Jay Allen Sanford 11 a.m., Nov. 13
Genre: Hip-Hop & Rap
Sound description: Political hip-hop.
RIYL: Addiquit, Miki Vale, Yo Majesty
- Blurt: "That's a Rap" · Jan. 7, 2009
- Blurt: "Poor Flow" · Oct. 18, 2007
- Musician Interviews: "Flow With It" · Sept. 27, 2007
Influences: M.I.A., Kanye West, Addiquit, Miki Vale, Yo Majesty, Brandi Carlile, Joshua Radin, Pema Chodron, Tupac
Hip-hop artist MC Flow -- aka Abby Schwartz -- raps about politics and women's issues. She grew up in New York City and moved to San Diego in 2000 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-mic 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."
She turned 30 in 2007. "My friends and I were celebrating 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."
MC Flow is frequently joined onstage by fellow performers Lauren DeRose, Taylor-Tay, and dancer G.G. In 2006, she worked on new music with singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. she is planning the release of her first album. She has been nominated two years in a row by the San Diego Music Awards for Best Hip-Hop. Though she won in 2007 AND 2008, 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."
Employment multitasking is nothing new to her. She describes her worst job: "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."
MC Flow won Best Hip-Hop Album at the 2008 San Diego Music Awards, for her record Incredible, and in 2009 she won Best Hip-Hop.
Her 2014 holiday single “Pot in the Latkes” (celebrating marijuana and Hannukah) was shot as a video in late 2015, featuring several local musicians in cameo appearances directed by Sharisse and Lee Coulter of Crazy Coulters Productions.
Her song and video for "Welcome to the Dispensary," concerning medical marijuana, preceded her early 2018 EP Her Highness, which she says was entirely weed-inspired. EP guests include Jason Mraz on the track "Oh Charlotte," based on the true story of pediatric cannabis patient Charlotte Figi.