Rasheeda Talks Compromises Of "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta," Considering Returning To Major Label
Exclusive: The ATL rapper with the "Bubble Gum" addresses her on-screen label meetings, men preying on women in the industry and declares, "I'm not going to compromise myself for nobody's damn show."
Rasheeda has been playing many positions on the field of the Hip Hop industry as an artist for the last 11 years. The Queen Of Crunk (as she's been called) helped D-Lo Records gain national recognition and a Motown Records partnership. Since leaving the major label system, 'Sheeda has found equal success at the independent level, especially in 2006's regional hit "Got That Good (My Bubble Gum)" from GA Peach. Now a cast member on Vh1’s Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, Rasheeda is once again in the mainstream on her own terms.
Still a "Georgia Peach," Rasheeda recently spoke to HipHopDX about her personal story and how it fits in the real world, off-camera life in "love and Hip Hop."
HipHopDX: There are a lot of people that rep the “A” but they’re really from Augusta or Athens, maybe from a whole other state. I know you were born in Illinois but you’re definitely a Georgia Peach all day. Tell me about your Atlanta roots...
Rasheeda: Well I graduated from North Clayton high school and a lot of my family is here. I’ve been in [Atlanta] for a number of years, coming here was a blessing because I was very young when we moved but Atlanta was the type of city where can definitely make your dreams a reality. My mom was like, “Hey, according for you to be successful, I want to open up your vision and make it broader for your dreams to be as big as you wish. And a city like Atlanta can make it all possible.” I can’t thank my mother enough for deciding to move us to a major hub like Atlanta.
DX: You found success success with creating Hip Hop anthems like “Got That Good (My Bubble Gum),” tell me what it takes to make an anthem. Do you have some type of recipe for your success?
Rasheeda: The only recipe I have is I love to work early in the morning and I like coffee to get me going. Other than that, I’m straight. I don’t have any super crazy rituals or anything like that. I don’t really get up and think hard on it like “Oh my God, I need to make a female anthem today.” I just play the track and let the beat talk back to me, then I just go in and do what I do and whatever I’m feeling for the moment, which leads to the “Bubble Gum,” “Vibrate,” [and my other songs].
DX: What is that like for you being able to wear the hat of "Queen of Crunk?"
Rasheeda: It’s a good thing and I embrace that. I love to party and have fun and try to make music that you can just pop in the car and ride out to with your girls. That’s one of the reason why I love Hip Hop so much because of the effect that the music has on its listeners. Hip Hop as a story - and as music in general makes your build memories that will last a lifetime. When people come to you about records that you’ve done and let you know that they some how related or it touched their lives directly, its an amazing experience. I love making my type of music that the ladies can dance and pop their booty to. [Laughs]
DX: You’ve been in the game as a female rapper for a minute so I know you’ve either experienced first hand or indirectly sexism or sexist advances from your male counter parts. When a female finally makes it to your level does she still have to deal with that type of disrespect, or once you reach success the nonsense stops?
Rasheeda: I have to keep it real by saying that what you put out there is what you will get in return. I don’t put myself out there like that and it's with good reason. At this point in my career, I don’t really get that because I think the world gets that I’m married but I also know there are people that don’t care that I’m married at all. But if I was to act like I’m available then niggas would be coming at me, so ultimately you to attract certain things by the actions you display as a woman. You just have to be careful. It’s natural for a man, whether he’s in the industry or in the streets, to try and push up on a woman, but you have to shut that down and learn how to keep it moving. That’s one thing I learned early is how to keep it business. I never played myself out or compromised my integrity for a deal, single, check, or none of that mess. That’s not how I get down, but ultimately, if you come into the game like that then you’re fucked. The industry is very small, so if everyone knows you’re out there trickin' and flippin' it’s going to lead to a bad ending, and is that really what you want as a female? The answer should be no. I would never put myself out there in that type of light.
DX: Today we rarely see females jump on tracks and collaborate with each other. Why do you think some females embrace that idea and others shy away from that opportunity? Is it a competition or an insecurity issue?
Rasheeda: I think it’s all of the above. Sometimes females are insecure and sometimes it is the threat and pressure of feeling competition. Some females may have made it to a certain level and just not want others to be able to come up with them. The crazy part about it is it’s going to always be some form of competition regardless. If you’re secure with yourself first and foremost you won’t really worry about it though. The fellas seem to understand this and that’s why so many of them can and do work together, but I don’t think the women always get it. I’m the type of female who likes to collaborate with other female artists. If you pay attention, I did the “Bedrock (Remix)” with Toya, Kandi, and Lola Monroe. I think that if more women were able to come together and work along one another’s side then the whole female emcee movement would be a lot bigger and we all could go a lot further. Right now people do want to see that from us, they don’t want to just see only one person making it. It would be a bigger look that we all would benefit from. I wish everyone could get on the same page about it for the sake of good music and our fans.
DX: Everybody knows you’re a boss chick. In your opinion what constitutes a boss chick, meaning can anyone make that claim, or are there certain attributes that a woman must have in place?
Rasheeda: First off, you’ve got to be the captain of your own ship. You’ve got to go hard for what you know and what you want to being doing. You have to fight for and pursue the things that you believe in, in life. Whether you’re working for someone else but pushing hard to move up the latter or if you’re getting out there and trying to start your own business, it’s about being the best you can be. That’s something that can apply to a college student out there trying to make the top grades to a single mom working steady to provide for her kids, you just have to try to be the best at whatever you are doing. I try to just encourage women to be themselves, and be classy, have integrity, and follow their goals. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because your determination will prove that you can. Women are so strong but sometimes we can lose sight of that and I always just want to be that person that is here to remind the ladies ‘You’re a bad independent bitch, so go get it.”
DX: Speaking of which tell me a lil' about your bossy accessory line ImBossy.com
Rasheeda: I’m actually shopping right now for more things to add. It’s ImBossy.com, which is an appeal, accessories, and you can also purchase all of my physical CDs. All of the t-shirts are slogans of lyrics from my songs like “I’m the main chick, never the mistress” or “I’m the type of chick you want to take to your mama's house.” The accessories are really cool and edgy. Some items of funky, trendy, or just totally different from anything you’ve seen. I feel like accessories are a part of your wardrobe that can really pop and outfit off and make a defying statement for you. I just love the website and how everything has been going so far. I’m definitely looking to expand in the future to having a physical location for ImBossy.com.
DX: You just premiered your “Marry Me” video tell me about the concept and treatment.
Rasheeda: The concept was like a female Hangover scenario. It’s based on the last night you’re out hanging with your girls before you go get ready to get married, but I didn’t want to portray a wedding because that’s just so cliché. I just wanted the video to be fun with the girls out drinking and having fun and doing the crazy things that would happen prior to getting married. The video came out and I’m somewhat satisfied with it, I just wanted people to be able to watch the video and get a good laugh.
DX: What can your fans expect from the latest project?
Rasheeda: Boss Chick Music is available on iTunes right now. With this project you’ll definitely get some great club records. I have some great collaborations such as with Kandi and Toya. My next single is “Legs To The Moon” which is really hot and sexy. The music on this project is really empowering and I just tried to really hold the females down with this project with all the things we may want need or didn’t get to say. Ultimately, I wanted the music to make the ladies feel good and bossy. Definitely go pick it up on iTunes and catch my videos.
DX: There seems to be some concerns with your staying solely with D Lo entertainment. On Live & Hip Hop Atlanta, we saw you taking a meeting with outside management, so can we expect to see you making moves with Mizay Entertainment soon?
Rasheeda: You have to just stay tuned and see what happens. [Laughs]
DX: We know you’ve been signed to majors before and via the show we can see that you don’t want to take that route again. Why are you so adamantly against signing with a major label?
Rasheeda: And that’s exactly what it is, “I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like.” The thing about it is what you become an artist that has a nice solid fan base with a proven track record for generating sales independently you have to take a lot into consideration. I’m not just talking about a lil' money, I mean real money as an independent artist that allows you to really live and eat well. You have to really ask yourself if you want to give up that for a smaller check and having your business handled by a group of people that don’t understand your brand or music. That’s a lot of trust that is being placed into the hands of people that may not ever care about your career at all. I’m not trying to say that I would never go into a situation with a major, but I will say I would definitely have to be strategic about entering into such a situation. Nowadays these labels give out a bunch of rinky-dink deals in exchange for a lot from these artist and I don’t want to give up the rights to my music or publishing. I’ve been able to have placements in movies, television shows, and video games as an independent artist and I don’t want to just give that up for a little check just to be apart of some label. I see every dime of my music now and I would lose that if I went to a major, so it would have to be well worth it.
DX: Do you feel like the publicity of the show is impacting your life in a positive or negative fashion?
Rasheeda: You have to take the bitter with the sweet. Not everyone is going to be a fan or even like you so you have to accept whatever comes your way. To be honest with you, it has affected me in a great way. When you go into something big like reality television you have to already understand that it’s a give-and-take situation. At the end of the day I know I’m equipped for whatever this journey is.
I’m not going to compromise myself for nobody’s damn show. I look at it a lot of times like not everything is your battle. I damn sure aint about to go and be fighting with someone or arguing on national TV over some bullshit. My focus on the show is my family, my relationship, and my career. I’m not the type of chick to sit here and be worried over the next chick. I just worry about staying in Rasheeda’s lane. But you definitely will want to stay tuned into Vh1 eight o’clock every Monday night.