Did Stella Mwangi battle American rapper Xzibit in 2001?
I can’t say for sure, but my answer is: Probably.
The story goes like this: Norwegian-Kenyan rapper Stella Mwangi said the following in an interview with Kenyan Citizen TV:
“I don’t know if you guys know about this rapper called Xzibit, I don’t know. Sasa nilikuwa na-battle nay yeye when I was 14-years-old. I stepped up to him and told him let us battle. So, I have been doing this for a while, it’s a matter of growing up and getting to know yourself better.
Xzibit replied on Twitter, a bit confused:
And no wonder, he couldn’t remember battling a female MC in Kenya. Because Citizen TV had forgot to mention that this happened in Oslo, Norway on August 14th, 2001.
Stella’s story backlashed, and she got accused of lying by Kenyan media. However, the story didn’t end there, just check out the #PettyRapperXzibit hashtag on Twitter, throwing shade at Xzibit’s allegations that he doesn’t remember battling Stella.
Stella’s story goes like this: She went to Xzibit’s show with her friend, the singer Signe, and her big sister Jacqueline, who also rapped as Thunder Ja. The trio got invited backstage after the show by Xzibit’s DJ, but delivered rhymes instead of the sex that was expected by the DJ and a rapper who was a bit tipsy after the show.
I can’t say for sure if that’s what actually happened, because I wasn’t present at the battle, but I was present at the concert – so let’s review what I know:
1. Xzibit played a show at Rockefeller in Oslo on August 14th, 2001, with the Swedish group Looptroop as support act. I was there, and here’s the venue’s program for 2001, as presented in the recent book about Rockefeller.
2. I was at the show, and remember that it was an all ages concert, which was the rule for most hip-hop shows in Oslo at the time. I stood on the balcony, where you could buy beer, while the audience under 18 had to stay on the floor.
3. Stella Mwangi was 14 years and 11 months at the time, and she called herself Dangerrr when she rapped.
4. Xzibit was drinking on stage, and handed out liquor, or something that looked very much like it, to the audience in front of the stage – most of whom was below the legal drinking age.
5. Stella started rapping with the organization Afrikan Youth when she was 11 years old, and in 2001 she participated on the song «It’s All About the Benjamins» – written as a reaction to the racist murder of 15 year old Benjamin Hermansen. Stella comes in at 2:35.
6. In 2002 Stella and Signe released the song «Bakstikk» as Dangerr, Signe and Shileh (a female Swedish rapper), fittingly a remix and answer to Norwegian artist Diaz’ hit song «Stikking», which they thought represented a negative view on women.
7. In 2004 Stella, still only 16 years old, was one of the very few female MC’s who were included in my 350+ pages long book on the history of Norwegian hip-hop, Hiphop-hoder (translation: Hip-Hop Heads), after she impressed me with stealing the show on six songs on the The R.I.S.E. Project’s 2003 album Maroon, where also big sister Thunder Ja performed. Here’s a picture from my book:
And what did she say in the book? The following: «You have to be tough to be a rapper, but you almost have to be twice as tough if you want to be a girl and a rapper. As a female rapper, you have to be better than the boys.»
So what do you think? Could this teenager have battled a tipsy Xzibit, at an afterparty in Oslo 16 years ago? My answer is: Probably.