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Scarlett( Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun )
Nicole Rorie is a Gemini who believes in the power of her astrological sign.
Using her zodiac symbol (Twins) like a compass, the Irvington artist presents two sides of her personality through music: Scarlett is an aggressive rapper, while the softer side (who she calls Nikki Giovanni) is a vulnerable singer.
There's no clearer example of this duality than "I Must Be Dreaming," a break-up song that conveys her conflicted emotions through rapping and singing.
The song "literally came from the heart, like I was in the studio, crying type of thing," she said. "I'm really proud of that. Everything on my album will be trying to top 'I Must Be Dreaming.'"
She won't have a shortage of inspiration. After six years and two daughters, Scarlett's marriage recently ended. She says her relationship is "cordial" with her ex-husband, but their divorce will play a major role in the album.
"To grow as a person, I have to face certain challenges and demons," Scarlett said. "It's me basically putting all of my business out."
It's nearly impossible to talk about female MCs in 2012 without bringing up the megastar Nicki Minaj, so naturally, she finds a way into the conversation.
Whereas Minaj uses tongue-twisting lyricism and multiple personalities to attract listeners, Scarlett hopes fans will connect with her down-to-earth attitude and straightforward phrasing.
"Ever since Nicki Minaj came out, everyone's trying to go that extra mile to be different," she said. "Sometimes being simple is the best way to go."
Next month, Scarlett will head to New York to record "Faded Memories," an EP she plans to drop in March. Scarlett says her music will always be for women first, because she wants others to learn from the mistakes and decisions she's made.
"If I can help one female, then my job is done," she said. "If she can get over heartbreak or out of a bad situation or realize she's worth more than she values herself, then I'm good."