V Exclusive: Lil Mama On How Nicki Minaj Copied Her Style, Why She Deserves Respect & Going Independent


Tray Hova | June 15, 2011 - 3:45 pm

Lil Mama’s finally made it over the hump of 2009’s VMA stage crash. But now the blunt-and-bold host of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew has something else for the blogs to chomp on. VIBE hopped on the jack with Mama to dish on why you should stop hating on her new futuristic style, her next music moves and still not getting enough love from female rappers. —Tracy Garraud


VIBE: I feel like you’ve been ducking the studio a bit for that last few years. Why the break?
Lil Mama: It was a combination of things, work, personal, but I was still able to keep my creativity. I’m not jaded. Everything is just perfect timing and right now I’m making great material.

How has your personal life shifted?
Um, I’m a human being, so at the end of the day, I ha to give certain things a pause, and other certain things a play. It’s not a big deal… it’s just life. I feel really good.

Yeah, you should feel empowered after life’s bumps not daunted. What’s your label situation like? Are you independent now?
I’m definitely independent and I’ve been working on television for a while, and still working on music, still getting the same opportunities, and just feeling so great.

Was that a difficult transition for you?
Actually I left [Jive Records] so I wasn’t sad. When I first came out, I was very young and there were a lot of different pressures as far as the records that I record naturally and then the records that were being pushed to record. I’m not complaining, but it feels great to to create my own music and to do to what I want when I want. I thank Jive Records for helping me find my fan base. I couldn’t have done all of that by myself.

Word. I think besides growing as an artist, the most obvious evolution is that of your style. It’s definitely more risky and avant-garde. Why that direction?
What people get twisted is that when you’re an artist, you are art. You think a certain a way. My family would be like “Yo, you are crazy; where did we find you at?” We all grew up in New York and the swag is so simple. But I was like “Nah I don’t want to wear it like that. I know that’s the new fashion, but I want to wear it like this.” And they’d be like “Girl you crazy.” I guess you can say I’ve always been a trendsetter and being a trendsetter you’re going to get both sides of the fence because it’s not easy to digest. And it’s not easy to digest because it’s not everywhere. I really don’t care what people think though.

Interesting thing is that leftfield style is actually becoming more of the norm. How do you react to folks saying your biting Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga?