Lady’s first 

Houston native Bianca Rivera has been bombing since 1996. Under the name Lady Binx, Rivera is recognized by many as H-town’s first full-fledged female graffiti artist and when she’s not painting, caring for her 2-year-old daughter, or practicing danza, you can usually catch her rhyming on a stage.

San Antonio also played a key role in Lady Binx’s development, because she attended the University of the Incarnate Word in the early ’90s. Last week, she returned to her old college stomping ground with her new group Almas Intocables, as part of the Till the Border Crumbles Show, held at the Ruta Maya last week.

Almas Intocables, which consists of Binx, her husband Jehuniko, and Chilango Ikuestion, were joined on the bill by Austin’s DJ Chicken George, San Anto’s on-point Astex, and show organizer DJ Mexican Stepgrandfather, for a night of inspired, politically charged hip-hop.

Last year, Lady Binx returned to Houston after a stint in Los Angles where she was immersed in California’s Latin Rap scene. Along the way, she fought a custody battle over her two young sons from a previous relationship, married Jehuniko in Costa Rica, and gave birth to a beautiful daughter she affectionately calls Querita. With a solo album titled “Lost In The Northside” scheduled to drop on Día de los Muertos, and an Almas Intocables disc to follow, the Current caught up with Lady Binx to get her take on Latin Rap, femcees, and what keeps her grounded.

What was it like going from the DJ Screw-influenced Houston hip-hop community to the California Latin Rap scene?

It was different. They try to separate the music because we’re Raza or because we do things in Spanish, then it becomes this Latin-flavor thing and I’m just not feeling that. I feel like it’s like some sort of segregation in hip-hop. I guess some people are down with it, but why are you gonna give somebody a Latin Grammy and not a Grammy Grammy?

The promoters of the different shows are trying to target certain audiences, but at the same time it’s all hip-hop. You either like it or you don’t. I think sometimes it just starts to commercialize us in a different way. I don’t dig it. Some of the artists are really dope and some of them are just really generic, but it’s interesting to see nonetheless.

When most people hear the term Latin Rap, they think car shows and girls in bikinis. Were you able to find anything of substance in the genre that you could connect with?

There was a little more substance than what I’ve seen through the Latin car-show culture, but I just think people shouldn’t focus in on that sub-genre. They should just branch out and say “I’m just hip-hop. It doesn’t matter if I’m rhyming in Spanish, English, French, Japanese whatever.” There’s definitely this international flavor but it’s still emceeing on beats. At the last Latin hip-hop event I performed at in Hollywood I was a bit offended because they had the girl stripper contest type thing right before we went on. I had to address it on stage and maybe it wasn’t where I should have said it, but I did. I just grabbed the mic and said “I don’t appreciate that I’m the only female on the whole bill and then you have the girls stripping right before my set. I’m not feeling that.”

I asked all the sisters in the audience how they felt and I didn’t even really get a response. I was kind of shocked. They were just sitting there sipping their drinks and looking at me like I was crazy.

Is there anything you want to share about the custody battle that brought you back to
Houston?

Texas just has some horrific child laws. For instance, if kids live in the same area that the parents are from, everybody and their grandma literally can fight for your kids. It’s not just about like the mom can take care of her kids. All these people can get involved and say, “No it affects my life if you leave with these kids.” My kids are bound to this county now till they’re 18. I lost.

If you look at some of the more popular female emcees who emerged from the ’90s, like Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Lauryn Hill, it seems like they’ve all fallen off. Do you think it’s in any way related to being a woman in the industry?

No, because with any job you get yourself into, you know what you’re getting into before you go into it. If you know that you’re one of a very few amount of females, I think that you have the pressure of representing women how you want to be represented. It’s strictly independent however you want to put yourself on, blast out there to the community or to the people.

If you put yourself in that situation where you are gonna be scandalous, then there might be some activity outside of your performance to make you feel pressure to behave a certain way. To me, it doesn’t matter what you are. If you’ve got skills you can get up there and do it. You don’t have to take your clothes off. You don’t have to act like a gangster. You don’t have to lose your mind in the sense that you don’t even know yourself anymore. If you go up there real confident, you know what you’re doing. You can present yourself in a good way and keep your sanity about you. That applies to anybody. That’s men, too.


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