Album: Make Way for the Motherlode

Yolanda Whitaker (aka Yo-Yo), burst onto the scene in the early '90s as Ice Cube's protege. "You Can't Play With My Yo Yo" was her debut single, a powerful uppercut to the jaw of male-centric hip hop. Repping for the IBWC (Intelligent Black Woman's Coalition), Yo-Yo bounces through female empowerment lyrics ( "Check the booty, yo its kinda soft and/If you touch, you livin' in a coffin") that would have any male rapper shaking his boots. Both "You Can't Play With My YoYo" and her debut album, Make Way For The Motherlode, were critically acclaimed. Produced by Ice Cube, Sir Jinx, and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, the album found its way to No. 5 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart. More to the point, it established Yo Yo as a strong female voice from the West Coast.  —Alysa Lechner.