Published May 09, 2018In 2016, four women were invited to participate in a cypher series to celebrate an upcoming International Women's Day — what they didn't know then was that over the next two years, they'd form a sisterhood that would challenge Toronto's male-dominated hip-hop industry.
Made up of Keysha Freshh, Phoenix Pagliacci, Lex Leosis and Haviah Mighty, Toronto-based group the Sorority have carved out a space in hip-hop that's hardly explored — an all-women collective that, until the recording of their debut, Pledge, have worked exclusively with women in production, film and everything in-between.
"Being empowered women and that being an okay thing — that's where the Sorority come from," Haviah Mighty says. "[We're] making space and kicking down doors."
"Empowerment" seems to be the key word in the Sorority's music thematically, but also in physical presence.
"If we're talking about female empowerment, and we're including males in that narrative, we want them as allies and supporters, and they have to understand that," Pagliacci asserts. "We're working with them; we don't owe them anything."
Apart from the Sorority, every member of the group has their own solo careers, including their own styles of music, which, as Lex Leosis explains, creates the environment for collaboration over competition.
"We came into it kinda blind," Leosis notes. "Everybody put their own production into a Google Drive, and we just started listening to each other's producers and catching a vibe."
"The album is very versatile. There's a wide range of topics we touch on, and I think a very broad audience will be able to relate," Keysha Freshh adds. "With 'SRTY,' we drop a bar-heavy anthem, but with 'On Me,' it's a sexy rebellious booty call, almost. The album is pretty much a diary of the different things we deal with, not only as females, but as someone who's been taken advantage of, as someone who feels blacklisted, as someone who feels like the underdog. There's a song on this project for everyone."
At a time where female rappers are continually pitted against each other, the Sorority has taken a pledge to never stop pushing their story.
"We want the people to know that we are not a gimmick, we are not a fad, we're not a time-stamped hashtag, [but that] the Sorority is forever because the Sorority exists in every sister, every female-identifying person in the world."