Hip-hop artist MC Flow -- a.k.a. Abby Schwartz -- raps about politics and women's issues. She grew up in New York City and moved to San Diego in 2000 at the age of 30 to study holistic medicine at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Mission Valley. "I left my master's program to go into treatment for anorexia," she says. "Through the process of healing and empowering myself, I found my voice and began writing spoken word and performance pieces based on issues surrounding women and body image."
She started her MC career performing open-mike nights at coffeehouses like Claire de Lune and Lestat's. "When I first began, I joined a networking group called the Community," she says, "and my first shows were with that group of artists. We get together regularly to share demos, talk about hip-hop, and listen to music." MC Flow is frequently joined onstage by fellow performers Lauren DeRose, Taylor-Tay, and dancer G.G. Schwartz, and she's working on new music with singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, with her first album planned for release later this year.
Though she recently won a 2007 San Diego Music Award for Best Hip-Hop, she says rapping doesn't yet pay her bills. "I work as a dog-walker and pet-sitter, and I love my job. It provides me with flexibility to do shows, and I walk around all day listening to my iPod. If you see a woman walking dogs through Balboa Park and rapping away on high volume, it's probably me." MC Flow appears October 27 at Static Lounge on Broadway.
WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?
1. M.I.A., Kala ("One of the most exciting female artists on the scene. I love this album because it is unique, political, and full of crazy beats that make you want to get up and dance.")
2. Kanye West, Graduation ("I appreciate its positivity and playfulness, and I love to blast it in my car while I'm rolling down the five.")
3. Brandi Carlile, The Story ("Her voice is incredible, and her lyrics are so heartfelt that you can't help but get lost in this album.")
4. Joshua Radin, We Were Here ("This is romantic, mellow folk-rock -- perfect for make-out sessions.")
5. Pema Chodron, Bodhisattva Mind ("An audio-book series from American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron about the pursuit of ending suffering -- not only for oneself, but for all beings.")
1. Tupac: Resurrection ("An incredible documentary about Tupac's life and passions.")
2. Stealing Beauty ("Beautiful film about an American girl spending the summer in Italy that reminds me of living in Florence during my college years.")
3. Zoolander ("Poses the most important question in life: Have you ever wondered if there was more to life other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?")
4. Da Ali G Show: Season One ("Nothing makes me laugh harder.")
FAVORITE LOCAL HANGOUT SPOTS?
1. The Rubber Rose, North Park: "This is San Diego's only female-owned sexuality boutique and pretty much my favorite place in San Diego. The owners, Lea and Carly, have great taste in merchandise and throw great parties and music shows in the gallery."
2. The Turf Club, Golden Hill: "This is one of my favorite spots in my 'hood. Strong drinks, cheap food, and always a hella good time."
3. Ono Sushi, Hillcrest: "I'm a sushi lover through and through, and Ono is my favorite sushi spot in town. It's also home to my favorite drink, the Ono-tini. I get a few of those in me, and a good night is pretty much guaranteed."
WILDEST THING DONE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE?
"My friends and I were celebrating my 30th birthday down in Mexico, and I was dared to make an appearance at the party wearing nothing but my birthday suit and a birthday crown. I did it, and I wasn't even that drunk."
IF YOU COULD LUNCH WITH ANYONE, IT'D BE...
"Rick Rubin, so I could ask him to produce my first full-length album."
KANYE OR 50 CENT?
"Oh, that's easy: Kanye, 100 percent! I think he's the better rapper, and I appreciate his outspokenness on political and social issues."
WORST JOB YOU'VE EVER HAD?
"Selling shoes at an upscale boutique in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one summer while I was in college. First, any job involving feet is no fun. Second, any job involving rich women asking you to run up and down the stairs a hundred times is no fun. The lowest moment was when we had a flood in the basement, where all the shoes were stored -- we had to go downstairs, change into giant rain boots, and wade through the water to get the clients' shoes. Then we were expected to come back upstairs and act as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Not a good day at the office."
BIGGEST POLITICAL CONCERN?
"Definitely the upcoming presidential election and the importance of getting a Democrat into office. On a more specific note, I have to stress the importance of supporting gay marriage, the way Mayor Jerry Sanders recently did. I don't think that our government has the right to decide which love-relationships are valid and which are not."