THEHIPHOPDIVA.COM had the pleasure of speaking with Sincere. She dropped knowledge during the conversation and hopefully you pick some of it up here.
HHD: You started off because you had a passion for hip hop. What is it about hip hop that you love so much?
S: Well, I grew up in Manhattan. Even though I went to private school and everything hip hop was always around me. As I got older and grew into my own, I remember the first hip hop song I ever learned all the lyrics to, I was about 17, was Method Man and Mary J Blige’s “You’re All I Need”. That song is still something I emulate in relationships. Hip hop has always been something I can’t imagine my life without.
HHD: With you working in hip hop behind the scenes— as far as management, publicity, and promotions, you have also been hands on with artists, DJs, and everyone involved in this culture. What do you think are some of the obstacles that females experience in hip hop?
S: Well, I can tell you real quick a story. I was returning a rental vehicle with a rapper. We were halfway on the highway and I’m gonna be frank, he pulled ou his dick and asked me to suck it. I knew at that moment, life would be real difficult as a female in hip hop. I was in shock. It’s one of those things that whenever we see each other I kinda laugh at him and he knows why. I knew at that moment I could make a choice and I’ve seen a lot of females make the wrong choice. I think the biggest difference with me being female is really I’m not a male.
HHD: What do you think your advantages have been as a female?
S: A prime example is booking clubs and cold calling. I come in with a business suit on and it makes a difference. I go in and out of clubs with 50 goons and they’re like “What?!” I don’t think they expect it sometimes. We’ve always had positive results at my events.
HHD: A lot of artists, them performing at your events, that was the first time they had ever been paid for a show. If you’re an independent artist and you’re hungry and make it, a lot of people try to take advantage of that. Why do you think it’s important to pay independent artists while they’re coming up?
S: Well my mentor she used to give artists like $3 on their ticket sales. I really felt like they were doing just as much work as I was. It was only fair to treat it like a business partnership. You treat other people how you want to be treated. A lot of people hook up with me years later and they say you’re the first person I ever got paid with. And that means a lot to me.
HHD: In 2006, that was when you branched off on your own and began planning your own events. Now it’s 2009, well 2010. Over the course of three years you’ve won numerous awards. What has been your key to achieving success in that span of time?
S: It’s the people behind me. Nobody does this alone. It has to do with the collectiveness. I honestly would not be one tenth of where I am without a full army of people behind me..
HHD: You’ve worked with independent artists and helped them gain exposure. For those aspiring females in hip hop, if you had one piece of advice to give them what would that be?
S: Always do your homework. I look up to people like Wendy Day. I sought them out and built relationships with them. I really think that people need to check other people’s references. Do your homework, study, and make phone calls. 10 minutes can save you a lifetime of pain. I’ve learned that the hard way. In the first couple of years I really believed in what I saw. Check people out before you start to do business with them because it’s a hot mess when you don’t.
HHD: How do you view the role of the female emcee today?
S: I think that the female emcee is needed. I think Nicki Minaj is doing a phenomenal job. I think that a lot of people who don’t know who Jean Grae is, she is a phenomenal emcee. One of my favorite females of all time is Queen Pen. Foxy Brown, her and Blackstreets’ “Get You Home”, is still one of my anthems. I think we don’t have what we had back in the day. But I think it’s still possible. Female emcees need to come raw. I think they need to understand they need to work 24/7. Remy Ma is a phenomenal emcee.
HHD: If you had to who would you consider to be the top three most influential females in hip hop and why?
S: Behind the scenes a lot of people may not recognize her name but she’s been influential, Wendy Day. She runs the Rap Coalition. If ya’ll don’t know who she is I’m not even gone give her resume becasue we don’t have time. I know wendyday.com by heart. I read her blog. Like I said, I’m blessed to have a personal relationship with her. I’d say Julia Beverly. What she’s done with Ozone Magazine a lot of people overlook that. I think Foxy, Foxy and Lil Kim. You got Queen Latifah with the CoverGirl. She did her stuff in jazz and she transitioned. I think without the Yo-Yos and without the MC Lytes and without Left Eye, and Lil Kim, and like I said Foxy, they had trends that superseded hip hop. I saw girls in the suburbs trying to dress like them. They opened up a door for a lot of female emcees to come through.
HHD: When it’s all said and done about what you’ve contributed to hip hop what do you want your legacy to be?
S: That I respected hip hop. Hate me or love me I give my honest opinion. I really do try to be who I am in and out the business. That she was fair to everybody. That she fought for the underdog. I fought for what was right.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
S: I would say a woman who can handle herself in any situation, classfully (that’s my own word). I would say you can put me in the boardroom, you can put me in the streets, at the end of the day a diva can still emulate power without being trashy. A diva knows what she wants and knows how to get and get it the correct way. With the word hip hop and the word diva a lot of people can be like that’s a bitch. Naw! No, no, no, no. I hate that word bitch. I’d rather be called the c-word than a bitch. But I understand the power that people try to take from it. But the word diva to me I think people are taking it back and there are females starting to stand strong. Believe in yourself. Market yourself. Confidence is a really important thing. Being somebody that’s a leader and not a follower, someone that’s being respected. I think that’s the definition of a hip hop diva.