MIC RESPECT OUR
WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH ISSUE
CREDITS Azarr Johnson C.E.O/Publisher DeShaun Jones Co-Owner/Vice president Damion Trent Senior Editor Richard Harris Creative Director Jarla Quamie Editor Brigor Brankeniyah Contributing Writer
LETTER FROM THE OWNERS
DESHAUN JONES Enveonline Magazine “Note From the Owners”
AZARR JOHNSON (left)– During the process of creating this magazine/ movement we call Enveonline Magazine we have come across all obstacles and challenges that would make the average person quit or give up but not us. We here at Enve decided to go against the grain when everybody said that you will never make it, the print movement is dead, theres no money to be made and maybe just maybe we would have believed it if it was true. The fact of the matter is it is not the truth at all and far from it. These are the same comments that are told to the female emcee and about them from a dying industry that has no clue what they are talking about and evidently wrong i.e. Nikki Minaj. Like any artist or movement, if you have the right push and the artist with the heart, desire and skills to possess to make it, they will succeed against all odds. The women in this female issue possess those same set of skills and like this movement will defeat all the obstacles that go against them, As Enve has stated before we represent the hip-hop culture and the female emcee is part of it, which is obvious that other so called hip-hop publications have forgotten. Thats okay though, because like the female emcee we will come out on top, as Jada stated Hard work beats talent, ENVE lets gooooooooooo !!!!!!!!!!! DESHAUN JONES (right) – After suffering some devastating set backs Enveonline Magazine managed to pull through of what some thought was the impossible. Just like the famous saying goes is not about how hard you get knocked down but how you get up to keep fighting. This issue we put together represents the struggles of the industry many people told us the concept was boring, people won’t get it; no other publication is touching that topic. All I could think of is “Yes we have a winner”! A successful person in business never follows trends but takes chance and dare’s to be different. Salute to all the female emcee’s to ever touch a Mic Enveonline recognizes you hard work and talent. I just want to thank every team member that saw the bigger picture and stuck through the hard times with us and all the family and friends that support this movement. As always “Much Love And Success To All”
Gus Floris Editor-in-Chief
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Table of Contents COVER
Lyte | Pg. 22
Jha Jha | pg. 6
Monroe | Pg. 36
Kanary Diamondz | pg. 10
Mala Reignz | pg. 12
Maya The B | pg. 18
Quastar | pg. 30
Sonja Blade | pg. 38
Nina B | pg. 25
Nisha | pg. 28
Rhapsody | pg. 32
Rasheeda | pg. 34
Can’t Keep A ‘Get It Girl’ Down BY DESHAUN JONES
ENVEONLINE - Before the music industry Jha Jha you were
in school. What were you majoring in, and what made you chose school prior to pursuing a career in music?
HA JHA - I have a double major in Business Administration Management and Computer Information Systems. I’ve always wanted to do music ever since I was a child. I also wanted to do more than just music, like arts, drama, acting, painting you know anything that had something to do with being an artist I was always fascinated or attracted to it. I started College early, and I had an opportunity to go to New York, and there I met the Diplomats and opportunity presented itself then I chose to take it and leave my family for a while. Enveonline - What are your influences in hip hop? Jha Jha - My influences in hip hop to be honest come from an R&B stand point, as I said I love music, but I got into it by listening to my mothers, Luther Vandross and Patti Labelle records. Then I started listening to Usher, R. Kelly, and Beyonce. My taste eventually branched off to Jermaine Dupri, Puffy, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, the Brat, and Missy were really the main artist I listened to. I also enjoyed the music of legends like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and YoYo. When I saw Missy Elliot, the Brat and Lauryn Hill making good music, it inspired me tremendously for
many different reasons to do the same. Lauryn Hill was soulful and had so much substance to her and touched so many women. I was like wow! I want to do that! Missy Elliott was so creative she was just like so far outside the box it was ridiculous. The Brat was better than all the dudes, and I was like wow! I need to combine all that because they were popping. These are my main female influences. Then other great artist like JD, Puffy, Jay Z, and Dr. Dre were making good music. I was like I got to be in it. I just love the whole essence, competition and flashiness of the game itself. I also love the music, culture and everything. Enveonline - Even though things did not work out with you and Dipset, what were some of the positive times you remember having with them? Jha Jha -The positive time was being on the road, going on tour, being in the studio, and touching the fans. Meeting new people,being around diverse individuals, working and creating music was very optimistic. The positive thing that came out of it was just music, I love music, I love people, traveling all over the world, and I met some great people like Stack Bundles, Max B, and I still remain
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friends with a couple other people from camp (Dipset) Also, I learned the game so it was a good learning experience. Enveonline - How did the loss of your friends Stack Bundles (murdered)/Max B (jail sentence) affect you? Talk about the some of your memorable moments you had with them. Jha Jha- It affected me greatly because they were like my brothers. Every day you see them and then all of a sudden as far a Stack Bundles is concerned you realize he is never coming back ever again because of a situation, which affected me tremendously, and I was like wow you can be here today and gone tomorrow Stack Bundles was a legend, and he would have been nicer than all of the male artist out here. Max B was extremely talented and it affected me crazy as well because certain people don not deserve certain things, and some people have a mind set that they don not have a chance to get out. I think that was the saddest situation to me because he was on such a positive path, but he still had that mind set that didn’t allow him to get where he needed to be able to get out, and that was the most devastating thing to me when he was convicted and imprisoned. The most positive time was when was in the studio we laughed, cried, and vibed together, we were like family, blood the whole experience was terrific. The bird game Dipset days with Max B were great, and I don’t think I would have wanted to be in a group with anybody else besides them. Enveonline - What are your plans with your new label I Am Me? Jha Jha Actually there are three different labels, I Am Me, which I own, I Am Me INC, Get It Girl Entertainment and G Squad. We are branding Get It Girl as a movement for mostly women. I am a female in the music industry, so I definitely push for women to become successful since I know how hard it is to be a female in the
music industry trying to strive for success, so I made a label for women who are talented. I Am Me is a more boarder label that is for anyone who is a woman and just pushes the envelope to be unique. I Am Me means a lot to me cause It represents me so much as far as who I am. I do not want to be a robot that is why I call myself an alien not as far as being an endangered species, but in hip hop like you have never seen a female move the way I move. It scares people sometimes because they are ‘like you are a female and you doing all this.’ The normal stereotypical way they (the Industry) view a female is not me, and I push the envelope, and I am the epitome of music and hip hop, and I love it. Enveonline - How have you benefited from being an independent artist? Jha Jha - It benefits me because I make my own money, pay my own bills and write my own checks. Also, I get the creative room needed to grow as an artist. Sometimes when you are an artist signed to a label you do not have the creative control that you want because people are so accustomed to doing it one way. For example, this person popped one this way so you go this way, but I like to take chances,(and)I do not like to be put into a box. By owning your own company and brand you can do pretty much anything you want. You also book your own shows and you are the all around boss making all your own money and paying the people who work for or with you. Enveonline - What are your views on the state of female emcees? Jha Jha - I think we need to push the bar as females in the music industry. I do not think its enough;we need to get rid of the stereotypical way of what a female is supposed to do, sound, act, rap, and you got to be the first lady of camp, etc. I am trying to break all that and base it on talent, as oppose to how short your shirt maybe granted sex sells, but there are people who are extremely talented and will probably not get an opportunity because of how they look. That is sad to me because some people that have a (stereotypical sexy) look have absolutely no talent. People have to understand you have peeps growing up watching this on TV, and they are thinking the only way they will make it in the music industry (females especially) is if I get on stage dressed provocatively, and flaunt my sexuality. To each its own, I think there are other ranges and avenues for females to be able to take be successful in the industry contrary to doing the same things repeatedly. The female beefs need to stop. I do not know why you have beef with a group of dudes or other females because they come out with songs. These other dudes are coexisting with each other and making money, women should take the caddyness out of the game and be more business oriented and unified because there is not that many of us. Enveonline - What does Jha Jha plan to contribute to hip hop? Jha Jha - Substance, real music, hip hop, and entertainment. My journey is heartfelt, and I have been lucky to be here. In a
“I think we need to push the bar as females in the music industry. I do not think its enough; we need to get rid of the stereotypical way of what a female is supposed to do,
sound, act, rap,...
group like the diplomats, it was not all positive days. People could have lost their lives, and I made it out a live. Send Tweets to @darealjhajha ◀
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West Coast Secret
Diamond Enveonline - How did you get into Hip Hop?
ANARY - I started as a dancer when i was very young like 4 then that ventured of to choreogrephy at 11 so that put me on to a lot of artist and exposed me to the music side of things and i fell in love. So i tried girl groups and of course that didn’t work out i tried five of them and then the last one i was like “lets do something different” and at the time TLC was the biggest selling group so we wanted to switch it around instead of having two singers and one rapper lets make it two rappers and one singer and one of the girls had an amazing voice so me and the other girls was like “let her be the singer” and we will be the rappers. So i started rapper and i fell in love and it fell more natural than singing so i stuck with it. Of course the group didn’t work out but i stuck with it and became a student of it and started researching and started listing to all forms of hip hop Enveonline - Being that your a female what obstacles have you faced coming into the industry? Kanary - In this industry it’s definitely a man’s world and being a female in this industry is hard. On top of that i’m a female rapper and we at the bottom of the pole so thats one of the biggest obstacles is being a female. Being respected for what you do and not how you look dealing with guys with altered motives whether there respecting me for what i do and not how i look Enveonline - You were able to get you music video Mirror Mirror on the DEAL how did this come about and what did this do for your career? Kanary - Its all about relationships this business is all
about relationships and who your know unfortunately its about more than talent its about who you know and what they can do for you. SO i was lucky enough to know people who know people so i submitted my video and they loved it and played it that was a big big big thing for me that was the first time i got t.v play and on B.E.T at that. It help a lot and got me a little more notoriety and exposed more people to me. I fell even if one person seen it and notice me for it i’m greatfull for it. Enveonline- We in a new era of hip hop were labels are not looking for talent as much as they did years ago. You have to brand your self and stand on your own two feet how has. What is Kanary doing different than other artist to stand out? Kanary - Well i’m being me i know thats cleche but thats rare in the industry just being a artist your pressured into being whats in and now whats in this moment instead of finding your voice and wanting your audience to see. Like i said thats rare and thats how i’m gonna stand out Enveonline - How did you link up with Dj Ill will, & Rockstar for your last project and do you guys have any more mixtures coming out in the future? Kanary - Yes i actually working on three projects right now all at once one is an EP i’m gonna do it with this producer called Epic The Don it’s gonna be anywhere 8 - 12 tracks, then i’m working on another mixture with a producer called Yung Yonny his biggest joint is “Say Ahh” by Trey Songz, also i’m working on stuff for T.V & Tell I’m doing all that simultaneously so one of those will be hosted by DJ I’ll Will
Hussel who talent just amazes me, there’s so many. Enveonline - How has hip hop changed you personal life and if you were not rapping what would you be doing ? Kanary - Hip Hop has definitely change my life it’s really had to be in a relationship, but if i wasn’t doing music i would be a physiologist or a consoler because i’m that any way. When my friends and family have problems who they run to? me. I love to be that person who people can depend on.
Enveonline -What other vets if any have shown you support other then game and what did game see in you to add you to black wall street family? Kanary - The first celebrity to reach out me was Yo Yo she took me under her wing being that she the biggest female artist from the West Coast was huge that was the mecca after that kit if them followed. Tyrese were from the same neighborhood he reached out and showed his support, of course The Game, even Dre i meet Dre before i meet game. I knew Game for a long time for like six years but we never actually met. Dre showed me his support and his backing. That was amazing for me Dre,Game, and Yo Yo i mean what more can a girl ask for coming from the west coast. After that i meet Pharell,Snoop, and so many people i cant even name them all so many people supports me and shows me love. The Black Wall Street situation is kinda tricky Game is like my mentor and thing i need any questions i wanna know i can always go to him he’s always there he answers my calls.I started doing a lot of music, naturally when someone take’s you under there wing you start working together we started working , doing songs i got on the Red Room, i got on 5 joints on the Red Room even after that we still do music it became natural for people to call me the First Lady of Black Wall Street and him supporting me made people look at me as the first lady of Black Wall Street so we ran with it for a while then we decided this situation isn’t the best for me to be the first lady of Black Wall Street but there still family i love all those guys over there their crazy but i still love them. Right now game is always what he’s been to me which is my Mentor someone i can run to and talk to. Enveonline -Who is some the new talent we should look for coming out of the west, that people may not know about just yet? Kanary - Kenrick Lamar, Don Kennedy, there is a new guy coming up called Skeme who i think is dope, Axel, School Boy Q, Jay Rock who’s from my hood, Glasses Malone, Nipsey
Enveonline -What do you want your legacy to be on the game when it’s all said and done? Kanary - I want what everyone else wants which is being the best at what you do but beyond being the best if i walk away 20years from now and i helped one person i’m good with that. I think music is powerful, magical, it has the power to change situations, culture’s, to change moods, and thoughts,so if i helped one person get out a bad situation, one person believe in them selfs, help one person to say “If she can do it i can and make there life better” I will be happy with that. Send Tweets to @kanaryd ◀
“I started as a dancer when i was very young like 4 then that ventured of to choreogrephy at 11 so that put me on to a lot of artist and exposed me to the music side of things and i fell in love.”
X N O R B E I D I L I T ▶ Mala is here to bring Hip-Hop blessed by a woman’s touch, starting with her new mixtape Miss Rap
Supreme in stores this summer. Her single ‘Bx Til I Die’ featuring Elus is The Bronx’s street anthem. Her video for ‘Bx Til I Die’ was so well received it was picked up by Music Choice, a free On Demand music network that features a variety of music videos and original shows showcasing both established and emerging artists nationwide. The b-side record, ‘Here We Come’ featuring Opera Steve is raw and aggressive, a reflection of Mala Reignz’s character and how she handles the industry. Mala Reignz will be blessing stages and radio stations this summer to promote the release of Miss Rap Supreme. Her ability to speak the truth about life, love, and womanhood, while at the same time verbally destroying any contender, is a gift that very few MCs have. She’s honed her skills for years and is now geared to become a household name”
Mala Reignz ▶
“I am giving them that Bronx element, bringing that BX element back to life that people have not seen for a while”
Enveonline - What inspired you to rap?
ALA REIGNZ - My inspiration comes from a few things first of all life experiences. I started to write poetry after a break up, so I needed a release. My poetry led to rap because most of my poetry rhymed, and I wrote to music and I did not realize I was writing to a beat so when I went to perform at poetry slams people would say “Do you rap” because I had a rhythm. It was really a form of expression and once I started to do it, I fell in love with it, and I threw myself into it completely.
Enveonline - I notice you had a chance to appear on Ali Vegas’ mixtape how did that come about? Mala Reignz- I had an old manager back then who had a relationship with him, and he bragged to him about me. Then he checked me out and liked my stuff, and he was a very easy going dude not hollywood at all. We were able to start talking and getting to know each other better, and he told me to come to the studio. He liked what i did, so i was able to appear on his mixtape.
Enveonline - You got a chance to perform in a female cypher at a female Emcee concert. What did you tape away from that? Mala Reignz - It was really dope! It is actually the yearly rocksteady concert that takes place annually. They invited a few female emcee’s to do this cypher, and it was a really dope experience. It was my first time performing in a concert setting, and there was a lot of people there. just to be on the stage and share it with some of my favorite idols like KRS One, Fat Joe and Ice T was there, and just a whole bunch of really dope artist. We did the cypher, and I was nervous about
the crowds response being crazy because none of us is really famous like that, but they felt it, and we came off stage, and Ice T approach all of us and was like “This is the dopiest thing i seen in a really long time,” so he gave us a lot of props, and he actually chilled with us for a minute and gave us a lot of kind words “telling us to don’t stop doing it”. Enveonline - How hard is it to be a female artist in this era? Mala Reignz - It is not a piece of cake, there is adversity, but I try not to focus too much on it, yet I try to do my best and run with the best of them. The more you focus on it you realize it is (sexism) a very negative aspect in the industry, and it does exist but i try not to look at it too much because it will take you down. Enveonline- What does Hip-Hop mean
to you, and what are your goals? Mala Reignz- Hip-Hop is apart of my everyday life, and it is apart of my culture. I am from the Bronx born and raised. I don’t really examine it, but it is everything, and its not just the music. It is the lifestyle I live, the way i came up. Its a very positive thing that changed a lot of peoples lives. I don’t know what I would be doing with out Hip Hop. Teaching ? Its given a lot of people opportunities, and I love it. It is like family. Its something that your around all the time that is apart of you. Enveonline - Is there anything that you get into outside of Hip - Hop that you would like your fans to know about? Mala Reignz- I really am looking at the prospect of being an actress. I used do this first before I thought of rapping. I would like to experiment and try a comedy role as well, and I love fashion. I would like to
start merchandising since I have a website: http://malareignz.com. I will be selling posters, music and t-shirts. Definitely, expanding building the Mala Reingz and Scholar Music brand because you never know I might have my own record label one day. Enveonline - Your video “Bronx Till I DIe” got a lot of nation wide exposure who picked up the video to give it the exposure that it got? Mala Reignz- This was one of those instances where you didn’t plan for things to pop and they did. The song received a lot of love and features a close friend. We just wanted to do a Bronx anthem and we did it, and people took to it quickly. We didn’t expect people not from the Bronx reping BX, so we knew it was time to shoot a video, and we did and it was shot in one day. I guess it gave people the grittiness that they were
missing, and it kinda of brought that real hip hop Bronx element back to life that people haven’t seen in a while. So we submitted the video to Music Choice, and they threw it on there rap audio channels. When they saw the video, they had it on demand channel where you can request to see video’s for free and that was nationwide. That was the first time I got a lot of exposure. At the time, myspace was still popular. People were hitting me up saying they love the video from Tallahasse, Detroit, Texas, and the West Coast it was crazy! Enveonlline- The Bronx is on a roll in hip hop! Fred The Godson kicked open the door, Oun P has a major record out, Cory Gunz is doing his thing. What does Mala Reignz plan to give to the Bronx hip hop scene? Mala Reignz- I’m giving them that Bronx element. Its a mix with that grittiness, but I also keep it commercial, and its something that everyone can listen to. I am Bronx, and
and I have not decided if it is going to be a mixtape or a street album. I am leaning more towards a street album, but i expect it to be dope. Enveonlline- As a female emcee, what are your opinions on the Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim’s beef and do you think that’s one of the problems with females in the industry? Mala Reignz- No, I feel this situation is totally isolated from other female caddy beefs you see in the industry. Like when Brandy and Monica had their disagreement they really didn’t have a beef, but its the media that puts these girls in battles with each other. You can have 30 male rappers that can coexist, and they can do business, but when its females we don’t get a chance to interact with each other because right away some dude wants to see us battle, and we get placed in a category of whose better.
Mala Reignz - First of, Lauryn Hill just from coming up when I first heard her I was like “Yo she’s nasty”, Jean Grae, invincible, these girls can really spit and they didn’t have to put a thong on it’s possible I think its all about balance. You can be trendy, fashionable, and attractive you don’t have to be raunchy and disgusting. Send Tweets to @MalaReignz ◀
“FEMALES DON’T SELL, THE ONLY WAY YOUR GOING TO BE ABLE TO SELL ANY RECORDS IS TO POSE LIKE KIM. Before they
even listen to my music there asking me what is my image, and who do I compare myself to?” I think i’m adding to the rise of the Bronx. We were down for a while and they weren’t trying to give the Bronx any shine for a while, and I am happy it has come full circle. Just like the Bronx is the mother of hip hop, and I am a female, so I am bringing that female side of Hip - Hop that people really need. My struggles and what I been thru being a female in the Bronx, every part of the struggle that minorities and underprivileged people are going thru but from a female perspective because you don’t get a chance to hear about that. Enveonlline- What are any projects or singles that your working on? Mala Reignz- Right now I have a mixture called “Anticipation” its a collaboration and another artist called Quest that should be out. I am also working on my next solo project,
Enveonlline- What are some of the negative things that you been told coming in to this industry? Mala Reignz - Females don’t sell, the only way your going to be able to sell any records is to pose like Kim. Before they even listen to my music there asking me what is my image, and who do I compare myself to? Like i have to be like someone else. I cannot come into it on my own tip. One day, I didn’t have my hair done, and I had to go into a meeting with these so called execs, and they were looking at me up and down and all they cared about was what I was dressed like. The exes said to me, “but you know with females it’s all about your shoes and hair.” I have heard a million things. Enveonline - What female emcees opens your mind?
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ENVEONLINE – How did you get your start in the industry?
aya The B - I was
in college interning at the radio station in New York and I was more behind the scenes at that time. I didn’t even know that I had the ability to get in front of a camera to interview people. I was still on my business shit, thinking maybe I could do marketing and promotion on some tour shit or manage producers. That was one of my first jobs when I came to New York, was managing producers and I will never manage anybody again in my life. Enveonline - So How Did The Roundtable Come About? Maya The B - So the Roundtable show started because Kiddie radio stopped, because Lenny approached me, he was actually doing mogul radio in queens with Meda who at the time was Zab Judahs wife. They had a show an underground radio, similar to what I had been doing with Kiddie radio. That kind of broke up with Lenny S being the VP at def jam, he was always on the road with jay, he ended up going on tour with Jay for 8 months that’s how mogul radio stopped, but then when he came off the road he wanted to restart it. Enveonline - How Did You Become The Radio Host For Thisis50? Maya The B – Well we stopped doing the roundtable with RockMe t.v cause once the show blew up they started getting greedy which always happens. They were like selling our shit to cctv without telling us and doing grimy things trying to get us to sign contracts so if I die they could take an insurance policy out on me. Bet had shot a pilot of us and happened to be a day when Tony Yayo was a guest and nelson was there so
after that pilot me and nelson started talking more. He agreed to air the show as thisis50 presentation and that’s how we started working together. Enveonline - Being that your one of the few outlets for east coast artists to release there music and promote themselves what is there opinion on the status of east coast music? Maya The B - I think they are showing off a spark because of Uncle Murda who again is not the fucking lyricists of the year but he has a personality and it shows on the record. People like that street shit and nobody is getting crazy in New York. Everyone is doing this tight skinny jean shit, skate boarding music and he really is kind of keeping that street shit really alive and I think people are really missing that element. We have amazing talent such as Fred The Godson, and Cory Gunz it’s just everybody has there reign. I think New York is slowly showing a little progress, French Montana again not lyrist of the year but again understanding how to make an impact. Enveonline – What are your views on the lack of the female emcees in the hip hop culture? Maya The B - Because every women is trying to fit into the same exact mold and that’s the problem. You have to be able to feel like your able to break out and unfortunately people like Jean Grae, Lady Luck do not want to change who they are just to make it, there music matters more to them and that why you have to respect those women such as Lady of Rage you know there not going to just submit because there not this chick with the huge fat ass with different wigs on and wearing bone in there hair.
Enveonline – What was your most memorable interview? Maya The B - God there is so many, probably Raekwon and Inspectah deck. Inspectah Deck is such a smart individual, when we did the interview and the Wu album just came out and people were not happy with it, he was just being completely real. Like this is Rza album, this is what happened, I really respect when people can go all out cause they want you to understand, I hate when people are just closed off, I just be wondering why the fuck are you here, get out you are know body you better talk about that lol, but my favorite interview recently is Jb smooth from curb your enthusiasm. Enveonline – What’s next for Maya The B? Maya The B - I’m doing a whole bunch of things on my own I’m branding. I just got done setting up a deal with S.O.B’s to do Thisis50 radio were going to be broadcasting every other week live in S.O.B one week and then at the G Unit offices the next week.. It’s going to be Jay Leno style table’s people who come after work celebrity guest same show but on steroids, performances, same idea with the roundtable show but I’m going to promote it this time so it’s a real event so everybody in New York has to stop by to fuck with us. Then I got a celebrity cooking show coming up you guys are going to see a lot of that were shooting the pilot next week, were doing a five series webisode on top of that so look out for that. Send Tweets to @MayatheB◀
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THE ROLE OF FEMALE MC’S IN HIP HOP. by Damion Trent
c Lyte is considered to be one of the dopest female emcees to rock the mic. With her place among Hip-Hop royalty solid as a rock due to a career that began back in the mid eighties she recently decided to converse with us about the role of female emcees in Hip-Hop. Who better than the first female emcee to release a full length album as she did in 1988 with Lyte As a Rock. Lyte though the years has shown us that she can keep on keeping on, and she has added the title DJ to her resume and cold rocks the party every time out. According to Lyte, “I do a bit of everything, music supervision with DuBose Entertainment. I am Executive Vice President of DuBose Music Group where we have just signed a new male mc from NC named J Gunn and we’ve also signed the talented and gifted Tweet. I do a radio show called Cafe Mocha that airs in 20 markets across the nation ie NYC, Chicago, TX and Charlotte to name a few. Also, Kim Osorio the once again Editor and Chief of Source Magazine who helped to place the magazine on the mount Rushmore of hip hop magazines during the early part of the last decade adds her
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expertise to the fore, so we can assess what has led to the decline of the female MC’s in hip hop. After all the turmoil she went through in her previous stint as Editor and Chief under the owner ship of the unscruplous, sexist, miniecal zealots Benzino and David Mays as her text Straight From the Source illustrates, it is great to speak to a person who has been triumph in establishing and reestablishing her job at the helm of a top hip hop mag. Amid the lawsuit of sexual harrasement which was downgraded to wrongful termination and netted her over 7 million dollars from mays and Benzino, she kept her career a float with BET and now is looking to expand the online portion of The Source as she looks to take then to the top once again. Her expertise is warranted in the assessment of the female Emcee in today’s rap world. Known for being a lyrical rhyme slayer in hay day, it was no surprise when asked what elements of Hip-Hop had the greatest impact on you wanting to become an artist MC Lyte said, “The MC is what increased my love for hip hop” At a time when the emcees became Hip-Hop’s mouth piece she came
to a forefront as a dynamic battle style emcee. Of course, the versatile Lyte had other arenas she wished to break into, so we wanted to know if prior to becoming an emcee did she have any dreams or aspirations she wanted to achieve? To this she said, “I wanted to do a lot of things but most of all I wanted to be a disc-jockey on the radio. Finally that has happened as well with Cafe Mocha Radio. Please check us out at http:// www.cafemocharadio.com.” Lyte also does voice over’s, blogs, acts performs at old school parties and she DJs at various parties turning this mother mother out. Mc Lyte’s first song that got her a record deal was about a woman dating a man who falls victim to Crack Cocaine and ironically the b side to BDPs first release in 1984 was a song about Crack being whack. With the mention of lyrics that raise awareness and encourage activism, I asked her how did she became a part of the self destruction song that enlisted some of the east coast best back in the day to speak out against violence in the community and at live performances. “KRS One heard my music,
and asked if I would participate. It was a movement happening throughout NYC with hip hop at that time, and he called upon all of the MC’s making an impact.”The Movement she is referring to is the Stop the Violence Movement, Which is still needed today. This was an extraordinary time when a whose, who of hip hop legends lent their services to a song speaking to unity and upliftment. “I never had to run from the Klu Klux Klan, so I shouldn’t have to run from a Black Man.” As Kool Moe Dee reminded us in the “Self Destruction” Song and then Lyte came after him with the memorable line “Leave the guns, and the crack and the knives alone MC Lyte’s on the microphone.” This last line is powerful because nowadays your average mainstream rapper brags about having possession of and using these items. Krs One and Mc lyte a few years later worked on another posse cut called human education against lies, which further showed her talents to kick uplifting lyrics with the big boys in the game. We were wondering if Hip-Hop could be used to uplift and unify young people these days at it has in the past and does in the underground and Lyte said “Simply the content has to address lifting up instead of putting down.” This is a sentiment that Ms. Osorio agrees with because in her text Straight from the Source she asserts, “These days, hip-hop has no soul. Not soul in the musical way, but soul as in inner spirit. By the middle of 2004, I lost my soul right along with it” as she described this more in our interview with her when she said, “to a certain extend today I feel its almost worst people are reckless in how they treat people. At the magazine at the time it was very easy to fall victim to what was going on in the industry and I lost a sense of purpose and sight of what was important. The artists in the mainstream today work for record companies who it appears like when they make songs about killing, slinging a key of coke or sexing mad freaks because in most cases it is one black artists talking negatively about other Black or Hispanic artists or person. Like Jay-Z famously said “Money Cash Hoes.” To add to this, Kim said in her text “Back then, I also realized that few minorities held power positions at record labels, and even fewer minority women.” Then we asked her does this hold true in the present day? “I think that still holds true but I think Hip Hop has become a
different beast its not really controlled by the labels these days.” In many cases, women are forced to bear the brunt of vicious vitrotil used to denigrate them. With this in mind, I asked Lyte if she felt she had to work harder than the average male emcee to earn her respect. “I just planned to work hard anyway. It never dawned on me that me being a young girl had the potential to stop me. I pressed on and gave it my best at every turn.” Interesting statement from someone who along with Kim Osrio gave interviews for the BET documentary My Mike Sounds Nice about the history and role of female emcees in the business that were basically critical of how female MC’s are treated in a male dominated industry. In that piece, Lyte and Osorio made it clear that female rappers have had to deal with sexism in the game from the very beginning. As Ogbar asserts in Hip Hop Revolution, the hyper male image developed by black males in response to slavery, racism and oppression in America has created fictive charactetures who brag about killing people, having a lot of materialistic items, today who can sling a key coke to be rich like freeway Ricky Ross or who can have sex with the most women creating a sambo Negro image headed towards self destruction. This connects to and reinforces the stereotypical, hypersexual, jezebel image of the black women typified during slavery evolving from the sick mind of white supremacist, which is enforced by the hyper machismo of the black male and supported by the sexism of the white male who runs the record industry. Such females or sexualized and this is why Lyte’s answer is odd because when she came in the game as Ogbar reminds us, she made it clear in her song “I am a woman” that she did not want to be referred to as a queen because that was too corny or sexy because it made the guys too horny. Thus, she shows she was keenly aware of what she may have to endure as a female emcee in a male dominated field. Lyte the emcee said she was the best period like Roxanne Shante did back in the day both of them showing that they did not have to wear high heals like Sha Rock did back in the day to appeal to guys but crush them with lyrics. On her blog Lyte stated “Although things may look rosy on the outside, this is still a man’s sport and women have to deal with a silent discrimination that goes on daily.”
I guess this is why Osorio states in her book that once Snoop Dogg said “bitches ain’t shit” it was a wrap.” the industry according to her has become something a kin to a football locker room. Where many records are not about LL Cool J’s “I need Love,”but much more like skeet, skeet all over the hoes face.” Unfortunately this is an indication of how many men view men as mere sex toys to be played and manipulated for their own purposes of chauvinistic subjection in the most perverted sense to support their machismo, sick, mindless, animalistic male fantasies. However, when she was asked if she was ever offended by male emcees on a one on one basis because you are a woman? She replied” “One on One? No. They always showed me respect; they treated me more like I was a younger sister.” I guess there are some advantages to being a women in the business as Kim noted in her text, stating that she received a pass on what she wrote about 50 in the source because she’s a woman as opposed to men who may get beat down, “gun butt” or accosted for expressing honest opinions. Conversely, Pastor boy Mase came at her hard for a truthful review of his horrific Double Up album and Cam’ron in a lesser way did the same as well, so she explained to us if she was always on edge when writing unfavorable opinions about emcees she may see in public: “No I’m not on edge when I write I’m more concerned about the after effects of how writing affects people lives. If I have an opinion, I’m going to state it when there’s a job to do. I don’t look at it like there is any fear or apprehension towards writing because someone’s going to come at me. I don’t buy into all that you’re not going to do anything I’m not a gangster I will call the cops! I’m not nervous or scared about that however I am apprehensive about the effects of what I write as it pertains to how it affects someone’s family that has come with experience. MC Lyte gave us some information about female MC’s evolution since the beginning of the genre, “It changes constantly. All I know is there are a bunch of really talented female mcs that are ready for their opportunity to knock down some doors and rock a mic.” This is important to Lyte who has a website called hip hop sisters where she seeks out new female MC talent. Osrio feels differently about this as she explained to us when we discussed the lack of www.apparelinsiders.com · 23
female emcees in the industry and what is her opinion on Nick Minaj? The good thing about Nicki is she has enough talent to carry the weight of the female community on her shoulders. To be quite honest, I don’t think there are enough females who have talent. From what I can tell, she (Nicki) is very talented and has a lot of star quality, and she knows how to maneuver in the industry. You have to have a combination of those to be successful. She’s not afraid and has tough skin for whatever it is she has the right hustle. I’m not going to say certain women don’t deserve the fame, I think they do, I just think it’s about having the talent and determination and I don’t see as strong a hustle. I think women historically have to deal with a lot more; for example, family, children and so forth. Rap is a serious hustle as far as getting money and women like security, and it’s hard to stick with something for so long, and it’s a shaky industry.” She continued, “You have to have a certain mentality to go out there and go check to check that’s like a guy hustle. You know a lot of guys out there trying to get on they might have big money one month and be dry for five months. I also think the days of the voice of the female emcee is kind of tired, and I think there are other representations in hip hop such as in journalism, and executive roles to fill that void. I don’t think we get that shine. There are a lot of women who make the industry move behind the scenes who are not being recognized.” Kim’s perspective is based on someone who covers the industry, so her emphasis will be on females being editors, writers, management like she displayed in a article she did in her first stint at the source. MC Lyte is and MC and DJ so she sees the importance of the few numbers of female MC’s in this genre because of her experience and also because it is important for females to be MC’s because more girls will see them and may try to do the same adding their voices to hip hop and possibly becoming the next Lauryn Hill or Rapsody. Female presence as in many fields in America is needed to expand the op24 · www.enveonline.com
portunities for women and hopefully crush male chauvinistic stereotypes of women in hip hop and the globe.
women who have stuck to their guns who have maintained a certain stature to get recognized for it.
Lyte added her two cents on Nicki Minaj on her blog as it pertains to battling since Lyte is no stranger to battles because she made battle raps and battled Annotinette at a venue called the world back in day, and made a reord called 10 percent diss slaying her foes and rivals as she said on her blog, people want her to take sides in the uproar beteeen Minaj and Lil both of whom she solemnly supports.
This is advice she is living out because she is now reaping the benefits of her own advice because she was recently named chief edior of the source once again. Wow! What a way to start 2012.
As she put it,”Frankly, that’s pretty idiotic for me to have endured the hardships of being a female MC and not have love for my sisters that go through similar circumstances so she supports her sisters as evident by her hip hop sisters website. However, one has to ask if the sexualy charged and explict langauge their rhymes are laced with, and the attempt to look like barbie dolls by these two artists if it is beneficial or detrimental to young black girls who admire them. Also does it support the male dominant chauvinistic image of women? Especially when we consider that Minaj and Lil Kim openly embrace a bisexual image of themselves, which seems to be the fantasy of numerous men longing for a minaj a trios. On the matter of chauvinism in the industry, Kim osrio offered up the following based on her book about her time at the source under the dysfunctional leadership of Benzino and Mays: “I wanted to talk to all females no matter what industry or genre your in because it is challenging for a female to come up in any male dominate industry. That was at the heart of the story especially for women who dealt with things ( discrimination) in the work place. Its still a male dominated world but I’m starting to see more females in positions of power and with more of a voice. I think females have a very strong voice in the industry. It’s all about sticking with
Both women have interesting responses when about who was their favorite artist of all time? Lyte’s said, Rakim, Salt n Pepa, Roxanne, and KRS One. While Kim Osorio gave a rather interesing answer, “I really like Nicki that’s weird because I feel like I’m betraying my era, but I’m going to say her for now obviously I’m a fan of the golden era, I love Roxanne Shonte, and Mc Lyte but I think Nicki embodies a lot of the female emcees that came before her. Male that’s hard it changes all the time….. Jay Z. Kim also talks vividly about her favorite rap albums by a female, “See that’s very hard to pinpoint because certain albums have did certain things like Salt N Pepa’s albums were ground breaking for females in Hip Hop. I Love Queen Latifah albums back then, Missy’s albums were good because she brought in a new sound.” Kim Osorio had some advice for women looking to follow in her footsteps, “I don’t know I just think people work hard and do what they love. I think women should not be so scared of perception. I think it’s about who you are and how you carry yourself. I think a lot of times your dealing with people who gossip people are nervous about things being said about them but you have to have tuff skin.” We asked Kim what she would want her daughters to learn from your adversities and triumphs in this business to which she answered, “I would like them to learn how to be strong, and stand in what they believe in and not to be scared of any back lash.” Thank you for allowing us to interview you Enveonline appreciates your time. Send Tweets to @McLyte ◀
REMEMBER ME?: a slogan you will often hear from the Brooklyn Emcee.
ina B’s versatile lyrics and unique style will make sure you remember her while she crushes the mic. While talented female emcees have been overshadowed by the promiscuity, gimmicks, and fairy tales, Nina B has stayed true to the art form of an emcee. Nina B has commanded the respect of artist, and well known DJ’s and has given a voice to the Hip Hop remincent of the days of the classic Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Nina B by way of Ravenal Records is gearing up to release another classic mixtape with DJ Jazzy Joyce. By Deshaun Jones www.apparelinsiders.com · 25
Enveonline - How were you introduced to Hip Hop? Nina B - I was introduced to Hip Hop by my Mom. She was into the whole scene, and it was part of everything we did like when we cleaned the housed for instance in was in everything we did. Enveonline - What story is Nina telling in her music? Nina B - For the most part, I want to talk about the things people go thru on an everyday basis. I keep it real with mines, and I try to convey the message of what ever you’re going thru, so there is a song for that. Enveonline - How did the record label start “Ravenal Records?” Nina B - This amazing girl named Amber started a record label at 16, and she was doing her thing and I was doing mine. At that age, I wasn’t worried about taking my music serious. I was just doing it for fun. So, it started of with Amber who wanted to incorporate her company that was so focused and our paths just so happen to intertwine. She came to my class one day and was like I have my own label. I was looking at this girl younger than me like, “for Real”! I’m going to check that out! Enveonline - Being an independent artist and part owner of your label what are some of the benefits. Also, what were some of your biggest accomplishments? Nina B - I have done it on levels, where I can compete with the major’s but my biggest achievement would be sticking thru it all. The ups and downs that are the biggest adversity since a lot of people I starting rapping with are not around any more. Enveonline - Coming up in hip hop what veterans did you look up to and why? Nina B - I was mostly influenced by Roc A Fella and Jay Z because that was my era, but I did have to take my time and learn about the originators that inspired those artist like (Jay Z) and do my history, so I could evolve as an artist. Also people would try me because I was a female to see if I really knew about the originators of Hip Hop. I take it that seriously. Enveonline - You host a radio show with Superstar Jay how did you get into that? Nina B - I’m a radio personality; I started
doing music and music opens doors. I would show up a lot of places where he (Superstar Jay) was at he liked my energy and he wanted to work with me. The next day he hit me up and asked if he wanted to be apart of this radio show. It so happens that I did a radio show before that was on a lot of access network channels. That radio show was an avenue for me to do my thing and gave me the confidence to be in front of the camera. Enveonline - How does hosting the radio show help your career? Nina B - It’s funny because once “Freeway” came thru after we did the cipher he said to me, “Yo maybe we need to do a record and put it on the mixtapes” so were working on that now. Enveonline - Are you and SuperStar Jay working on any mixtapes in the near future? Nina B - Shoutout to Superstar Jay, but we haven’t talked about it yet. The last mixtape I put out, The Bosstress Is Back, didn’t have a host for it because I don’t know any DJs. I’m on Kay Slays last two albums. So I did a record with for him called “Set It Off ” and Remy Ma is on there that will be out soon. But, I could have went with Superstar Jay and all these other DJ’s I know and asked for a few “drops” but I didn’t want to do that this time around. Enveonline - You got to do a song with J Rock on your mixtape how did that come about? Nina B - A guy named Steve who works with Allhiphop.com who put me on along time ago linked it up. When you do a record like “Get IT Poppin” which was something for the “Street Code” it was only right to go get J Rock. Enveonline - What is your next project you’re working on and will there be a volume three to your mixtape? Nina B - No, I didn’t even plan to do a part two, but part one did so well I felt I had to follow up. I’m also working on an exclusive project with DJ Jazzy Joyce look out for that. Send Tweets to @RememberMeNinaB ◀
“I try to convey the message of what you’re going through”
K C A L B W O D I W ! T R ALE
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Enveonline - On track three of your mixtape you say “I been rapping since 16 and holding Trina down since 17.” What got you into rapping at an early age, and how did you meet Trina? Nisha - I used to write poetry a lot, and one of my cousins was doing music, and he suggested I come to the studio with him. The first track i did i killed it, and I did my thing, and it raised eye brows and thats when I started rapping. I was introduced to Trina by mutual friends. She heard one song from me and fell in love with it, and I been with her ever since.
that date (July 4th). It was something Trina and I wanted to do. We came up with the mixtape cover, and the idea everything we came up with together. I went hard, and I went into the studio and got it done its here out in the streets, and i’m getting a great response from it.
Enveonline - What have you learned from the veteran (Trina) seeing that she had a successful career since the late 90’s? Nisha - I learned that you have to work extremely hard nothing is giving to you, and if it is it can be taken (quickly). She let me know if you have insecurities you have to get rid of them, and you have to stay humble and hungry you have to work like your broke no matter what you accomplished always work like your broke.
Enveonline - Who are you looking forward to working with? Nisha - I would love to work with Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Fabulous, Jay Z, and Jadakiss. it’s so many on my list I just love R&B, Pop, Rap. It’s so many, its overwhelming i’m just waiting on the opportunity.
Enveonline - So your under Trina’s movement called Pretty Money? Nisha - I’m solo right now it is just me Nisha Rockstarr and Trina is a Solo artist. Enveonline - You call yourself Black Widow, but you also named yourself Griselde Blanco. What made you pick that name and did you catch any backlash because emcee’s like Jackie-O named themselves that years ago? Nisha - Once I started hearing people name themselves after Blanco, I dropped that and got rid of it. I’m not about the beef or drama i’m just all about doing music and making money. Also, that is what Trina taught me that beef is not where its at. Its all about making money, so i’m all about the Black Widow a small but very venomous spider. Enveonline - What stereotypes did you hear about yourself or other females in the industry? Nisha- I don’t know any stereotypes about us everybody is their own person and does their own thing. Enveonline - What was your concept behind your mixtape “Fireworks?” Nisha- It was basically my independence, me going solo, my music being hot and on fire and that is why I wanted to drop it on 28 · www.enveonline.com
Enveonline - You created a buzz. How has Miami embraced your movement? Nisha - Miami (fans) basically supporting me, and they know I been doing this for a while. Their waiting for the rest of the world to see what I have to offer.
Enveonline - What inspires you to rap on a daily basis? Nisha - Once I did it and saw it was something I was good at and people supported me, and I got a good response from the fans. People support me and really believe in me, and I cant let them down. Enveonline - What adversity did you encounter when you started your career? Nisha - I was in a group that didn’t work out. Dealing with males, and DJ’s sometimes you think their coming at you about business then it turns into them trying to get with (date) or sleep with you, and i’m not with that! It still happens today, but i’m used to it, and I cut it dead as soon as I see it. I’m all about business, money, and going to the next level. Enveonline - What does Hip Hop mean to you, and what do you plan to contribute to it? Nisha - It”s like a culture, hip hop music helps people’s everyday lives. You can identify with certain artist when you feel a certain way. As far as me, I feel like there is a shortage of females in hip hop, and I’m a new personality and a breath of fresh air. Enveonline - Whats the next project you are working on?
Nisha - I’m in the studio right now working on my single. I cant really say the name right now, but its featuring Trina. I’m working on another mixtape. I’m also working on a dual mixtape with Trina. There are a couple of things in the works and we are working on some videos for my first mixtape “FireWorks.” Enveonline - Outside of music what does Nisha Rockstarr like to get into? Nisha - Well outside off music you can drop the whole Nisha Rockstarr thing because i’m a home body. I like to cook, watch movies. Im just like a chill person i’m low key and laid back, and I like to watch funny stuff i’m a clown. Enveonline - What do you want your legacy to be? Nisha - I wanna be the best that ever did it, and i wanna do things that no other female artist has done and go beyond what they have done. I wanna be an actress i’m such a character and of course be a boss i wanna create my own artist build my own business and brand. I just want to take every opportunity that comes to me. Send Tweets to @NishaRockstarr ◀
ood is a great way to get people excited, to experience a sense of joy and release and silliness,” says Sam Bompass, one half of the London-based duo Bompass & Parr who are redefining the retail and brand experience through their signature interactive installations. by Deshaun Jones Recent commissions include building a chocolate waterfall at a London shopping center (visitors put on protective clothing to walk through the flow) and installing a lake of vintage Cognac for partygoers to paddle Enveonline- What city are you reppin? across. It’s just the kind of delicious escapism people need in these times Quastar - Cap City Albany, NY of economic uncertainty. “The journey started as purely a personal pleasure. We both love food and showmanship” says Bompass, “and the next Enveonline- How did you get into music? thing grade, we know we’re on this rollicking adventure with marketers and adQuastar - I always wrote poetry when I was younger. In fourth I started vertisers liningofup to join in. Seems like we hit on something in the air.” playing the trombone and joined a band. After that, I grew a new level respect That certainly seems to be the case, although they’re far ahead of any for all music, and I played the trombone for 6 years then switched to baritone trend. Bompass and Parr’s food-inspired events could be classed as expebass clef. Being in a band I devloped an ear for rhythm and turned my poetry riential marketing or even retail theatre but really what they’re pioneerinto songs and just started rapping easy as 1 2 3 lol. ing is something much more riveting than that: it’s an entirely new industry known Enveonline- What projects are you working on in the near future?as sensory design. Their work is defined by a desire to engage consumers through Quastar - What am I not working is the question lol. I graduated from the Arta Willy Wonka–like devotion to surprise, play and totally transform their setting. Institute of NYC for video production, so I’m working ontasty a fewtreats, thingswhich pertaining theonroot of their to my major. Musically I’m always working on new songs. I At plan releasing a success is the sense of awe they deliver — which is few mixtapes in 2012.
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Enveonline- What can the fans expect from your music? Quastar - The fans can always expect good party musc since party frequently I make a lot party songs. Most of my songs have concepts although my last mixtape “Something EPIC” had so many songs with stories I don’t think people actually took that mixtape serious because I stepped out my boundaries a little bit, but they will soon find out I got a lot to say and respect me a lot more. Enveonline- Tell us know about T.A.K.E Notez University. Quastar - The TAKE stands for (together artist Konquer Everything) it’s just a bunch of young adults whom I got together that do a little bit of everything as far as art, entertainment and music. We haven’t really been on the scene that much this year but we still in effect grinding behind the scenes. Enveonline- What are your goals as an artist? Quastar - My goals as an artist is just to keep the fans satisfied and stay consistent and humble. Enveonline - What do you bring to the table as an artist? Quastar - As an artist, I feel like I’m well rounded. I make music that I like but people can relate to it. When I make a mixtape, I try to reach as much audiences as possible. I feel as if I’m a well rounded artist because I make good songs, and I have great stage performance, and I’m easy on the eyes lol. I’m cute to look at, and I have a great personality so people vibe with me easily. Enveonline- How is the music scene in the area (518) you’re from? Quastar - The music scene in the 518 is booming right now. It’s at a great state everybody doing their thing its too many to name, but we def there are a few stars in the making if everyone stays consistent and continue to put out good quality music and stay humble we going to be making some noise in the industry real soon. Its just a matter of time everybody got to continue to stay in they own lane its a few people that have what it takes, but they steal people’s flows and style which is whack but that’s them and I’m me, but the 518 we got talent though more people just got to give us a chance. Enveonline- Are there any other ventures that you would like to get into? 30 · www.enveonline.com
Quastar - I don’t want to speak to soon because when you speak on things they tend not to happen, but T.A.K.E Notez and P&INK is definitley on the rise man. The 518 in general is on the rise shout out to everybody who’s supporting us and respect what we do good things to come in the future. Send Tweets to @quasteez ◀
THE KOOLEY HIGH
MOVEMENT By Deshaun Jones
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Enve- How did you link up with 9th wonder, and what stuck out most to him that made him co-sign you? Rapsody- I met 9th back in the fall of 2005, when I was at NC State. We had a Hip-Hop organization on campus and the summer before school started we did a compilation that had a mixture of emcee’s, producers, DJs, and rap artist. One of the cat’s in the club, Tom Foolery from (Kooley High) he did an internship with 9th, so he scrutinized the compilation and gave us advice. When he heard my song, he was like “take it back, take it back, your dope, you have a dope voice, just work on your cadence.” Before he left, he gave me some homework which was to listen to the Black Album and Tribe Called Quest. He told me to really study their albums don’t just listen to them. That’s how I meet 9th. Enve- Usually most artists have a message that they try to pass of in their music, what is Rapsody trying to get across to her fans on the Mic? Rapsody- My whole thing is culture over everything to protect the culture the fun of it, the art of it, and the skill of it. I grew up listening to Mc Lyte, Queen Latifiah, Lauryn Hill, Jay Z, Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, and I don’t think my nieces, nephews, and little cousins are exposed to the same art form as I. The radio only gives one side, Dj’s don’t have the same control of breaking records, and they are not exposed to different styles of hip hop Enve - For the people who don’t know, explain a little about the Kooley High Movement that you’re apart of and how did it started? Rapsody - It started at North Carolina State as an organization. It was started by me, Tav, Charlie, Tom Foolery, DJ Ill Business, and The Subnopsis. Kooley High is three emcees, two producers, and a DJ. We got together and made music continuously, so ninth told us we should just become a group, so we been rocking strong ever since the spring of 2006 and put out three projects and we are about to do the fourth, and everybody released their solo projects. We are diverse in terms of races and religions. We remind you of the Fugee movement. Enve- You recently released your E.P; THANK H.E.R. NOW you pay tribute to
the pioneers of Hip-Hop. Who are your favorite pioneers that influenced you and why? Rapsody- Africa Bambaataa because him and Kool Herc are two of the most influential reasons we have Hip - Hop. What he did with the Zulu Nation by taking gang members out the streets and making them B-Boys and Emcees and DJ’s. Removing the violence, bringing fun, education, and knowledge to the streets true Hip-Hop, so he would have to be my favorite he represents what the culture is. Enve - In your view, how has Hip-Hop progressed since the golden age of Hip Hop? Rapsody - It has definitely made a global impact on the world because hip hop is everywhere you look it’s done more for race relations than government agencies. Hip hop has truly unified the world through music. You can go to a Hip - Hop party and see people of any religion, any background, race, or age all in one spot having fun because of Hip - Hop. It’s in commercials, movies and everywhere you look it’s definitely expanded globally. They even use Hip - Hop in classes to help people learn something. Enve - You present a lot of substance (lyrics) in your music. For example, tracks like H.E.R Throne, and Black Diamonds stood out to me on your E.P. How important do you think it is for the music culture to not lose substance or positive messages in the music? Rapsody- It’s definitely important since Hip Hop is a way of life, and the voice of the people. It’s for the people and by the people. You can learn from Hip - Hop, Common said Hip - Hop taught him the Bible for some people Hip - Hop teaches them African - American history. The message is profound. The message teaches people how to think cause Hip - Hop is a vessel to get the message out to the people and without with out a way to get the message out we become dumb like Zombies in a sense. I put this on twitter “You don’t have to burn books to kill a culture you just need people to stop reading them” That’s the same in Hip - Hop if you get people to stop getting the message you kill the culture that’s the importance of having a message.
Enve - How did the Black Diamonds track come about with you and Raekwon? Rapsody - I didn’t expect it to happen that was a day I will never forget. Ninth and I had a show out of town and we came back later that night and somebody hit him on the phone and told him Raekwon is in town doing a show. We then found the location ninth met with Rae and I stayed in the car. He told him to come by the studio “I have some beats I want you to hear.” So at 2:30 am, he comes to the studios production room to listen to beats. Then he looks at me and says, “So you sing right?” I said, “no I rap I’m an Emcee.” 9th asked him, “do you want to hear something” then asked me, “What do you want me to play him.” So I was like play him track five off Thank H.E.R Now, so he sat there and nodded and was like, “Yo I’ll fuck with you, I’m going to give you a shot I got you.” I was excited 9th already had the beat ready, and I laid my verse and sent it to him because he had to leave and to do a show in Atlanta, but he did his verse and sent it back. Enve - What are some Emcee’s that you listen to and motivate you to step your game up as an artist? Rapsody - My favorites are Jay-Z, Mos Def, and Lauryn Hill. The first emcee I saw was MC Lyte in the Poor George video. At that moment, I knew I wanted to do this. Micheal Jackson, John Mayer, Kendrick Lamar, Big Krit, Mac Miller inspires me a lot, right down to Kooley High and my Jamala Artist. Enve- What is the next project you are looking on, and when can the fans expect it to be released? Rapsody - The Darkside, we are still on the fence, but it will be 15 songs that didn’t make the mixtape I don’t know if we are going to put it out yet. Send Tweets to @RapsodyMusic◀
By Deshaun Jones
RASHEEDA During the early 2000’s, we saw the rise of south in the hip hop culture. No longer was east coast alone on the thrown of Hip Hop. Popular southern artist and labels such as DJ screw, Bun B, Three Six Mafia, Outkast, Mystikal, No Limit, Cash Money, Suave House,Scarface, TI and Lil Wayne crafted a new sound to Hip Hop that would transcend into the new millennium. This genre of new music would give birth to the Queen of Crunk. Rasheeda took Hip Hop by storm with her smash hit entitled “Do It”. This hit would eventually land her a deal at Motown record. The queen of crunk has been able to remain relevant in the Hip Hop industry for over a decade as an independent artist. Recently being nominated by B.E.T awards for best female artist, the D-Lo representative has no intention off slowing down her grind. Pushing her 4th installment of her “Boss Bitch” mixtape, the queen of crunk has no plans of taking her foot off the gas. Enveonline - You were crowned the Queen of Crunk in the early 2000’s did you feel any pressure as a female artist? Rasheeda - No there wasn’t any pressure. I just did what I felt and didn’t let a lot of things get to me. Also keep in mind, we had a lot of female artist doing their thing like Akaya, Mia X and Jackie-O. I just wanted to keep working and stay focused on putting out music. Enveonline - You were one of the very few emcees who have been grinding for a while, so in your opinion why do you think nobody hasn’t looked to sign you? Rasheeda - Don’t get it twisted people be hollering at me [laugh]. There is only three clicks that I would want to be apart of. I’m not gung hoe to go sign with somebody because I think it might work. I need to know we are going to go hard at this, and I’m not trying to fuck or do none of that. If we can go about this the right way then I’m cool with that. I like Rick Ross, Kanye and Good Music, I like Jay Z and Roc Nation those are some situation that would benefit me. Enveonline - You were nominated by B.E.T for best female artist did you expect that? Rasheeda - I didn’t expect It, but I was really happy about that. Being a real 100% independent artist underground female artist to be recognized it was a blessing. Enveonline - You have your own business ImBossy.com what pushed you to become a business woman outside of Hip Hop? Rasheeda - I always was a business woman outside of Hip Hop from owning recording studio’s and so forth. I’m bossy is something I been putting on the back burner. So, I decided to pursue it and start off online to see how well it would go. All my shirts have original slogans from my music everybody
needs to be looking out and login on to “Imbossy.com” and placing orders Enveonline - I want to know is the cliché of men trying to sleep with female artist in the industry true or is it over hyped? Rasheeda - No it’s definitely true. It happens all the time for instance let’s say you wanted to do a verse with so and so the first thing they want to know “What’s Up.” That’s why I said you have to be selective about the things you do in the industry. One thing I will say, if you put your self out there they will try you. Enveonline - This year you did a series of mixtapes how did it help your career? Rasheeda - It was tremendous, putting out “Boss Bitch” volume 1 and 2 is one of the reasons I was nominated for a B.E.T awards. The fans love the fact I’m staying consistent and putting out music. I’m getting ready to put out volume 4 its just like when Lil Wayne had the big hit “LolliPop” he was on everything smoking and being consistent and putting out mixtapes, which was very smart because what it does is it invites people into your world and helps you to create a fan base Enveonline- What does Rasheeda contribute to Hip Hop? Rasheeda - I contribute that classic, ghetto fabulous, hood chick to Hip Hop. Areal around the way girl who is what the other girl would like to be, but I’m the reality. I empower with my music and that’s something I contribute to Hip Hop Enveonline- What is your next project you will be working on? Rasheeda - Look out for “Boss Bitch” vol 4 and log on to I’mbossy.com. Check out
my new videos. I got a lot of things in the work’s. Everybody better follow me on twitter @Rasheeda▶
BLUE ROSE GROWING FROM THE CONCRETE By Deshaun Jones
In this concrete industry of hip hop there hasn’t seemed to be much room for growth in the last few years. Especially for a female emcee there haven’t been many female artists that were able to grow in this concrete jungle. A unique blue rose has managed to emerge thru the cracks and harsh critiques of naysayer’s. Lola Monroe grounded her roots in the entertainment world as a model but would soon transition to her passion in music. Not just an angelic face on the Mic this Blue Rose has been able to hold her own with some of hip hop elite’s such as “Trina, Lil Boosie, Rasheeda, Jadakiss, and more”. Lola Monroe talent would eventually grab the attention of Wiz Khalifa earning her a deal with his Taylor Gang family. This blue rose has grew strong and bold thru hip hops concrete and is ready to change your perception about female emcee’s on verse at a time. Enveonline- What does Hip Hop mean to Lola Monroe and what does Lola contribute to it? Lola- Hip Hop means life to me music is a way for people to get thru situations people live thru music so to me hip hop is life. I feel I contribute realness from a female perspective. It’s not a lot of that going on from the female perspective where people are speaking from coming from the bottom of the struggle and that’s what I contribute on my behalf. Enveonline- Was it hard to transition from you old occupation as a Model to an Emcee? Lola - I wouldn’t say road blocks but a few challenges because when people are used to seeing pretty images and they don’t know the story behind the female they see they get jaded people are one tracked minded. It cause challenges but I feel “if that’s what you’re about and that’s what you really want to pursue than go for it nothing is going to be easy when you’re going for the top”. It’s a process and I understand that I just keep going and stayed true to me which is music. I was able to get over that and break down barriers Enveonline - In present day Hip Hop there is not to many females being publicized or pushed did that discourage you when you started out? Lola - Not really it was motivating I look at it as a open lane to me there is an open lane for the other side that’s where I come in. Enveonline -You had a classic mixture called Untouchables w/ Lil Boosie how did this come about? Lola - I meet Boosie at an award show and he asks me to do a song together and we did. He said “yo this is crazy we need to do a whole mixtape together. A week before he got locked up I went down to meet him we got in the studio all night and day and knocked out sixteen songs and that’s what we got “The Untouchables mixtape”. Enveonline -Over all what made you want to sign with Wiz Khalifa over others? Lola - I had other people interested but Wiz has a positive movement Taylor Gang is a
positive movement he had the same vision as I did and he recognized my movement as I would want it to be recognized. The energy was right the vibe was right and our vision was similar it worked out. Enveonline - Tell Us about Blue Rose Ent and what are your goals for your label? Lola - We are working with other artist but I am the only artist who is officially signed to the label. 2012 will be the year that we will be pushing artist off the label. Envonline - On Boss B#tch 2 you were able to do a track with Trina called “OverTime” how did this come about? Lola- Trina is like my big sister I love her to death see is like the sweetest person in the world. We worked on few things before that track i featured on a remix to her single; we did the remix to Rihanna and Jay “Run This World”. I recorded the track “OverTime” and I heard it and was like “I know she will kill it” so i sent it to her she killed it and sent it back. Enveonline -Recently you signed to Wiz Khalifa “Taylor Gang” How has your career changed since being an independent artist? Lola - It’s still a grind and work to be put in because I’m building my foundation. What helps out is the introduction to his fan base he has such a huge fan base. As well as him making me apart of his brand and pushing us as a family. Enveonline- As a philanthropist how do you advocate for LGBT Rights? Lola - I grew up around gay people I have a connection to them that’s special and genuine because I understand since I have friends who are gay. My best friend is gay it’s important to help fight for those rights and equalities. Enveonline - In what ways do you think you empower women as a person and artist? Lola - I started my own movement called the “Bossett movement” That’s the female version of a boss. When I say Boss that
doesn’t mean you have to have all the cars or jewelry, and money. To me a Bosset is a women in control of there life so whether your in school and have your goals laid out, someone on the right track, whether your a mother that’s taking care of home. That makes you a Bosset to me Enveonline- What caused you to start Triumphant Angels Foundation? Lola - That’s my non profit foundation that I started it focused on all aspects of abuse mental, or physical no matter the sexual preference. We are working on campaign, and events for the launch of it Enveonline – What’s next for Lola ? Lola - I have a album coming, two mixtapes dropping one of them will be hosted by DJ ILL Will shout outs to him. Music, visuals, business will be pushed Triumphant angels, different ventures i have a jewelry and eyewear line coming. Enveonline - What do you want your legacy to be? Lola - To change people life to have people to believe in themselves make people be themselves. Not only that lyricism is something I love so push myself and study my craft I focus on getting better and better at lyricism that’s something i want apart of my legacy. I definitely want to change people life for the positive, and make them believe in them selves by watching me. Send Tweets to @thee_lolamonroe◀
GRITTY HARD CORE, WITTY By Azarr Johnson & Deshaun Jones
Gritty, hardcore, Witty, are just a few adjectives to describe this Brooklynite’s flow. Sonja gained her chance in the industry when she started an independent label called “Body Bag” ent. It was evident that this wasn’t just your average pretty face trying to become a rapper. Sonja got the chance to prove herself when she did a record with the likes likesth Murray the first time ever in the studio. Her hard work would land her in front of an executive Hip Hop legend “DJ Clark Kent” which would land her a deal with Virgin Records. Her talent as a writer would give her the chance to work with Platinum artist like Shaq amongst others. Enveonline- What happened with the deal on Virgin Records? Sonja- I was young and didn’t know the business but there was a lot of inner turmoil with the group that I got signed under [Body Bag Ent] that never got solved and in return I suffered. I’m not sure what happen I went from doing elaborate videos, to XXL magazine, photoshoots to being down graded to recognize something was wrong. I soon found out I got dropped from my label. Enveonline - Once you left Virgin Record where did you go? Sonja- After Virgin, I just started to enjoy life, and I kept writing. I worked with Kay Slay on a few records and started to work with Jimmy Kendricks. I was on the Formula 51 soundtrack, and the Romeo Must Die soundtrack where I did the track “We Be Clubbing” remix with DMX. I also did a song with Busta, and I was all over the place. Enveonline- How did you link up to work with Shaq? Sonja - I got my chance to work with Shaq thru Clark Kent who was the executive producer of Shaq’s Album. Enveonline - What happen with that situation? Sonja - I’m not even sure what ever happen with our business relationship we had a great rapore, and I was in LA every week, but we are still cool. Enveonline- When you first came into the game the female emcee was being more accepted as of now there not what is your opinion on this? Sonja- It’s a male dominated industry and to get respect from them you have to act like them. That started to get over saturated in Hip-Hop, and sometimes I think it’s our own fault. There is a lot of cattiness, I always say women by nature are very competitive. We don’t support each other, and I think that’s a problem Enveonline - Certain female emce’s that came before you such as Lil Kim and Foxy often kept a raunchy appearance
do you think that hurt the perception of female emcees? Sonja- I think it’s more of work ethic sometimes women need too much. Guys can go to a photo shoot and just knock stuff out. Women have to have our hair done and keep our appearance up and it’s costly. Enveonline- Whats next for Sonja Blade? Sonja- I have my own label Top Of The World ENT. I currently have a few joints out called “Guess You Haven’t Heard Of Me,” and “You Don’t Stop” produced by Jimmy Kendricks thats crazy. I also did a song with Tech and Steel called “Brooklyn Keeps Taking It, a track for DJ Kay Slay’s Album. I’m in talks with “Blockwork” (Fred The Godson Label). What’s next for me is to have my artist on my own label and push them out. Enveonline - Who’s on the Label? Sonja - I have an artist Louie Castro who is an incredible Singer, and I’m working with a rapper called Naza from the Bronx. Send Tweets to @SonjaBladeMusic◀