You may know Lady Of Rage from her famous early-'90s hit single "Afro Puffs" that came out like a warning siren from a tough-as-nails sister and featured Snoop Dogg. Her deep, fearless voice bellowed through the speakers on said hit unexpectedly at Epic in Minneapolis on Thursday when Snoop surprised everyone with her introduction. It made the Wonderland High Tour truly memorable and had Twitter going crazy.
Lady of Rage has made quite an impact on hip-hop's timeline with her lyrical style, but has been in hibernation cooking up her next album, Verbal Abuse. Even with her absence from the scene, there was no need for her to don a dark blue prison jumpsuit or have buff men dancing behind bars (circa 1995 Source Awards) to demonstrate how fierce she still is.
We sat down with her backstage to catch up on everything from her afro puff styling routine to female emcees, and putting to rest Internet rumors.
CP: Such a pleasure to have you in the house. It was an unexpected surprise that you rolled through Minneapolis on this tour. What have you been up to?
LOR: I have been a hermit. I am creating. My new album coming out is called Verbal Abuse, and I want it to be right. My last album, Necessary Roughness, came out in a time when the empire was crumbling--Suge went to jail, Dre left, 2PAC was killed--everything was in shambles.... So this next project, I want it to be right. I want it the way the first one should have been done. And this will be my last one. Really, I am not motivated. I really don't feel too much love--I will always love the rap game; but me loving to do it? It's not what it used to be. The [music] that is out right now isn't really motivational to me. There aren't too many lyrics- just a bunch of hoopla.
CP: What do you feel is missing in Hip Hop?
LOR: Lyrics. I would like to see lyrical stuff--something that makes me say, "Wow. Did you hear what he/she just said?" to make me wanna go back and be like, "Oh naw, they can't out-do me." Make me want to step my game up. And I'm not hearing that.
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CP: Looking back to the '90s when you started out in the game, there were at least a few ladies making moves in hip-hop. So what is going on now? Where are the women at?
LOR: Well, I am baffled myself. I don't know where they are. Trina, she is still relevant; I saw her on a video the other day. There is a new chick Nicki Minaj--I saw her in the same video with Trina. But other than that, you got me. I'm working on my stuff, you got Da Brat who can't do anything at this time, Remy Martin with her situation. But you got Shawna, Rah Digga. You got Jean Grae. There are so many, but I don't know what is going on! I don't know if it's a thing where we are so talented and so dope that people don't know what to do with us, how to market us, or even how to handle us.
CP: What about a formal network of women coming together in hip hop to make moves? Have you been a part of anything like that?
LOR: Myself, Babs Bunny, and Lady Luck are trying to do something like that, coming together to form FEM (Females Earning Money). Right now it's kind of on a hiatus, because we are all doing so many different things... We hope the best for the females, we want the females to come together. So many times we don't come together. Females are catty, females are snotty. But we need to look at what the guys are doing--they get together, they collaborate, they make music, they keep it moving, and that's what we should do. All that stereotypical nonsense with females--we need to flush it down the toilet... For the young ladies coming up, don't be intimidated by the guys, don't be intimidated by the industry... Let your talent speak for itself, and stick to your guns and your morals...
CP: We have to compliment you on your afro puff. What is your styling routine?
LOR: [Laughs] Wash it. Condition it. Brush it. Continuously puff it, pick it. I let it air dry. I use Blue Magic, water, a brush with sponge rollers.
CP: It's been stated that you have been the hair dresser for Tha Dogg Pound (DPG). Is that true?
LOR: I have never been a hairdresser. I have never been a nurse. I saw that, too. I don't know where that comes from! The same place saying I was gay comes from. Which I am none of the above. Never dabbled in hairdressing, never dabbled in nursing, and never dabbled in lesbianism. So never believe everything that you hear and see on the internet.