Rest in Peace, Special One

Conscious Daughters rapper Karryl Smith (aka Special One), who was the subject of a 2004 East Bay Express cover story on female emcees, passed away this weekend. She was found dead in her apartment on Saturday, MTV News reported, though at this point, the cause of her death is unknown. Conscious Daughters were part of an early-Nineties West Coast hip-hop renaissance, known both for their fleet rap style and hardcore lyrics — which distinguished them from other women in the genre. They signed to Paris’ label Scarface Records in 1993, released their debut album, Ear to the Street, the following year, and cut a deal with Priority/EMI for their 1996 album, Gamers. Their singles “Fonky Expedition (Something to Ride to)” and “We Roll Deep” are recognized as classics in the hip-hop canon. Special One will be widely mourned and missed in the hip-hop community, particularly by her longtime best friend and rap partner Carla Green, aka CMG.

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