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Dia: So have you all felt any pressure? Because as female MCs it seems like we either say we have the ho type or either we have the extra tough —
Boog: I just have the hardest time trying to figure out branding, because it's not something that I've thought about. It's kinda like I stumbled upon this. I lost my job and I was like, "Damn, let me see if this music shit works." And it just kinda happened from there. So the rest of it is just kinda falling into place where it may.
Adrift: I get a lotta pressure. I got a lot of people coming at me, like, "Driftee, you're so pretty. You could do this, you could do that." People don't know, but before I came [to Atlanta] I was being looked at by Def Jam [Records]. I was being looked at by [50 Cent's] G-Unit. And the trade off was, be Nicki Minaj. And I was like, "Fuck that, I got a little sister." So like I was saying, as an indie artist I'm gonna do what the fuck I want to do.
Lyric: But I want to be able to get to a mainstream level and do what the fuck I wanna do.
stahhr: When you get mainstream, you are not gonna have more control. Because if that was the case then why would all these mainstream rappers still keep doing the same regurgitated thing?
Boog: I will say as artists, like if you look at Erykah Badu, she does what the fuck she wants to do.
Khalilah: But she came out like that. That's how she started. So you've gotta figure out who you're going to be.
Boog: She started with the headwrap and the locs and everything, and then next thing you know she's walking down Houston Street with her ass out.
Lyric: She's hip-hop.
stahhr: Hip-hop eats its young and disrespects its elders. That's just my opinion. Maybe I'm a little bit older, maybe I might be a little bit bitter. I just think as an indie artist I have way more leeway than I would ever have as a mainstream artist.
Lyric: I feel like people are scared of change. I'm not really afraid of change. I'm willing to adapt to my surroundings; I can be a chameleon in that situation. What separates indie and mainstream is, I guess, the idea that you can't do what you want to do. Because I think historically female MCs have not even really pushed their side of the table, like, "Look, this is what I'm gonna do, and if you wanna sign me this is who I'm gonna be."
Boog: The biggest separation is the thought process. That's the only thing that separates you from big and little.
Lyric: Right, you think mainstream and you think one type of thing.
Adrift: But why are we thinking mainstream artists vs. indie? Stop that. It's your thought process.
Lyric: Why can't it just be music?
Dia: And be successful, because indie artists are making money.
Boog: It's your definition of success, and your definition of what an indie artist is.
Sa-Roc: People look at you like you're a sell-out if you decide to go bigger. "Oh, you about to get a deal?" It's like automatically a deal with the devil.
Lyric: It's a deal-breaker.
Sa-Roc: And I'm like, this is love but it's also about commerce. It's also about numbers.
Lyric: All this is numbers. But it's [also] about you as the artist and when you're gonna say, "Stop. This is what I'm gonna do and what I'm not gonna do." And that just falls in the line of your creative genius.
Khalilah: But let's not be naïve about the industry we're dealing in. Its wicked, wicked, wicked, and the more you deal in it — I'm 20 years in, this is 20 years here. I've had a million different names, a million different incarnations, a million different outfits, a million different hairstyles. I've been everybody and anybody. I used to be with [Erick Sermon's] Def Squad when I was younger, so I went through all these transitions. And if anything I learned that I don't want to be with them 'cause they're wicked and they're evil. And I'm telling you, there's an evil you can't even conceive of 'cause the industry is built on "How can I manipulate people?" And as an artist, we're often at the bottom of the totem pole.
The beauty of being an independent artist is you don't have to be at the bottom of the totem pole. You can make a million dollars. I can make a million dollars, if I did the right thing, quicker than Waka Flocka, to be honest, as an unsigned MC. What we don't do is we don't look at our shit as a product, as a commodity, as a business. So in that we fail, we often fail.
Lyric: We're powerful ... nobody does split sheets, when we do shows there's no bread being broken. We're damaging ourselves sometimes.
Boog: But that's what I was saying about standards. Your mind-set has to be in the right place. You have to have your own standards set. You can't let nobody come in and be infiltrating you up here because then you'll do anything for any reason, for anybody. And that shit is not cool.
Adrift: Now what you're saying, why couldn't you as an indie artist break into the mainstream if that's your mind-set.
Boog: That is my mind-set.
Lyric: We can.
Adrift: What I'm not getting about the conversation is y'all saying it's not possible. You look at Rick Ross. Rick Ross is a liar, right. He's been rapping about the same thing since he came out.
Lyric: He used to be a cop, right.
Adrift: He was a CO [correctional officer], so he was underground before he became mainstream. It's possible. It's just, we put ourselves in this female box sometimes ourselves. We know we're not men. We know that. I'm sorry dudes, we're kinda smarter than y'all. We need to start using that. Because for me, I got people diggin' me because of me. It's like selling crack: If I got that 2-for-5 and everybody's coming back for that 2-for-5, I'm taking over every city. And then that's mainstream right there; they gotta come to you.
Lyric: Has everybody done a video already? 'Cause I'm actually working on my first video.
Boog: All I can say is, don't let nobody put no busted ass pictures of you out when you're putting out a project. That shit will fuck your whole shit up.
Stahhr: Right. And I agree with you a hundred percent. The visual component, for a woman, the way that you are visually represented is so important.
Dia: Now Adrift, MTV contacted you about your "Cheeba Cheeba" video. Tell us how that happened.
Adrift: They just emailed me and were like, "Would you like to be on [the show] RapFix with [show host] Sway and Waka Flocka?" And I was like, "Sure."
Dia: I got a chance to see the footage and Waka Flocka made a [suggestion] to you similar to what we were discussing earlier about [artistic] identity. How did you respond to that?
Adrift: He was absolutely right. My team and I are actually working on that. No disrespect to y'all, I love y'all, y'all don't wanna be mainstream that's cool. But I want some money, so that's what we're working on.
Boog: I want some money, too!
stahhr: I just don't wanna have to sell my soul.
Adrift: I don't' mean it like that.
stahhr: Can I be mainstream in a way that I control?
Adrift: Yeah, that's what I mean. Be mainstream and control it.
stahhr: Can I be mainstream and say, "We're all Moors, declare your Moorish nationality now!" If the mainstream will let me do that, I'm with it. If I can be like, 'Be a vegan, don't eat meat.' I'll do that. Absolutely, all day.
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
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