SHELLY B. – The Queen of North Carolina Hip Hop

Women’s History Month 2012 – Cover Story


Exclusive interview with TRIBES Magazine

By Gabriel Rich

Photos by Emanuel Cole

SHELLY B is not one  to take her work as a  Hip Hop emcee lightly. The Raleigh native has worked far too hard to gain her status as a pioneer in both the Triangle Hip Hop scene and nationally. Strong, dedicated to her   craft and on a mission, Shelly B.’s versatility is what sets her apart from the rest of the pack. You have rappers that can entertain but aren’t lyricist and there are wordsmiths that can fashion a rhyme but can’t entertain. Neither is a problem for Shelly B. She’s more than capable of giving you something for both your mind and your body and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that knows her. After all, Shelly B’s been in the game long enough to know about pleasing fans.

Shelly B. represents a number of firsts for female rappers in North Carolina.  She was the first female rapper from the state to be featured in the Source Magazine’s “Unsigned Hype.” Shelly B. was also the first female artist to make it on’s “Breeding Ground” section.  The winner of numerous awards in her home state, Shelly B. is a leader in NC Hip Hop and a leader among Indie artists on the Hip Hop scene. Challenge her to a battle and she’ll clean her claws on you just to let you know why she is who she is. TRIBES Magazine interviewed Shelly B during her photo shoot for the TRIBES Magazine Spring 2012 Women in Hip Hop edition.

TRIBES: You’ve made a name for yourself in the Triangle and beyond.  How are you being received now?

SHELLY B: I think I’ve always gotten love from this area.  It was a little tough when I first started, because at that point in time, the idea of a female emcee was foreign to the entire industry, let alone
the local industry.  There weren’t very many females in this area grinding and going to the studio.  So in the beginning, I had to fight for my respect; for a couple of years.  But when I started putting myself out there, I had that determination to be known and make sure everybody knew who Shelly B was.  I started doing every talent show and open mic I could find.

I started calling up promoters. I called the radio station until they put me on.  I got my actual start on the Larry Pickett Show, which was like a local talent show that was on TV in the Raleigh area.
That’s where a lot of people know me from. So I always say that’s where I got my start.  After I made my appearance on that show, I started getting my name out there and the respect just grew.

TRIBES: How would you rate the Hip Hop scene in the Triangle and the Carolinas?

SHELLY B: I think with anything, growth is going to get it where it needs to be, to its ultimate destination. There definitely needs to be more growth and a bit more unity here but the talent here is out of this world as far as singers, rappers, producers…just entertainment professionals, period.  This is one of the most talented markets that I know of.  I think that with people getting a bit more in touch with the business side of it, coming together, unity and all that good stuff, we’ll be alright.  But we’re getting there.  Carolina’s got next…No. We got now!  [laughs] READ MORE NOW.


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