My dog is going crazy (yells to dog).
Young Zee and his manager doing?
It's not as drastic as it sounded. I know the reports said they were beaten
and stabbed, but it's not like that. I was in Germany when it happened
and I was getting a bunch of messages, but I was like, "I don't even
know anything about it."
just got blown out of proportion.
saw a knife pulled on them but they weren't stabbed.
gears, Everything is a Story is finally online. What's up with that?
I just decided
that I had tons and tons of songs sitting around getting dated and by
the time I actually do drop a Rah Digga album, they probably won't have
those songs. The new album will have a whole new batch of records. I think
it's a shame. I have all those records that will go to waste or be given
away for mixtape purposes, so I figured I'd make a buck off them my damn
just be downloaded online?
Yeah. I have
a team working so it will download straight to your computer at the time
you purchase it. It's still under construction, but we just hurried up
to the hurry up and buy stage. Now we're trying to make the site look
pretty and we're working out the glitches. Once you make the purchase,
most people said it takes two to three days to get an automated email
sent to you with the mp3 files. They're complete, unprotected files.
you want to give people with Everything is a Story?
that would have made the album and wouldn't have made the album. The website
itself is set up with different pages. There's a Dirty Harriet page with
stuff from the first album and there's the Everything is a Story page.
That page has damn-near thirty songs on it. They either made the cut or
didn't make the cut. People can sample them. Most of the songs on Everything
is a Story were supposed to come out in 2003 so they're a little dated.
You might hear "2003!" in some of the songs, but it's all the
stuff that was sitting around getting ready to come out on that album
that never came out. We're working on putting together the mixtape stuff
now. It's more than Everything is a Story. It's going to be everything
Rah Digga has recorded in her life. There's going to be vintage Outsidaz
songs and there's going to be a page with vintage Flipmode songs and there's
going to be a page of Busta Rhymes collaborations. It's going to have
everything I've pretty much done in my life. You can't get them from the
DJ's or Fat Beats. It's all coming from Rah Digga's personal archives.
online instead of selling mixtapes?
why I decided to do it online is because the fans come directly to me.
The mixtape stuff I'm just doing for a buzz. I don't really make money
off mixtapes. The internet reaches far more people than a lot of the mixtape
distributors reach. There's a whole West Coast and Midwest that doesn't
even get their hands on these mixtapes and meanwhile I have albums and
albums worth of mixtape songs. Plus I want people to know I'm still rapping.
There are people who probably think I don't rap anymore, but I go to the
studio every day. They wouldn't know that because I'm not stable at a
label, but I'm doing this on my own. I'm going to the studio and putting
it on the internet the next day. You're getting this fresh off the press
before the mixtape DJ's.
who doesn't know, why didn't Everything is a Story ever come out?
Flipmode, including Busta, was on J Records. Pretty much, Busta had decided
he was going to make his move to Aftermath, but he was trying to keep
it under wraps until my album came out so it wouldn't affect my project,
but they found out and they did away with the whole squad.
still working on your new album Sucker Free?
going to be the album when a real Rah Digga album comes out. If folks
want to know what they would have gotten on Everything is a Story, they
can check the website. I'm still in the lab working. Now I'm having the
dilemma of what should I keep for the album and what should I put on the
website? Plus there's a couple things from Everything is a Story I'm still
keeping. Unfortunately, I have to hold on to some of the stellar stuff.
The stuff on the website is what would have been and what could have been,
but all my a-list tracks I still have to keep under wraps.
you think Sucker Free will come out?
I can't put
a date on it because I'm still in negotiations. I'm still thinking do
I want to go through the Aftermath process or do I want to throw out an
indie first before that goes underway? I was checking out Koch as an option
but that never really came to terms. I wasn't really satisfied with the
numbers they were talking. It didn't sound like the seven dollars an album
thing I was hearing. In the midst of all that, I'm wondering why I should
negotiate with these folks when I can put my own shit out online and the
profits go all to me.
frustrating not having a stable label situation?
It was frustrating
until I came to the solution of setting up my website and selling the
joints. I can't imagine doing it any other way. You don't think about
that stuff when you're on a label and the label has rights to you. You're
just kind of working yourself like a horse for a buck off each album.
That's insane. I sell these songs for $1.99 and $1.90 goes in my pocket.
Who needs an indie or a major? All I need is a couple of promotional outlets
to navigate people to the site.
online sales been working out so far?
I haven't done any full-blown blasts because there are a lot of kinks
we're still working out. As of now, the files are being emailed to people.
We still have to work on that. That portion hasn't been set up yet. If
a million people all of a sudden decide to buy a million songs one day,
someone has to physically send out all those emails. That's one of the
reasons why I haven't gone public with it yet. We still have to work out
those last-minute kinks. It does have some publicity behind it and we're
moving songs at a moderate pace, but once all of those major kinks get
worked out, I'll feel more comfortable hitting the major radio stations
But I think
a lot of major artists are starting to wise up. You have Alicia Keys talking
about leaving J Records and release her music online. I think artists
are getting fed up and now the labels want to work you twice as hard and
blame downloading and blame everything else for what's happening. I'm
cool as long the team is doing well and Busta has his album dropping.
There's always ways to promote the situation. As long as I still have
outlets to promote my music, I'm not really rushing to be locked down
to a label right now.
see more artists taking the online route in the future?
were smart. If more artists wise up and stand their ground, they would.
I think everyone got shook up when labels started consolidating and felt
they had to take whatever was given to them. They saw everyone getting
laid off and felt they had to hold on to their jobs. Fuck that shit. I'm
not underestimating my words and I'm not conforming to other artists.
I rock how I rock and all the Rah Digga fans can go right online and buy
downside to that is what if someone doesn't have a computer?
I would like
to think in 2006 everyone should at least have some knowledge of the computer
world. Unfortunately, you have to take the good with the bad. For the
hundreds of thousands I might not be able to reach because they might
not have internet access, I'm going to be able to reach millions more
because they are online, especially overseas. So far, most of my customers
are coming from overseas because they ran a big story on the website on
a Norwegian version of your website. It's been getting some press overseas.
All the purchases are cc'd to my email account and I see a lot of weird
email addresses that are coming from overseas. Folks overseas don't get
mixtapes and we all know the arena for hip-hop is much more genuine overseas.
a whole different fan-base for you.
been doing it for a long time. I like to think of myself as MC Lyte's
second-coming. A lot of people still equate me to her. In the midst of
all these other females, I've still been compared to MC Lyte. That makes
me feel good to know that not having dropped an album lately, I'm still
approached by people asking when my album is dropping. I don't know what
to tell them about the label, but hey, I'm selling them on the web. I
don't know what the labels are doing!
and Young Zee still working on an album together?
actually going to put it together as a mixtape. We were going to put it
out through Koch, but since they established a reputation, they're not
the same Koch they used to be. They're not functioning like they used
to. They're functioning more or less like a real label and they were really
trying to go back and forth with the negotiations. I thought you did a
situation with them and you get six or seven dollars, but that's not the
deal. We never approached the labels about it because I figured after
not having a solo album out in so long, people would rather have a solo
album from me than a duet album. That album is going to be pressed and
distributed but it'll still be on the site.
been working on an album?
No. The Flipmode
album, we haven't worked on it in years. I'm predicting it's going to
be a project that comes down the line on Aftermath. I think right now
everyone is just consumed with their solo projects.
ever bother you when you see new artists being added to Flipmode but you
and Spliff Star still haven't dropped an album?
It's still a business and part of keeping the group Flipmode exciting
are the new artists. To keep mentioning Flipmode and there's no one in
Flipmode to talk about besides yourself, that definitely doesn't work
well from a team aspect. Adding new members only makes the crew look better
as a whole. Busta still has a business to run and his business is making
money, so he has to capitalize off whatever new, young, fresh blood he
can get his hands on. I'm not mad at that, I just have to do me. You're
only going to fuck yourself up if you study the next person's movements.
You can't do that. I would be killing someone if I sat here asking myself
why Papoose is down and I still don't have a deal. You can't think like
that. That's not healthy thinking. My approach is I have my joints to
sell and I'm going to a couple joints with the dude and I'm going to capitalize
off their buzz. You have to use the team accordingly. Being mad gets you
you feel Busta's supported you all these years as he should have or did
he leave you out to dry?
I feel like
Busta is doing what artists do. They have to secure themselves first and
then they do what they can for the team. He had a pretty long run of sitting
and waiting on Aftermath and now that things are turning around for him.
He's going to do things for the team once his own situation is 100% secure,
meaning his album will be out and it'll be doing what it's supposed to
do. It's easy to talk crap when your own artistry wasn't at the top. He
wasn't there for awhile. He stayed on people's joints doing remixes but
he sat for three years after a failing album, so he wasn't really in the
position to run up into offices and barter the way he needed to. That's
not the case now. At the same time, I don't think anybody on Flipmode
should be sitting and waiting on Busta either.
as though you're very loyal to Busta.
I'm not one
to air dirty laundry. Any grievances I have with Busta, I'm not going
to shoot them to the public. To me, that's not how you get ahead. You
get ahead by doing you and it's a team effort and you have to use your
team accordingly. Me going to the press and saying, "I think Busta's
messed up and why don't I still have a deal?" is not going to attract
the attention I want. I'm not into the industry/public beef. That's not
my thing. I'm not one of those people who has to breed controversy to
fix problems. That doesn't do it for me. As long as I'm securing my own
paper, I'm good, and Busta is a very key tool in that.
at the "Touch It (Remix)" video shoot. What are your thoughts
on that night?
It was crazy.
The whole day was so fly. It was right after New Year's and everybody
was seeing everybody for the first time since the holidays. It was just
a real beautiful day. I hadn't seen Mary in awhile since the Jay-Z at
the Garden show. I hadn't seen DMX since he was having his troubles. The
whole day went beautifully. I had just gotten finished rapping my part.
I was literally walking out the door with my luggage when the drama started.
I thought it was fucked up. I was like, "Here we go, we have a nice
day going and as usual, with any hip-hop function, shit had to go this
way." I was pissed off because Busta is not that artist. He's not
the person who's all caught up in industry beef and controversy. For it
to happen on that day, especially when the whole Flipmode was just feeling
like, "Hey, we're back!" was bad. This was the turning point
for everybody again, and then for this to happen. I was more mad at the
circumstances. I'm sorry someone had to lose their life, especially when
he wasn't even doing security work. He didn't even have a vest on or anything
because he was not designated security. It was a series of unfortunate
events. I was more mad at the fact, like for awhile we were worried the
video would be confiscated and it would delay the whole movement. I was
about to be in a video for the first time in I don't know how long, and
it's going to get shut down because niggas want to act up. It pisssed
me off on a whole 'nother level.
know Israel Ramirez?
Yeah. I didn't
know him-know him, but he's been down with the crew for years. I've seen
him on a come-and-go basis, but I didn't really know him-know him. I'd
know him when I saw him, but he wasn't Busta's assigned security. I don't
think he has been for years. Busta spends a lot of time on the road and
on the West Coast with Dre, so I hadn't seen dude in years.
been asked to testify?
Oh, no. It
was made clear that night that I didn't know shit and I didn't see shit.
I was on stage rapping when that shit was going on. I can't be of any
help. I don't know who was arguing and what it was about. I was on the
inside. Can't nobody ask me shit because I don't know anything.
you feel about the way the public is treating Busta over not talking to
understand. When things go on in the hood, I know there's the whole snitching
thing and it's supposed to be a big no-no. I, personally, don't like to
share information with cops because I feel they don't give a shit about
solving the crime. I watch enough Forensic Files on Court TV to know if
they were really on their j-o and they wanted to catch them, they'd catch
them. Snitching is telling on someone to keep themselves out of trouble.
I think people are getting the whole snitching thing confused. There's
a difference between snitching and justice. Me, personally, I don't share
information with the cops. Do I think Busta did the right thing by keeping
the information away from the cops? I don't really have an opinion on
it. If you're going to not talk with the cops about it and you're going
to deal with it in the streets, then it needs to get dealt with in the
streets, but if it's not going to be dealt with, I don't know. That's
some other shit.
you see the situation working out?
I don't know.
I don't ask about it. I don't inquire about it. I don't know how the police
are going on with their investigation. The cops know who's involved and
if they really wanted to press the issue, they would press the issue.
They want to press Busta but they know how the whole situation went down
and if they really gave a shit about solving it instead of printing "Busta
said this, Busta said that," then they would have solved it. They
have enough information they need to make an arrest if they wanted to,
but I don't think they really give a shit because they know damn well
who was involved.
talk to a lot of young artists from Jersey and ask them about other artists
in Jersey, they don't shout you, Redman, Naughty by Nature, or anyone
else out. Does that bother you?
know what they hear and they only know what they're getting brainwashed
with on the radio. If you listened to the radio right now, you would think
there was no other female who rapped except for Remy Martin. If you only
hear her on the radio, a million and one people will say she's the best.
When Lil' Kim comes back, they'll say she's the best. People don't really
know anything because they're only listening to one rotation. When we
were coming up you had to listen to all these people on the same station.
People don't really get the same musical diversity because all the stations
are so segregated, so you're only hearing certain joints. It goes back
to that whole out of site-out of mind concept. If the people haven't heard
a Rah Digga joint in a long time, who's going to think to mention me in
their list of their favorite artists? That doesn't bother me anymore because
as soon as I drop a record, they're going to come back. That doesn't bother
me anymore. I used to look at it like, "Why don't people respect
the culture?" I'm over it. I'm over what happened to ethics in hip-hop.
feel Remy didn't take advantage of her situation or was she set up to
I don't think
they set her up to fail. I just think it's hard to market female artists
especially when they're not doing the ultra-sexy thing. I know she tries
to do it, but at the end of the day, she still comes off as hard. She
still raps about selling drugs and stuff, and at the end of the day, that
doesn't really work too well with the average female. You really need
a mass female audience to succeed. To me, Remy is doing the same thing
that I did in 2000 when my first album came out. I was the hard-spitting
chick whose album came out and I didn't go platinum. I got all the respect
from the niggas and the streets, but I still had a hard time winning chicks
over. To me, I think that's all she's going through. What's making it
worse is I think she's rebelling a little too aggressively against Fat
Joe. If there's anything artists signed to other artists have learned,
if we haven't learned anything else while being in the music industry,
is that if you try to rebel against the leader of a group, it doesn't
work. The program directors and DJ's will not take your side and history
will tell that story from Bow Wow to Chingy. If I were to go on the radio
and say "Busta's not fucking with me, womp womp womp," Funkmaster
Flex is not going to play me over Busta. I just don't think she's handling
the unsuccessfulness of the situation of it very well.
could do it over again, would you change your style to be more sexy instead
of straight spitting?
Not at all.
I wouldn't have changed my style, but what I would have done is I would
have stayed at Elektra. I didn't want to go to J Records. I knew they
were a label that didn't know what the hell to do with rap music. I was
sitting on the label for two years recording the Flipmode album that never
came out and sitting on the label two more years on my solo project. If
I would have stayed on Elektra, I probably would have put out three or
four albums before they folded.
feeling more pressure to make Sucker Free a classic because it's been
so long since Dirty Harriet?
that's where the bar is right now. There's no room for error. However,
every time I step in the booth, I like to think I put my best foot forward
anyway. I like to think I have a team who's honest with me. A lot of artists
don't like to accept criticism and I've never had that issue. I've never
had a problem changing a hook if someone thinks it's wack. I don't have
a problem taking criticism because we don't know everything. I know how
to put rhymes together, but it may take that person who doesn't rhyme
but goes to the club every week to know how to make a song better in the
club. I like to hear things like that.
do you go from here?
My main focus
right now is that I'm actually about to spend some time out west. I really
want to finish handling my business in the movie world. Music is good,
don't get me wrong. It's my first love and I'll always be able to pick
up a pen and rhyme. That's second-nature to me. I feel like it's a phase
too. I'm just kind of to the point where being a rap artist ain't enough
for me. I'm working with other artists. I'm trying to develop some R&B
artists and I have some young artists under my wing. I'm trying to push
their projects. I'm also trying to dabble in the movie world. The payoff
is so much sweeter. While the songs are being purchased off the web, I'll
be in California like a new artist in the movie world.
of films will you be working on?
I like the
serious drama roles. I did the Scary Movie and I thought that was cool.
I've been told I have great comedic timing and people in Hollywood have
told me I have the acting persona of Whoopi Goldberg. I could pursue some
comedic roles on that level. What I'm really studying for are the more
serious, intense, Oscar-nominated drama roles. That's the stuff I'm taking
lessons for and paying a coach for. All of the grinding I did for music
when I was in my early-20's and I was young and carefree and just wanted
to rhyme, I don't really have that going on for me right now. Now music
is my job. It's like when I go to the studio I'm punching a clock. Now
I feel like my parents when they've been at a job for too long. Music
is too routine for me. I'm a Sagittarius; I'm too free for that. Once
it starts feeling too routine, I'm like, I have to find something else
for myself. I'm going to do the young, running around, free-spirited stuff
in the movie world and hopefully I'll have a blossoming career just like
with my music.
losing a love for rapping?
No. I'm not
losing love for it, it's just becoming routine. It's just that now, everything
I thought I knew about the game is not what it is. I just feel like there's
no more surprises left. I know everybody. If you've been to one Summer
Jam, you've been to them all. It's like going to work. I'm not going to
say I lost a love for it because I still love to do it. I still love my
job, but now it's just starting to feel like a job. Busta's performing
at Summer Jam this year and it's not like, "I can't wait to perform
at Summer Jam," it's like, "Okay, I have to go to work today."
see yourself getting into anything else besides music and acting?
other artists I might executive-produce, I think I really just want to
explore the acting world, get into some production, and things like that.
That's the thing. There's a whole world of movie stuff that I don't know
about and I want to know about it. I want to see if the myths are true
or false. It's a brand new life and that's why I'm more excited about
doing that as opposed to doing the music, which feels like the same old
thing. I already know everything. Going on the road isn't a big thing
anymore. I know I have to go on the road, do shows, go to the radio stations,
It's not exciting anymore. I already know the drill.
the next thing we should look for coming from you?
I would say
look for the new album Sucker Free coming out under Flipmode/Aftermath,
but hey, if you see me in the movies beforehand, what can that tell you?
And I don't have a solo situation on Aftermath. I just want to clear that
up. I don't want to send out any false news. Flipmode actually having
a joint venture with Aftermath is being negotiated. If that happens, my
project will be released on Aftermath. If that doesn't happen, I'm not
going to Aftermath on my own deal.
you want to say to everyone reading the interview?
for your undying support and whoever doesn't support, go to hell. Whoever
does, you can purchase the music online. Make sure you tune in weekly
because I'm always adding new joints. I only have a fraction of what I
have on the site. We can only add it as fast as the programmer can add
it, and I think I record faster than he can post them. Check in weekly
and get whatever joints you didn't cop in the past. If nothing on the
site moves you right now, there will be a whole new batch of records up
there. There's going to be video footage in effect as well. There's going
to be enough loot coming in from the site where I can shoot my own videos
for it. What I'm not doing is spending my personal life savings to create
a buzz. I'm past that, too. The money the site generates will go back
into perfecting the site and as it blows, it should be a really big thing.
I think when more artists stop worrying about when they're going to get
a deal and take their shit into their own hands and realize it's their
own blood, sweat, and tears and they should be making the most money from
it, I think when everyone gets that in their heads, I think the 'net is
going to be the next really big way to put out music legally. And look
for me in the movies!
Be sure to
cop some songs at http://rahdiggamusic.com