Interview: Remy Ma & Papoose Talk ‘A Merry Mackie Holiday’ Special, Raising Their Blended Family & More
VH1 is celebrating this year’s holiday season with an upcoming one-hour special, ‘Remy & Papoose: A Merry Mackie Holiday.’ The leading New York emcees are taking a break from ‘Love & Hip Hop’ to swiftly hang Christmas decorations around their contemporary North Carolina home. Still, with only a mere 72 hours to get ready for their grand X-mas party, the duo is anticipating a whole lot of chaos to ensue.
The blended Mackie family was in high spirits and the usually stern New Yorkers were working on their southern hospitality all week long. VIBE sat down exclusively with Remy Ma and Papoose to discuss holiday plans, how they maintain alchemy with their spouse’s loved ones, Remy’s swanky alter-ego, balancing romance with their co-executive producer credits and more. This is everything you need to know about ‘Remy & Papoose: A Merry Mackie Holiday,’ before its VH1 premiere on, Monday, December 18th at 9 p.m. ET.
VIBE: You guys have a long history with VH1. How was it filming your one-hour special ‘Remy & Papoose: A Merry Mackie Holiday’ versus your prior ‘Love & Hip Hop: New York’ segments?
Remy: It is a little different because when we are filming with “Love and Hip Hop,” it is [based on] specific aspects of our lives. We are a little more cautious with [filming]. As opposed to when it is your situation. We both have co-executive [producer] credits on “Remy & Papoose: A Merry Mackie Holiday.” You get to see a different dynamic between us, and our interaction with our family.
Papoose: Yes, I love the “Love and Hip Hop: New York” production team. But, this crew [that we filmed the holiday special with] I liked them a lot, too. It is a good experience from both sides. I kind of disagree with my wife a little bit. I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for saying that. [Laughs]
Remy: You can disagree.
Papoose: Nah! Even though we shoot “Love and Hip Hop” with small [segments]. I think they did a pretty good job at projecting what we share, and so does our holiday special.
Remy: You don’t think the special gets to see a different side of us that you don’t see [usually] on “Love and Hip Hop,” at all?
Papoose: I do not want to say that.
Remy: Why? It is still us. It is just a little bit more in-depth and carefree.
Papoose: To me, since we got married on “Love and Hip Hop,” nothing will ever top that.
Remy: You are so annoying. He is nuts! He is impartial to “Love and Hip Hop” because we got married on there. That is not even a valid answer. [Laughs]
Papoose: They captured me proposing, and the actual wedding! You can’t top that.
Remy: Hmm, let’s see when we have our baby.
Papoose: Right! That is a hell of a challenge, to try and top that. But, until then…
Remy: I’m on it!
How do you maintain balance with your blended family?
Remy: It is difficult because everybody has their boundaries. It [will be] different when we have our own child together. We try our best to be [great] parents to all of our children… [and treat them] the same way.
But, we still have to have that little inkling in the back of our minds, to be thoughtful. There are other parents that we have to respect. And, then the kids! I don’t want them to feel like they can try and take advantage or play us… because they will if you allow them to.
It’s hard work, but we manage to do it. The family is something that we are passionate about. But, I can definitely see how people have issues with it. It’s a job. It is hard being a parent to a biological [child], it is double the challenge being a stepparent.
Papoose: Yeah, it takes a lot of discipline. I gotta commend my wife, and myself, also. Because, you have a lot of people who run away from the challenge. They are not parents to their children, and to take it a step further and, actually, be a stepparent? Forget about it!
I feel like each era of parents had different challenges to face. And, when we were growing up, our parents had different [circumstances]. So, now, we are raising children in this era, and Goddamn! I do not want people to think for a second, that it is easy. We are making it work.
VIBE: With making it work, do you think you and your wife have had to unlearn anything, perhaps, generationally, now that you’ve acknowledged things are much different?
Remy: No, I am still a strong believer in beating kids ass. [Laughs] I’m “team fuck them up.” Pap is “team let them get away with murder.”
Papoose: Let me tell you this! I probably gotta stop doing this. [But, it is] out of respect for my wife. Even if I know, something needs to be done, I will always call her first to get her consent.
I would never take the matter into my own hands without getting the green light. Once I get that green light, oh, I’m going to go! I think that needs to be done. To keep it fair.
Remy: I mean, let the record reflect, we don’t get to physically wash them like I would like to. [Laughs]
Papoose: Oh, no! You can’t do that!
Remy: But, I am definitely the queen of punishment! [Laughs] I tell the, “Oh, really? You want to talk crazy to me? Talk crazy without a phone.” [The children] say, “Remy just ruins everything.” Then Papoose goes behind my back, and tells them, “You know, she was away for a long time.”
Papoose: I have to do that.
Remy: “You know, she’s a little crazy,” he says.
Papoose: I’m like the glue. I keep everything together when it tries to fall apart. I have to because she gets to the point where she doesn’t care anymore.
Why did you decide to lay your new foundation in North Carolina?
Papoose: Because she is spontaneous. Next year it might be Mexico. [Laughs]
Remy: What? That is not true! That is what you think?
Papoose: We could have ended up in a lot of places. Like, the Bermuda Triangle. [Laughs]
Remy: We looked at houses in separate places. We visited Connecticut, Virginia, Florida… we even did California.
Papoose: We could have ended up anywhere. That is just the kind of wife I have.
Remy: Stop it! When we started taking expanding our family seriously, and knew that we were going to do In Vitro [Fertilization], we selected North Carolina. I feel [supported] in this location. My mom is there. Also, my grandmother, my sisters, my brother, my aunt, like, almost my whole family lives there. I just want to be around them. When I am there, I am at peace. There is no type of hustle and bustle. When we first got down there, he did not really like it. Now, we chill in the house. We [play] on our Ms. Pac-Man game.
Papoose: I love my Ms. Pac-Man! I don’t care. [Laughs]
Remy: He sees it is not that far. It is about an hour on a plane [from New York]. So, family or friends, can come down and visit us. It’s cool. Also, Fat Joe helped me convince him. You know, Joe is New York to the core. But, he’s been living in Miami for the past fifteen years.
You would never notice that because he is always here. The transition is super smooth. It was just a change. We had children, we raised them all in NYC. I wanted to try something different. My lovely husband, after some forceful convincing, obliged. I told him, “Hey! By the way, I bought a house. We are moving.” [Laughs]
How is southern living for you New Yorkers?
Papoose: Everybody says hello to each other. For real! It took a while to get used to that. In New York, it is just, “Get out my way.” Down there is just smooth. Honestly, I gotta say, there is no place like home.
Sometimes you might just turn the corner. a see a pack of deers. That’s weird. In New York, you might see a stray dog or something. Down there you see a bunch of deers.
Remy: I don’t know if they are called a pack of deers. [Laughs]
Papoose: A gang of deer! [Laughs]
Remy: You don’t feel like you are rushing. You don’t feel like you have borderline anxiety!
Papoose: I don’t mind it, though. Y’all not gonna talk down on my city.
Remy: No one is talking about your city. We bigged up somewhere else.
Papoose: I don’t mind the rushing. It is city life.
What created the tight 72-hour party turnaround?
Remy: Well, what happens is, normally I have no time to do anything.
Papoose: She is very last minute!
Remy: No, you’re last minute!
Papoose: [For example,] to catch a flight. She will go at the last minute and stress out that poor driver. If he does not have the Waze [app], she will take his phone and download the app.
Remy: First of all, I am very sufficient.
Papoose: She loves to do things at the last minute. I’m last minute so, I can recognize when someone else is last minute.
Remy: Yeah, but you’re last minute, and you suck at it! His last minute-ness is horrible. Horrible!
Papoose: What do you call it, “Bridezilla”?
Remy: Excuse me! What happens is, I have not gotten more than 3 to 5 hours of sleep in the past 5 days.
Papoose: But, that’s what I am trying to say about the 72-hour thing! She performs well under those circumstances and does that all the time.
Remy: The problem is when I am working, I can’t really plan out when I want to do stuff. So, when something cancels, before anyone can get any bright ideas, and fill it back in with something else.
I said, “Let’s get the family together. No one has been to the new house yet.” He asked, “We’re going to get everybody together?” Yeah! It is not like we are just some random-shamandoms. They were going to come.
If it was like, say one of my other sisters, who said, “Hey! Do you want to come to my house this weekend?” No one is going to fly in and do it. Unfortunately, we are the favorites. I work well with small-time constraints, and it always turns out fine. I did the same thing with my wedding. I literally planned my wedding in 5 weeks.
Papoose: It came out dope, though.
Remy: As much as I do it, I still have this little guy named Papoose, sitting on my shoulder! [Laughs]
Papoose: I did not know how she was going to pull that one off.
Remy: “Just hire somebody! It’s too much. You’re slobbering on the laptop! You’re sleepy. You cannot even stay awake,” he yelled.
Papoose: I won’t lie. I was like, “What are you doing?” But, she made it happen. It was amazing.
Can you describe your experience co-executive producing alongside Mona Young-Scott?
Papoose: Yeah, you know, it was a good opportunity.
Remy: I’m just going to go on the record, and say, if they just let me do everything for all the shows, they’d all be so much better. [Laughs] That’s it. I said it.
Papoose: We are humbled. We are happy to have the privilege of working beside someone as great as Mona Scott-Young. She is a genius.
Remy: And, if she allowed me, to cast, direct and executive-produce her shows, they’d all be much better. We had this conversation, [Papoose].
Papoose: We did. I heard you. I left the room. I could not take it. [Laughs]
Remy: Mona is like our marriage counselor. [Laughs] When we have any type of debates, he calls her. She is usually on Papoose’s side, which really irks me… now that I think about it.
Papoose: That is not true. She’s honest. She is on the truth’s side.
Remy: What? Are you serious? He is the favorite there.
VIBE:With that blended dynamic to your relationship, do you feel that helps…
Remy: It definitely does! With her, I feel like, and other key people that are apart of the company, they admire and respect what we have. They go above and beyond to protect our brand.
Papoose: Nah! They really do.
Remy: They protect our relationship. All jokes aside, I respect her. I have a different love for her because she respects what we do.
Papoose: Also, they know, if they don’t, Remy will kill them. [Laughs] I am the only one that does not back down from Remy. Y’all just don’t know that.
Remy Ma, what advice do you have for wives vying to maintain alchemy among their mother-in-law and spouse’s loved ones?
Remy: I’m thinking of a nice way to put this.
Papoose: I’m going to be quiet. I was about to say something.
Remy: The thing is this, with in-laws, you hear certain [quotes]. You think, “It is just a cliche.” But, no, there really are certain things that happen in every marriage.
Most wives don’t get along with their mother-in-law. In most marriages, the wife has issues with people in the family. And, my husband is the family favorite! He is the favorite uncle. He is the favorite brother. He is the favorite son and favorite everything.
So, when I come and just whisk him away, and now he is mine… by law, under the eyes of the Lord, and he belongs to me, people feel some kind of way about that. So, it becomes like a little territorial thing. It is not purposely.
They say, “Well, that is my brother.” Or, it is like, “That’s my son.” And, I’m here thinking, “Okay! But, according to this ring, he is my husband. And, as long as we all know that, everything is fine.” But, I feel like I have decent relationships.
I do not despise, or hate anybody. It pretty much is the same, vice-versa [for the family]. Also, my family really does not rock with me like that, it’s the reverse for Papoose. They like him more than they like me. [Laughs]
Papoose: No, she is cutting up on that. [Laughs]
Remy: It is the truth. It’s sad. It’s really bad.
Papoose: No! It’s not that. I’m more reasonable.
On your holiday special, Remy Ma went to her sister’s house. Papoose, you were adamant about staying at your mother-in-law’s house.
Remy: Oh, absolutely! He knows he is going to get the red carpet rolled out over there. My mother is going to turn into Susie Homemaker, Betty Crocker, and any other lady that you can think of, that will make sure he is good. Where as, I do not get that red carpet treatment on the other side.
Papoose: You do not like to be loved.
Remy: Oh, my God! I do not like to be loved, [really]? Who says that?
Papoose: Your mother will make anything for you. You’re just crazy. You say, “I do not like it.”
Who inspired your alter-ego, Remy Martha?
Remy: Well, since you asked! [Laughs] The thing is, people who know me, they know, the rapping thing is what I do. That is my profession. I am good at. I am actually great at it. But, I can pretty much do anything.
For example, this wall [in the conference room] that is mad raggedy looking. It is dry, it’s just a corkboard. I would turn that into something totally different. I can do any type of home improvement. I can do any type of baking. I can do any type of cooking. I can do arts and crafts.
If I don’t know how to do something, I am going to look it up. And, it was weird when we first got together. I used to bust out things. He would say, “Oh! That is so nice. Who did that?” I’d tell him, “Me.” He would not believe me. People do not really know the corky, cool, Gemini side of me.
Papoose: Yeah, she is a genius. She is definitely Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She is definitely spontaneous. She is very talented, though. She can do almost anything. She is a jack of all trades.
Remy: That is what I thought you were going to say. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
Papoose: Yeah, Gemini. That is what y’all are!
Tradition was the focal point on this special. What new holiday tradition does the Mackie family have?
Papoose: Kawanza. The new one, right?
Remy: That’s the only one that the Mackie family has. Kawanza was the first one that he included. What he tries to do is take all the traditions of his family and push them onto me.
Papoose: That is why it is called a tradition.
Remy: No! Once you have you have your own family, there is a wife, and a husband. Y’all come together and create your own.
Papoose: Let me tell you something, she hates tradition.
Remy: It is not that I hate tradition.
Papoose: You do. Something is wrong with you. [Laughs] I have to fight with her to be traditional.
Remy: It is annoying!
Papoose: I have to fight with her to be normal.
Remy: He wants to do the same thing every day. Seriously! He wants oatmeal for breakfast, every day.
Papoose: It is good for you. It’s the morning, [that is a] great way to start your day.
Remy: No, every single day of his life. If I made him a turkey and cheese sandwich, every single day of his life, he wouldn’t be mad. If I made BBQ chicken, rice and some type of green vegetable every single day of his life, for dinner, he wouldn’t be mad.
Papoose: I am a simple man.
Remy: Maybe one day I want cereal. Maybe one day I want shrimp and grits. Maybe one day I want pancakes. It annoys him that I want different stuff, just as much as it annoys me that he likes the same things.
Papoose: That’s not true.
Remy: It’s not true? Every year at Thanksgiving, you want to eat the same stuff. I have been trying to create a different Thanksgiving [menu].
Papoose: That is why it is called Thanksgiving, you make a turkey. It’s traditional. She wants to make just tacos on Thanksgiving.
Remy: No, I did not only make tacos. We had tacos at Thanksgiving.
Papoose: Who does that?
Remy: It was Thanksgiving sides! We had soft tacos, taco bowls, and hard tacos with beans and rice.
Papoose: I am not doing that on Thanksgiving! That is not Thanksgiving.
Remy: We were making triple decker tacos, but we were supposed to have cheeseburgers at Thanksgiving. We can have turkey burgers with mac and cheese. We can have burgers with stuffing on the inside. We’re talking regular fries, curly fries, and sweet potato fries. It is still Thanksgiving!
It is about being thankful for what you have and enjoying a big meal together. Why is it the same every year? [Why do I need to prepare] collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato pie… for the rest of our lives?
Papoose: Aight! Let me tell y’all what I had to get used to with her. It took me a while, but I have adapted. We can be driving down the road, and she can see a roller skating rink. She will tell me, “Oh! Pull over right here!” Also, we can drive past the airport. She’ll say, “Hey! Pull over, I want to go to Cali.” We can totally have a destination, we were going home, and she [has no regard]. Remy is very spontaneous.
Remy: He likes it!
Papoose: She will be dead serious!
Remy: I’ll get a whole attitude if you try to interfere. Like, “What are we doing? We are not doing anything! Why can’t me go rollerskating?”
Papoose: She is a spoiled brat.
Remy: I don’t understand. He wants to plan out everything. Nobody plans to go shopping.
Papoose: I am a strategic man.
Remy: Who plans to go shopping? What is wrong with you, weirdo?
Papoose: Be mindful of your surroundings.
Remy: That is his excuse. If anyone ever wanted to whack him, they’re going to get him on day two. [Laughs] He does the same things habitually. It’s not going to take a long camp out.
Papoose: She thinks that!
Remy: With me, they are never going to catch me! [Laughs] They’ll say, “Remy moves around so much.’
Papoose: They will catch her faster. She will be out of pocket or out of bounds. I may do the same things, but I know my surroundings.
You handed a dream to a loved one during this special. What did that moment feel like?
Remy: That was super cool. It was weird in a way, though. Nobody knew, and I got a lot of flack for it afterward. People said, “Oh! Why didn’t you tell me.” My husband, he, well… how do I say this? Okay, he can’t hold water.
Papoose: That is a lie. You know what is funny?
Remy: Babe, you tell me all of my secrets. He’ll come over like, “I don’t want you to get mad at me, but I don’t keep secrets from my wife. They are throwing you a surprise party.” I’m thinking, “What! Why would you tell me?” [Laughs]
Papoose: She is smiling at me right now, but she would be really pissed at me for that. I mean steamed, and won’t speak to me.
Remy: How would I know if you always tell?
Papoose: Are you serious?
Remy: He says, “They say they do not want you to know, but I am just going to go out and say it. They bought you a new car!” [Laughs] Why wouldn’t he let me see it.
Papoose: She is mad corny on the low. Remy wants to be surprised. So, guess what? I’m a hoping she is learning from this error that she made.
She’ll come [and say], “Oh! I did not tell you!” Mind you, I am the guy that would have been loyal and kept her secret. Remy told her sister about the surprise. And, what did her sister do? Her sister went and told her mother, anyway.
Remy: She did not tell. My sister was doing dumb shit that Papoose does, like saying, “I’m not going to say what it is, but a surprise is coming!”
Papoose: I wouldn’t have done that. I’d want my mother-in-law to enjoy that.
Remy: You like her more than you like me.
Papoose: Oh, my God!
You maintain your romantic life and careers well. What advice do you have for other couples that aspire to do the same?
Remy: You have to make time for your spouse or partner. Literally, there will be times when I do not care. I will tell him, “Babe, turn your phone off.” He’ll try to handle things, and tell me, “Nevermind! I’ll text them later.”
We will go to a movie theater and watch three different movies at one theater. When one is over, we just go to the next one. If we do not have time for that and need to get home early, we stop at the supermarket to buy popcorn. We order a movie On Demand. Or, [go on dates] randomly, if we have time between meetings in the city, we’ll say, Hey! Let’s go see a play.”
We make time for ourselves. I don’t want to forget why we are with each other. You know, anybody can start to feel unappreciated.
Papoose: My advice to people who are in entertainment that want to maintain a relationship is grow up! I’ve been in this music and entertainment business since I was younger. Now that I am more mature, I do not care about the things that I used to care about.
You understand what I am saying? Like, grow up! Do not be so childish. Guess what? It is not that hard. I know what it feels like to have all of this stripped away from us.
I’ve seen her sit in prison for years. I spent so much time supporting her that, it slowed me down, too. So, within that process, I learned the value of it. There is nothing more important than your family. It is just a job. Do not let this consume you to the point you feel you need to step on your loved ones.
What do you want your fans to prepare for with A Merry Mackie Holiday?
Remy: I want my fans to prepare to see my just be sideswiped by my husband. [Laughs] I don’t want you guys to treat him any differently. Do not look at him differently, because I still love him.
I want you guy to love him, too. Regardless of how diabolical he may seem with my mother, when she is around, I want you to love him.
Papoose: Diabolical? Sheesh. That’s a harsh word.
Remy: Yes, diabolical. That is how you just flip on me, when the elder ladies in your life come around. He doesn’t mean any harm. He is just a mama’s boy, he doesn’t really care whose mama it is.
Papoose: I am proud of it! That terminology doesn’t scare me.
Remy: I didn’t say it does. I just want my fans to be prepared to see you. Just know, I still love you the same way.
Papoose: I want my fans to know, and the people who are not our fans to see Black love. They are going to enjoy it. It is going to a marvelous time. Watch it with your family. Sit down together, it will be inspirational. You will laugh, and my favorite part is the ending of the show! It was so dope.
Remy: It was super fun. We got to interact. It is weird because we are used to being in front of the cameras. So, we have our little side jokes. We were watching people in our family shaking like leaves under the camera lens, but everybody was themselves.
Papoose: You’re going to love it, man! There is nothing on television that night that is going to be better.
Remy: I concur.
Papoose: You’ll see some real people on the tube. Doing some real shit… spending the holiday with their family.
Remy: You didn’t do jack shit, but run your mouth the whole time. You talk shit.
Papoose: I’m gonna run my mouth now! [Laughs] At 9 p.m. (ET) watch VH1 on December 18th. Don’t miss it. There has been a high demand for this special for so long. People have been cursing out Mona [Scott-Young]. [Laughs] “We want to see Pap and Remy on their own show. We hate the rest of your [Love & Hip Hop] cast members. Get them their own show,” [they requested]. Now you guys have a chance to go out there and support it.