West Coast Styles

#1 Source for West Coast Music, News, Events and Culture. Home of the Original West Coast Rydaz


Formed in 1983, Clapham, South London based Hip Hop duo, Cookie Crew, comprised of MC Remedee [née Debbie Pryce] and Susie Q [née Susan Banfield] scored a recording contract with the UK dance label, Rhythm King, after competing in and ultimately winning a national rap championship. 

Having only reached minimal success with that first signing, the group would later go on to align with another imprint, FFRR, which resulted in said career really skyrocketing.

Cookie Crew are easily best known for their string of hit entries, “Born This Way (Let’s Dance),” “Got to Keep On,” with Edwin Starr, and “Come and Get Some.”


First things first, last year (August 11th to be exact) marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?

The 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop was a significant milestone that reflects the genre’s profound influence on music, culture, and society over the past five decades. What does it mean to me and its broader implications? The overall cultural Impact is that Hip Hop has proven to be a powerful vehicle for expression, particularly for marginalized communities. It has most definitely provided a platform for voices that might otherwise have been unheard. Its artistic evolution alone, from the streets of the Bronx to a global phenomenon, showcases its versatility and adaptability. It’s fascinating to see how Hip Hop has transformed over the years, influencing and being influenced by other musical genres and cultures, globally. You can’t beat it. Hip Hop is the best stuff on earth, and I shall remain loyal to the bitter end. I’m not gonna lie, there were some moments where I felt like, “why’s everyone so interested in something we’ve been celebrating everyday?” I’m sure Hip Hop existed a thousand years’ BC, and suddenly, the world’s media was honing in on this beautiful genre. There were so many moments where I felt like shouting, “leave it the f#@% alone!” Hip Hop shun bright daily for us. 50 years of Hip Hop, I appreciated it from the bottom of my heart; I appreciate all the celebrations that took place in the UK, and I am grateful to have been included and invited to some of the conversations and to be able to share my experiences then and now because it still means a lot to me. Hip Hop has been a mirror to society, often highlighting issues of racism, inequality, and social justice. It has sparked conversations and movements, making it not just a musical genre but a form of social commentary. So, celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop acknowledges its roots and the pioneers who laid the groundwork. It’s a moment to honor legends who were instrumental in its inception and the legends who championed the culture. The anniversary highlighted Hip Hop’s contributions to global culture; from music and dance, to fashion and language. It underscores its role in shaping contemporary culture and its pervasive influence. The milestone also provided an opportunity for education about the history and significance of Hip Hop. It encourages deeper exploration into the genre’s origins, its key figures, and its impact on various aspects of life. Reflecting on 50 years of Hip Hop also invites speculation about its future. How will it continue to evolve? What new forms will it take? How will upcoming artists build on this rich legacy? So, it’s more than just a celebration; it’s a recognition of the genre’s rich history, its role in societal change, and its ongoing influence on global culture. For me, it’s a reminder of music’s power to transcend boundaries and bring people together, while also serving as a catalyst for reflection on where we’ve been and where we’re going in the world of Hip Hop.

To quote the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” – Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?

Well, that iconic line, “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” It’s both a nod to the genre’s humble beginnings and a testament to its unexpected and monumental rise. Hip Hop has outshone itself…who knew that Hip Hop would morph into such a beast of magnificence? Almost everything is influenced by it. Hip Hop’s roots are in the Bronx where it emerged in the 1970s, it was a grassroots movement born out of block parties and street culture in the Bronx. At that time, it was difficult to foresee it growing beyond a local phenomenon, even in the UK. Everyone should understand that Hip Hop was intentionally an underground culture, with MCs, DJs, breakdancers, and graffiti artists expressing themselves in ways that mainstream society often overlooked or misunderstood. We were just living in the moment. The denial in the early years by the media is real. Those who sat outside of the culture took chunks out of the pie and took ownership whilst leaving the creators out of the equation, a lot of things have changed. What Hip Hop / Rap looks like now, no I don’t think I could have ever imagined the impact it has made on the music industry and lives. But everything must evolve, right? I hate change at the best of times, but being able to flow with the ever-changing landscape is a testament to how Hip Hop can be your trusty and loyal guardian. As Hip Hop entered the 1980’s and 1990’s in the UK, it began to gain more visibility with the rise of influential artists and groups from the U.S. and this era marked a significant expansion, but even then few could have predicted its eventual global dominance. The mainstream breakthrough of Hip Hop in the 1990’s and 2000’s continued to show its potential to dominate charts and influence popular culture on a massive scale. Today, as we know it, Hip Hop is a global phenomenon. Artists from around the world have embraced and adapted the genre, creating a rich tapestry of sounds and styles that transcend borders. Hip Hop has influenced not just music, but also fashion, language, art, and even politics. Its reach extends into various aspects of daily life and culture, from high fashion runways to social media trends. The genre’s commercial success, with billion-dollar ventures and influential brands, is something that early pioneers likely never envisioned. Look at how many artists have built empires that go far beyond music. It’s evident that Hip Hop has also been a powerful tool for social change, giving voice to social issues and contributing to movements for racial and economic justice. From a personal perspective, it’s awe-inspiring to witness Hip Hop’s journey from a marginalized art form to a dominant cultural force. While it might have been hard to imagine such a trajectory in the early days, the genre’s resilience, adaptability, and deep connection with its audience have driven it to heights that were once unimaginable. The Notorious B.I.G.’s words resonate deeply because they encapsulate the surprise and pride that many feel when looking at Hip Hop’s remarkable journey. It’s a reminder that creativity and authenticity, even when starting from the fringes, can eventually reshape the world. ‘Cause Hip Hop rules the world!

What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments / memories during your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?

Reflecting on some of the fondest and most standout moments during our tenure in Hip Hop brings back a flood of incredible memories. Our early breakthrough moments, from winning the UK Rap Championships at The Wag Club in 1985, our first performance in front of an audience was exhilarating, an audience that was in its infancy. The energy of the crowd, the connection we felt, and the realization that what we were embarking upon resonated with a crowd who had never heard of us and was seeing us for the first time. It was an unforgettable raise the roof moment. Our first experience of seeing rap on TV in the UK was The Sugarhill Gang on Top of the Pops in 1979. That was also the exciting discovery years of being mesmerized by other female MCs out of the States like the Us Girls [Sha-Rock, Lisa Lee, Debbie D], Finesse & Synquis, Frick ‘N’ Frack, Pebblee Poo, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte, Mercedes Ladies, Salt-N-Pepa, Body & Soul, J.J. Fad, Lil Kim, Missy Elliott and Bahamadia. Have I missed anybody? We were also exposed to films like Beat Street, Wild Style, Krush Groove, and The Freshest Kids. Signing with a label and releasing music with Rhythm King, and later with a major label, London Records FFRR / PolyGram, was a pivotal moment. It validated our hard work and opened new opportunities for us to expand our reach and influence. Having chart success and hit singles was never on the roadmap, we were just doing Hip Hop. But the unexpected success of our singles like “Rok da House” and “Born This Way” on the UK charts was a light bulb moment. Hearing our songs on the radio and seeing them climb the charts was incredibly rewarding. Appearing on Top of the Pops, the iconic British music chart television program, was a surreal and proud moment. It symbolized that we had truly made it in the industry. Performing and touring the UK / EU / US/ Africa, taking our work internationally and performing in various countries allowed us to connect with a global audience. Each city and country had its own unique vibe and special moments. Spending a lot of time in New York – working and living – doing interviews and being fully immersed in the experience. We weren’t just doing Hip Hop; we were living Hip Hop. We have memorable collaborations, performing alongside other Hip Hop legends and artists we admired was always a highlight. From having our first video ‘Born This Way’ directed by Fab 5 Freddy, a photoshoot with Janette Beckman, to sharing the stage with our peers, created unforgettable memories and forged lasting friendships. We were lucky to have supported U.S. artists such as Public Enemy, De La Soul, Bobby Brown, Guy, and worked with some of the best including Daddy-O and DBC from Stetsasonic, Guru and DJ Premier, Black Sheep, Roy Ayers, Edwin Starr, Davy DMX, DJ Dazzle, Derek B, Herbie Laidley, Danny D and DJ Biznizz. We really were positioned in all the right spaces. We were making a cultural impact and breaking barriers. Being one of the few prominent female groups in Hip Hop at the time whilst watching our South London constituency Monie Love come up through the ranks amongst the vibrant scene that was developing in London, we were proud to represent and pave the way for future generations of women in the genre. Knowing that we inspired other female artists is a significant part of our legacy. Community Engagement was also important to us. Participating in local community events was deeply fulfilling. Using our platform to inspire and support young people in pursuing their dreams in music and beyond has always been paramount. Receiving industry accolades was a testament to our hard work and impact. These moments of recognition were gratifying and motivational. Receiving positive reviews from critics and being acknowledged by influential figures in Hip Hop and music journalism reinforced our contributions to the genre. On the flipside we were able to take it on the chin when receiving negative reviews. Our creative Milestones included the process of creating our albums and the satisfaction of seeing our artistic visions come to life was immensely rewarding. Each album represented a different phase of our journey and growth as artists. We had personal growth; our journey through Hip Hop helped us grow not only as artists but as individuals. The experiences we shared, the challenges we overcame, and the successes we celebrated together shaped who we are today. Looking back on our journey as Cookie Crew; the standout milestones defined our career and left a lasting impact on the Hip Hop community. The support from our fans, the collaborations with fellow artists, and the recognition from the industry are all cherished memories that we hold dear. Our tenure in Hip Hop was not just about the music; it was about the connections we made, the barriers we broke, and the legacy we created. Hip Hop is oxygen.

That said, what are your future plans and / or goals throughout the remainder of 2024 and beyond?

Keep flying the flag for Hip Hop, staying true to self and always show up with purpose. Goals = to continue to inspire.

Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?

A trip down memory lane. For fans near and far to reminisce about the golden era of Hip Hop and the impact our music had during that time. Appreciation of the history, highlights of our contributions to the evolution of Hip Hop, especially in the UK, and celebrating the legacy. It’s a showcase of how our music influenced the Hip Hop scene and inspired subsequent artists. Despite the time difference, we’d like to think we can still inspire new generations, especially women in Hip Hop, to pursue their passions and to continue breaking barriers. And, to demonstrate that our music remains relevant and resonant, even decades after its initial release.

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Ooooh, what a question, and I can only choose one? I’m gonna say the iconic Tina Turner. We both possessed themes of empowerment, resilience, and overcoming adversity in our music. A cross-genre collaboration with her would have been wild. Can you imagine what we would have cooked up? We would have whipped up a powerful anthem!

If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Madison Square Garden. We spent so much time in New York and walked past that place…so why not ? 😁

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?

The commercialization of Hip Hop, some critics argue that the commercialization of the genre led to a focus on profit over artistry. This can result in formulaic music that prioritizes marketability over creativity and substance. There’s the debate about the content of mainstream Hip Hop, the glorification of violence and materialism. Some feel this undermines the genre’s potential for positive influence. Appropriation is a huge topic. As Hip Hop became more global, cultural appropriation came into play and the dilution of its roots. The genres should be respected and preserved. Despite its success, there are still inequities in the music industry, with many artists facing challenges related to fair compensation, representation, and exploitation by record labels. The current state of Hip Hop is dynamic and multifaceted, reflecting both positive advancements and ongoing challenges. It continues to be a powerful and influential genre, capable of driving cultural change and providing a platform for diverse voices. However, it also faces criticisms and concerns that need to be addressed to ensure its continued growth and relevance. For the best part I am happy and blessed to be entrenched in the culture, but there are also triggering moments relating to the inequities on both sides, artists vs. executives and leaders.

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?

The key to longevity in any profession, particularly in something as dynamic and influential as Hip Hop, involves a combination of factors that allow for sustained relevance, growth, and impact. There are so many elements I believe are crucial to longevity. Adaptability and evolution, you gotta stay current. Continuously engaging with new trends, sounds, and cultural shifts is essential. This involves listening to emerging artists, experimenting with new styles, and incorporating contemporary influences without losing one’s core identity. Innovation is key, pushing creative boundaries and not being afraid to experiment with new techniques or ideas keeps the work fresh and exciting. Innovation helps avoid stagnation and keeps the audience engaged. Being authentic is paramount! Staying true to roots and self. Authenticity resonates deeply with audiences. Staying true to one’s origins and core values, while also embracing growth, creates a strong, loyal fan base. Honest and fair storytelling is fundamental. Sharing real, personal experiences and perspectives allows for genuine connections. Hip Hop, at its core, is about storytelling, and those who tell their stories truthfully often find lasting success. There’s nothing more rewarding than giving back, in whatever capacity. Community engagement is key, connecting with the audience doesn’t necessarily mean being on a stage, but walking into a room or situation you’re going to be faced with an audience that either adore or hate you or are on the fence. Building and maintaining a strong connection with the audience through performances, social media interactions, and community involvement fosters loyalty and support. Always supporting others, mentoring up-and-coming artists and collaborating with peers helps build a supportive community. This not only strengthens the genre but also ensures a legacy of mutual respect and growth. Every day is about learning and embracing new knowledge. If I wasn’t continuously learning, I wouldn’t be answering these questions. Staying curious and continually learning about the craft, business, and evolving landscape of Hip Hop or the business helps in adapting to changes and making informed decisions. We’ve all got to learn from mistakes. Acknowledging and learning from mistakes is crucial for growth and improvement. Resilience in the face of setbacks is a key trait for longevity. Strong work ethic, wake up with purpose, be consistent and intentional. Producing quality work and persisting through challenges demonstrates dedication and reliability, which are respected and rewarded over time. Maintaining professionalism in all aspects of one’s career, from collaborations to business dealings, builds a strong reputation and lasting relationships. Having vision and set long-term goals provides direction and motivation. This helps in making strategic decisions that align with broader objectives. Don’t expect others to do your work for you. A massive part of surviving the music industry is taking care of your health and well being. Longevity in Hip Hop, as in any career, is about a delicate balance of innovation and authenticity, community and individuality, learning and teaching, and passion and perseverance. Embracing these principles not only fosters a successful career but also contributes to the enduring legacy of Hip Hop itself.

Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?

Yep, I’d like to think that the time will come where I feel brave enough and take a step back from corporate but still being involved and available. I don’t know exactly what that ‘other outside’ thing looks like. I enjoy mentoring, giving back and will always want to continue the narration about the history of Hip Hop. I love what I do and what I’ve achieved, it’s not without its hurdles and there is always a sense of duty to ensure that I am present to guide and support the next generation as they elevate in an industry that can easily eat you up when you turn your back to make a coffee. What’s an average day like for you? It’s Hip Hop energy all day, every day. If it wasn’t for Hip Hop, I wouldn’t be able to get through my day. My day must be balanced with creative productivity and knowing when to switch off and say no!

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…

If we’re talking about my personal engagement, I do engage strategically but I’m not an active artist / performer so I’m not an avid user in that respect. But as someone who still works in the industry, and I can share a few suggestions: Interacting is a crucial aspect of building and maintaining a successful and enduring presence in any field, especially in a dynamic and community-driven genre like Hip Hop. Maintaining an active presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook allow for direct communication with fans. Regular posts, stories, and updates keep fans informed and engaged. Live interactions and hosting live sessions, whether through social media live streams, virtual meet-and-greets, or Q&A sessions, provides an opportunity for real-time interaction. It makes fans feel seen and heard. Responding to direct messages is not for everybody and can become unmanageable, but showing support with comments, and mentions shows fans that their support is appreciated. Personal replies or even just acknowledging their messages can go a long way in building a loyal fan-base. Creating exclusive content like sharing behind-the-scenes content, such as studio sessions, tour preparations, or day-in-the-life videos, gives fans a glimpse into the personal and professional life of an artist, fostering a deeper connection. Exclusive releases and offering exclusive content such as unreleased tracks, early access to new music, or special editions of merchandise can reward loyal fans and create a sense of community. In-person engagement and concerts and tours. Performing live is one of the most direct ways to connect with fans. Engaging with the audience during shows, through shout-outs or crowd interactions, creates memorable experiences. Acknowledging fan contributions with fan art and creativity. By showcasing fan art, covers, remixes, or any creative contributions on social media or official platforms highlights fans’ efforts and talents. This not only acknowledges their support but also encourages a creative community around the artist. Listening and asking for feedback on new releases, merchandise, or concert experiences shows that the artist values fans’ opinions. It can be done through polls, surveys, or direct questions on social media. Consistent communication and regular updates. Fans like to be kept informed about upcoming projects, tour dates, or personal milestones through newsletters, social media updates. Interacting with and responding to fans is about building a genuine and reciprocal relationship. It requires active engagement, appreciation of their support, and a willingness to listen and adapt. By valuing and nurturing this relationship, artists can create a loyal fan-base that not only supports them through their career but also becomes an integral part of the creative journey.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?

My favorite part is being passionate about what I do. In my past when the Cookie Crew were fully active, and in my present career. Turning a hobby and a passion into a career was totally unplanned. It all happened organically and not contrived in any way. Having had that ability to express myself creatively through music was one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career. Hip Hop was and will always be a form of expression. Building a connection with fans and seeing how our music resonates with people was incredibly rewarding. Knowing that our song had a positive impact, and inspired others is a significant motivator. Having worked with other artists, producers, and musicians offered us opportunities to grow and learn. Being a part of Hip Hop culture to this day and contributing to its evolution is a source of pride. It’s fulfilling to know that the Cookie Crew played a role in shaping a genre that has a significant cultural impact globally. My least favorite part, the music industry can be tough, with numerous obstacles such as navigating the business side. These aspects can be frustrating and detract from your goals, purpose and contributions. I think it is important to highlight difficulties and pressures that come with the territory, emphasizing the importance of balancing passion with resilience in the face of industry challenges. The pressure can be overwhelming, and you must be thick skinned to have staying power. For artists this pressure can sometimes stifle creativity and lead to burnout.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

For someone aspiring to follow in the footsteps of a successful figure in Hip Hop or any creative field, my advice would be to be passionate and follow that passion. Ensure that your pursuit in any creative field is driven by genuine passion. This will sustain you through challenges and keep your work authentic. Be true to yourself, stay true to your story, experiences, and voice. Don’t compromise your identity to fit trends; instead, let your unique perspective shine. Hone your craft and work on improving your skills, whether it’s rapping, producing, writing, or any other aspect of your artistry. Practice, study, and learn from others. Stay educated and understand and respect the history and roots of Hip Hop. Knowing where the genre came from and who the pioneers are will give depth to your work and respect within the community. Build Relationships, network with other artists, producers, and industry professionals. Collaborations and mentorships can provide opportunities and valuable insights. Engage with your community, support and be involved. Attend events, participate and contribute to the scene. Being active locally can build a strong foundation. Stay persistent because success rarely happens overnight. Be prepared to face rejection and setbacks but keep pushing forward. Persistence and resilience are key to long-term success. Learn from failure, view failures as learning opportunities. Each setback can teach you something valuable that will help you grow and improve. Don’t be afraid to experiment and push boundaries. Innovation keeps the genre evolving and can set you apart from others. Adapt to change, the music industry as we know is constantly changing. Stay adaptable and open to new technologies, platforms, and trends to stay relevant. Treat your career seriously and always approach it with professionalism. This includes being punctual, respectful, and reliable in all your dealings. Understand the business, educate yourself on the business side of music. Learn about contracts, royalties, marketing, and branding. Being knowledgeable about the industry can protect you from exploitation and help you make informed decisions. Plan and think about the longevity of your career. Diversify your skills and explore different avenues within the industry to create multiple streams of income and opportunities. Following in the footsteps of successful figures in Hip Hop requires a combination of passion, hard work, resilience, and continuous learning. By staying true to yourself, engaging with your community, and maintaining a professional attitude, you can carve out your own path and make a lasting impact in the industry.

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?

WOW!? 5-10 years from now? Mmmmmhh, I envisage myself continuing to make a significant impact in the music industry as a professional expanding my influence and legacy. I want to evolve as a professional, maybe venture into entrepreneurship. Taking on a mentorship role to support aspiring talent, particularly women and marginalized communities in Hip Hop and beyond. Continue the campaign of advocating for equity within the music industry and hopefully expand the reach globally through collaborations and partnerships. It’s all down to self-education and personal development, I believe in lifelong learning and staying curious about the ever-changing landscape of Hip Hop and the industry. Who knows what the next 5-10 years look like, whatever it is, it’s my duty to leave a legacy as a trailblazer in the industry and a beacon of inspiration for future generations of artists.

Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?

Your questions have been thorough and covered a wide range of important topics.

Any “parting” words for our readers?

Of course Stay Authentic, always be true to yourself and your art. Authenticity is what will set you apart and connect you deeply with others. Keep Learning, never stop learning and growing, both personally and professionally. Embrace new experiences, challenges, and knowledge with an open mind. Persevere because the road to success is rarely smooth. Stay persistent and resilient in the face of obstacles and remember that each setback is an opportunity to learn and improve. Build community and surround yourself with supportive people and advocates who inspire and challenge you. Collaborate, network, and give back to the community that nurtures you. Engage with passion and let that passion be your key driver. Whether it’s in music, art, or any other field, your genuine love for what you do will be the source of your greatest achievements. Balance and well being, take care of your physical and mental health. A balanced life ensures sustained creativity and productivity. Try to stay humble. No matter how successful you become, stay grounded and humble. Appreciate the journey, the people who help you along the way, and the opportunities that come your way. Embrace change because the world is always evolving. Be adaptable and open to change and use it as a catalyst for growth and innovation. Remember that your journey is unique. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and stay focused on your vision. Success is not just about reaching the destination but also about enjoying and learning from the journey. Keep pushing boundaries, stay inspired, and never lose sight of why you started. Your story has the power to inspire others, so share it with pride and passion.




Cookie Pryce [Cookie Crew]: Hip Hop Rules The World #HH50

Cookie Pryce [Cookie Crew]: Hip Hop Rules The World #HH50

Share on Social Media


West Coast Styles feature

More Updates...