IN A TOWN teeming with musicians and artists imported from all over the country, it is increasingly rare to come across a group completely made up of homegrown talent. Rose Bent, the female hiphop trio of Jacque (AKA J-Kronic), Lady Trinity, and Rose City Miss Chief, are proud to be the exception to that rule. All three graduated from Portland-area high schools and while they all initially started out as solo acts, the idea to unite came about after Miss Chief sought out Lady Trinity's production abilities. Trinity then approached longtime friend Jacque with the idea that working together as a team might relieve the pressures and stresses of being struggling solo artists.

In addition to collaborating with each other, the trio reached out to connect and create with other local producers including InfiniTrakz, King Wolveryne, and the Diffrence. Rose Bent's resulting self-titled debut album contains a seemingly effortless balance between radio-ready pop hits and bars of wildly inventive lyricism for the hardcore heads. Performed live, their exuberance is amplified to the next level, creating a dance party-inducing riot that is reminiscent of Lady Luck, Rah Digga, and Foxy Brown as choreographed by TLC.

All of this despite the fact that the female emcee seems to be a dying breed in the current music industry. "We don't want to be compared to other females, but to other emcees," Jacque explains. "I researched race, gender, and sex in media this last year while I was working on my master's in communication. It's really discouraging and outraging when you begin to peel back the layers of the industry and gain a deeper understanding of marketing and advertising. How women, especially in hiphop, have been systematically silenced.... It's all about the Benjamins, baby! It's affecting young people's expectations of women in everyday life and relationships as well; it's a cultural shift. We've got to bring women's voices back to hiphop! This is an important piece of Rose Bent's mission."

Mission accomplished.