Bahamadia rose to prominence on the hip-hop scene as the female protégée of Gang Starr's Guru, and lent her smooth-flowing raps to a variety of projects during the late '90s, including several electronica and acid jazz artists. Born Antonia Reed in Philadelphia, Bahamadia started out DJing at local house parties in the early to mid-'80s, and soon stepped out front to prove her skill on the mic as well. She remained a presence on the Philly hip-hop scene, but didn't make her first recordings until hooking up with producer/radio personality DJ Ran, who helmed her independent 1993 single "Funk Vibe." "Funk Vibe" caught the attention of Gang Starr MC Guru, who took an interest in Bahamadia's career and helped her get a record deal with Chrysalis. Her first singles, 1994's "Total Wreck" and 1995's "Uknowhowwedu," were well-received in the underground for their jazzy flavor and laid-back raps. She also appeared on the second volume of Guru's acclaimed Jazzmatazz project. The full-length LP Kollage followed in 1996, and featured production by both Guru and DJ Premier of Gang Starr, as well as fellow Philly natives the Roots.
Unfortunately, Chrysalis folded a year later, and Bahamadia chose to wait out her contract before resuming her solo career. In the meantime, she made a string of musically adventurous guest appearances that solidified her underground reputation: the Roots (Illadelph Halflife's "Push up Ya Lighter"), Sweetback (Sade's backing band), drum'n'bass auteur Roni Size (the title track of the landmark New Forms), Towa Tei, acid jazzers the Brand New Heavies, the Herbaliser, trip-hoppers Morcheeba ("Good Girl Down"), Rah Digga, Slum Village, and Talib Kweli's Reflection Eternal (their collaboration, "Chaos," appeared on the seminal Rawkus compilation Soundbombing, Vol. 2). She also hosted a hip-hop radio show in Philadelphia from 1997-1999. In 2000, she signed with the L.A.-based indie Goodvibe and released the chilled-out seven-track EP BB Queen (as in "beautiful black"), which received excellent reviews. ~ Steve Huey