The first word that comes to mind when I think of Nina B is versatility. Nina B has the ability to rock the rawest of hip hop beats to the hip-pop beats that’s currently trending all while keeping the subject matter relevant. She does it all with a feminine swag that can hold its own within a group of NYC’s finest emcees male or female. Rapping ain’t new to her as she knew from a very young age that it was her destiny and has been honing her skills ever since. As the first and only female emcee signed to Ravenel Records, Nina B’s constant grind disputes the stigma of female artists not having the work ethic required to succeed. THEHIPHOPDIVA caught up her to discuss her life and musical journey so far and what’s up next for her. Check it out and always Remember Nina B!
HHD: I feel like with every song of yours we get a different style and a variety of subject matter. How would you define your musical and lyrical style?
NB: I’m the type of artist that you grow with, as I’m on my eighth mixtape now. It’s been quite a journey. My style lyrically and musically is just an extension of my personality. It seems people can’t wait to define me as a specific sort of rapper but I kinda like that you never know what I’m gonna do next, that ” what don’t you do ? ” effect.
HHD: At 16 you were offered a record deal which you declined. Why was that not a good opportunity for you? How did you see that at such a young age when most would break their neck for a record deal?
NB: I’m cocky. I felt like any situation where I wasn’t writing my own material wasn’t a good one and I still feel this way – I always will. My only regret is not having the patience or the business savvy to negotiate a better situation, but I’d never have linked up with my partner and C.E.O of Ravenel Records Amber Ravenel had I not been arrogant enough to know I could do it regardless.
HHD: What made you decide to make Ravenel Records your home?
NB: Linking up with Ravenel was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had given up rapping and was focusing on school. I went to KG, a local joint with a commercial that comes on in the middle of Jerry Springer. Anyway, I stumbled into HHP, a program funded by Russell Simmons and Queen Latifah where I met Amber Ravenel and we’ve been tight since. Recently we celebrated our five year anniversary .
HHD: What did Amber Ravenel, your label’s CEO, see in you that led her to make the decision to make you the first female artist on her roster?
NB: I’m sure what she saw in me was a desire, the kind that can never be satisfied . She was probably like “if this girl is as hot as she thinks she is she’s gonna be a problem.” I was the one who approached her to manage me. I earned my spot on the roster and my name on the deed. There is no label run by females independently that wouldn’t salute us. We make a great team, B.I.G. had Puff, right ? That’s my Diddy – Take that! Take that!
HHD: I heard in one of your songs that your mother kicked you out at 17. Tell us about that situation and the lesson learned.
NB: Actually I ran away. I was 15 and my moms almost had a stroke. We had a fight, I lashed out, and she put out a manhunt and all that. She cried when I came home. She was just happy I was safe. Unfortunately I was a very angry and resentful child. My parents’ drug addiction and underprivileged life burdened me. It wasn’t long before I started to hear “there can only be one woman in this house “, all too often. I’d been in and out of that door too many times. I moved out on my own a few times and finally, officially, I learned how to be independent. I learned who my friends were and above all I learned to love my mother anyway.
HHD: You’ve been rhyming since age six so it’s obvious you’re doing what you’ve always wanted to do. But what are your overall goals for your career? When you’re 50 what will make you proud when looking at your career as an artist?
NB: Wow… 50. When I’m all shriveled up and talking too much I wanna share stories of this girl from nowhere who wasn’t afraid to go for it. Who gave all she had and held nothing back. I hope I can polish my Grammys and sip peppermint tea with my grandkids that can play my music and learn something about the era I came from and the life I hope to have made the best of.
HHD: How did the REMEMBERMENINAB saying come about?
NB: On my fifth or sixth tape “Remember me Bitch! The Bosstress “, that phrase “remember me ” was in heavy rotation. It was like my catch phrase. I got the term from the grind. Being in the streets in front of Virgin Records on Union Square for years selling mixtapes with the boys I’d run into people later who bought copies. They were always like “Remember me? I bought your tape “or “Remember me ? I saw you kill it at SXSW “or the infamous “Remember me? I’m your FaceBook pal “. So I see people and the fans they wanna be remembered too. So now it’s not just a catch phrase , that’s my muh fuckin motto.
HHD: You’re from New York where everyone is an emcee. What makes you stand out from the rest?
NB: I stand out cause I got stripes on every level. They know I’m not the one to try to play. I’m just as good as any dude. I’m not too hard to look at either, but above all I make songs u can fuck with. That’s all I ever wanted to do in my life – make the songs you sing. These other rappers they wanna be like somebody or be “the next” nah I’m the first, the last, and the only. That’s a big difference.
HHD: I follow you on twitter and see that you have so much going on. Let us know what all you are doing so we can make sure to support.
NB: Oh yeah, tweet me baby @remembermeninab. Check me out on http://www.remembermeninab.com. I also have a single on I tunes called “X Man” off my cd dropping soon. Look out for the videos directed by Scenario aka @king_scenario. So far I have Jay Rock , Skyzoo, Torae, Curtains and Fred Da Godson on the project but shhhhhh you ain’t hear that from me. Also, visit my t.v. show online at www.videocity.tv and my radio show with Dj Superstar Jay on http://www.shovio.com on Thursday nights at 9:45.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
NB: A hip hop diva is not just booty and a smile, not just a good pair of headphones and a tight sneaker game. A hip hop diva is inspiring. She can’t learn her swag from her favorite song, but she can always give you something to write about and a reason to bob your head. A hip hop diva moves to her heart’s beat. Front row, backstage, Ipod, Dj, her playlist would touch you. A hip hop diva is the most important instrument!
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