Queen Latifah's Musical Journey

Queen Latifah
ESSENCE.COM Aug, 10, 2009

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Check out Queen Latifah’s music career from hip-hop diva to jazz singer extraordinaire and beyond.

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A young Queen Latifah rubs shoulders with a young Jay-Z and his mentor Jaz-O back in 1989.

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Representing as the female answer to Public Enemy, Queen Latifah hit the scene in 1989 with her inspiring debut album “All Hail the Queen,” which spawned such hits as “Come Into My House” and “Ladies First.”

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Looking and sounding a bit more polished, Queen Latifah returned after the success of “All Hail the Queen” with her follow-up, “Nature of a Sista” in 1991.

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Latifah has said she also wanted to be an entertainer, recalling most recently at the 2009 BET Awards how she and her brother used mimic Michael Jackson back in the day.

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Boasting arguably her biggest hit “U.N.I.T.Y,” Latifah’s “Black Reign,” released in 1993, was an homage to her older brother who died in a motorcycle accident while she was recording the album.

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Latifah kicks a few bars during a show at the Beacon Theater in New York City in June of 1994.

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Bumping in jeeps and at house parties in 1994, “Just Another Day,” was a smoothed-out cut that gave Fresh Prince and D.J. Jazzy Jeff’s “Summertime” a run for its money.

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The multitalented artist shows off her Soul Train Music Award in March 1995.

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Absent from the scene for a minute as she set her sights on Hollywood, Queen Latifah returned with a vengeance with 1998’s “Order in the Court.” And we absolutely love this album cover.

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A bonafide force in the entertainment industry at this point, Latifah demonstrated her prowess by hosting the 45th annual Grammy Awards in 2003.

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Following her Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Matron Mama Morton in “Chicago,” Latifah straight up flipped the script by releasing the critically acclaimed “The Dana Owens Album,” a collection of jazz tunes, in 2004.

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Queen Latifah was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2006.

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With 2007’s “Travelin’ Light,” Latifah continued to flex her jazz muscles with this soft listing of standards.

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An award show favorite, the Queen was on hand to accept an award on behalf of the cast of “Hairspray” at the 13th annual Critics’ Choice Awards in January 2008. Latifah costarred in the movie musical.

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Queen Latifah maker her way inside her 39th birthday bash at SIR Studios on March 28, 2009, in Hollywood, California. At the party, hip-hop divas Lil’ Kim, MC Lyte and others joined her onstage for an impromptu jam session.

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Queen Latifah gave a rousing performance at a birthday concert for Nelson Mandela at Radio City Hall in July 2009.

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The rapper and singer promoted her new album “Persona” on “Good Morning America” in July 2009 with a concert in NYC’s Central Park.

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Grammy organizers make sure Queen Latifah is in the building year after year. Here, she speaks during this year’s event at the Staples Center on February 8, 2009, in Los Angeles.

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Latifah’s most recent CD “Persona” is a mix of everything she loves: hip-hop, R&B, hood-gospel, pop and jazz.

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