I can’t remember where, I was when I first heard that bar, spit over the type of grungy track that epitomized Redman’s second solo album. The bar was basic, far from what I would hear on later mixtapes, features and finally, solo projects that represented Hurricane G’s best work.
But I never forgot hearing that song—that voice—for the first time because it was so different. Maybe it was the first time I recalled hearing a distinctly Hispanic, female voice lace a track. Maybe it was the flow itself, a nasal, lazy alto that distinguished itself from Redman’s aggressive delivery by walking across the beat instead of jumping up and down on it. Whatever it was, I put Dare in my Walkman (yup, I’m that old) and wore out the batteries rewinding We Run N.Y. for days, if not weeks.
And it was that song I streamed on repeat on Apple Music this morning when I learned that Hurricane G had died, reportedly after a battle with lung cancer. Hip-hop legend Erick Sermon, who shared a child with Hurricane G, whose real name was Gloria Rodriguez, announced her passing on his Instagram account on Sunday.
Although she came up on the north Jersey hip hop scene in the early 90s in the Def Squad crew that included Sermon, Redman, Keith Murray and K-Solo, Hurricane G never reached the level of fame as some of her male collaborators. But she was acclaimed as a lyricist and sought after by mixtape DJs for her freestyle skills and other emcees for features on their projects. And although they weren’t a collective, she was part of a wave of early ‘90s female rappers on the East Coast, including Philly’s Bahamadia and Newark’s Rah Digga, that were recognized for their talent on the mic and in battles.
She was 52 years old.