Performance Artist

In 1999 Fatboy Slim sampled music and vocals from Yarbrough’s original song Take Yo’ Praise. His version of the song exploded commercially and her vocals could be heard everywhere, from television shows such as Sex in the City, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the Golden Globe Award Show to Mercedes Benz, Wimbledon, and Nike commercials. In a flash, a new generation was introduced to a highly respected artist who had been blazing trails for decades before.

Nana Camille’s first solo musical recording, The Iron Pot Cooker, is where the Fatboy Slim song Praise You was sampled from. Writer and activist Kevin Powell makes note of the original album, “Without question, The Iron Pot Cooker is a precursor to Lauryn Hill’s best-seller The Mis-Education of Lauryn Hill.” The album was based on the very successful 1971 stage dramatization of her one-woman, spoken word show Tales and Tunes of an African American Griot. Here are just a few of the other high reviews:

Nana Camille’s first solo musical recording, The Iron Pot Cooker (1975) is where the hit song Praise You was sampled from. Writer and activist Kevin Powell makes note of the original album, “Without question, The Iron Pot Cooker is a precursor to Lauryn Hill’s best-seller The Mis-Education of Lauryn Hill.” A few other high reviews:
Billboard Magazine: “…Yarbrough has stylish traces of Nina Simone and Gil Scott-Heron but her own style of singing and recitation … are outstanding. Her songs are all thought provoking.”
SPIN Magazine: Nana Camille is a “hip-hop foremother.”
CDNOW: “The most important rediscovery of the year…”

Billboard Magazine: ”…Yarbrough has stylish traces of Nina Simone and Gil Scott-Heron but her own style of singing and recitation … are outstanding. Her songs are all thought provoking.”

The Washington Post: “Yarbrough bares her soul in The Iron Pot Cooker and makes no attempt to give the ghetto mass-audience appeal.”

Buffalo News: “This is unnerving insight into a slice of contemporary life.  A powerful, challenging album . . .”

In 1998, Vanguard Records re-issued the album and the reviews remained steady. SPIN Magazine claimed Nana Camille as a “hip-hop foremother.” CDNOW added: “The most important rediscovery of the year, Camille Yarbrough’s one album, obscure since 1975, fills out the spoken word of Mt. Rushmore of [The] Last Poets, Watts Prophets, and Gil Scott Heron, completing the chrysalis phase of poetry moving into rap in the half-decade before hip hop.”

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