Yo-Yo (born Yolanda Whitaker; August 4, 1971) is an American hip hop recording artist, actress and entrepreneur. Much of her music has advocated female empowerment, denouncing the frequent sexism found in hip-hop music. She is the protégé of gangsta rapper Ice Cube. Yo-Yo dubbed her crew the IBWC, which stood for the Intelligent Black Woman’s Coalition.
Yo-Yo first appeared as a guest on Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted album in 1990, on the track “It’s a Man’s World.” Cube returned the favor by appearing on “You Can’t Play with My Yo-Yo,” which was on Yo-Yo’s 1991 debut album, Make Way for the Motherlode.
Her follow-up in 1992, Black Pearl was well received by critics, partly because of its focus on positive messages and uplifting themes that contrasted the popular gangsta rap style. However, despite a plethora of renowned producers such as DJ Muggs, this did not translate into a hit with mainstream hip-hop audiences, and the album’s sales were considered a disappointment.
Less than a year later, released her follow-up You Better Ask Somebody. The final track on the album was her third recorded hip-hop duet with Ice Cube, “The Bonnie and Clyde Theme”.
Yo-Yo’s next album was 1996’s Total Control. In 1998, she finished her fifth album, Ebony, but it was not released.
In 2008, her single “Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo” was ranked number 92 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs.Later that year, she performed with MC Lyte, The Lady of Rage, and Salt-n-Pepa at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
As of 2009, she has been at work on an EP, titled My Journey to Fearless: The Black Butterfly.
In 2013, it was announced she has joined the upcoming BET reality series Hip Hop Sisters which will focus on six female rappers’ lives and their attempts to relaunch their careers. Other rappers confirmed to appear are MC Lyte, Lady of Rage, Monie Love, Lil Mama, and Smooth