Birth name

Yolanda Whitaker


4 August 1971 (age 45)

  • Compton, California


South Central, Los Angeles, U.S.


Hip hop


Rapper, actor

Years active



East West America

Associated acts

Da Lench Mob, Chilly Chill, Ice Cube

Yolanda Whitaker (born 4 August 1971), better known by her stage name Yo-Yo, is an American rapper and actress. Much of her music has advocated female empowerment, denouncing the frequent sexism found in hip hop music. She is the protégé of Ice Cube, and debuted on his song "It's a Man World" from the 1990 album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. Ice Cube in turn appeared on her song "You Can't Play with My Yo-Yo", from Yo-Yo's 1991 debut album Make Way for the Motherlode. The album peaked at #74 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.

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 renowned producers working on the album and positive reviews, it did not became a mainstream hit, and the album's sales were considered a disappointment. She released the albumsYou Better Ask Somebody in 1993 and Total Control in 1996. She recorded a fifth album, Ebony, but it remains unreleased.

In addition to her musical career, she has also starred in films such as Boyz n the Hood and Menace II Society, among other urban-oriented films. 


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