Queen Latifah

Hip-hop has enjoyed its fair share of regal characters over the years: Grandmaster Flash, King Tee, Prince Markie Dee, etc., but it's without question that none of them has held court with as much style and grace as New Jersey's Queen Latifah. She's been an ace MC since the late 1980s — back when she used to rap for the 45 King and the Flavor Unit. You can use that for hip-hop trivia — although these days, she's moved on considerably from being just a rapper. Aside from collecting royalty checks, these days, Queen Latifah makes most of her money doing films, television, and spot ads for Covergirl. That's a great step up from just rhyming, but don't think music still isn't in her heart. She's coming to town this week for a gig in West Palm Beach and mixing it up with a touch of hip-hop, jazz, and R&B. That's right, Queen La is a jazz singer, and based on her 2004 Grammy-nominated project, The Dana Owens Album, homegirl is pretty good. She's got a new album on the stands, Trav'lin' Light, which is her second foray into jazz singing, and if you want to see the evolution of a true entertainer, then Wednesday night's performance isn't to be missed.

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Jonathan Cunningham