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    Meet Donna ‘Storm’ Harkness: The Trailblazing Woman in Tha Outlawz Immortalz

    In the mid-90s, the hip-hop scene witnessed the rise of many talents, but few shone as uniquely as Donna ‘Storm’ Harkness. As the only female member of the legendary group Tha Outlawz Immortalz, Storm’s contributions and journey are both inspiring and heart-wrenching. For today’s hip-hop listeners, her story serves as a reminder of the authenticity and raw talent that defined an era.

    Donna and Tupac Shakur’s paths crossed in 1995 on the set of a music video by Natasha ‘Sonshine’ Walker, a member of the girl group Y?N-Vee. This meeting would change Donna’s life forever.

    “I was actually introduced to Pac inside an on-set trailer by the homegirl, Sunshine,”

    Storm recalls.

    “Pac and I started talking for about an hour before Sunshine came back and nonchalantly asked Pac if he knew I was a rapper. Pac was surprised, so he immediately asked me to rap! He loved it and asked me to be the first female in his crew.”

    This crew, initially unnamed, would later be known as Tha Outlawz Immortalz. Tupac was eager to include Storm, seeing her as an artist who could stand on her own.

    “Pac was excited that he didn’t have to take the time to hold my hand and write my lyrics for me,”

    Storm says, clarifying a common misconception.

    “Me being the female rapper makes everyone just assume that he was writing my shit. That’s 100% false!”

    Storm’s lyrical prowess was showcased on tracks such as “Tradin’ War Stories,” “Thug Passion,” and “Run Tha Streetz” from Tupac’s double LP, All Eyez On Me. She also featured on “Black Jesuz” from the album Still I Rise. Despite her significant contributions, some have tried to rewrite history by downplaying her role. Storm is unequivocal:

    “Pac made me an Outlaw and unless Tupac Amaru Shakur says otherwise, can’t nobody take that away from me…NOBODY!”

    Tupac’s tragic death in 1996 marked a turning point for Storm.

    “I stopped because, after Pac died, the music stopped for me. It’s like I went deaf! I was literally soul-broken,”

    she confesses. The protective shield Tupac provided was gone, exposing her to the harsh realities of the music industry.

    “I started to see things that I didn’t like and weren’t part of my character. I started to experience the things that Pac had basically blocked me from.”

    Disillusioned by the disloyalty and deceit she encountered, Storm decided to step back from the industry.

    “I found out, the hard way, that you have no friends in this business, only opportunist! I felt, right after Pac died, that if I kept dealing with these kinds of people, I would most likely have snapped, and ended up in somebody’s prison!”

    Despite the chaos, Storm continued to contribute to music, featuring on soundtracks for Tupac’s films Gridlock’d and Gang Related, and collaborating with other artists like C-BO, Heltah Skeltah, and Rondo. However, her appearances became sporadic as she chose family over fame, especially after the birth of her last child.

    storm with her last baby

    In a reflective moment, Storm hints at a potential comeback. You can get an appetizer from her new material on the soundtrack for Thug Angel: Life Of An Outlaw, which features the Tupac dedication ‘Pain’ by Storm.

    Her first solo track, “Neva B,” is a testament to her enduring spirit. She said,

    “The lyrics ‘Neva B’ woke me up from my sleep at 12:01 am in the morning and I went back to sleep an hour later, with the lyrics, including the chorus (hook) and the melody, finished.”

    Storm’s journey is a powerful narrative of resilience and authenticity. Her story is not just about music but about maintaining integrity in an industry often marred by opportunism. For today’s listeners, Donna ‘Storm’ Harkness represents an era of genuine artistry and the strength to stay true to oneself amidst adversity.

    “I wasn’t naive. I’ve been through a lot of shit, but it was just nice to have someone there that I know without a doubt had my back and that I could just do music,”

    she reflects.

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