All Hail The Queen: Queen Latifah And Super Mario Bros. Make Recording Registry History
It feels good to be Queen.
Dana Owens, better known by her stage moniker Queen Latifah, has yet another jewel to add to her crown. The National Recording Registry has announced that her debut album, All Hail The Queen, released in 1989, will be entered into the Library of Congress. The honor marks the first for a female rapper. Recorded when she was just a teenager, Latifah broke down barriers in the industry with her anthems of women empowerment. “Her album showed rap could cross genres including reggae, hip-hop, house, and jazz — while also opening opportunities for other female rappers,” the Library of Congress statement said.
The LOC is the home of more than four million recordings. Each year, the list of new additions includes everything from popular songs to stirring speeches—a diversity unmatched by many national collections. “The National Recording Registry preserves our history through recorded sound and reflects our nation’s diverse culture,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in a statement announcing the 25 recordings to be preserved for posterity this year.
The “U.N.I.T.Y.” rapper is not the only first landing on the list. The 1986 theme song for the Super Mario Bros. game will also mark the inaugural inclusion of a video game anthem. Composer Koji Kondo, 61, a college senior when he created the tune, says he had very little inspiration to pull from at the time. “So I really had to be very innovative and make full use of the musical and programming ingenuity that we had at the time,” Kondo told the Library of Congress through an interpreter. “I used all sorts of genres that matched what was happening on screen. We had jingles to encourage players to try again after getting a ‘game over,’ fanfares to congratulate them for reaching goals, and pieces that sped up when the time remaining grew short.”
Two other notable additions to the Library of Congress this year are Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want for Christmas” and Madonna‘s “Like A Virgin.”