Genesis Be's "Tampons and Tylenol" Is a Declaration of Women's Power
For six years, Mississippi-born MC Genesis Be has stood out as an inimitable presence in the New York underground hip-hop scene. Arriving in 2007 when outsiders were still often faced with resistance, she's stood her ground and carved out a niche as one of the most heard female voices in the New York indie-ground. In preparation for the release of her new album Genesequa, she's dropped her latest single "Tampons and Tylenol." We spoke to Genesis about the song as a feminist statement as well as her reservations as an artist.
What's the story behind "Tampons and Tylenol?"
I had the concept a while ago. My friend and I were at the convenience store looking for tampons and I was upset that I couldn't find tampons or Tylenol. Going back and forth, I thought they should just package them together. My friend began singing those words together. Fast forward a year [producer] Good Goose was finishing his mixtape and wanted to do a song with me on the fly. As he was putting a beat together, it just came to me to go "Tampons and Tylenol, Tampons and Tylenol." It was just vibing out.
You've mentioned that "Tampons and Tylenol" is a declaration of women's power. How do you feel that's best heard in the song itself?
I think, when I'm talking about a young woman in the first verse and kind of objectifying her as a lot of rap songs do with her body and how she moves, I end the verse by talking about how she moves out of this image that I've set for her by going to class, having two jobs, being a boss and handling her business. It's working past the physical of a woman and exploring the facets of who we are. I wanted to find a fun, catchy and maybe controversial way to pay attention to women's power.
Being you're from Mississippi originally, when you first moved to New York in 2007 to attend NYU's Clive Davis School of Recorded Music and join the local hip-hop scene, did you feel any resistance?
It wasn't a challenge at all because of the people around me. I was really blessed to be a part of the SinSin Freestyle Mondays underground raw New York hip-hop scene and was embraced with open arms. Because of that, I don't feel like it was as much of a challenge as it could have been. They really embraced my Southernness, saw that I was lyrical, an MC, and put me on to things. It was fun, and I just had a blast making that transition.