News__ Memphis Blac has Got Dat Work
Let us introduce you to Memphis Blac. She's "been to all 50 states selling pussy" but she closed up that shop to open one that sells burgers and ice cream shop called, "Precious Treats." Her hip hop career began in 1994 with numerous collaborations, groups and solo projects but it's "Got Dat Work" posted on YouTube two months ago that launched her into viral fame. The song, featuring her niece, Smokahontas Jones, is a sex worker anthem--"Yeah, I got that work/I ain't selling powder, weed or pills/Just what's under my skirt!
In the video, Blac wears gold condoms as jewelery and ties them to the end of her braids like baubles. These women let it all hang out in basically every way they can. Live from the Circle Tree Multimedia offices, they recorded another video titled, "Memphis Blac & Smokahontas Jones Kickin Real Shit Discussing 'Got Dat Work' Video" where they do exactly that...in a sort of confused way. After their second music video, Hoe Money, went up we decided it was time to find out more about the pair. The Memphis Blac who replied was as blunt as you'd expect but also eloquent and funny. Read the interview below then check out her MySpace, her twitter and keep an eye on her YouTube channel.
A lot of the media attention for "Got Dat Work" has focused on the fact that you used to work in the sex industry. Are you afraid of becoming only known as "prostitute-rappers"? What's your reaction to the media attention?
A lot of people have no idea how many women are impacted by the sex work industry and just how it effects these people’s family. My niece, Smokahontas Jones, has never been a prostitute, she’s actually a college student who just has a working knowledge and an understanding of both sides of the fence. People have no idea that women work in the sex industry, making major money for a few moments of their time and will never pay a pimp. So the media attention to “Got Dat Work” was expected based on the fact that the subject matter is so controversial. I’m not worried about being known as the “prostitute rapper” because this is bigger than just prostitution. I’m not glorifying the life, I’m just using the passion I have for music to translate my story the good and the bad--and hopefully I deter these young women from that lifestyle.
Will "Got Dat Work" or "Hoe Money" be on your solo album? Will Smokahontas have a solo album?
Both “Got Dat Work” & “Hoe Money” will be featured on my debut album “UndaDaOathofPimpin” which will be dropping 09.29.10. Right now we’re in the process of recording Smokahontas’ solo album which will come out some time next year. We’re also in the process of writing a book, a “pimp” manual, if you will. It's meant to give a better understanding of the “game” and why and how pimping is big business. It too will be dropping with the album.
Why do you also go by "Arapaho" (the name of a native tribe from the Eastern plains of Colorado and Wyoming)?
I go by “Arapaho” because that’s exactly what it is: The Truth. I’m a rapping ho, so therefore, wit no disrespect to the Native Americans, but I am Arapaho. I say that because when I was 19 and 20, I was with a pimp and when I would go to jail, I’d rap to every woman in the tank. The rap I laid in ’93 for Too Much Trouble “Pleasin My Pimp” was the same rap I would do in jail. It was 10 years old then, when I recorded it. So people have no idea how long I’ve been around doing music, I’m 45, I have over 17 plus years of music that I own the masters too. I’ve been battling these streets since I was 13 and when I’ve been knee deep in concrete its been hard to just focus on my music. I’m older now and it's time for me to be heard.
Smokahontas also a native-themed name...obviously after Pocohontas. Where did this native influence come from?
As far as the Native American influence, its just the truth. [Laughs.] As Arapaho, I’m the chief, I’m in charge, and Pocahontas was a princess, Smokahontas is my right hand man, & she smokes all day. [Laughs.] The names are just reflections of who and what we are.
In the video for "Got Dat Work", you're decked out with gold condoms. I love it. Where did that come from?
I came up with that idea as a way to make people aware that not all sex workers have poor hygiene and we do practice safe sex.
Where does your style influence come from? Is there anything particular to Miami (where "Got Dat Work" was filmed)? What about Dallas?
My style is cross country. I mean I’ve been to all 50 states selling pussy so I mean, my style is more so influenced by the streets than just any one particular city or state. Musically though, I’m influenced by Mary J. Blige, Bobby Womack, Womack & Womack, Fleetwood Mac, David Ruffin, Keisha Cole, and Micheal Jackson.
If you're packing up your suitcase for a trip, what's in there?
My bible, I won’t go anywhere without it. I’m always gonna keep something tailor made, something no other female would be expecting. I’m always gonna keep some rubbers and some really cute panties. Really none of that stuff, clothes, hair or beauty really matter. That’s all a shell, its in the heart. Once your heart is beautiful, that beauty can be seen outside.
What clothes make you feel the sexiest?
The clothes I design make me feel sexy. Like the tailor made throwback OJ Simpson I had on in the “Hoe Money” video. Things I come up with are nothing like whats already been seen, I feel sexy knowing someone’s gonna say “What is that? No she didn’t.”
You started rapping in '94. Do you hold on to any clothes from then? What were you putting on in those days?
Yeah, I actually still have my first “ho dress.” I was really wearing cross colors, FUBU MCMXVII, Karl Kani. Whatever was hot, I was in it.
Who does the styling and make-up for your music videos?
I do the styling and makeup for the videos. I’m multi-talented. Being in the streets, you have to learn how to do so many things, I’m doing hair, selling clothes, I own a restaurant in Dallas, I do music. I’m making sure I’ll never be broke.