Inspired By God
*All songs written and produced by Octavia Harris* Like hip-hop greats Queen Latifah, LL Cool J and Sean 'P Diddy' Combs, Octavia Harris proves the key to an artist's longevity and continued relevance in contemporary music is a combination of versatility and the ability to convey the ever-fluid interests of today's youth. She evolved from being the tough-talking pioneer of Portland's underground hip- hop scene (as '151') to 'Jymini'-one of the West Coast's most highly respected female lyricists/producers. In 1999, long before Kanye West was honored with a Grammy award for the religious- themed 'Jesus walks', Harris released 'Walking On Water' -an ambitious double CD that explored social and spiritual issues that were yet to be addressed by the hip hop community. After establishing herself as a premier artist and creative force, Octavia Harris has come full circle. Like the decision to drop aliases and use her birth name, Octavia's latest work, 'Inspired By God' is full of sincerity and honesty. This project stands as a bold testimony of her rejuvenated sense of purpose and her determination to use rap music as a motivating force in young people's lives. Octavia was raised in a home full of music and activity. While her older brothers introduced her to rap music and the hip-hop culture, her mother took pains to instill discipline and traditional values. The incredibly talented youngster displayed a creative genius at an early age. She taught herself to play piano (from watching musicians), sang in the school choir and would astound her teachers with poems and compositions that rang with vision and maturity. She began rapping in the third grade under the name 'Baby D'. She says rap 'gave me another form of expression, a way to entertain and address issues'. Throughout her teen years, Octavia was a local talent show favorite. In 1994, she debuted on the growing Portland rap scene with the CD "Drank, No Chasa. By now she was â€-151' aka 'Octavia, 'the Mic Strangla'- a razor-sharp wordsmith with beats and flow that shook the city's most respected male and female MC's. The CD became an instant classic, helping to establish Portland, Oregon in the growing network of urban rap communities like Compton, Oakland, Houston and Seattle. After defying expectations with the groundbreaking 'Walking on Water', Octavia moved to Oakland, Ca. Her production skills were now widely known and she quickly became an even hotter name on the independent rap scene. She released a compilation CD and 2002's 'The Solo Child' which featured some of the Bay area rap's biggest names (Suga-T, 3xKrazy's Agerman and Assassin). She continued to be a popular live performer, opening for Montell Jordan, Spearhead and others. She's amassed an impressive list of credits- appearing on compilations and producing/performing on soundtracks for film, animated DVD and games. She took over for Queen Latifah as guest MC on Meredith Brooks 'Lay Down' and makes a special appearance on Myra's 'Quit Chasin' Me'. 'Inspired by God' signals more than just a foray into the exploding world of Christian/spiritual rap. As Baby D, 151, Mic Strangla or Jymini, she is known for tight production, thoughtful lyrics and driving beats. On her new work, she loses only the aliases but retains all the qualities that made her a local legend. The tales of street life and themes that resonate with listeners of all ages are benefited by her quest for spirituality and understanding. Tunes like 'Fiyah' and 'Powers in the People' move the feet and have knowledge for the head. Her message is clear: give the youth something more. Always the innovator, she is a step ahead of her peers with promotional plans that includes churches, youth groups and schools. As a rap pioneer, female Mc and performer, Octavia Harris has overcome many obstacles. As a witness to the human condition, she's used her talent to seek solutions. She is one of the genre's shining lights and looks forward to once again expanding the horizon for her old fans and welcoming the new ones from the spiritual community.