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It was the legendary Marilyn Monroe who was quoted for saying, “I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it.” But does that slogan still apply when the man’s world happens to be the world of entertainment? Well yes and no. If you’re willing to come in as a female and bare your goodies for everybody that has a working set of eyes, then the door is always open.
But if you’re reluctant to spread eagle on the “casting couch,” your road to glory might be filled with more detours than the average construction site. In other words, if you stay ‘true,’ it might take a little longer, but putting your body in compromising situations is more likely lead to a step ahead of the competition (especially with pornography market making billions in revenue).
Over 41 million albums sold, 11 Grammy Awards, 11 Billboard Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and, 14 NAACP Image Awards apparently weren’t enough for some Alicia Keys’ followers who were more concerned about when she was going to stop hiding behind the piano, and wear more A-Symmetrical clothing so they could see her figure. But on the other hand, females like tennis player Anna Kournikova, who hass never won a singles title, manages to stay in the same breath with those who have just because of her barely-there clothing.
So there in lies the great debate or dilemma if you will, whether to bare Your browser does not support inline frames or is currently configured not to display inline frames. it all with the equivalent of dental floss running through your derrière, or whether to keep covered-up as if you’re waiting for the next blizzard to sweep through your town. The key is knowing how to balance them both out, being smart and sexy. Because in today’s world of cover girls, top models, and desperate housewives who can pass for 25, the odds are men will more concentrated on seeing you in a Victoria’s Secret catalog rather than being impressed by you having a budget plan on-hand to help reduce the nation’s deficit. And if you have plans to make it big in Hip-Hop as a female, your chances might be even slimmer than Nicole Richie before she got pregnant.
In the land of “b**ches and hoes” (according to Bill O’Reilly and associates) African-American females are constantly degraded in music videos by being paraded around like someone’s property all while they’re scantly dressed. Some would argue that they have a choice in whether or not to be involved in such a production; which is very true. There isn’t any one on street corner grabbing these ladies by gunpoint, and hoarding them into van, and dropping them off at shady video music set forcing them to wear a size 4 two-piece when they clearly need a size 8.
They do have a choice in the matter, but some see that as a “quick fix” if you will, or short cut to the top; “Okay maybe if I just walk around a few more times in these 5 inch stiletto heels and nothing else, I’ll get my big break.” For some the “the big break” never comes, and those same stiletto heels that had so much promise on those video shoots, casting couches, and tour buses are now used for their dance routines at strip clubs.
Janella Dobbs AKA Hedonis da Amazon happens to be one of those females that doesn’t believe in the famed quick road to stardom. Not since the classic days of Bahamadia’s “Total Wreck” and “Uknowhowwedu,” or Eve’s “vicious pit bull in a skirt” era has the city of Philly felt the affects of female MC in their midst. But this Philly chick has more than just the “City Of Brotherly Love” in her cross hairs. With a body that mirrors any women that was in Nelly’s 'Tip Drill' or 50 Cent’s 'Disco Inferno' videos (the unrated versions of course) you might be more willing to ask her what topless bar she works at as opposed to when is her next mixtape coming out.
When God created this voluptuous, 5’11,” thick-thighed, full-lipped Asian-eyed beauty, he also gave her the ability to connect words, turn them into 48 bars, and add a hook in between every even number of them. So those who still want to throw money at her still can, it just won’t be down in her G-String, it’ll be at the cash register when you buy her album at your local music store.
After catching the attention of Hot 97’s Kay Slay with a flow that rivals the sounds of a woman scorned, she’s been able to bring her aggressive and emotional-filled content to a wider audience all by…. Come on lets say it together: “BY KEEPING HER CLOTHES ON!” That’s right boys and girls! She’s been able to achieve this by not humiliating herself in the process. So after you’ve read this one-on-one, don’t bother looking for any naked pictures of her on the Internet, because the only search results you’ll come up with will be YouTube videos of her rhyming her ass off as if the end of the world was near, and of course her Myspace page.
I got the Intimidation Mixtape popping with Kay Slay on there, and I got this album I’m working on. I don’t know if it’s going to be self-titled or if it’s going to be called Lady Land. And I got a DVD that’s in the works. You know, I’m grinding.
That’s always good to hear. Your stage name is really unique. Is there a story behind it?
“Hedonis” just came out because I liked how it sounded, and I met this guy named Adonis. And I really like how it sounded, and I went into the Greek-thing, and how it was. And I liked it, but I’m a female, so I just put the “H” on there, and pronounced it “Hedonis.” Because everything they described as a male Adonis, I was a female Adonis. And “The Amazon” just came from me being tall, and having a presence when I come through. Like one of those warrior-type chicks—built like “Xena” and them.
[Laughs] How tall are you?
Actually, I’m like 5’11” but I wear heels. So that makes me six-something.
I’m 6’2” and you’re almost up there with me. [Laughs]
Yeah! When I get them heels on, its crazy! [Laughing]
So when did you actually first get into rhyming?
I was rhyming—I always wrote rhymes, and I started when I was younger rhyming. At first I was just writing my feeling on paper. Back then, I used to be on punishment all the time, and get my ass whipped. And that pen and pad was the only thing I had to relieve some frustration. So I mean, I was always writing and always rapping since I was a little girl. But I took it serious back in like 2000, and started coming out of the closet. I was an “in-closet rapper.” Cause I was already out there as being a dime chick, or that chick in the club buying n***as bottles, and jumping out of hot cars. So I felt like coming out the closet, and saying that I rap was a big step for me, but I couldn’t really do it because that was my private world. But I knew that was gonna change my image forever. Because then I would have to depend on a lot of [these] people to buy my CD’s, and get into my whole world of “is you hot, or is you not?” So 2000 is when I came out. And that was also to let people know that not only am I a dime chick, but a rap too.
What made you keep it inside all the way until 2000?
The reason why I kept it inside so much is because I knew that people wouldn’t believe that I’m as fierce as I am because of my looks. So I tended to hide the fact that I’m a great lyricist.
Besides Eve, the only other female from Philly to have a major impact was Bahamadia.
Yeah, she’s a good a good friend of mine. Bahama and me talk every week.
Oh really! That’s cool. So how do you plan to stay on people’s radars just like they did?
You know what it’s a difference between—Bahama and me got a lot in common. But of course she’s older than me. But we do got a lot in common because of the fact that [we] chose to do this, and we’re riding without a “n***a squad.” And that was the choice that we made to write our own sh*t, put out our own sh*t, and produce our own sh*t. But the thing with Bahama is [they] noticed she was hot, early in our time and they picked her up. They knew she was a diamond. Nowadays its kind of hard, I’m a diamond, but I have to grind 100 times harder because now looking for talent ain’t as big as it was back then. They know that you’re hot, but if you can’t fit in anywhere then they’re not going to help you out. So a lot of people are just watching hot talent pass, you know what I’m saying?
Yeah I know what you’re saying, so what’s the plan?
The plan right now is just creating a new marketing plan for myself that’s generally geared towards a female. And just trying to fill-in what’s been left out in the game. So if everybody is in the club doing two-steps and snapping their fingers, then I gotta go to the streets. But everybody is singing; then I gotta go to concerts. I just feel as if I got to go into those lanes that people left behind, and left empty. So I can be the only one standing there, and get into the people’s ear.
How do you feel about Hip-Hop right now? Do you feel the door has opened more for females?
There was 13 chicks signed since 1991, I do my research on females being signed. There are a lot of females rapping, and the lane is open, but people are so picky. People at the top already got their own vision on who they want their chick to be. So if you say you want your next queen to be short, light skinned, and blahzy-blah; you’re going to put everything aside because that’s what you’re looking for. You know what I’m saying? You’re gong to be looking for that type of broad that’s going to fit that image in your mind. I think it’s even harder, because once you got a chick in—there’s so many avenues to make moves, n***as got really know that they’re going to have straight control of this money that’s going to run through this broad. You feel what I’m saying? It’s like a power move situation. It’s like the lane is open, but its not open. You see what I’m saying? There’s a lot of chicks that are on the underground, and that can’t reach the mainstream.
So Hip-Hop is still a boys club in your opinion?
Well the lane is open, its just that somebody got to f**k up. Somebody got to be really impressed to f**k with me, and to pull a b**ch in. Something gotta happen, and it’s all about timing. And I have to be prepared with these records, and just keep killing shows so I can take advantage of these opportunities that are going to come.
Do you ever feel any animosity from the men? Especially when they find out you’re better than them? And do you find yourself having to work harder because you are a female in Hip-Hop?
[Pauses] Well this is serious to me—a lot of people don’t understand the grind. They don’t really know. They just think a chick is glossy on stage, they don’t see that I spent half of my mothaf**kin’ life in the studio. [Shaky voice] They don’t see the fact that I’m on the road by myself driving 4-5 f**kin’ hours to get to a spot, kill it, and take the money. Then got to protect myself to get the money out of the club.
A lot of guys get mad when they do see that chick that out shines them on the stage, because they don’t want to be around that. I dropped ten mixtapes, all that sh*t was money. I got 350 songs, I do my own wardrobe, I do my own makeup, I do all my own traveling, I do all my own kits and prepping sh*t. I do my own PR sometimes, this sh*t is crazy! I got 300,000 people that love me, and this is what the industry needs to see.
They need to see behind this image of what a real chick that chose this [Pauses] gotta really do. They respect a n***a for his grind, but my sh*t is intimidating because they’re like, “YO THIS B**CH WON’T STOP!”
You really let it out right there!
How did you hook up with Hot 97’s Kay Slay?
I got up with him like, I was in New York and I kept killing showcases. Every chick that would come up every year, I would dog [them]. It would be like this year, then the next year, and then the next year. So I was winning all the money and getting recognition from winning all the female competitions. And Kay Slay’s assistant, Dee Vazquez was there, and she was judging a competition. And she called me after I won the competition two days later and she was like, “Yo I’m gonna get you on Hot 97.” So I was like, “DAMN!” “YOU GONNA GET ME ON HOT 97?!” [Laughing] And she was like, “Yeah, but what you gotta do is wear something sexy or whatever.”
I guess that was for the mind frame of the n***as there, but I had no idea. But it never went down, but I was patient enough to keep my relationship with her, and let them know it was okay, and that I didn’t catch an attitude. And actually they got me up there on the show three weeks later by myself. So I was up there on Hot 97 just KILLING IT with tracks, coming up with freestyles, and talking about females, and biggin’ females up, it was a beautiful thing. And after that Remy [Ma] hit me up, and I got relationships with the chicks that were just out there grinding like Jackie-O. I was talking to them on phone because word gets around.
So you were welcomed into the sisterhood?
Well when a new chick comes out, a lot of broads get defensive like, “Oh she’s coming for the title” or whatever. Like for that “number one spot sh*t.” I’m coming in to do my thing, and these chicks felt the love of that, you know what I’m saying? And they embraced me; you know what I’m saying? So now I got relationships that’s already out there, and I’m learning their stories. So I’m coming in a little easier, but don’t get me wrong, I will protect myself if mothaf**kas want to try and come—they’re going to get the beast. But for right now I don’t have the energy to fight with these mothaf**kas cause y’all ain’t selling records. Ya’ll not selling records, and y’all not making money like these guys are, so why should I be worried about y’all? We should be bonding-up and helping each other to make some money.
I read something where you described your music as being “bisexual funky.” What did you mean by that?
My music is by sexual because men love my music and women love my music. I’m straight like 180. [Laughing] But my music is right-smack in the middle to where both sexes can enjoy it. There’s something in my music for both sides, on every record that I do. My goal is to have more of a male fan base. Not on the street sh*t, but to for them to really see what a female goes through. And how I see the streets through my eyes. So when you see a b**ch walking down the street, you can get a glimpse of how she sees you. And just how a b**ch views n***as in the world, you know what I’m saying? I wanna open that avenue to where they’re copping my sh*t, and they’re copping my sh*t for the knowledge to get to know us.
So with you being a female, do you think it’s necessary for you to display a little sexuality when it comes to your music?
My sexuality is always going to be in my music, I’m a female I can’t hide it. But I don’t put my sexuality on the forefront because I wanna f**kin’ leave a n***a the idea of when you see me on the stage—all the sex is there, you know what I’m saying? I really feel like that lane has already been filled. Even though I’m sexy, I’m not gonna put it to the forefront, because I wanna be a badass b**ch, but be known lyrically. And then a badass b**ch second. And that’s crazy because I always get: “Damn you bad as sh*t, and you spit!” “You hot as sh*t, and you bad as sh*t!” So sexuality—man I ain’t worried about that, cause n***as wanna f**k me on my way to the corner store. So I ain’t worried about that. If sex sells, then go sell sex. I’m trying to sell records.
With that said, do you feel as if you’re work will be overlooked is you don’t talk about your sexuality, or have sexual references in your songs?
Nah, not at all because I do mention that in my music. I mention it in my music, but it’s in a different context, and it’s not in the context of, [Panting sexually] “Oh baby you can get this sh*t.” It’s not that—its more like part of a story describing what position I’m in, or what I’m doing at that time that got a n***a going crazy.
I’m not pushing my sexuality to the forefront to where I’m taking somebody else’s lane. I’m trying to create my own lane, its tough when it comes to sexuality sometimes. It’s about a little here, a little there, and a little tease to keep n***as coming. You can’t give them everything, because then they’ll be like, “F**K THAT B**CH!” And then I’ll have to have my titties out on the front cover because there’s nowhere else I can go!
[Laughing] I dig it. But does it bother you when you see other females MCs put-on when their subject matter only revolves around over-the-top sexploitation, and the name-dropping of designer labels?
Nah, that don’t bother be. [Smiles] Because they make music that represents the way I feel sometimes. [Smiles] I love female rappers, because I understand the difference between all of us. A lot of the people that compare female rappers, they compare two b**ches that don’t even sound the same. Like a person sees Jay-Z, then he sees DMX, and then he sees Nas. And every chick sounds different like that; you know what I’m saying? And that’s what the game needs to start seeing.
So when Trina, Lil’ Kim, or Khia; when they sound sexy like that—they’re doing them. And that’s them they’re hold their lanes. So when I feel sexy, I can throw on a Khia track, when I feel freaky, I can throw on a Lil’ Kim track. I got to represent me at that time. Music is what it is. If n***as wanna hear sex on a real level, a deeper level then put “H” in. If you wanna hear that N.W.A. Run DMC crazy street sh*t, then put “H” in.
During the course of our talk, you’ve been real fluid.
It’s because I enjoy it! [Smiles] I’ve been on the grind for like ten years, and I used to do interviews like, “Yeah I’m the hottest sh*t!” “Nobody can f**k with me, this-that and the third.” And saying all that stuff didn’t get me nowhere, because that sh*t wasn’t me. My whole mission right now is to open people’s eyes and ears on what it takes for a chick to get to the top. And that’s so you know from the depths of my stomach, to my past, and what you’ve seen—that this sh*t is real. So I wanna be a chick that’s respected for her grind. So that’s how I’m coming at you. But when you see me in you’ll be like, “Yo what’s up!?” “How you doing!?”
So in closing, what would you say is one of the toughest obstacles to over come as a female MC trying to be heard?
Well for any female MC out there that’s trying to be heard, my message is this: When your phone stops ringing, and all else fails, WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, you got to do a mixtape. And not just do a mixtape as far as a mixtape or compilation; but when everything fails you got to go to your product. And you got to travel from city to city so you can get your phone ringing again. So you can get back on stage again, and start networking again. So you got know where to go, because the blueprint done changed. When everything else fails, all you got is your product.
You got to get it into as many hands as you can; and let the work speak for itself. Because when the work comes back, then you know you’re on the right path. And the most important part is to do you. Do what’s in your heart, and not what’s popping because you’re hurting Hip-Hop. You’re hurting Hip-Hop with just a trend, you know? Right now with Hip-Hop we need to go back to saying what we really feel, for real. It’s going to be a big step for me being a female, and saying what I feel. Because I know a lot of n***as are going to be like, “THIS F**KIN’ B**CH!” [Laughing] It’s a form of speech, and it’s been a lot deeper for me. It’s like a therapy for me.
MTS Centre, Winnipeg - May 26, 2008
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