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If I ran into a 19 year old version of myself, I'd just tell her to live, full out. I might also tell her to go ahead and have a few babies and not worry about the timing of it.
The objectification of females is not a good thing! Not every rapper does this, but when the lyrics focus solely on the strip club, 'poppin' bottles' and how many girls they can 'tap,' it distorts what kids are learning. I think if there was more of a female presence in hip hop we could break up the monotony. It's all about balance.
I think as far as the music industry is concerned, it's kind of been the wild, wild West in a way with the Internet, which is not necessarily a bad thing to me.
New Jersey is a great place to live. And we have given some of the best talent to the world, from Jack Nicholson, John Travolta, to Jerry Lewis to Bon Jovi to Frank Sinatra.
I lost relatives to AIDS, a couple of my closest cousins. I lost friends to AIDS, high school friends who never even made it to their 21st birthdays in the '80s. When it's that close to you, you can't really deny it, and you can't run from it.
Sometimes you do have to bank on yourself. You do have to believe in your ideas enough to really get out there and fight for it despite what people think of some young kids from the hood.
Two records put me over the top with hip hop. One of them was 'Planet Rock,' and the other had no lyrics it was called 'Numbers,' from a group called Kraftwerk. Every kid in the 'hood in New York and New Jersey was popping, locking, and breaking to that record. It was the hottest track on the street at the time.
I have always felt strongly about empowering women. I'm living proof that, with confidence and by believing in yourself, you can accomplish any goal.
There are times you can't really see or even feel how sweet life can be. Hopefully its mountains will be higher than its valleys are deep. I know things that are broken can be fixed. Take the punch if you have to, hit the canvas and then get up again. Life is worth it.
I really don't know how to be anyone else, and whenever I try to be anyone else, I fail miserably. Or I disappoint myself. It doesn't build my self esteem, and it doesn't help me grow me at all.
I've hosted the Soul Train awards, the American Music Awards... and I had my own talk show. So if I can't host by now, what the hell can I do?
I've been giving back since I was a teen, handing out turkeys at Thanksgiving and handing out toys at toys drives for Christmas. It's very important to give back as a youth. It's as simple as helping an old lady across the street or giving up your seat on the bus for someone who is pregnant.
My mom has always been my champion. She was very smart and grounded. She said, 'Save your money. Pay your taxes. Don't put everything in one basket,' but she let me explore and be creative.
I've never been the straight rapper that is going to stand in a cipher and battle all day. I started off battle rapping, but to me, making songs became more important than freestyles... I've met many rappers who can freestyle but can't make a record.
When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, 'You're either going to love yourself or hate yourself.' And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things.
As a rapper, you sort of act in music videos and in the persona you adopt onstage. You kinda have to put yourself out there and be courageous even to be a rapper. So, to step into acting was not that difficult a transition to make.