Rapper Remy Ma made her TV series debut Monday night on the Season 6 premiere of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: NY, and she chopped it up with the New York Post ahead of the episode airing about why she joined the show, and she dished on her post-prison life with longtime love, rapper Papoose.
“I was approached by [‘Love & Hip Hop’ executive producer] Mona Scott Young. They wanted to bring back the essence of what she initially wanted the show to be,” says Ma, who also told Billboard that she signed on to show fans a softer side of her persona.
“People know that I’m very outspoken. I’ve learned that when I talk, it usually comes off very aggressive. It’s not that I’m aggressive — I’m very stern. If i feel strongly about it, you’re gonna know it so people get to see a softer side. Like this is somebody who is a real human being.”
— Remy Ma (@RealRemyMa) December 16, 2015
No doubt Remy, (real name Reminisce Smith), also needs the payout that comes with the show, which was the highest rated debut of a reality series, attracting over 4 million viewers Monday night. The gig is certainly a far cry from her old cell block at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, where she served six years (2008-2014) for felony assault, illegal weapon possession and coercion related to the non-fatal shooting of her former friend, Makeda Barnes-Joseph. Remy accused Makeeda of stealing over $3,000. She’s still on probation and under strict rules so she was skeptical about joining the reality show.
“I was absolutely apprehensive at first … because there is a stigma about being on ‘Love & Hip Hop,’ like, ‘Oh you have to be a washed-up rapper that is not doing anything,'” she says. “But I perform daily, so I never felt that way when it came to my career. And I didn’t want to be involved in any type of [on-screen] altercations because I wouldn’t know how to act if someone was to throw a drink on me or spit on me.”
Formerly known as Remy Martin, the Grammy-nominated artist is a former member of Fat Joe’s rap crew, Terror Squad. She was featured on the group’s hit song “Lean Back.” She dropped her debut solo album, There’s Something about Remy: Based on a True Story, in February 2006. She has won two Vibe awards, two Source awards, an ASCAP pop award and a BET award for “Best Female Hip Hop.”
Musically, Remy hasn’t made many memorable waves since her release from prison, but she doesn’t feel the show is her second chance, “I feel like people really want to see me win,” she says. Ma was featured in a 2011 documentary, Black Lifestyle in Japan, which highlighted her as one of the most popular hip-hop musicians in Japan, among young women who praised her for her “style” and “beauty.”
She married her husband of eight years, Papoose, over the phone while she was imprisoned. Ma explained the reason for the tele-nuptials was because her man got kicked out of the prison on the day they were to exchange vows.
“A lot of people don’t know that we really got married over the phone. We were scheduled to do it in person but Papoose got kicked out [of the prison],” she says. “He had a key ring with a lot of keys and they claimed that one of the keys was a skeleton key that could open handcuffs or any other type of lock.”
Prison officials confiscated the key and accused Papoose of breaching security. They locked him up for hours and Remy didn’t find out until after he was released.
“I’m sitting in my cell like, ‘What is going on? Did he change his mind and doesn’t want to marry me because I’m in prison?’ But he called me that night and explained what happened and we decided to get married and kissed over the phone.”
Remy Ma says she and the hubby are “planning a big wedding,” and R&B singer Keyshia Cole will be her maid of honor. It’s likely the wedding will be worked into Love and Hip Hop: NY, or serve as spin-off.
[Images courtesy Thos Robinson/Rob Loud/Getty Images/Twitter]