How did you react to being signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath label and then it not really working out?
I was in L.A. for maybe four days, and I had to do a demo for one of Dre's producers, and I hadn't even met Dre. I hadn’t talked to him on the phone and I was in L.A. recording at one of his studios. And then I went to his house and played him the demo, and he looked at me, like, "Alright, let’s make a deal. I want to sign you." It was like a dream. And then literally that next week, I went back to Philly, packed up my stuff and was back in L.A. I was living; I was happy. I was 18 and I had everything. I had a sick condo. I was like, "This is it." Then after eight months, he dropped me and I was back home in Philly at my mom’s house and I was devastated. That feeling right there was like: Oh well, maybe this dream wasn't supposed to be. I was really depressed. So it went from a crazy high for eight months to the lowest of all lows. It was horrible.
Did you have a convo with him? Do you remember him telling you, “It’s all right”?
Oh, hell no, Dre don't do confrontations [laughs]. He didn't tell me anything. I got told by one of his people that it was a wrap. I don't think I talked to him again until I got signed to Ruff Ryders. I remember his company, Aftermath, was at the Source Awards. Ruff Ryders and Aftermath were performing. I saw him in the auditorium, and in my head, I was like: Yeah, nigga see I told you, I’ma make it.
Did you hold a grudge?
You know what, I didn't. I think when it happened afterwards, I had some feelings. But after I got signed to Ruff Ryders, I knew I was supposed to be with Ruff Ryders. I was like, I’m actually glad I never put out a record with Dre and Aftermath because I was at the time Eve of Destruction. I was a whole other person. I’m happy that never happened.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
At 16, I thought I was completely grown. So if I had to give any advice, I would have let my mom in a little more. ’Cause I’m the kind of person, I feel like I gotta take care of everything by myself. Now that I’m older and my mom and I are closer, I wish I would’ve let her in a bit more in my life in things that were going on in my head.
Did she try to do that and you pushed back?
Yeah, my mom is a real quiet person. You know she’s there, but at the same time, you almost… I was like, I need to deal with this myself. I felt like I was a grown-up, and I felt like my issues were my issues and I didn't want to let her in.
Did this have anything to do with Stevie J?
That’s just life. That just happened to be a relationship I had.
I read that you guys had talked about marriage. Did you feel ready back then?
I think I thought I was ready for marriage. Stevie J was my first serious situation. Being in the industry, feeling like I needed to do it… I don't know, I was definitely too young for marriage. I was like 21, 22.
What would you tell yourself now in that situation?
I think all your experiences in life build who you are. There's nothing that I really regret or would change. I think everything I went through then makes it easier to appreciate the love I have now. I'm truly in love and happy and I’m older. The things that I would do then helps me appreciate the stuff now. I would never take anything back.
"I'm happier than I’ve ever been, honestly. I feel like I'm 18, and probably because I'm more comfortable in my skin. I know who I am, I know what I want, and I don't have to front for nobody."
Do you feel wiser?
I'm 34. I'm a big girl, so I'm definitely much wiser, as much as I can be. I'm still a very impulsive person, so there's certain things I want to work on, but you know.
Are you comfortable getting older?
I'm happier than I’ve ever been, honestly. I feel like I'm 18, and probably because I'm
more comfortable in my skin. I know who I am, I know what I want, and I don't have to front for nobody. I'm completely okay with me at this point in my life. Not that I’m not still working on myself. I ain’t perfect or none of that, but I also accept my imperfections. And that's something that when I was younger I would beat myself up about and guilt myself. Nobody gets on my nerves like I get on my nerves [laughs]. I'm just really hard on myself. Now that I’m older, I’m a little more accepting of who I am, even when I fuck up and make mistakes.
What did you beat yourself up about before?
It could’ve been anything from writing a rhyme a certain way to dating a certain dude or saying something crazy. Like I said, I’m impulsive. Sometimes shit just flies out my mouth. So sometimes my filter’s not up. When I was younger, I really was like that.
Do you want kids? Are you one of those women who has a deadline?
I do want to have kids. I love children, so I can't wait to be a wife and a mother and all that. But I also want it to come at the right time. I don't want to put a deadline on myself. Women, we put deadlines and we pressure ourselves so much. Everybody's lives are different. So I’d like it to be sooner than later, but I don't really have a time frame.
You’re dating a rich guy, Maximillion Cooper. How did you find him?