Interview by: Mame’ Damey
Edited by: Amanda Anderson

The rap game may be dominated by male artists who rap about females only as sexual conquests and gold diggers, but that doesn’t mean that female rappers can’t make waves and gain the respect of their male counterparts, while carving their own spot in a tough industry. Young Money’s own Nicki Minaj may be one of the only female emcees making the headlines, busting out features, and climbing the Billboard charts at the moment; but she won’t be the only female emcee in the game for long. With rap greats such as Eve, Lil’ Kim, and even Foxy Brown plotting ways to make it back to the mic and working on upcoming albums; it’s clear that a female emcee domination may not be that far of a stretch. Even newer female rappers are proving that they too can hold their own lyrically despite a shorter resume, and with the help of rap veterans who believe in the cause such as Atlanta’s own Ludacris, it’s evident that these ladies don’t mind working together for the greater good, and ultimately, for a greater and less sexist Hip-Hop.

Princess, formerly of crunktastic rap group Crime Mob, is stepping out on her own and taking her shot as a solo artist. After releasing a series of well received mixtapes and collaborations, she now sets her sight on her debut solo album.

Young, ambitious, smart, and humble; she plans to leave a print on rap, and step outside of the box to become the artist she’s always wanted to be. The industry is a cold one, but Princess is ready, and refuses to lose herself to shady practices.

Princess recently took time out from her hectic schedule to chat with Urban Belle about her new album, the problem with female rappers and sexist industry politics, and what she plans to do to become the solo artist that knows no boundaries, but instead knows plenty of success.

Urban Belle: How old were you when you took an interest in the music industry?

Princess: I was about 13 or 14 years old. My older brother used to rap at school and make beats so he influenced me to do music.

Urban Belle: It’s pretty tough to be a female emcee with all the politics and double standards of the business. What was it that inspired you to step into the rap game despite these obstacles?

Princess: Most of the time in the industry, the label wants you to look, walk, talk and act a certain way. I was fortunate to have good family and friends that kept me grounded. I want to show people that you don’t have to talk about sex and money to be successful.

Urban Belle: As a new group, Crime Mob came busting onto the scene with club anthem “Knuck If You Buck.” Where were you and how did it feel when you heard yourself on the radio for the very first time?

Princess: V103 was the first to play Knuck If You Buck. I was in high school at that time. The funny thing is v103 played the wrong version so we had to find all the right samples. “Knuck If You Buck” was getting a lot of attention on the streets and when we heard our song on the radio, all we did was scream.

Urban Belle: The rap industry is dominated by male rappers and one-sided music executives. How did you manage not to lose yourself in such a tough business?

Princess: At the end of the day, I have to learn not to take business too personal and I’m still learning. As a female I meet a lot of men in the industry that work with music and when I ask if I can work with them, we exchange contact information for business purposes. Sometimes they take it too far and want to contact me everyday to talk about things that don’t have to do with my music. I’m not the type to flirt or do anything out of my character to put myself on another level in the music industry.

Urban Belle: There aren’t many female rappers left in the game, but it helps when a female rapper has her own sound. What’s makes your rap style different from the others?

Princess: Back in my Crime Mob days, my sound was more of an add on for the guys’ verses. Now I have an opportunity to talk about what I want to talk about. I’m still trying to find my sound though.

Urban Belle: Are there moments when you feel more pressure as a female artist, and if so, what ways do you handle the pressure?

Princess: Being a female in general is hard. When we step out everything has to be on point..nails, hair, purse, makeup, outfit etc. Where as males don’t have to do as much as far as their appearance goes. The media fails to realize that we are humans too. It’s just important to keep humble people around me.

Urban Belle: Past or present, are there any particular female emcees that you admire and look up to for inspiration?

Princess: I love Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj. I love Nicki’s style and how she approached the rap game and took over. She’s been dominating male rappers for a while now and has been featured on a lot of males’ tracks.

Urban Belle: The female rap game is very controversial since most critics feel as if female emcees forsake their skills and become sex kittens to sell more records. How do you feel when people complain that the only thing women rap about is sex and money?

Princess: Female emcees need to prove to guys that they can rap. Females support artist the most and buy records. If you appeal to women, then the men will follow and support records as well.

Urban Belle: One of the toughest jobs of an artist is the immediate job as a role model. There will be a lot of young girls that will look up to you. What message do you want to give your fans through your music?

Princess: I want to show my fans that everybody should keep God first no matter what and stay humble even if you are at the peak of your career.

Urban Belle: Your former rap group Crime Mob separated in 2007. Do you still keep in touch with any of your former group members despite the split?

Princess: Yes, everyone is cool. We are just all doing our own things right now. We actually did a show together last week.

Urban Belle: There’s a couple of young female emcees making some noise on the music scene and enjoying the spotlight. One of them is your former group member Diamond. Are you guys still on good terms and is a collab possible in the future?

Princess: Yes a collab is possible, who knows we might get back in the studio together.

Urban Belle: You are currently working on your first solo album, what kind of sounds are you going for with this project?

Princess: I want to do more singing and have fun. I like to try new things and not take anything too serious. I also want to reach out to other artists for the album. It will be available through Itunes.

Urban Belle: As a solo artist, what do you want to achieve in the business? What will you have to accomplish to feel like you’ve made it?

Princess: 5 years from now, my goals are winning a grammy and a Oscar in the same year. I have a passion for acting as well. I’ve been taking acting classes and I just auditioned for a BET show. I also just want to inspire more females to pursue their dreams.

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