Archive for the 'Exclusive Celeb Interviews' Category

29
Aug
13

Even With Features Janelle Monae Holds her own on new “Electric Lady”

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If you know the fresh, yet nostalgic talent that is Janelle Monae, you know that an album packed with A-list producers and artists is not necessary. But with production and features from Miguel, Erykah Badu, Solange Knowles, Big Boi, Cee-Lo Green, Esperanza Spaulding and the ultimate musical genius that is none other than Prince, her sophomore album Electric Lady is a confident, thought provoking, groovy rocket launch to planet JM.

Lucky us, we’ve already heard Electric Lady, which hits store shelves on Sept 10. Our favorites include the undaunting, girly anthem Queen ft. Erykah Badu, the soulfully sweet title track ft. Solange Knowles and Primetime, the whimsical, yet funky love song ft. Miguel. And damn… that’s only the first three songs of the double CD.

Check out our recent conversation with Miss Monae below:

How will we get to know you better on Electric Lady?

You have to listen…There are lots of different subjects [ on the album.] I talk about politics, religion, sexuality, empowerment, community . I speak about those being marginalized. And I have some amazing guest artists to help me get all these ideas out. I collaborated with Erykah Badu; One of my best friends and I love her so much. I collaborated with Miguel, Esperanza Spaulding, Solange Knowles and my musical hero, Prince.

Primetime ft. Miguel is such a funky song that reminds us of the early ’80s and groups like The Revolution. Did you have Miguel in mind for the song?

I did. I’ve been a big fan of Miguel and he’s been a big fan of mine. So it was very mutual and organic for us to work together. And I just wanted to make sure the song was ‘the’ song. So when I wrote the song, it was just great for him to follow my lead and let me produce him. I flew out to L.A. and we worked. It was a great and amazing experience.

Although you have a signature look, it seems like you get a kick out of almost playing other characters and therefore expressing your style and beauty via those representations. What do you have in store for your fans and those that like to keep track of your fashion and different looks?

You’ll just have to wait. I can never tell people what I’m thinking. I always have to just do it!

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04
Aug
13

Fans Will get One-on-One Time With 2 Chainz on New Album

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There’s no doubt that fans love the “ratchedness” that is 2 Chainz. And this go round, on his second album ” B.O.A.T.S. Pt. 2: Me Time,” we can expect more trap confessions and club bangers, but also a chance to get to know the former Tity Boi on a more personal level.

With three platinum singles and 8 mixtapes already under his cap, the Atlanta native is more of a graduate than a sophomore, but on his second album, we may even learn a little more about life while we ride to the 808 production of Kanye West, Mike Will and more.

“There’s a thin line between confidence and cockiness,” says the college graduate with a Masters degree. That’s why the rapper ( born Tauheed Epps) is brazen enough to have few big name features and more of the extravagant, yet genuine personality that is 2 Chainz aka Tity 2 Necklace aka The Hair Weave Killer, but also a father, an intellectual and one of the hardest grinding artists in the business.

On his new mixtape single with Drake and Big Sean entitled “All Me:”
I wanted to put that song out for a along time.

On his sophomore album” B.O.A.T.S. (BASED ON A TRU STORY) PT.2: ME TIME” in stores Sept 10.
For the last two years, I’ve bensistent with quality and quantity. “Feds” is the first single off the album. For the next joint [ Where U Been ft. Cap 1 and produced by Mike Will,) I wanted people to know I hadn’t lost …my “mainstream ratched.”

The album will be one you can ride to. Got the crazy samples since I been fuckin’ wit Kanye crazy ass.

On the second single “Where U Been:”
“…we did it in Paris while I was vibing off my big brother Kanye. [Its] got a lotta 808. I wanted to put something out like “Yeah I Love dem Strippers.”

On why there aren’t many features on his second album “B.O.A.T.S. Pt 2: ME TIME” and recent comments about keeping Jay-Z off the album:
I’m a huge Jay fan. But when you have a title like “ME TIME,” you don’t want a lot of features. There’s certain steps you take before you fuck wit a nigga like Jay or Andre 3000 and people tell me I’m at that level already, but its just me not understanding. If it was another album, I’d probably have more features.

On rappers using offensive lyrics:
Everyone’s walking on pins and needles right now man. What happened to the 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech?

On whether he’ll ever do more “conscious” songs:
I do touch on them, but in a tasteful way. I talk about…my dad and things that have happened in my everyday life.
When I use a platform, I wanna use it the right way. I’m “conscious” enough to know its a process.[But] People are used to hearing certain types of records from me.

On his most favorite (or best) verse yet:
I think for everyone that didn’t know me before “Mercy'” it would be that one ’cause it helped my campaign. My best verse? No, but it got me out there.

On his favorite moment in his career:
ASCAP Writer of the Year. A trap nigga?…actually got ASCAP…? That was sort of a big deal for me.

Last words from the hair weave killer:
I’m turnt up and blessed. We gonna outwork these niggas. I appreciate you guys…and everyone.

Catch 2 Chainz on the Americas Most Wanted tour in your city. “B.O.A.T.S Pt. 2: Me Time” in store Sept 10. Follow 2 Chainz on Instagram @hairweavekiller.

ADD 2 CHAINZ NEW SONG WHERE U BEEN TO YOUR SOUNDCLOUD!!

Click Here!!

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04
Aug
13

Fans Will get One-on-One Time With 2 Chainz on New Album

There’s no doubt that fans love the “ratchedness” that is 2 Chainz. And this go round, on his second album ” B.O.A.T.S. Pt. 2: Me Time,” we can expect more trap confessions and club bangers, but also a chance to get to know the former Tity Boi on a more personal level.

With three platinum singles and 8 mixtapes already under his cap, the Atlanta native is more of a graduate than a sophomore, but on his second album, we may even learn a little more about life while we ride to the 808 production of Kanye West, Mike Will and more.

“There’s a thin line between confidence and cockiness,” says the college graduate with a Masters degree. That’s why the rapper ( born Tauheed Epps) is brazen enough to have few big name features and more of the extravagant, yet genuine personality that is 2 Chainz aka Tity 2 Necklace aka The Hair Weave Killer. But what you may not know is the he’s also a father, an intellectual and one of the hardest grinding artists in the business.

On his new mixtape single with Drake and Big Sean entitled “All Me:”
I wanted to put that song out for a along time.

On his sophomore album” B.O.A.T.S. (BASED ON A TRU STORY) PT.2: ME TIME” in stores Sept 10.
For the last two years, I’ve bensistent with quality and quantity. “Feds” is the first single off the album. For the next joint [ Where U Been ft. Cap 1 and produced by Mike Will,) I wanted people to know I hadn’t lost …my “mainstream ratched.”

The album will be one you can ride to. Got the crazy samples since I been fuckin’ wit Kanye crazy ass.

On the second single “Where U Been:”
“…we did it in Paris while I was vibing off my big brother Kanye. [Its] got a lotta 808. I wanted to put something out like “Yeah I Love dem Strippers.”

On why there aren’t many features on his second album “B.O.A.T.S. Pt 2: ME TIME” and recent comments about keeping Jay-Z off the album:
I’m a huge Jay fan. But when you have a title like “ME TIME,” you don’t want a lot of features. There’s certain steps you take before you fuck wit a nigga like Jay or Andre 3000 and people tell me I’m at that level already, but its just me not understanding. If it was another album, I’d probably have more features.

On rappers using offensive lyrics:
Everyone’s walking on pins and needles right now man. What happened to the 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech?

On whether he’ll ever do more “conscious” songs:
I do touch on them, but in a tasteful way. I talk about…my dad and things that have happened in my everyday life.
When I use a platform, I wanna use it the right way. I’m “conscious” enough to know its a process.[But] People are used to hearing certain types of records from me.

On his most favorite (or best) verse yet:
I think for everyone that didn’t know me before “Mercy'” it would be that one ’cause it helped my campaign. My best verse? No, but it got me out there.

On his favorite moment in his career:
ASCAP Writer of the Year. A trap nigga?…actually got ASCAP…? That was sort of a big deal for me.

Last words from the hair weave killer:
I’m turnt up and blessed. We gonna outwork these niggas. I appreciate you guys…and everyone.

Catch 2 Chainz on the Americas Most Wanted tour in your city. “B.O.A.T.S Pt. 2: Me Time” in store Sept 10. Follow 2 Chainz on Instagram @hairweavekiller.

06
Jun
10

Styles P: Urban Griot

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For years now Styles P (aka The Ghost) has blessed rhyme lovers with his vivid flows and verses. In his latest mixtape the “Ghost Dub Dime,” his street-wise lyrics continue his saga of taking listeners on a gritty journey through the life of a man who is only human.

His last album “A Gangsta and a Gentleman” ( released in 2002,)  made it to the #2 slot on Hip Hop charts and included the club and radio banger turned classic anthem “Good Times (I Get High.”) And now his latest mixtape accomplishment delivers razor sharp lyrics via grimy emotions of swag, dirty deals and street survival, while the Queens/Yonkers native delivers gangsta, yet refreshing hood tales on “Ghost Dub Dime.”

“I am staying in tune with the streets and providing bars that most rappers won’t,” enforces Styles P, one-third of the chart-topping and cult following rap group The LOX.

Styles Peniro (born David Styles) has always thought of himself to be “the hardest MC in the game.” And now he enforces the statement more than ever as he welcomes us into his new world of hood tales and adds the title of “Author” to his hustle palette. With a fresh book deal under Random House and help from author Nikki Turner,  his first novel “Invincible” is now on stores shelves and is only the first of many fiction street tales to come from the urban griot.

“It’s another hustle for me,” he recently told MTv. 

In addition, the soundtrack to “Invincible” is just as explosive as its accompanying novel. With appearances from fellow LOX members Sheek Louch, Jadakiss , newcomer Tyler Woods,  and other LOX fam, gutter jewels of the soundtrack include the first single “That Street Life” (which illustrates Styles’ signature street vigor,) the explosive “One Way or Another” (with a classic 8 bars from 2 Pac’s “Holla if ya Hear me” as the hook,) “Got A Problem” ft. Tre Williams (with a head nodding string rhythm,) and the sincere “I in Win,” where Styles and fam Snype Life, A.P. and Do-Dirt vow to stay true to the code of the streets: loyalty first.

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There are so many classic verses and mixtapes under your belt. Has your message and delivery changed since your last mixtape Phantom Empire?

I always switch it up. My style paints a picture. It just depends on the day and what my mood is; and what’s going on.

The first single That Street Life, seems like it may be very personal to you? Is that accurate?

Yeah.   I’m just talking about the real things, some personal issues, and the industry. It’s about my swag and being fly. It’s all from a street point of view.

Ok, so let’s talk about your first novel entitled Invincible. Now, you’re claiming a whole new venture. You’re a fiction writer now!

Yeah, Invincible is the first book in the series. It’s available in Barnes & Noble stores. I wrote the book with a little help. It’s all me. 

It takes an enormous amount of discipline and dedication to write a book. Wouldn’t you agree?

Yeah, but I always wanted to be a writer (of books.) …I’m a creative person… Being a rapper takes a lot of time and it’s difficult at times, especially along with being a father and other [responsibilities.] But, I set my mind to it.  If you wanna get around to everything that you want to accomplish in life, you just gotta get busy. I’m fortunate that it’s happening (my deal with Random House.)

So, what is the novel Invincible about? Coming from you, I know the storyline has got to be ill.

Well, I’ll just say this.  It’s about a good, solid dude trying to live the right life. He gets robbed and ends up in prison and while there, he gets a mystery letter from someone who wants to kill him. I can’t tell you much without giving it away.

How is the art of storytelling with rhymes different from telling a story through novel/book form? Is it harder than expressing an idea in 16 bars?

It’s much more difficult to write a novel. Because, when you’re rhyming, it’s in your head. I definitely respect authors (of books) more, now that I’ve done it.

Well, if the novel is as explosive as the soundtrack, readers are in for the dope sh*t. (laughs)

Yeah, it’s crazy. Got Sheek Louch, (Jada) Kiss, Tyler Woods. It’s 14 tracks and it reads like a book.

Wow, I can’t wait. And we also can’t wait to hear what’s next from you. Will there be another solo album from Styles P?

Yeah, but that will come later. . .I’m proud to be operating as an independent where I have total control of my project…We’re working on the LOX joint now, the new album.

You mean the most anticipated hip hop album of the year? (laughs)

Yeah, and we [Sheek and Jada] all feel real good about that.

Invincible: The Book and full-length soundtrack by Styles P are available exclusively at Stylesp.net and Barnesandnoble.com.  Ghost Dub Dime the mixtape is available at e1music.us.

 

RECENT STYLES P NEWS

“Invincible” the soundtrack is wrapped in “smokable” packaging. 

Styles P appears on Rick Ross’ upcoming album “Teflon Don” and the single “B.M.F.”

Styles P is on tour through July and will appear on JadaKiss’ upcoming solo album “The Last Kiss.”

 

19
Oct
09

Trina: From Bad to Amazin’


No one knows how it feels to be in charge and in control like Trina. From the time the Miami rapstress stepped on the scene with mentor Trick Daddy, she claimed her status as the what?…You already know the nickname. And since then, the “Baddest B***h” has controlled the music charts from her debut on Slip N Slide/Atlantic, to her platinum selling status and now, her 5th studio album Amazin’.

Growing up in both  the Miami projects and the upper class sector, it’s no wonder how Trina can represent for the hood and still shop and mingle from South Beach (Miami,) to Robertson Blvd (LA,) to Paris and even to Preston Road in Dallas.
Although she has a new album and a new attitude, the rap queen is still a boss with a down to earth and fun personality. With features from Lady Gaga, Keri Hilson, Ludacris, Lyfe Jennings, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross and her own lyrically hot female group Pretty Money, Amazin’ is the most anticipated album from the Miami diva yet. Read what Trina has to say about her career, her love life and her new album Amazin,’ which is scheduled to hit stores March 2010.
Hi Trina. Wow! It’s great to talk with the Baddest B***h!
Oh! Thank you.! I appreciate it.
I must say that I love the single, That’s My Attitude. Does a new attitude really come along with the single?
Yes!  I’m back… I’m at a great place. I’m blessed…I’m in control of my own destiny.  I have a lot to be happy about; I got my attitude,  my money, new music and a fresh face.
That’s My Attitude is a street record…about staying strong and positive in 2010. [It’s about] stepping your game up and being confident. And it’s always good to have a hot track for the club.
So, what are your favorite tracks on the new album Amazin?
[The title track] Amazin’, and there’s a track with Keri Hilson. It’s an upbeat, uptempo record.
There’s a song called Go So Hard. It’s… totally different from the kind of records I do. At first, I didn’t know if I wanted to do this record. It’s wasn’t the kind of record I was used to doing…It’s laid back. I’m used to doing upbeat songs, but I took myself outside of my element. It’s the record that challenged me the most.
Make Way is a song that shows my growth. It’s about how to stay strong and relevant. That’s the type of thing that moves me.
It’s great to know that both you and your mentor Trick Daddy have new albums releasing on Slip N Slide/EMI. Does Trick make an appearance on Amazin’?
No, Trick is not on this album. We did record one song that unfortunately did not make the album. But, it’s always good to be in the studio with him.
You’ve been spotted in Dallas on many occasions. My guess is that it’s because of Denver Nuggets star Kenyon Martin. Are the two of you still together?
(laughs) Yes. We’re really happy. We’re in a happy place. He’s a great person. I’m happy for his career and he’s happy for my career.
Outside of music, what else is Trina up to?
Well, I just shot the video.  I just attended the BET Awards. I’m excited about that. I missed Milan Fashion Week, but I’ll be there next season.
I have a charity called the Diamond Doll Foundation. 1500 girls came out this year. We teach the girls how to stay grounded. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re young. It’s a big world and you can get screwed up. I was once their age. My experiences evolved me into the woman I am today. [However,] music has been my biggest influence.
I also work with Brothers For Peace. They’re all about stopping the violence and they help younger kids. The organization burns and melts down bullets and turns them into jewelry.
I’m also interested in teen pregnancy and child molestation.
It’s been so much fun talking to you Trina. It’s like talking to a girlfriend. We are girlfriends now! This album has such a strong statement. I love it!
I just want everybody to see what an amazing… place I am in life.
I’m blessed. I’m Amazin.’ God is Amazin’. The album is Amazin.’
To all the “Baddest B****es,” go cop the album Amazin.’ because you love that strong female swagger of Trina, who represents all the positive and sexy urban women of the world. Guys, go cop the album because you love to hear Trina ’s sexy, yet bossy tone that tells you what she likes (and doesn’t like) about a real man.

06
Aug
09

Saved By A Slaughterhouse? (As Seen in Rhyme & Reason Aug. 2009)

In this present era of hip hop commercialism, “swag“-geration and all-around dis-association with the pioneering charactertistics that ignited the genre, various rap icons have attempted to channel a time when rappers spit on their lyrical ability rather than their material chattels; their respect for the game rather than their infatuation with currency; and their hierarchy and genuine love for the rap game. Even for hip hop’s most gifted this is no easy task because materialism is a mu**afu**a. Still many try (with good intentions) to revive hip hop with temporary lyrical painkillers.

 

Now finally, there’s a quartet with the cure: Joe Budden, Royce da 5’9,’’ Joell Ortiz and Crooked I. Independently, they are all blunt, clever, poetic scholars with a love for combat; whether lyrical or situational. Slaughterhouse has already resuscitated hip hop with several mixtapes. Now, the cure, the self-titled album Slaughterhouse is here, released on Aug. 11. Projected to sell about 25 K,  this is the dose of real hip hop the world is depending on.

Royce, how does it feel to be referred to as superheroes of this rap era and to be called “The Fantastic Four?”

It’s a good feeling. Everything’s been going good. I think they call us a supergroup…because we can all hold our own lyrically and individually. I think we’re getting a lot more attention paid to us now( than we were before)…just because we formed everything together.

 

Joell, some hip heads and critics say that there are too many egoes in Slaughterhouse for the group to work and be successful in the long term. What do you say to these listeners?

None of us are ego-tripping. We get in there and we do songs together and get a buzz going and we completed a dope album; all four of us. I think we form one dope a** M.C. That’s how I be looking at it…We’re all pieces that make up the super group. Royce refers to us as Voltron. These four ill lions…that make one beast. And that’s what the album is. All four of us coming together and forming one beast.

 

Royce: This sh** is working because of the timing. We doing it at a time when we’ve already went through the egotistical bullshit. Whenever we disagree, we shed all our problems in one meeting. We’ve never been in a situation where there was an issue and we couldn’t squash it. As long as we stay on that page…, we’ll be together.

 

 

Joe, when the four of your first started brainstorming for the self-entitled album, was the Alchemist a first choice as far as producers?

Naw, I don’t think it was any set producer that we wanted to have on the album….Just whoever we felt were the dopest.

 

For each of you, what tracks produced the most chemistry between the four of you and as a result are now your favorites songs on the album?

Royce: I can’t name a favorite track; that’s like asking which one of my kids I like the best. But, one song is  The One. We went in [the studio] and we decided to drop a whole lot of rock star names. We added the KRS-One element to keep the hip hop element in it and we saw the way the beat was swinging (that Khalil gave us) and we just went in and laid the verses and kept it moving from there and made that the single.

 

Joell: The record Pray just sounds dope. The concept is dope. Joe couldn’t have put any more feeling out there and the guys just ripped the verses. It’s a therapeudic record, so I listen to it a lot just to be reassured that everything’s gonna be alright. And even though sh** is rough, sh** gets better.

 

Royce, why do think the four of you compliment each other so well?

You know what? I still haven’t figured that out yet… On the mic and off the mic. Even, when we’re doing stuff live…and all together. It’s just the personalities. I don’t think anybody in the group can be replaced with anybody. There’s other people out their that can go lyrically, but I’m not so sure that their personalities would fit. I think the right personalities got together.  It’s not just four dope lyricists.

 

Joell: Yeah, exactly. Both Royce and I are Cancers…, so we gone make sure sh** its alright. (laughs)

 

Royce: That’s gone really make it cool. (laughs)

 

Joell: Oh, and then you got Joey and Crooked. (Both laugh)

 

Crooked has made it clear that the music Slaughterhouse makes outweights the money. Do you all feel the same way?

Royce: Now calm down, it’s not that important. (Joell laughs)

Joell: This is the way we feed our family now. But, we’ re not willing to compromise our artists integrity because of money. But, wake up and pray and go to bed and pray and thank the Lord that the thing that we love doing the most is providing for our families. We just don’t let the thought of being extra hungry compromise our art. That’s all.

 

Royce: Plus, you got a lot of artists out here that just be like, “I’m not in this for the money. I’m in this for the love and forget the money.” And the way they act and carry themselves, it sounds like they going away from the money. We not going away from the money. This is what we do to feed our kids. But, we not thinking about “ How much am I gone get paid from this issue?” while we in the studio session. We go in there and we’re concerned with the music. We wanna make sure that the music comes out right. ‘Cuz no matter what they gone pay us, the music is gonna be out there and we gonna be there together. So we just wanna make sure everything is everything. But, after the music is done and it’s time to go promote,  we going out there to get the money.

 

Joell: That’s right.

 

Joell, what do you say to listeners that may be fans of yours, but not of some of the other members of Slaughterhouse?

I don’t think that’s possible. Anyone that’s a fan of me is a fan because of my ability to rhyme really well, to be real, to be personal, to mix it up and do my very best on a beat and touch people… Not one of my group members are gonna not do any of those things… There’s no way you can be a fan of Joell Ortiz and not a fan of Royce da 5’9’’ or Joe Budden or Crooked I…You’re dealing with the same animal. I know that a couple of Crooked I fans that didn’t know me,  hadn’t had a chance to listen to me. If they fu**ing with Crooked, mod than likely, they fu**ing with me.

 

Royce: We like the challenge…of winning over each other’s fans. We’re going on Tech N9ne’s tour in October. And Tech N9ne has like a 90 percent sell-out rate,. Whether we’re on the tour or not, it’s gonna sell out so we getting put in front of people that might not get a chance to see us …we getting hit with the opportunity to be able to win over new fans and we like that challenge. We do the same things as a unit and as individuals. I love the challenge of winning over people that love Joell Ortiz, but weren’t necessarily into me for whatever reason.

 

Although Slaughterhouse is at the top of their game lyrically, what rappers do you guys pay homage to and give your utmost respect to?

Joell: We’re fans of the hip hop community. It’s so many artists I could name right now, but I don’t wanna miss anybody or forget anyone. Whoever was doing their thing…in the 1990’s,…at some point, I was listening to them and was a fan of and am still a fan of today. So there’s not one particular dude… It was just a mixture of the hip hop community that made me fall in love with this.

 

Royce: I could start naming lyricists, but there’s nothing they can do that I haven’t already scooped up from them. So as a lyricist, I don’t really look up to them anymore. I looked up to the moguls now. I look at the way that some of these guys conduct their businesses and the decisions they’ve made and the way they’ve allowed their companies to grow. I find myself looking up to that now.

 

The two of you (Royce and Joell) seem pretty close. Did the two of you know each other before collabing on Joe’s album?

Joell: As a person, Royce is my homie. He’s a really good friend of mine now and the same things that apply to ni***s I grew up with, apply to him now. Musically, Royce… is a genius and a teacher. He’s definitely teaching me. I learn a lot from being around him; as a man first, and as a musician second.

Joe is a great friend of mine also. The same things apply for him and Crooked as well. They’re all my ni**as.

 

Royce: Yea, it’s the same here. I love all my ni**as in my group. Joell is one of the most important factors in the group because outside of his rhyming, he brings a personality to the group. Like, if I’m sitting in the room with him and he’s cracking jokes and making everybody laugh, and then I say something kind of funny, [everybody’s] like, “Damn, I didn’t know Royce was that funny.” Because I come off as serious. I’m a serious dude, but when I get around him (Joell) and Joey, all the personalities come pouring out and it allows me to be my natural self… As far as the guys as M.C.’s, there’s nothing I can really say. It’s self-explanatory. I’m just proud of…the guys I got to meet outside of the microphone. I had a perception of them before I met them, because I didn’t know them before we did the group. But these guys…I think the whole world is gonna fall in with them just because of the whole package that we got.

 

Following you guys throughout your careers, it seems to me that all of you are pretty serious-acting guys. Who’s the craziest?

Joell: We all got our ways, man. (laughs)

 

Royce: I think Joey’s the most predictable to be unpredictable… and outspoken. You pretty much know when Joey’s about to attack somebody. He’s the most visably crazy one. But, everybody’s got an edge to them in the group. Everybody’s got their ways and that kill switch. I seen it.

 

Since Crooked I couldn’t make it today, tell fans (that may not be familiar with the west coast lyricist,) about his style and what he brings to the group.

Royce: He’s the epitomy of a L.A. ni**a.,, He’s thorough from a to z. He don’t have no ways about him. He’s a real ni**a. He’s been around for a long time. He’s humble. He’s just like the rest of us.

 

 

“The Fantastic Four” Slaughterhouse also has individual projects dropping in soon. Right along with the group’s album, Joe Budden’s Escape Route released on Aug. 11 also. Royce da 5’9” has an album coming out Oct. 20, while Joell Ortiz’s and Crooked I’s album release dates are to be announced. The Slaughterhouse album will be E1 Music’s (formely Koch) second consecutive #1 album next week. 

 

20
Jun
09

remember suga t?

In 1995, I was graduating from high school, parking lot pimping in my first car and bobbing my head to that summer’s anthem Sprinkle Me. Now, when I think back about the piercing female voice (on the song) that was Suga T’s, I never thought that years later, in the year of hip-hop dominion, I’d be chatting with the Vallejo pioneer of female MC’s.

suga t

Suga T is every woman. Not only an accomplished rapper/singer/songwriter/actress, the businesswoman is also a jet-setting empowerment orator and CEO.

Foremost, however, Suga T is a hip-hop mom with fervent views on the genre’s lifestyle, influence and power over the nation’s youth.

Now after once topping the charts with The Click (her brothers E-40, D-Shot and cousin B-Legit,) Suga T is back with a solo album entitled The Game Needs Me.

After this conversation, you’ll certainly understand why.

Being a hip-hip mom, how do you distinguish between having a love for hip-hop and at the same time keeping your kids aware of the potentially harmful issues of the genre?

Suga: There was a time when I was younger and wasn’t as conscious of certain things, but I was able to catch things before they got too far. Then I became more mature and aware of the lyrics that showcased a negative impact. I made sure I started to live better and lead by example.

I started to educate them that you don’t have to have sex at an early age. You can wait until you graduate from high school, go to college and find husband material. I kept it real with them and shared parts of my life…and how they affected me, but in the meantime, I still kept going.

I made it clear to them that [entertainment] is just a part of life. They’ve seen me cook, wash and clean. They’ve seen me go to school and college and go through some drama as well. But it never lasted long.

Since the years when you and The Click were ruling the radio, what other endeavors have you been up to?

Suga: I’ve been doing the same things. I’ve been recording, writing, producing and consulting. I have a corporation where I do a lot of keynote speaking and youth programs, as well as adult empowerment and education. I also have a fragrance line I developed a few years ago. It’s an empowerment fragrance line put together on a Mary Kay type of format. There’s also a training component to it to give people development and entrepreneurial skills. We use it for a variety of other reasons such as fundraising and promotional events. You can also find my products and services at http://www.suga-tfragrances.biz.

So the rumor that Suga T had turned strictly gospel is not true?

Suga: Well, I felt very incomplete at one time in my life. After everything cleared out, I just decided to explore my roots. There were different transitions and challenges that came up  in my life to allow me to understand that there was only so far I could go with sex, money, alcohol, fame, glory and various other things around me that were temporary pleasures. Through the broken-ness, I eventually realized that there was something deeper… a more mature relationship with God. And when I did that, I was very complete and very much at peace and I decided to give something back to myself, God and to those that could use the same empowerment. So I put out my inspirational album calledBe About It, “The New Me.” This album is the message I teach in the Be About It Movement, which is my keynote speaking platform and youth and family service; http://www.beaboutit.biz . This album reassured me and was a challenge to the listeners, that as an African American Hip Hop Mom and example, that I don’t have to glorify only sex, money, alcohol and drugs and we are more than that…

It’s beautiful that you realized the false and transient pleasures of life. Now, tell us about your fragrance line.

Suga: It’s called Suga T Fragrances. Right now we are pushing the Sprinkle Me Collection. The signature fragrance is called Suga Water. Suga Water is a sweet smell for the strong woman. It comes on sweet and stays fresh and clean all day. We have the collection, Bleng Oils. B-L-E-N-G stands for Bringing Life Encouragement Nourishment and Growth. We have a couple smells with that called Boomin’ Berry, CoCo Luv and Poppin’ Nilla. We have another collection called Show Steala’ , that is a home and car fragrance line which has the Sprinkle Me fragrance and a three-way air blast that you can use for your car, room, office , lingerie or linen.  We also carry incense oils and candles. We do parties and special events and provide opportunities for people to distribute the products in a franchise type format in their territory and give them a chance to train and develop their business. It’s also a training component for teens and we’re looking for corporations that want to sponsor this program to give teens entrepreneurship skills.

How is the female rap scene in California right now? Is there any cream of the crop lady MC’s that you like?

Suga: I think that there will eventually be some that will come and I look forward to that. But, it’s bigger than just talent these days. There has to be a business aspect, some understanding, some personality, coercions and some educational components.

Growing up in Cali, you and your brothers were exposed to many talented starlets. What was it like working with legends like TuPac and Roger Troutman?

Suga: (laughs)

TuPac used to always come over to my house whenever he wanted some potato salad. (laughs) He loved to come over and sleep on my couch. He was great and very talented. He was a very blessed individual. My family was able to experience him as well.

As far as Roger Troutman, that was the most beautiful experience ever. We stayed at his home Troutwood for a whole week and recorded the songScandalous off our gold album Game Related. That was the first time that I got to showcase my skills that hadn’t been brought out before. He made sure that I did that. He was a very positive and focused guy. He didn’t allow any extra negative activities around him. He was very talented and a very pleasant person to work with. We also toured with him and I saw him rock many stages.

I have also enjoyed working with CeCe Peniston. She’s a real diva. I’ve enjoyed MC Lyte, Snoop and Da Brat. She really made a big impact on a male chauvinist world. When I was working on this national project, she came out and held it down for me. She was like, “Y’all gotta make sure Suga T represents too. I’m not getting on stage unless Suga T comes out.” (laughs) So she let me know that females do stand up and look out for each other in this game. A lot of us need to do that more often and people won’t always be able to leave us in the back and use us.

It’s great to see you have such tight and personal relationships with fellow female performers. Your group Triple Threat is composed of some other well-accomplished lady MC’s as well, right?

Yes…  I decided to partner and collaborate with a group of females in different aspects of the industry. So Spinderella’s my DJ. Ms Toi, Lady of Rage and (other females that have a like mind) are added components to the group. We all represent something different. We perform together and we do events. We’re repping my Be About It Movement, where I promote and make people aware of violence prevention, positive change and awareness to youth and families… We’re not working on an album yet. We do have some songs together. There’s a song on my album called Back It Up Daddy.

What differences do you see in hip-hop now as opposed to the nineties?

Suga: I think it has tremendously changed. It’s definitely a vehicle for those who may not have other opportunities in other areas of their lives to become successful businessmen as well as an opportunity to expose their talent and make a positive change in the world. That’s the positive side, but the other side of it is watered down with a lot of intangible things that are overrated and shouldn’t be glorified as more important than the things that really make our lives easier and healthier and more successful.

I think its very male chauvinist. But, there’s a lot of lead way for women.

What issues do you think female hip-hop artists are facing today? Have their concerns changed any?

Some of the things that we have to face now are misogyny, male chauvinism, narcissism and being under-estimated for our talents. We are under-paid, under-exposed and generally not respected and not represented positively in the media. We are more than our physical bodies. Some of us have brains andbeauty. Some of us have overcome challenges and by continuing to maintain a positive outlook on life, we work hard, have perseverance and faith in God.

It hasn’t changed that much, but positive change is needed.  I hope that people begin to look closely at the industry and how it influences our youth. Hip-Hop can’t survive without the female perspective because it creates a balanced voice to the issues and the industry in general. Music is a microcosm of the broader society. Although we’re making small steps forward, larger ones are necessary.

We have an African American President and a female Secretary of State, so we have made progress in society, but we need to make greater gain. Hip-Hop needs change agents. It’s time for the industry to evolve to a higher level of consciousness.

The genre needs to become more enlightened. What is the message that we’re really portraying? That’s why I titled my hip-hop album The Game Needs Me.

From our conversation so far about topics like female representation, male chauvinism and spirituality, I’m know our readers understand why the hip-hop game needs such a keen and resilient female presence like Suga T. Tell us about your album The Game Needs Me.

The first single was called Back It Up Daddy featuring Ms Toi. The second single is Original featuring my brother E-40. Other features are with Rob Base, The Click, Spice 1, Spinderella and Ms Toi. Track Kings affiliated with Bad Boy West, Mr. Payback and a few other producers were dedicated to the project.

My Lovin’The Game Needs MeThrow Dat Leg OutMobbin’ Thru Ya Hood. You can go to my website www.Suga-T.net. The new album The Game Needs Me is long overdue. After going through many personal and professional transitions and challenges in my life, I realized that the timing of when the album was released couldn’t have been better for me. There’s not a lot of females on the hip-hop charts. I felt like no new female talent was being developed and it was desperately needed in mainstream hip-hop. So, due to my past success with Sprinkle MeHurricane and Captain Save-a-Hoe, I thought it was my time to put out a new project and be an advocate and positive voice for women in hip-hop.  I think young, aspiring artists need role models and it’s up to the generals like myself and others to guide the generation on how they should behave and treat each other with love and respect.

You are also working on a book. When can we expect to read it?

Yes, it’s called Succeeding Against All Odds. It will be out spring 2009.

Can we expect a Click reunion with you and your brothers?

There’s a Click single on my album and we’re definitely expecting a future Click reunion soon.

What do E-40 and Suga T talk about when they’re just chillin’?

Suga: Well, not a whole lot because we’re [me and my brothers] all working, trying to keep our own lives and careers moving forward. It’s endless; the things that we do talk about. But, at the end of the day, it’s back to work and back to focusing on… how we’re gonna continue to make change in society and move our projects forward.

Personally, I was a big fan of the Lyricist Lounge and it was a thrill to see your appearances on the show. Suga T, Don’t you miss Lyricist Lounge?

I do. I miss it and I will be doing a VH1 show soon.

Any last words to your Click fans that are on their way to purchase The New Meand The Game Needs Me?

Triple Threat is available and I am available for speaking engagements and as a solo act. Don’t forget to visit Suga-T.net.




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