Reputable all-female West Coast sextet, The 5Footaz, comprised of Jah Skillz, NebLuv, Knehi, Cobra (Red), Ka-Bar and I-AME, collectively came together as a unit at the behest of founding member Skillz, a.k.a. Diana Floss, following her contributions to mentor Warren G’s multi-platinum solo debut, Regulate…G Funk Era .
After recording her anthem-like stand-out solo selection, “Super Soul Sis,” Jah was invited to accompany Warren on the popular Budweiser Superfest. In turn, she asked her college friend, NebLuv, to also join the trek, backing Jah on her part of the set. Over the next few years, both Jah and Neb, as The 5Footaz, continued to tour the United States and abroad with Warren G.
By the time the original two-woman crew were assembled, The 5Footaz were soon able to secure, under industry impresario Lyor Cohen, a promising deal with Def Jam Recordings. Plans immediately were underway for their, then highly anticipated, premiere outing, Worldwide. Unfortunately, both Warren and the label brass had a major conflict of interest, therefore causing their first project to be shelved indefinitely.
After obtaining a release from “The House that Russell Simmons Built,” The 5Footaz quickly regrouped and found another home at BMG, where they started putting together, what was to become, their sophomore effort, Lifetime. Around this same time, “Walkaway,” a track recorded for the platinum-plus Jason’s Lyric soundtrack, emerged, ultimately bringing Jah and Neb together with their other, future, 5Footaz members [then utilizing the moniker Unit 5]. “The Heist,” which appeared on the musical accompaniment to the movie Set It Off, was the end result of that newly found union. Largely attributed to, specifically, the huge response to “The Heist” composition, The 5Footaz were later nominated for a multitude of awards, including a Lady of Soul nod for Best Female Rap Duo or Group. Sadly, the same fate fell upon their second LP, and it, too, ended up being put on the back burner. Eventually, both albums, The Lost Scrolls (initially titled Worldwide) and Lifetime, were finally made available online, and today are largely considered collector’s items by many Hip-Hop aficionados.
Flash forward to 20-11 and beyond, and the good…No, take that back…Great news is that The 5Footaz have valiantly returned with a brand new mix-tape release, Rewired, to serve as a precursor of sorts to their eagerly awaited, forthcoming third full-length collection, Ride of your Life. A still in development reality show and documentary, as well as both a domestic and world tour, are also in the planning stages to coincide with their musical comeback.
“We are very excited about how much positive feedback we have been getting about our project. We are definitely more seasoned and mature when it comes to the type of music we are making,” Skillz, who is currently working towards her bachelor’s degree with future plans to attend law school, announces, sounding extremely elated about their new material. Re-iterating, she further relays, “Many have grown into producing, playing instruments, singing (and) things of that nature, so you’ll see more of those attributes. This album will be fun, informative and a lyrical 411 on what it is to be a ‘B-Girl,’ and how Hip-Hop really should be represented.”
In addition, all six members continue to be involved in various individual endeavors; including, solo records, literary works, outside business ventures, but all the while continuing to build and re-establish their own unique 5Footaz brand.
“We are all working on solo releases as well, and we are all collabin’ with one another on those projects. Being there are so many of us, you will also get to know us individually as well as artists. All of us have our own ideas and creativity that we want to share with the world,” I-AME [pronounced I AM ME], the latest edition to The 5Footaz family, emphasizes, making her point quite clear. Interjecting, Ka-Bar, who, herself, possesses a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from California State University at Fullerton, summarizes their entire career run beginning with their whole inception, “We were very young when we got started, it was such a different game back then. We didn’t have Myspace, Facebook , Twitter , Ustream or any other digitial social networking media tools back then. It was street teams, live release parties, stickers and billboards everywhere. The industry changed so much…Biggie and Pac got killed, 9-11 happened. We came up in an era of change before Obama…Mase became a pastor…” she pauses for a moment, and then concludes with a sigh relief, “Being a woman the stakes are so high, and when you are beautiful, young and creative it makes it a lot more difficult in this male dominated industry. The life is so fast, and you can easily get mislead by the materialism in front of you that is all just a distraction and illusion to distract from your true purpose in this buisness. I am glad (we) took time out to preserve (ourselves) and reflect on how (we) wanted (our) music to affect and influence the audience. It takes so much more than a hot sixteen, or being swagged out. Now, we have all the creative control, power, wisdom and knowledge, to run our business like Oprah — We OWN our network!”