Apr 1, 2014

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Interview: Yo Yo

Yo YoYo Yo
Fearless
August 2005
By: Latisha Simmons 

Yo Yo stomped her way into the 90’s with a conscience yet sexy swagger. This South Central Los Angeles native made her mark in the male dominated world of hip-hop music. She rocked the mic and still managed to be lady like. Her journey into rap music opened many doors and took her career to television, movies, and radio. Traveling the world on tours with Ice Cube and visiting places she only dreamed about as a young girl. Today, Yo Yo is still on a mission and after learning some hard lessons about the music business she’s fearless and in total control of her destiny. After dropping a total of 5 albums, which is unheard for a female artist. Yo Yo is focused on the future of her music career, handling her own business and making a positive impact in the process. MahoganyGirl goes one on one with Yo Yo for an in-depth conversation about the music business, returning to radio, bringing back the IBWC (Intelligent Black Woman’s Coalition), Fearless Entertainment, and being a strong black woman while doing it all.

MahoganyGirl: The first thing I want to talk about is your return to radio. I heard you on KDAY and I got excited about it. I love old school hip hop. What motivated you to go back to the airways?
Yo Yo: Once I heard KDAY was coming back I wanted to be apart of it. When I was listening to the station I noticed they didn’t have anyone repping for the females on the west coast. I mean the guys are up there promoting themselves and their peers but no one was up there repping for the ladies. I’ve got a lot of love for hip hop and I want to rep for the women out here in Los Angeles… I want to inspire women and motivate them to do their own thing…. Like MahoganyGirl….

MG: WELL!!!
YY: CHURCH!!! Like Fearless Entertainment, my company.. And radio is an outlet to do it cause the men aren’t going to rep for us so I have to do it. Who else is going to hold us down.

MG: Word… I know you’re working on your new album. You’ve been away for a while and music has changed the presence of strong female emcees has almost faded out. What do you want to contribute to the rap game at this point in your career?
YY: I mean, to me when I look at hip hop now it’s depressing. I mean you got chicks dancing around in bikinis and you got Nelly sliding a credit card down a woman’s behind…. Back in the days you had a balance. You had 2 Live Crew and Public Enemy. Now there’s no balance at all in hip hop. I mean it’s sad that this is all young girls have to look at all day is half naked women in videos. So I want to bring back the positive to hip hop. Sexy but still positive. A woman can be sexy and wear sexy clothes but there’s a way to do it and still be a lady.

MG: How would you describe the vibe of your new album?
YY: It’s a mix of old school and new school hip hop. It’s an album that men and women and the old and young will enjoy. It’s music that makes you feel good.

MG: Your new deal is with an independent label. Which is becoming a normal thing these days. The major labels have burned so many artists. How do you feel about old school and new school artists taking more control of their careers?
YY: Yes, my deal is with my company Fearless Entertainment through Sanctuary Records. To me it’s a wonderful thing. Because I ended up being lost, confused and stranded after being on a major label. I mean a lot of the old school artists were down with the label executives. After Marvin Gaye and the artists of that era struggling to get their due we never thought that would happen to us too. We thought the executives were going to lead us in the right direction but they didn’t. I thank God that I learned.. Even though I learned the hard way. It’s a blessing because now I understand the industry and I’m not scared anymore. I know what I want and how to get it. It’s about doing it on your own and building relationships, trial and error. You see what works and you keep it moving and now it’s a lovely thing.

MG: What do you think about the industry’s fight against downloading music?
YY: I mean to me its bs. They want you (the artists) to tell kids not to download music. Most artists don’t care about downloading cause the labels are stealing the money anyway so who cares.

MG: [Laughs].. I know you’re a spiritual person. How has your faith helped you rebuild your career?
YY: The first thing God showed me was I needed to clean house. I had to remove people from my life. It’s to the point now that I don’t even want people calling me on the phone with negative stuff. As soon as I hear it I cut them short. You have to put God first in everything you do. Everyone has to step out in faith and take a chance if they want to pursue a goal in life. There was a time in my life that I was so scared. That’s why I named my company Fearless Entertainment. Because God showed me that I can stand on my own. Now I’m fearless and I can be me and take care of business at the same time.

MG: When you look back on your career what acting role did you enjoy the most?
YY: Keylolo on Martin!!

MG: [Laughs] Yeah, those were some classic episodes of Martin right there.
YY: Yeah, I really enjoyed doing that show. It was fun. I still get little kids coming up to me at my daughters school saying “Hey momma it’s Keylolo from Martin” cause they don’t now me as Yo Yo the rapper they know me from Martin’s show…

MG: I know you’re working on bringing back the IBWC. What is your mission this time around?
YY: My mission is to work more with the schools. I want to connect with the public officials, the activist and politicians and organize positive people in hip hop to get out here and help the kids. I want to get out into the community more and start doing events and talent shows for the kids. People these days are so hopeless so I just want to do my part for my community.

MG:In closing, what advice or words of encouragement do you have for young girls out here that want to fulfill their destiny?
YY: Stay strong and positive. If people aren’t a blessing to your life and your dream get those people out of your life. Keep God first in everything you do. Stay strong and stay fearless.

 

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