It was my first time at Sneaker Pawn in Harlem, an exclusive spot that’s more than just a sneaker store. I climbed the steps to the brownstone and met rapper Trip Lee upstairs where we took a seat on a bench surrounded by sneakers and sports gear. What a great setting to just kick it! We chopped it up discussing his new album Rise, the journey that led him to choosing his passion of music and much more!

Growing up in Sacramento, Victoria Monét started writing her own songs at a very young age. She comes from a musical family, so one might say that she was born to be a singer. Monét admits that it was a natural fit for her and she’s been singing and dancing for as long as she can remember; getting her start in the church.  She's come along way, now signed to Atlantic Records.  October was a big month for her as she was featured on two tracks on T.I.'s latest album, Paperwork.  She also made her iTunes debut with her own release, Nightmares & Lullabies Act I.  She is more than just another female singer that will be here today and gone tomorrow, Victoria Monét has all the makings of the real deal.  We caught up with her for the full story, before the breakthrough.

Joe Budden was never supposed to make it this far. Whether it was from the drugs or the streets, he probably should've been down and out somewhere. Once the music industry took hold of him that was only supposed to be one more powerful force that would eat away at him and leave for dead. And Def Jam surely tried. Looking back at where he started, it’s a wonder that he's still here. Had it been today's industry, he probably would've succumbed to the politics, but thankfully he's been in it since 2003. Hip-Hop aficionados are grateful for his time in the spotlight and for his Mood Music lyrical diary entries as well as his “emo” rap forays.

Lil’ Mo
emerged on the music scene in the late 90’s lending her voice to hits like, “Hot Boyz” by Missy Elliott, “Put It On Me” and “I Cry” both by Ja Rule. Still it was her breakout single, the 2001 “Superwoman pt. II” that helped solidify her name is music circles. The Fabolous assisted song led to the release of her debut album, Based On A True Story, garnering her tons of fans. With her success came the drama however, including an incident in San Francisco where she was attacked with a bottle of champagne and required 20 stitches. There also came industry beefs with some of the same people she found early success with, most notably Ja Rule.

If you know football, you know Deion Sanders. Primetime! Mr. “Must Be The Money.” Neon Deion. The Hall-of-Famer and two-time Super Bowl champion hasn’t really needed an introduction since his meteoric rise in the NFL spotlight, but these days it’s his moves off the field that require conversation. The second season of his reality show, Deion’s Family Playbook premieres on OWN Network on Saturday, November 1st at 9p.m. EST. For those that aren’t familiar, the show features Deion in a light that many might not be familiar with—Deion as a family man raising 10 children. That’s not all however, as Deion also helps run a charter school in Dallas Texas, Prime Prep Academy for grades K-12, and a nonprofit organization, Prime Time Association (aka TRUTH), which teaches young adults through sports and education.

Jagged Edge's eight album, JE Heartbreak II finds the quartet reunited with producer Jermaine Dupri, label So So Def and their original management Mauldin Brand Agency. The theme here is all about bringing back true R&B, so the guys shy away from Rap features or features of any kind, as well as Hip-Hop infused beats. Slow jams are plentiful in this 12 song album and with Bryan Michael Cox assisting the Casey twins on songwriting and production, its very much reminiscent to the sound of early Jagged Edge albums.




Love & Hip-Hop New York reality star Somaya Reece is on her grind. Despite her humble beginnings, she has made a name for herself and exudes amazing strength and confidence. She’s already breaking records by becoming the first Salvadorian woman to own a tequila brand, La Jefa Tequila. As an independent artist, her unique fusion of Dance, Latin and Hip-Hop music earned her the title of being the number 1 Latina artist on Myspace. More recently, Somaya Reece aka “La Jefa” (The Boss) has released her latest mixtape, Rebel with a Cause: Part 2 (Blurr The Lines) and graced the cover of Smooth Magazine’s July issue. Somaya took time out of her hectic schedule to talk to  Parlé Magazine about her past, present and future goals.  



Parlé Magazine:  Congratulations, your single “Party With the World” making its debut on Bad Girls Club. I know that must be so exciting, do you ever pinch yourself? Did you ever dream that that would happen?
Somaya Reece: I’m really excited about it, but the reality of it is that I have been working so hard for so long. It’s just such an amazing accomplishment and it’s one of many to come. I feel really blessed and I’m really happy about it. My song is a main song for one of the biggest shows on the Oxygen Network. I’m doing everything you guys said I couldn’t do (laughs). 


Parlé:  I heard that! You did go through a lot of adversity in your life. How did you overcome that? Do you have a very strong unit of and friends and family and people rooting for you? 
Somaya:  No, I actually don’t, I mean my parents love me, but I come from a very broken home. I had to learn to have inner strength.  My father of course loves me and my mother loves me and whatever I want to do they are going to support, but I definitely didn’t have any support growing up. The cards that were dealt for me had nothing but odds, so I turned it into a positive.  


Parlé:  You really overcame, you got your mixtape going, you’re modeling, you were featured on the cover of Smooth magazine, and now I’m hearing you’re the first Latina woman to own her own brand of Tequila. 
Somaya: I am. I am the first Latina to own my own Tequila brand and we are re-launching in 2013 called “La Jefa Tequila,” which means “The Boss”. 


Parlé:  You definitely are a boss, you’re doing it all.
Somaya:  Hell yeah, self made. Self made, no co-sign, but I’m still winning. 


Parlé:  I heard that…How do you handle so many multiple projects, how do you stay so balanced? 
Somaya:  You know my parents are very cool, humble people and so are my sisters and I’m very family oriented. Nobody on my team is a “yes-man”, so the fact that I am surrounded around by a lot of real people is what keeps me balanced because no one can change me. Nothing can ever change the fact that I’m humble and hardworking.


Parlé:  That’s a good way to be. What motto or mantra do you live for? Do you have some sort of affirmation that you give yourself?
Somaya:  I feel that the fact that I’m still alive and that I’ve made it past everything that I’ve been through, is a sign from God that I was meant to do something greater in this world. And I’ve always believed in sharing my experience and in sharing it the right way. By sharing my story and struggle, I only hope to inspire and motivate other people. That’s what it’s all about. 


Parlé:  I notice that in the music on your mixtape, there is a lot of dance music and you incorporate dance, the Latina flavor and then you put Hip-Hop in it. Who were some of your influences?
Somaya: I’m the first female Latina artist to ever do that. There’s nobody that’s ever done that. Got a lot of swagger-jacking out there, I see some people trying to do it but…(laughs). I’m the first one to do it. My vision was breaking the barriers of what people think Hip-Hop is for Latins. As a Latina, people are like “Oh you rap, you must be Reggaeton.” That’s not true, there’s a big culture called “Hip-Hop Urbano,” that just means Hip-Hop Urban. I love Latin music, I am Latina, and I grew up on Celia Cruz and I also like Hip-Hop. 

Hip Hop is my first love as well as Latin music. There are a lot of Hip-Hop artists that I absolutely love, Nas, Tupac, Missy Elliot and Lil Kim. I felt like I needed to do something different, I was just mixing stuff together and it slowly brewed. Years ago, people would say “No one would ever listen to that type of music,” and Pitbull was the first artist to bust the door open with that style of music. As a woman, I’m the only female to ever do that. 


Parlé:  I was listening to your song "Party With the World" and I said “this song makes you really want to dance," and it reminds me of Pitbull’s music. Do you think you’ll ever do a  collaboration with Pitbull one day?
Somaya:  Definitely, he’s definitely on the top of my list, also Fat Joe. These are people that have been so influential to Latin music and I am just so happy to be a part of it. This is something I have been passionately doing for many years. Rome wasn’t built in a day, I stayed patient. 


Parlé:  You did some acting before, but Love & Hip Hop helped to open a lot of doors for you, correct? 
Somaya:  Before I got cast on Love & Hip Hop, I started off on Myspace. I was the first independent Latina rap artist to chart on the top. So that opened up a lot of doors for me, Love & Hip Hop helped to give me a different type of audience. I’ve been very happy and successful in that way. Acting and music is my passion, this is serious to me and it’s not a joke, this isn’t a hobby.

So we can expect to see you on the big screen one of these days?
Somaya: Definitely, that is one of my aspirations, it takes time and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Everything is a slow build. 


Parlé:  Well you are very blessed Miss Reece, Somaya I wish you all the best; you are really doing your thing. I’m excited about your song being on Bad Girls Club, I can’t wait to see the video, is there a video coming soon?
Somaya: Yes the video is coming soon; we will be doing that within the next month. I am very happy and very blessed.


Parlé:  You have a song "Haters," I like the part where you talked about paying your dues and you mention about being overworked and putting in a lot of time.
Somaya:  Absolutely, “I’ve been overworked and underpaid, but I put in all my time. All the haters can get in line, ‘cause I’m getting mine”. 


For more on Somaya, check out her official website


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Author: Hil Scott

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