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Selima Say: Unsung Ghostwriter With Prolific Skills in Hip Hop
Selima Say or known to her Brooklyn (NY) fans as Wonda Woman, marched into the Wu-Tang family in superb fashion.
“When I first realized that I could write, I was on the train and I wrote this song. Just from that one song, I knew I wanted to write for (Candy Lindsey) Blue Raspberry. She was a background vocalist on Method Man’s first album as well as Raekwon’s Rainy Dayz.
'I found this number on the back of Method Man’s cassette tape, for Wu-Tang management, John “Mook” Gibbons. I called the number, and spoke with him.”
Selima made the connection just as she said. John listened to Selima while she talked about her fanged passion for music. Impressed with her presentation, he agreed to bring her on board to work in the studio, but John didn’t sign her as an artist. He offered Selima an internship at a studio in lower Manhattan. Selima interned by true definition for about six months before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee and forming her own singing group with a few friends called Euphoria. According to Selima, Euphoria found out that Wu-Tang Clan was performing in Atlanta, so Selima and her crew took the risk, and wasted no time in driving from Tennessee to Atlanta, to catch Wu-Tang Clan’s performance.
“I don’t know what got into me,” Selima reflected. “I jumped on stage with them, and that’s how I met the members of Wu-Tang Clan.”
Selima traveled to the nightclub that night equipped with a cassette filled with instrumentals. It was do or die time. She told the Wu-Tang entourage that she would sing for anyone willing to listen. After getting the runaround from a few of the members, Ghostface Killah paid attention. “I played the melodies from my Sony Walkman, and sang for him right on the spot. He said I sound like Soul 2 Soul. He gave me the management number, the studio number, his girlfriends number. He gave me like five numbers, and that’s how we got started,” Selima recalled the excitement that she felt when Ghostface took a chance on her.
Selima wrote and sang the hook for RZA on the single Tragedy (1997), in addition that, she incribed on Wu-Tang Forever, So High (1997), Wu-Revolution, and ODB’S Skirlla (2005), featuring RZA, just to name a few credits.
The rapper is born into a family of cultural performers. Her dad, Omatango, was a Reggae artist from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He’s well known for his single called Slave Driver. Her cousin, Alston Becket Cyrus (ABC) was a Soca and Calypso artist whom had a buzz single in 1991 called,Teaser. Selima knew that she had to do her own thing, to make her legacy felt.
Selima released breakout single, “Hit the Floor.” Shes contributed to many compilations, like her single “Ask’n U 2 Stay“, produced by Bronze Nazareth. It’s featured on the “WU-LADIES: Mothers, Sisters, Daughters” CD as well The rhymester reinvented herself over the years, first with the name change from Selima Says, Dyana Prinze to Wonda Woman.
Selima wanted to be a singer as soon as she could speak. However, she didn’t learn about hip-hop until she turned seven. Her favorite female emcees were the dominant rappers spanning from two generations, Roxanne Shante (early 80’s), and MC Lyte (late 80’s). As for inspiration, she definitely loved, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Queen Latifah, and Missy Elliot as time pressed forward.
Speaking of forward movements and now, Selima, a diamond in the rough and definitely a rogue MC, is a fierce rapper and writer, but she’s unjustly underrated. Selima is an unsung MC that deserves recognition. At the age of 18, she began her career as a prestigious ghostwriter, singer and rapper, with about 24-years worth of unprecedented catalogues and musical cuts. She wanted to work with Blue Raspberry. Instead of being an apprentice, she became the rebel, and leading woman of the group.
Currently, Selima is working on new music, totaling about 100 tracks, including R&B as well hip-hop. Her latest single, Underworld, presented by DJ Flipcyide, is the buzzer that’s getting radio play. If there was a single that reflects inferno lyricism from Selima, it’d be Underworld, where she’s talking about politics, street life, with garish and tough stanzas over an exceptional beat. Moreover, Selima has a single that really speaks to hip-hop lovers entitled Underestimated... “I love that beat so much,” she says. “The former engineer at 36 chambers has all the equipment in the world, but he doesn’t make beats as often. He made a beat for me. I love that beat, the way it switches up, and the three different parts. It reminds me of going through the Holland Tunnels doing 75 miles per hour. It’s just high energy. Lyrically, it represents how I felt as a female MC. We are underestimated. Many times, I hear people say that female MC’s are only good for one single, and one album. That’s not true. You never know what goes on behind the scenes to causes them to stop their career, dreams, and their goals. It’s no telling especially when you’re dealing with those record labels.”
Selima came into the Wu-Tang family as a singer. She confirms that there were several females under the same record label. “When I did “Tragedy” with RZA, it became a weird competition. I didn’t see a lot of females there, and then they came out the wood-works. It wasn’t even about being an MC. It was a battle for supremacy in singing. I didn’t sign up for that. I wanted to sing with Blue Raspberry, who left the group at that time. It was very, very competitive; but, I became RZA’s official songwriter from 1996 into 2003, and any girls that came in there, I would write for them. There were a handful of female MC’s— Shout-out to them.”
Selima doesn’t display sex to sell her records. Her casual style is similar to Sister Souljah, but her frankness and smooth cadence is reminiscent to MC Lyte. She came into the game with raw talent, and that’s where she stands. Her lyrics are potent and hardcore, a true representation to Wu-Tang and their arsenal of hip-hop.
Selima Mixtape: Wonda Woman (featuring DJ Flipciyde).
SELIMA (S.A.Y) CHANGES
"SELIMA(*S.A.Y*) Freestyles over a Sample of "THE REALEST" (MOBB DEEP AND KOOL G.RAP) produced by ALCHEMIST