J-Kronic/ Jacque Dixon
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J-Kronic/ Jacque Dixon

Band Hip Hop R&B


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The best kept secret in music


____ Handbills for Thursday night's show might read, "The Women in Hip-Hop Showcase," but for this one night at the Ash Street, women musicians won't just play a part in the show: For the first time ever in Portland, women will be hip-hop. And that's a big deal--even the musicians didn't know there were enough female acts in town to fill an entire night's bill.
"I've seen J-Kron once, and I don't think it was even her show," says Toni Hill of Siren's Echo. "I think she was just up there freestyling with some boys. I was shocked. I was like, Wow, there's a girl. One. We got one. Can we get two? Gimme two. Two, gimme three...."
Now they've got 10, at least, who will perform for the first night of the POH-Hop local hip-hop festival. Siren's Echo headlines the affair with the support of Piece, Turiya Autry, Kay Kay, J-Kron, Sonnie, DJ Deena B, Beyonda and DJ Niz.

Every act brings a different level of experience, from J-Kron, who's still earning her chops, to Turiya Autry, who has made a name for herself nationally as a spoken-word artist. Then there's Siren's Echo, which has opened for Erykah Badu and the Roots. No matter the experience level, though, these women all have one thing in common--the guts to take it to an audience in a very male art form.

With its competitive performance styles, which include battles on stage and in street-corner syphers of freestyling rappers, hip-hop is undeniably masculine. Then there's the content, which often includes images of women as subservient playthings. While separate nights for men and women artists might seem exclusionary, the ladies of POH-Hop see it differently.
"We could get into a lot of discussions, like, what is the impact of it being a separate gender night and whatnot?" Autry says. "But there's something to creating a space where the energy is female energy, and something like that is really powerful."
Autry, along with Hill and Syndel of Siren's Echo, points to the strong female hip-hop scene in the Bay Area as an example of the type of energy women can bring to the music. After performing with women from across the nation at a San Francisco show earlier this year, the women in Siren's Echo noticed that something was different back home in Portland.

"I think women up here are just scared," Syndel says. "The women in the Bay Area, they know themselves and they don't really care. Even if you do suck, no one's gonna judge. The crowds [in Portland] are weird, so for someone to get up and do something it would take a lot."

The weirdness that Syndel mentions comes from the double-edged sword facing women performers. Finding a woman to take the stage and try to hold it with the boys is so rare in this town that, when it does happen, crowds pay attention. But since they're playing in a boys' club, women MCs and DJs are under more pressure to do it well.

"If it's not good, you're gonna get hated on more than a guy," Hill says. "So that's discouraging. You're not gonna want to put yourself on a chopping block. Even if you're kinda good, you're so intimidated by the time you get up there--if it don't come off, Lord forbid."

The Women in Hip-Hop Showcase, Hill hopes, will act as a rallying point, building energy and support for the women on stage and in the crowd, and showing the men in the crowd what the ladies can do when they own a room. And, as far as talent goes, these women have a lot to show.
Backed by soulful DJ Beyonda, Siren's Echo dabbles in two-MC territory, focusing on Tony Hill's thick alto and Syndel's toppling rhymes that cover ground from faith to abuse, paired with the patented hip-hop call-out. Turiya's spoken word covers similar ground, jumping from issues of race to gender to general empowerment of an individual voice.

What these artists say is a world away from the prostituted image of women propagated by most of mainstream hip-hop culture. These women aren't only artists, they consider themselves educators. And they consider the Women in Hip-Hop Showcase as a step to opening up more opportunities for women musicians.

"I think it's interesting that it's 2003 and we're still at a time of firsts," says Autry of the girls-only showcase. "We're a town that continues to have firsts. Part of you wants to be like, yeah, and on the other hand, it's interesting that it's still just starting."

- Willamette Week

Female DJs and MCs are stepping into the spotlight at POH-Hop.

Statesman Journal

Move over fellas — the ladies of Portland hip-hop are stepping into the spotlight.

Female DJs and MCs are front and center at this year’s POH-Hop 8, otherwise known as the Portland Oregon Hip-hop festival.

Portland trio Siren’s Echo headlines tonight’s Women in Hip-Hop showcase, which also features nine other acts on stage at the Ash Street Saloon. Some of the other women performing tonight include activist and spoken word poet Turiya and MC J-Kron, a rapper who blends hip-hop and R&B.

On Friday, the guys get their chance to shine. Well-known artists such as Maniac Lok, the Cleveland Steamers and DJ Wicked perform at Berbati’s Pan along with more than 12 other groups.

Siren’s Echo combines three of the most well-known women in Portland hip-hop. Lead vocalist Toni Hill is a Portland hip-hop pioneer who sings with the popular funk/hip-hop group, Hungry Mob. MC Syndel is a powerhouse rapper known for her work with the 15-member crew Oldominion.

“Siren’s Echo formed out of necessity,” Hill said. “There is a lack of female presence in the Portland hip-hop community.”

About a year ago, Hill and Syndel hooked up with DJ Beyonda, a turntablist originally from Memphis, Tenn., who came to Portland by way of Montana.

Hill said Beyonda took the group’s sound to the next level.

“She brings it back to the essence of hip-hop,” she said. “We didn’t want to be bound by a CD or DAT (digital audio tape) machine. She’s making it more organic.”

Siren’s Echo is working on its first full-length album, which the group hopes will be released in the spring. Hill said the group’s sound is a heavy mix of raps and grooves in which no one musical genre takes over.

“It’s like a gumbo or a jambalaya,” she said. “You can hear jazz, gospel & R&B, some reggae, spoken-word poetry and definitely hip-hop. And if I knew how to do country music, you’d probably hear that, too.”

Terrance Scott, co-founder of POH-Hop, said he thought adding the female showcase was just what the 8-year-old festival needed. Scott also is a well-known hip-hop artist who goes by the name Cool Nutz.

“One of the things, in years past, we always had a pool of fresh new talent,” he said.

“I didn’t do the event last year because I felt like the scene was stagnant. I only wanted to do it this year if I had something new to let the public know the show was progressive.”

Hill said the ladies’ night was a long time coming.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “This is the first year in a long time I’m not the only girl in it. I remember looking around one year and thinking, ‘There’s got to more girls around here. I know I’m talented, but I’m not the only girl in this town doing something.’”

Hill said she plans to bring a film crew to the show to document what might go down as a historical event in Portland’s musical scene. She said it’s a good thing for the women artists to have their own night.

“It gives the females an opportunity to shine,” she said. “For some of these people, it might be their biggest show or their first show. And they don’t need to be intimidated by a bunch of guys.”

Some of the acts not to be missed on Friday night include turntablist DJ Wicked, who opened for Wu-Tang Clan and Eminem; and the melodic hip-hop trio Cleveland Steamers and Bullet, who raps about women, partying and West-Coast style.

- Statesman Journal


“The X-Chromosome: International Domination" (Dec 2005) is a mixtape that features J-Kronic's single, "I'm That Birch."

Her music is also included in the “Licks n Tricks” Lowrider video released in December 2005.

Trafek's "Rush Hour" LP (2006) features J-Kronic.

"I Won't Stop" (2004) was "jammed" by radio listeners and receives airplay on Jammin 95.5's Underground/ Hood Radio hosted by Starchile.

Trash Heap's "Pick of Da Lit" LP (2004) features J-Kronic on "How You Rock."

UNSED Mixtape: "80 Minutes of Filth" (2004) Features J-Kronic on many tracks.

J-Kronic's self entitled LP is available on a promotional basis, but has not been officially released yet.


Feeling a bit camera shy


With the combination of her lyrical skills and unique tone, J-Kronic creates an innovative, feminine, hip-hop sound rapidly gaining respect in the Northwest. This young songstress unites battling lyrics, with an occasional twist of R&B, producing her personal, yet crowd pleasing cuts. Her trials and tribulations on the streets paired with her passion for hip-hop inspired J-Kronic to begin writing and emceeing. On her own at the age of sixteen, this strong-minded emcee was forced to fend for herself. In sharing her life experiences through rhyme, she aims to heighten the awareness of listeners surrounding the issues of urban centered youth while keeping their heads bobbing.

She has opened up for artists including Afroman, 2 Live Crew, the Alkohliks and Cool Nutz.
J-Kron began recording and performing songs in Portland clubs in 2002. Over the past five years, J-Kronic has built up her fanbase by performing at community events, playing numerous clubs in Oregon, Washington, Las Vegas and the California Bay area, hitting up any open mike she can get her hands on. J-Kronic has been a performer at Northwest legendary events like the annual Musicfest NW and Po-Hop. Most recently, her music was featured on an internationally distributed, all female mix cd, “The X-Chromosome: International Domination.” Her music is also included in the “Licks n Tricks” Lowrider video released in December 2005. Featured on the UNSED mix tapes, “80 Minutes of Filth,” and two albums from Trash Heap, J-Kronic’s hyped tracks are being heard all over the Northwest. Whether she’s shining on stage or recording in the booth, J-Kron devotes her heart and soul to her music.

In 2004, J-Kronic was awarded the honor of “Best Female Hip-Hop Artist” at the New York International Music Festival. In June of 2005 she performed in VOTE (Variety of Talent and Entertainers), a Las Vegas selective showcasing of up and coming artists across the United States. In July 2005, she was awarded the Editor’s Choice Award by poetry.com and the Internal Library of Poetry for outstanding achievement in poetry. J-Kronic’s latest success is landing a lead role in the Street2Studios musical, “Life!” J-Kronic performed five of her original songs in this urban, neo-soul, theatrical production presented in San Francisco and Oakland, California in September 2005.

In 2003 her hit single “I Won’t Stop” was “jammed” or voted into rotation by radio listeners of Jammin’ 95.5. J-Kron also has experience hosting her own hip-hop radio show on University of Portland’s radio station KDUP1580 available wordwide via the internet.

In addition to being a dedicated performer and songwriter, J-Kronic is also engaged in other aspects of the entertainment industry. She has acted in commercials for major companies including like Sprite, Comcast and Intel. Modeling for companies including Farouk and Alterna, J-Kronic is also gaining experience. J-Kronic has received studio training in hip-hop, modern, ballet and jazz dance and choreographed for a local dance team as well.
J-Kron has successfully met her personal goals due to her determination, raw talent and dedication. Possessing the total package, J-Kronic’s confident that she has what it takes to reach her goal of a recording contract in the near future. For the latest news on J-Kronic, check out:
www.j-kronic.com and www.myspace.com/jkronic.com.