Philly’s Leading Ladies of Hip-Hop

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Photography by Stephanie DeFeo

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Philadelphia is having a moment. Between being named #1 music city in the nation, hosting The Democratic Convention, and a showcase down at SXSW this year, Philly is making noise. It’s not only brands making strides for the 215, individuals across multiple industries including tech, food, but most infamously, music. Leading these music-driven occupations are the smart, savvy, beautiful women that only a city like Philly could breed. Ashley Garofalo, Kathia Woods, Harley Quinn, KJ, and Blaire Monroe are only a few names behind the initiatives changing our hip-hop landscape as we know it. From videographers to radio hosts, our City of Brotherly Love is booming with sisterly progression.

Get to know the Leading Ladies of Hip-Hop below!

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WHO:  Ashley Garofolo (@gramgandhi)

WHAT:  I run a music blog which focuses on bringing attention to independent, or underground, artists across the county called Underground Crowned. All of the content on the website (not including the actual artists’ content) is created by me or my partner KJ Patel. That includes all photos, videos, interviews, podcasts and even the website. We are also working on a radio station for Underground Crowned that will be based in Philadelphia. On top of photography and videography, I also paint and play the piano, so it’s safe to say I have a lot of hobbies and like spend my free time participating in many different types of art.

WHERE: Philadelphia, PA

WHEN: It actually took me a little to realize I wanted to be in the music industry. I used to just disregard my love for art as a hobby and I didn’t know I could create a career out of listening to music all the time. It took me changing my major two times at Temple to figure out that I should go to school for something I was passionate about.

WHY: I want to help change stigma that music isn’t good unless it’s mainstream.

“Fear is only in your mind, conquer it before it conquers you.”

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WHO:  Kathia Woods

WHAT:  Dimas Events & Consulting we create events as well as help curate. We also manage and advise artist. I also host a weekly radio show every Thursday 8-10 on PC Radio that features underground hip-hop/R&B and we interview different people in the industry. I also do photography I have shot over thirty shows from up-and-coming artist to veterans. I’ve been doing it for two years and love it!

WHERE: Philadelphia, PA

WHEN: My parents were both artists. I grew up in the industry. I’ve been involved in the arts all my life, but it was when hip-hop came that I stated getting involved in the culture.  Everything from block parties to college parties. One of my close friends who was older had a company called TAP and I used to help with promotion and anything they needed. 

I started my company because I wanted to stand on my own two feet. I have helped everyone make their dreams come true and after working with Live Legendary I knew I needed to do my own thing. I wanna preserve the culture of hip-hop which is really dying right now. I also want to create more opportunities for women and brown people in the industry and having my own platform allows me to position myself for that.  

WHY:  I love music. I love throwing shows as stressful as they can be when it all comes together it’s really magical. 

“Hip-Hop Got me Here”

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WHO: Just call me Harley Quinn.

WHAT:  I currently serve as editor of Revolt TV host, DJ Damage’s website, DamagingTheStreets.com. I also write for New York’s Hot 97 radio station under personality Marisa Mendez at her website www.LifeIsTremendez.com. I am a blogger, interviewer, consultant, and on-site reporter. I use my platforms to help musicians and public relations firms obtain website placement. I work directly with Epic Records and Sony Music promoters to spread news about mainstream music, as well as countless indie labels and artists. As far as hobbies, I’ve been known to spin records in my spare time, as “DJ” Harley Quinn. I’ve just ended my residency at Millennium Skate World in Camden, NJ, which is where Meek Mill shot his “Monster” music video. I DJ’d my first Philly party in the summer of 2015 on South Street, which was an amazing new experience for me. I also provide industry coaching and digital image consulting to independent artists on the rise.

WHERE: Innnnnn West Philadelphia, born but….not raised. I was raised in Willingboro, NJ since I was three years old after moving from West Philly. I rep NJ to the max, but I will never stop calling Philly my home. I’m here way too often, and I know more about the city’s history than some seasoned natives.

WHEN:  I knew I wanted to enter the music industry when I started working for Maino on his DJ coalition, Mafia DJs (now disbanded). He had weekly conference calls with artists like Waka Flocka, Yo Gotti, and indie rappers from all over the South. They were open conference calls, and this was my first time around celebrities so, I took it upon myself to speak up and just ask questions to Waka or whomever else. I didn’t have a strategy, I was just thinking like a fan, instead of an interviewer at the time, but it worked out for me because I wasn’t weird; I just genuinely wanted to know certain things. Maino himself promoted me to lead interviewer, and this also included some light blogging for the Mafia DJs website and email blasts. DJ Damage started Damaging The Streets/DTS Media in 2013, and it wasn’t until I answered his tweet for bloggers that he called me to Philly for an interview, and after a lot of hard work, I was promoted to editor in 2015. In between ALL of that, I served as lead contributor at Hot 97 for Angie Martinez‘s website TheAngieReview.com, just before she famously made her exit from the station. I was then recruited by Marisa Mendez for her website, and I couldn’t be happier there, because mine and Marisa’s styles are very similar: girly, sweet, but a solid knowledge and opinion on hip-hop culture.

WHY:  I started blogging because I knew a handful of musicians, DJs, and producers in my own circle that had no voice to the outside world. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I knew I had to get the word out about my people by any means necessary. Our first focus at DTS is quality underground music. Artists that I’ve worked with will tell you that I’m challenging to them, and I am, because I know what the mainstream industry wants from them and will expect from them should they choose to go that far. I’ve seen some crazy things that I never want to happen to any artist. My mission is to inject true artistry and passion back into hip-hop, no matter how gritty the rapper. You will be an “artist” in every sense of the word by the time we’re done working.

“I don’t put my name on anything whack!”

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1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Logue

    March 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I LOVE THIS!!!!!

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