On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN linked up with Remy Ma to discuss the highlights of her career, women in hip hop, her battle rap league and more.
Discovered by the late Big Pun, the Bronx rapper is often mentioned in conversations about women who shaped hip hop in the early 2000s and beyond. She built a buzz with the release of songs like Pun’s posthumous “Ms. Martin” and M.O.P.’s “Ante Up (Remix).” Remy later joined New York hip hop collective Terror Squad, led by Fat Joe at the time, and she would go on to appear on their final studio album True Story. Amongst several classic records off of the project, “Lean Back” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold by the RIAA.
Elsewhere, Remy Ma has contributed to a number of unforgettable records across hip hop and R&B as a solo artist, including her supercharged track “ShETHER,” the Lil Kim-assisted song “Wake Me Up” and Keyshia Cole’s “You” — to name a few. Not to mention, her 2006 debut album There’s Something About Remy: Based on a True Story propelled songs like “Feels So Good” and “Conceited” into popularity. The rapper went on to release a string of mixtapes and singles before ultimately being sentenced to six years in prison for assault, illegal weapons possession, and attempted coercion charges in 2008.
Following her incarceration, Remy Ma released her sixth and last solo project to date, I’m Around, in 2014. Later, she and her husband Papoose joined the cast of “Love & Hip Hop: New York” for season six. Then in 2017, the famous emcee reunited with frequent collaborator Fat Joe for their joint album Plata O Plomo, which included tracks like “Money Showers,” “Cookin” and “All The Way Up.” “All The Way Up” landed Remy Ma her first RIAA-certified platinum record, not to mention it was later remixed by JAY-Z. Furthermore, in 2018 she served as the host of REVOLT’s very own “State of the Culture” show with Joe Budden and co-hosts Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins and Eboni K. Williams.
Most recently, the famed emcee is confronting inequality amongst women and men in battle rap with her all-female league Chrome 23. In collaboration with Hot 97, the first event entitled “Queens Get the Money” was streamed live last month (Feb. 27).
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine interesting facts that we learned from the Remy Ma “Drink Champs” interview. Take a look at those below.
1. On her battle rap league, Chrome 23
After announcing it towards the tail-end of last year, Remy Ma launched her all-female battle rap league Chrome 23 in February. With her early music career rooted in battle rap, the inaugural event — aptly titled “Queens Get The Money” — arrived in collaboration with Hot 97 and featured emcees like Pristavia, Casey Jay, and Yoshi G. While discussing the event, Remy Ma compares the ladies to their male counterparts, saying, “They’re way more entertaining.”
“When I started getting to know some of the girls and getting behind the scenes, the pay gap between what the male battle rappers was getting versus what they were getting was crazy. They getting [up to] $60,000 and what the girls are getting is $3,500,” Remy points out. “They don’t choke as much, they come prepared. I just felt like they needed to be packaged the right way. The past two months, I styled the hair, makeup and clothes.”
2. On sampling Nas’ “Ether” for her 2017 diss track “ShETHER”
In 2017, Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj infamously threw shots back and forth over songs like “Another One” and “Make Love.” Out of the various subliminals they aimed at each another, Remy’s “ShETHER” was by far one of the most controversial. The New York rapper infamously used Nas’ 2001 hit record and diss to JAY-Z “Ether” to get her own bars off. Throughout the track, Remy can be heard addressing Nicki’s rumored butt implants, ex-fiancé and claims that she had some of her songs ghostwritten by fellow YMCMB members. Within weeks of the song being released to streaming platforms, it was pulled from DSPs and radio for copyright infringement.
N.O.R.E. asks her if she knew the impact using the “Ether” beat would have, to which Remy notes that it was indeed a strategical move on her part. “Yeah, duh. It’s like right now, if somebody does something or curses someone out, they make a meme out of it immediately and throw the ‘Ether’ instrumental over it,” she said. The beef between the two rappers has since fizzled out, and Remy Ma told TMZ earlier this year that she doesn’t have issues with anybody.
Remy notes that she never saw her beef with Nicki coming, however, because they’d agreed not to diss or talk about each other on wax.
3. On getting into the cannabis industry
Remy recently made her way into the cannabis industry thanks to the legalization of marijuana in New York. Pxssy Charmz, her marijuana strain, includes cannabis sealed in dime bags that feature a vagina lips graphic on them. “I’m like, ‘What would draw people in?’” Remy tells N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN.
“Prior to my incarceration, I was the biggest pothead. I was Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Wiz Khalifa mixed together, [but] I was just a girl … I was patiently counting down the days ‘til I could smoke again,” she reveals. N.O.R.E. jokingly makes a reference to “dick weed,” to which Remy replies, “Dicks are offensive. Nobody wants to walk around with a dick. There’s just something off about it but even with women, it’s a little bit different. You don’t even have to be into women, but it’s ok.”
4. On how being incarcerated affected her family
Being incarcerated is not only tough on the person behind bars, it also greatly affects loved ones and family members. Remy Ma recalls how being in prison from 2008 to 2014 effected her relationship with Papoose and her children. “People don’t understand when you go away … when you go to prison, it affects other people outside of you. I just feel like it would be very selfish of me at this point, after seeing what it did the first time, to do that to my husband or my daughter or my son or my mom — anybody — ever again. They probably suffered more than me,” she revealed.
On the topic of what role prison can play on a musician’s career, N.O.R.E. and Remy analyze Tupac’s success post-release. “[Tupac’s success after prison] created this misconception that if you go to jail, when you come home, you’re going to be like that. He’s the only one that was able to come home and immediately be super lit,” Remy states. Elsewhere, she notes that although she was going through a lot, she managed to get a college degree while locked up.
5. On being featured on M.O.P.’s “Ante Up (Remix)”
M.O.P.’s 2000 smash hit “Ante Up (Remix),” which featured the likes of Teflon and Busta Rhymes, was undoubtedly a record that helped propel Remy into commercial success. The song, which was originally supposed to feature Prodigy, was released the same year Big Pun passed and served as the second-ever released record that she was on. “When I did ‘Ante Up,’ I didn’t get a dollar. I didn’t want a dollar,” she admits.
“Prodigy was originally on the ‘Ante Up’ remix, rest in peace to Prodigy. There was this big argument because he’s on the record and he’s dissing JAY-Z on the record. He’s talking about, ‘I’ma shoot up your continental tin.’ The verse was fire. You know me. I’m like,’Put it out, drop it.’ I want all the smoke,” Remy shares. She adds, “[M.O.P.] kept it official, they kept it Brooklyn like, ‘Nah, he not doing that, not on our record.’ Then, I was young and didn’t understand, but now I understand — if you put out a record and you put somebody on your record and me and you supposed to be cool and you let them diss me on your record, it’s up for you when I see you.”
Further in the conversation, Remy Ma admits that the record changed her life and resulted in a friendly feud between her and Busta Rhymes. “I didn’t know I had beef with Busta behind the record. I just found out. Everyone knows who had the best verse on ‘Ante Up.’ Shout out to everyone on that record, I’m just saying.” She later delves into Papoose’s January release of “Thought I Was Gonna Stop (Remix),” which featured the two rappers as well as Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz. The emcee shares, “[Papoose] calls me and he’s like, ‘Babe, Busta wants to talk to you.’ So, I’m expecting, ‘My beautiful Gemini sister queen, I love you.’ That’s what I expected but he’s like, ‘Yeah, I laid my verse, but you gone see when it come out.’ I said, ‘Hold up, wait a minute, is this a challenge?’”
6. On Big Pun passing away
Back in 2000, legendary hip hop OG Big Pun suffered a heart attack and respiratory failure. He was taken to a hospital, where he later passed away at the age of 28.
When asked where Big Pun would be today if he was still alive, Remy responded, “If Pun was alive right now, I think he would probably be a ghostwriter for mad people. He would probably have, like, mad artists, and they’d be dumb nice, but it’s really all him and all his different characters that he was and the different styles that he had. He tried to change my name for two months — he would not stop!”
Later, N.O.R.E. recalls going to Big Pun’s funeral and not being aware of the rapper’s sleep apnea. “I remember Flex coming up to me and Flex said to me, ‘The homie’s not suffering no more.’ I remember me being mad because I was so young, I never seen Pun suffer.” Remy further reminisces on meeting Pun in high school and only knowing him for less than a year before his untimely passing. “I didn’t even know him for a whole year, but I was with him literally every day.”
7. On Foxy Brown
Despite being two prominent emcees during the late 90s and early 2000s, Remy Ma and Foxy Brown’s long-standing beef still continues to this day. In 2017, Foxy sent shots at Remy on her minute-long diss record “Breaks Over.” In 2020, Remy shut down any possibilities of collaborating with Foxy during an interview with Wendy Williams. During “Drink Champs” the emcee says of Foxy, “She dislikes me. I don’t know why. I really don’t know why. She dislikes me … strongly dislikes me.”
“We had run-ins before I went away, but stupid shit … stupid rap shit. Me, I come from a battle rap background, so I thought of it as a sport. It was fun to me. I didn’t realize in the industry, that it was disrespectful if someone said they want to battle you,” Remy explains. “We were both on Rikers Island at the same time and she was in one area, I was in another area. They had us in protective custody against our will so we was in the same area for 23 hours or whatever, then she got moved. We had a moment while we was in there. It wasn’t directly, but it was messages that was sent … and I thought we were in a different space. Then I came home, and it was just the same type of crazy tension before I went away, and I was just so confused.”
8. On outside opinions pitting women rappers against one another
Pivoting on the topic of her past issues with Foxy Brown, Remy points out how most feuds between women in music typically stem from outside sources. The emcee cites fans, male counterparts in rap, record labels and, in today’s era, social media. “Rap beef is fake to me,” she shares. “Regular people piss me off way more than celebrities.”
“I think a lot of tension that women rappers [have] in the industry — and not just rappers, females period, whether y’all are all in the talk area, actresses, video vixens or whatever the fuck they call it nowadays. There’s always a tension, but it’s always created outside,” Remy emphasizes. “It’s never really nothing that the person can pinpoint that happened between them. It be these narratives if y’all are similar or opposite, where people always put y’all name together, and then you end up having real beef with somebody that was really about nothing.”
9. On reconciling with Lil’ Kim
Remy Ma and Lil’ Kim also have a long history of feuding and friendship. In 2008, the “shETHER” emcee reportedly declared she was a better rapper than Kim in an interview with The Source. The declaration was followed by a string of subliminal shots the ladies threw at each other, some of which appeared on tracks like Remy’s “Dat Thing.” Following her six-year prison stint for assault and illegal weapon possession, Remy says she squashed her issues with Kim upon being released.
“I have no fucking clue. I think it was something I said in an interview because I’ve always fucked with her … You’re just talking regular, not recognizing the impact that it’s going to have,” Remy explained. She recalls coming home from prison in 2014 and reconciling with Kim at Fabolous’ birthday party. “It was natural, organic. We didn’t have a talk about it. We didn’t discuss, ‘Let’s just forget the past.’ It was an instant like, ‘Yo, this shit stupid.’ We looked at each other, hugged each other, took a picture, exchanged numbers and ever since I fuck with Lil’ Kim.”