team that believes in her project, Bee is on her way to multi-platnium status.