Shawnna is one of very artists who were blessed
with music running through their DNA. As the daughter of Blues pioneer Buddy Guy,
she had special privileges coming up as a young girl. Money was never an issue,
and she always had the latest fashions before any of her friends and schoolmates.
But don’t get it twisted. Rashawnna Guy is one of the illest rhyme spitters out
right now, male or female.
Representing the Southside section of Chicago
to the fullest is just one of the responsibilities she has on her plate. Shawnna
is a mother of two, and is on the verge of stardom with her highly anticipated
debut solo, "Worth The Weight." Although she is embarking on a solo
venture, she makes it very clear that her crew, Disturbing The Peace, is still
her family and is walking down this path alongside her. Shawnna sat with Allhiphop.com
and discussed how she intends to break the game down and still keep her ear
to the streets.
Allhiphop.com: Let’s cut straight to the chase
and give these people what they want. Talk as much as you’d like about the new
album that is about to drop.
Shawnna: First of all, it’s called "Worth
The Weight," and I call it that because it’s worth the weight in the hood,
you know what I’m saying? They have been waiting on this for so fucking long;
it’s serious around here. So, it was best to call it "Worth The Weight."
‘Cause when it drops, it’s like that breath that everybody’s been waiting on.
I really want to bring across my own talent and show the game what I have. I
didn’t reach out far for cameos; I just used whatever connections Ludacris had,
which is all the connects in the game. The gist of it is I worked with local
producers. I wanted to do that because I feel like until I make a name for myself
in the biz, the big cats ain’t going to really give me that shit. If I was in
their position, I would do the same thing because it’s all about getting this
money. One of my favorite local producers is my little brother named Ice Drake he’s
working with Queen Bee right now, doing a lot of hot shit with her. He did "Posted"
on the Golden Grain album. I worked with Kanye West I couldn’t help but
do that. Him and Drake came from the same roots, you know what I’m saying? I
worked with Jazze Pha, too. He’s not local no more, but I still had to work
with him. I got a couple of other local cats, but don’t front, I got some big
dogs on there. I got JD and I got Timbaland. The joint that Kanye did, I got
Missy (Elliott) on there. And it ain’t just no hook, neither.
Allhiphop: Does she spit lyrics on the album?
Shawnna: I must say that that was love. She don’t
know me, and she ain’t never heard none of my joints before. Missy is big time,
Allhiphop: Yeah, Missy pushes ridiculous amounts
of units. Do you have a tentative drop date for your album?
Shawnna: I don’t know the exact date because
I still have to get in the studio with R. Kelly. His schedule is so crazy, but
I got to get in where I fit in.
Allhiphop: So, once you wrap that up it is pretty
much on from there?
Shawnna: That’s a part of "Worth The Weight" I’ll
wait on that right there!
Allhiphop: Def Jam is the label that’s pushing
this record, right?
Shawnna: Yeah, fa sho! Definitely. Right now,
they are sitting at the desktop twiddling their fingers, thinking, "what’s
going on?" They feel me on the R. Kelly thing, but at the same time they
want this shit.
Allhiphop: With this being your first solo album,
do you think the jinx will set in and your fans won’t get to see a second one?
Shawnna: Hell nah, I got big things coming, family.
Me being brand new on the label, having Ludacris and so many other things going
on, plus I’m scared but anxious at the same time. It’s crazy, but it’s coming,
and once it finally hits, there’s no turning back. I always sit up and listen
to what others say in interviews and shit. The trials and tribulations they
went through just to get where they are; I always listen to that shit.
Allhiphop: We are going to talk about your background
a lot because I want our readers to get Shawnna, unplugged and uncensored.
Shawnna. Fuck yeah, because I need niggas to
know just how serious and street it is.
Allhiphop: Right! Talk about what’s going with
Disturbing The Peace as a unit. I know the whole crew is pretty much breaking
into solo ventures and things like that.
Shawnna: Ludacris basically put us together it’s
just guys that he came up with. They was grinding and they all had the same
vision. I guess they figured they needed a female, so they went on the hunt,
and Chris already knew about me. He was reaching out for me, so I came out and
blessed that song "What’s Your Fantasy," and that was the first time
everybody in DTP got a chance to meet me. Once they heard me and got outside
and vibed, they was like "we fuckin’ with you, family! there ain’t
nobody else we can see with us."
Allhiphop: With the distance between Chicago
and Atlanta, how difficult is it to schedule everyone to be at the same spot
at the same time?
Shawnna: On that damn ass 2-way! The same way
everybody in the industry get down. I like the 2-way better than the phone because
you can put that motherfucker on silent.
Allhiphop: How is it that you hooked up with
three Atlanta cats and you are from Chicago?
Shawnna: Well, I hooked up with that nigga they
knew about me being in Infamous Syndicate. We stepped on the Lyricist Lounge
tour in ’98, and fucked around and went through the radio down there this
was when Luda was still "Chris Luva Luva." He interviewed me, and
in between the takes and shit, I was like, "yo, you got to listen to some
of my shit before I leave here." And when he heard it, he was like, "hell
yeah, I’m going to have to do something with you you going to have to hear
some of my shit." I was like whatever because that’s just that industry
talk; that’s the standard shit. It went like three years before they really
called me, and he got up with me with "What’s Your Fantasy." That’s
how I hooked up with them.
Allhiphop: Let’s get into some background information
to give fans a little more insight as to who you are. Talk about some of the
struggles that you’ve had to go through in your life to get to where you are
right now. Being a female trying to shine in this rap business has to be a hard
task to deal with.
Shawnna: That’s true. Some of the struggles in
the rap game it’s like, for one, me being a woman, they ain’t trying to
see no women shine. Especially if you are hard, that’s really testing them,
you know what I’m saying? They say stuff like "oh, you trying to say you
got it like me." But the worst struggle for me is the underestimation.
They try to underestimate me as an artist. I don’t care if you are a male or
a female; it’s about the talent. I’ll burn your ass if you a bitch or a nigga!
I’ll burn your ass it ain’t nothing! I’ve been doing that since I first
started, and I was raised on spittin’. It’s just real serious around here. But
when it’s all over, it’s love.
Allhiphop: Now, the only other female MC that
I’m aware of that’s has set it off in Chicago is Da Brat. What kind of advice
has she given you on how to carry the flag that she’s carried for over a decade?
Shawnna: That’s my nigga! We are about to take
the game over. She gives me advice everyday. She really lets me come in with
the questions, because she knows I ain’t the type of motherfucker to just sit
down and listen. She’s the first female to ever go platinum.
Allhiphop: With her being the first female rapper
to push platinum numbers, it’s almost a responsibility for her to continue to
bring that same essence to the table. Do you feel as if you have a duty and
a responsibility to bring and maintain the same kind of heat that got Brat the
success she’s gotten?
Shawnna: Yeah, I do. I got to hold up our reputation,
you know what I’m talking about? If you get on an all-star team and they are
playing vicious, you got to play vicious. You can’t get on there and play sweet
and play showboat. You have to play vicious you got to get them. That’s
how we came out the gate, so we can’t get soft on it now.
Allhiphop: Can you draw comparisons between yourself
and the very few recognizable females in the game?
Shawnna: No. I won’t compare myself to nobody
because I feel like they are all different. They all add something to the game,
and I don’t know what it would be without them. I learned something from every
artist that has come in the game, and every new female artist has more of an
edge. They have kicked more doors down.
Allhiphop: When you go to various functions,
do you see a lot of the female artists hanging around?
Shawnna: Of course, I see them. To be honest,
I ain’t got nothing but respect for the female rappers in the game. I don’t
know them, and some of their shit I may or may not like, but I ain’t the type
of motherfucker to dwell on beef, you know what I’m saying? I got two kids,
and I’m going to have to deal with them going to school and having their own
beefs. What the fuck I look like fighting and teaching them that fighting ain’t
the way to do shit? So, I got to be a bigger person and teach them to look pass
that and get this money because dumb motherfuckers shoot guns. And a bullet
ain’t got nobody’s name on it.
Allhiphop: You don’t notice any kind of competitive
spirit when you come across one of them?
Shawnna: Honestly, I’m like their baby girl.
Like for instance, when Eve comes around me, it’s like she got my back. I fucks
with that shit because it’s like I’m coming up under her, but when somebody
else comes up under me, I’m going to do her the same way. I met Foxy and we
said what’s up, but that was it. I haven’t met Missy yet, but I can’t wait to
meet her because she blessed that joint for me, and I just want to look her
in the face and thank her.
Allhiphop: I know you’ve been waiting for me
to ask this, so I’ll let you take it from here. Talk about the current Hip-Hop
scene in Chicago and the direction in which it is going.
Shawnna: Right now, the scene is so sick in Chicago;
it’s been creeping slowly but surely. I guess we’ve been getting more confidence
because more Midwest motherfuckers are blowing up. So now, niggas is getting
more weight on their back and they are carrying it right. Like this nigga named
Corona, my nigga Payroll, my niggas Crucial Conflict, Cap-One, then we got Psychodrama,
Tifah is working with an independent clique called The Plant, and they are doing
major shit. By her working on the radio, it’s there. DJ Farris is on the radio,
you know, he’s a part of the Heavyhitters. We got Mike Love, and he comes out
with a mixtape like every day. It may sound like nothing, because I know a lot
of other cities have been doing this shit good for a minute, but we ain’t. So,
this is some shit to us, you know what I’m saying? We ain’t fixing ourselves
on one certain style. Like that Twista sound, you associate that sound with
Chicago, but it ain’t even like that no more. Niggas will get down like something
from the South and the West. I got a nigga named Merle out of the suburbs that
sound he needs to be on Aftermath, and I ain’t even bullshittin’. He’s like
a Knoc’turnal-Xzibit-something Dre ain’t never heard before, you know?
Shawnna: That’s for real. Like I was saying earlier,
my younger brother and the niggas he’s bringing up. He’s got a little nigga
named Pint, and they work constantly. Kim said on 106 that he is the first that
she’s going to drop on her label. There are so many other different artists
that I can’t hit right now. In a nutshell, it’s all that and it’s going down
Allhiphop: Exactly how hard is it for a Chicago
artist to get the necessary exposure to get to where they need to go? You have
decent artists from certain cities that can’t get a plug because of where they
Shawnna: It’s such a struggle for us to get on
in Chicago, and it has been that way for so long that we’re used to it. It’s
not even an issue anymore. Niggas just got their grind face on that much harder
because we know what it is. We ain’t got major labels posted up in our city.
We can’t catch the subway downtown and walk up into Def Jam or Sony. Niggas
got to walk to the fucking airport and catch a flight to New York or L.A. or
something like that. What I’m trying to say is, niggas in NY got it. They got
the hot ass radio station; our radio station is bangin’, but it ain’t like Hot
Allhiphop: Not to break away from the subject,
but how important is getting love from your hood now that you have this major
label deal and on the verge of becoming this huge success?
Shawnna: It’s funny that you are asking me that.
Most of my album explains how I’ll NEVER leave the streets. If you know my history
a little bit, you would know that my father is Buddy Guy, a world-renowned blues
guitarist. He’s got multiple Grammy awards and
Allhiphop: Your father is Buddy Guy? Oh damn,
I didn’t know that.
Shawnna: Yeah, fa sho my nigga that’s my
dad. So, if you know my history a little bit, you’ll know I’ve been around money.
This shit ain’t fittin’ to change me. I’m in the hood right now, and my old
man got that dough. He’s sitting on acres, you know what I’m saying? But I’ve
had this argument with my family already. Once you get that money, you lose
the love, togetherness and the reality. You start to get focused on that bullshit
and y’all get separated. If you go in the hood, you got people who ain’t got
it like that, and they still focus on the love, you know what I’m saying? I’ve
been telling my family for a very long time that this is what keeps me in the
hood. They were like, "we are offering you the best schools, the best living,
the best areas, and you steady want to take your ass to the hood." It’s
love in the hood niggas keep it real. They know how to kick it and they
ain’t on that bullshit. This shit ain’t never going to change me because I already
got money. This rap game giving me money ain’t nothing different. Being popular
ain’t nothing because once my teachers found out who my daddy was, I was already
popular. I eat, breathe, sleep and shit this game. I was birthed from this game.
There’s nothing else written for me.