*Rapper, mother, entrepreneur, wife, and reality star Remy Ma is launching an initiative (Chrome 23) to empower women battle-rappers in the male-dominated hip hop industry. She sits down with IHeart radio personality and EURweb.com Spotlight host Jazmyn ‘Jaz’ Summers to talk about Chrome 23, her long love with hubby Papoose and her tough life as a child.
“It’s an all-female rap-battle league where it’s giving not just a shine, but it gives these women an opportunity to actually flourish,” Remy tells EURweb Spotlight. “I feel like a lot of them, they’ve been doing this for years, but they’ve never really got compensated for their work like the males. What prompted me to actually get into this is when I found out that the women were making $1,500, $2,500 per performance and the men were making $50,000, $60,000.”
She continues, “As a woman of color, I know how we always gotta work a little bit harder. We always gotta do a little bit more to even feel like we’re getting equal treatment. But that to me was just such a drastic gap that I felt like somebody needed to do something. And then to know rap and to be really into hip hop and see how talented they are and know that that’s what was going on, I just felt like they needed somebody who could be a voice for them”
Remy added: “Somebody who already has an audience, somebody that could reach out to the people and could just connect the dots. God gave them the talent that they have. I’m just gonna be the conduit that helps get it to the masses. I’m hoping that this opens many doors and not just musically, but there are other avenues cuz these women are writers. When you’re a writer you can create a career with that.”
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The shows will take place in the tri-state area of New York but you can see them from anywhere.
“You can get tickets at Ticketmaster or click the link on my bio,” says Remy. “We also have a pay-per-view link. So if you’re not in the tri-state area, you can watch it online. You can watch it on your phone, on your TV, your smart TV, whatever. My new catchphrase that I’ve been telling people is like, if you have just a grain of salt size love for hip hop, this is something that you would really wanna check out because these women are amazing. I feel like we have enough women tearing each other down. We have enough money to go around for everybody. And also there’s this misconception that female rappers only look like or sound like or do one thing. And, that wall, my goal is to tear it down, take the bricks and grind them into dust And then sprinkle that dust in the wind. Dump those ashes over the bridge.”
Remy shares that she has some strong women battle rappers who she predicts will eviscerate the men.
“There’s one match that I feel a lot of people are gonna really love whether you’re into battle rap or not. The headlining card is two women against each other. Unfortunately one of the guys that was supposed to battle, he got in a situation where he had to be incarcerated for a little while. So he wasn’t able to show up. Shout out to him He’ll be home soon. So I took these two ladies that people have been saying, are similar. They used to be a group, like a two-on-two. They would battle guys together. And they called themselves Ebony and Ivory. And I put them against each other. Everyone’s really excited to see how that turns out. Hustle she’s from Harlem and Viixen assassin from Milwaukee. Don’t be fooled because she’s from Milwaukee. You would think she was born in the Bronx and Brooklyn raised. Do not be fooled by Milwaukee at all period.”
Remy is a powerful battle rapper herself. Will she climb in the ring?
“I’m thinking that it’s probably inevitable that I’m gonna have to do something one day. I haven’t put together how I would wanna do it yet, but, I would love to. I’m still a writer, I’m still a rapper and I feel like it’ll be great,” she predicts. Stay tuned fam.
Remy’s story is an inspirational one. She overcame growing up poor during the crack era. It wasn’t easy. But Remy tells ‘Jaz’ she has no regrets.
“I feel like growing up in poverty, in impoverished neighborhoods, during a really bad drug epidemic a lot of people had to take on that responsibility of being the mom or being a caregiver when in all actuality you should have just been able to be a kid. It is what it is at this point what I’ve been through. I survived it. Thank God. But it made me stronger. It made me the person that I am today. It made me, all the wiser for it. I feel like if I would’ve been raised any differently, I wouldn’t be who I am. I’d probably be corny. I don’t know,” Remy laughs. “But I feel like it’s the story of so many of us.”
“As far as I can remember, I think things probably started really going bad when I was about seven or eight. My mom and my dad had broken up. We ended up in a shelter. It was just pretty much downhill for a while for a long while. I feel like the crazy thing is it was like the norm. Everybody’s mom. Everybody around me. Some people that I didn’t even know, they probably had moms that they thought were functioning. They were working and they did it (drugs) like on the weekends or something. Like, it (the drug epidemic) was really, really bad”
The rapper says she survived by being tenacious.
“I just woke up every day at the same time. When people ask me how did you do that all that time? I’m like well I’m not gonna off myself. That’s not gonna happen. I love myself too much for that, but I just woke up every day and just kept going. And things eventually got better,” she shares. “Some of the ideas and the plans and stuff worked. It’s very important that people know that that’s the key to keep going, to not give up, to keep waking up every day, to keep trying because now fast forward 20 years later my mom is great. She’s amazing. It’s been so long that, I don’t even remember that person she was. Now she’s a great mom, she’s a great grandmother, she’s a great, great grandmother thinks to my brother’s kids.”
She became a rising star when the late rapper Big Pun made her part of the “Terror Squad” and her career was blowing up when she was arrested for allegedly assaulting a young girl and was sentenced to eight years in prison at 26 years old. She ultimately served six.
“The prosecution had originally requested a 13-year sentence — less than the max of 25 years she was facing — but the judge in the case gave the rapper eight years, Her lawyer Ivan Fisher said it’s possible the judge in the case was swayed by an emotional address Ma gave the court during the proceeding, during which she addressed the victim directly. Remy Ma spoke to the court and movingly spoke to the victim, who was in court, to share with her how sorrowful she was about what happened to her,” Fisher said. “It was an extremely moving moment, where she expressed how badly she felt about the tragedy of being shot and that she was very, very sorry it happened.”
Remy burst into tears as the sentence was read, and Fisher described her state as “benumbed,” “very emotional” and “sobbing.” The lawyer, Ma said, “spoke to the court about the impact the sentence would have on her son [who was 7 years old].”
“It was horrible,” she tells Jaz. “It took me away from my family. It took me away from my husband, away from my child, away from my career. But in a way, there were things that I got out of there. I got some really great friends, people that I would’ve never met had I not been there like that. I consider them very dear and close to me. I also learned a lot about my husband. It made our relationship stronger and our bond stronger. I learned a lot about myself and, how to interact with people in this thing called success. What it (success) does to people and how it makes people move and think. And the key word is allegedly. I had to understand that everybody who is incarcerated is not a bad person, is not a guilty person. The same way everybody who’s walking around in the street is not great and innocent. As an adult, looking at the legal system and the justice system, you really think they got it right? Every single time? But what I went through I don’t regret it. I think my life is pretty great. I love my life. I love it.”
Remy’s career skyrocketed after prison with hit songs, a reality show, and co-hosting Wendy Williams with longtime friend and fellow rapper Fat Joe.
“My family, they were there for me,” Remy reveals to EURwerb Spotlight. “Unfortunately, a lot of people that get incarcerated end up by themselves. Their wives leave them, their husbands leave them, and their children get broken up and separated. Parents die. All types of things happen to where it sets you up for failure. You come home and you have this felony, or you have this record, or you have no employment history because you are away for so long. You can’t even get certain licenses. Even if you wanted to be an entrepreneur, there are all these barricades and obstacles that are put in your path. You feel like you paid your debt to society, but you never really finish paying.”
“Thankfully, I have fans that really, really love me and I don’t quit. I am never gonna quit. I’m never gonna just lay back and be like, all right this is what it is. I’m always gonna wake up with a new idea, with a new plan, with a new goal. That’s just the type of person that I am. Even as a young girl, when I was struggling and not knowing where my next meal was gonna come from or where the next roof over my head was gonna be, I knew that I wasn’t gonna be poor. I was like, I cannot stay like this, somehow someway I have to change this and I have to fix this. I’m still like that. My husband tells me all the time, babe, we’re not poor, relax. I’ll be like, yeah, we, ain’t never gonna be poor. This is why I’m doing what I’m doing.”
The biggest support was from her hubby Papoose who stood by her the entire time. Now they’re 14 years in and when you see them together you can just feel the love.
“It was just our 14th anniversary,” the rapper dishes. “We’ve been together for about 17. I tell people all the time, you have to be in it for the right reasons. It has to start with the right reasons. A lot of times people get with somebody because they like the way they look or they’re infatuated with their celebrity or their status or their money or the sex. But these are things that are temporary. These are things that could be removed. So what happens if the money’s not there? What happens if he or she puts on a couple of pounds and they not as sexy as you thought they was? What happens if the drive is not there anymore? When you’re in it for those reasons and these things get taken away, nine times outta 10 people be looking for the exit door. When you’re in it with your heart cause you genuinely love this person, that person could be behind bars, they could be a hundred million miles away, they can be to where you can’t physically touch them or be with them and you gonna still be with them because this person is who you love and who you wanna be with.”
The secret to her marriage?
“There’s a lot of sacrifices involved because we all, regardless of how you wanna put it, we all want our way. Everybody wants certain things., I’ve never met two people that want the exact same thing, the exact same time all the time. It’s about sacrifice. There are gonna be times when you wanna do something. And because you love this person and you respect this person, you’re gonna have to put your wants and your needs aside so that they can be happy and vice versa. And when y’all have that bond and when you have that chemistry and that love and respect, you guys can grow together. I’m sure you’re not the same person now that you were when you were 22 or when you was 18 or when you were 15, we change and so does your partner. So you have to make sure that when you’re changing and they’re changing, you still can do this at every level of change.”
Plastic surgery to get the big ‘badunkadunk’ bootie and breasts with the snatched waist has almost become a uniform for female rappers. But Remy is against plastic surgery for some folks.
“We live in a very vain world right now,” she says. “The more beautiful you are and the more appealing you are to the eye. Unfortunately are people that get the deals and the money and become the face of certain products. But I’m not against plastic surgery. I don’t body shame anybody that does that. What I am against is promoting it to people who are really young and they’re not even developed yet. I’ve seen girls 15, and 16 getting nose jobs. But that’s not even your nose yet. Your nose is gonna change. Your face is gonna change. Your body changes, especially us as women. The body you have at 15, 16 is not the body you’re gonna have when you’re 20, 21. That’s not the body that you’re gonna have when you’re 28, 29. And after children, even more so. I’ve had children to where you’re like, damn, I wish my stomach was back flat. Or I wish I still had my, 30, my 36 B. ”
“Now I got a whole double D situation going on. I feel like it (surgery) is being promoted and pushed a lot to younger people that are really not prepared for that and people that can’t afford it. Quick story. I’ve seen somebody who wanted veneers and they flew to some country and for $2,000 got veneers. And within like six months, their whole mouth was infected because they didn’t even know what this person had put in there. Obviously, if you’re here and you’re getting a service that costs about 15 to a thousand dollars for two veneers and you go to somebody somewhere else and (you give them) $2000, to do your entire mouth, these are things that people need to worry about. They go into these people in their basement doing lip and butt fillers and it’s scary. And that’s what I’m against.”
“I haven’t had any plastic surgery,” Remy discloses. ” I’ve always thought about getting the scar on my face removed. I got cut in my face when I was young and I had always thought about getting that fixed and I didn’t. I got my first veneers in 2003 and then I got them redone probably about six years ago., I would love to get a breast reduction because I’m not even gonna lie, this is crazy. Everyone says that’s what they’re paying to get but they don’t know the stress, the headache behind the big breasts, the scars on your shoulder from the bra I was breastfeeding my daughter literally, my daughter was three years old. I just stopped breastfeeding in August of last year. Like about 10 months ago. I breastfed for two years and eight months.”
“When I feel like I’m getting a little chunky, I’ll be pescatarian, vegan. I’m not doing just a salad though cause that’s not appetizing I’d rather starve. I’d just eat nothing Just give me fried air, please. Boiled nothing. I’ll take it and just, just get it over with.” she jokes.
“I had to find somewhere to hide from my daughter where she wouldn’t find me. But shoes and sneakers are a part of my real bad obsession. I have my separate sneaker closet which is just as bad. I started out with sneakers and then Fat Joe’s wife is the one I blame all the time for my obsession with shoes. She’s got me addicted way back when. Hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
You can catch the full conversation, see the shoes and catch a peek of Remy’s daughter in the video at the top. And don’t forget to subscribe to Jazmyn Summers youtube.