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Rah Digga & Rampage: Flipped Off

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Longevity

is a hard thing to attain in Hip-Hop. Artists come and go while crews

dissipate. There are only a select few who have weathered the storm.

It’s almost hard to believe that Flipmode Squad, the musical crew

founded by Busta Rhymes, has been around nearly 13 years. In that span,

the sound, the artist images, and the priorities have changed. Solo

careers spawned and Busta seemed to have neglected the crew he had once

fostered. Still, a myriad of talented artists arose from the crew

including the former first lady of Flipmode Squad, Rah Digga and

Flipmode Squad’s lieutenant, Rampage.

Some could argue that both artists were given their chances – debut

albums on major labels, key feature placements, and prolific

production. Others could say, especially recently, that when Busta

associated himself with Dr. Dre, his buddies back East were left to

fend for themselves in the aftermath.

While Rah Digga makes her departure public, blood cousin to Busta,

Rampage hints that he has moved on metaphorically, while still claiming

crew love. In any event, one simple disbandment might say so much about

the state of rap, when one of its longest artist spawned collectives

scatters.

AllHipHop.com: So why did the departure from Flipmode come about?

Rah Digga: Basically, it came about because I’m at a point in my life

where I’m shifting gears with everything: revamping my team, revamping

my focus. I’m focusing on film. I just recently relocated to

California. So I’m putting music on the side burner for a minute and

I’m gearing up for a couple of roles. I’m already preparing to play

this year. I haven’t fully abandoned music; I’m still releasing

something to the Internet over the summer, but it just got to a point

where I wasn’t making any core progress with Flipmode. I was just

putting out mixtape after mixtape with no album, and it started getting

real played out.

AllHipHop.com: Was there a certain moment or instance when you realized it would be in your best interest to leave?

Rah Digga: It’s something I’ve been contemplating for a minute, but

there was never really a need to say, “Okay. I’m leaving the crew.”

Because you know, I been on this mission for a minute like I could have

easily kept doing what I was doing and letting everything be

everything. It was more or less for me. My own little personal

reinvention, if you will, or emancipation. The emancipation of KeKe.

[Laughs] It was more of a self-liberating move more so than political.

AllHipHop.com: What was Busta Rhymes’ reaction to you leaving Flipmode?

Rah Digga: He was quiet. He was a little speechless. I didn’t think he

saw it coming. We’ve actually been working separately for quite some

time. So I guess he saw it coming. I guess he just didn’t know what day

it was going to happen.

AllHipHop.com: So he found out from you first and not the media or someone else?

Rah Digga: I pretty much picked up the phone and called him and was

like, “Yo, this is what it is.” And you know we still cool. No hard

feelings. It was an amicable split and I just kept it pushing.

AllHipHop.com: Do you two still keep in contact?

Rah Digga: Yeah. Well, I haven’t spoken to him since.

AllHipHop.com: Really?

Rah Digga: No. We have mutual working friends and working partners.

He’s overseas so we really don’t have anything to just aimlessly talk

on the phone about, but it’s no hard feelings.

AllHipHop.com: What about you Rampage, as Busta’s blood cousin, are you still a part of Flipmode?

Rampage: Yeah.

AllHipHop.com: What has Flipmode been up to lately, if anything?

Rampage: I haven’t been with Flipmode in a while, I just been doing my

own thing. I just had been setting up my own label, which is Deep

Freeze Entertainment. I got my own label. I got major distribution

deals. I haven’t been rhyming with Flipmode in a while, I just been

chilling. Due to a lot of things that’s about to take place before I

drop this Ambush

album, I haven’t been rhyming with them. I ain’t done no mixtapes. I

ain’t done nothing. I haven’t been in contact with nobody I just been

pretty much doing me. And me and Rah Digga’s been on the road together.

I don’t know what’s up. That’s a Busta Rhymes question.

AllHipHop.com: Can you briefly describe what you’ve been doing since you joined Flipmode?

Rampage: I got my own label. I’m into real estate. I got a barbershop.

I got a sneaker store. I got 27 gold and platinum records. I ghostwrite

for a lot of people in the industry. I got a lot of producers. I’m the

lieutenant of the squad. You know what I mean? I’m the first one in

Flipmode Squad.

AllHipHop.com: You mentioned being a ghostwriter. How is that? Being a ghostwriter?

Rampage: Well, you know it’s pretty good because the checks is real

frosty. [Laughs] The checks is real frosty. So if you haven’t seen me

with Flipmode, I been behind the scenes doing my A&Ring thing. I’m

also the one who broke Cassidy’s record “I’m A Hustla” out in

Philadelphia. I got a club. I got a lot of things going on besides

being with Flipmode. I got a lot of others things that I been doing. I

put out an independent album called Have You Seen. Busta gotta put his thing together before we can all come back together again, but until then, I’m doing The Ambush.

AllHipHop.com: So how did you feel about Rah Digga leaving Flipmode?

Rampage: Well, she gotta do what she gotta do. She feel like she

outgrew the family then that’s what it is. I’m feeling that way

sometimes too. Maybe in the future I might be headed towards them steps

too because it ain’t the same like back in the day. Time changes.

People change. Business changes.

AllHipHop.com: Rah Digga, why do you feel like so many female rappers

are associated with groups and crews for example you, Remy Ma and

Shawnna. Why do you feel like they’re kind of placed on the back burner

and forced to leave? Kind of like what you did yourself.

Rah Digga: I think females in general just kind of have it hard in

Hip-Hop right now. For whatever reason, folks is not buying our albums

like that. I can’t even remember what was the last female album that

came out and went platinum. Even gold for that matter. From Missy on

down, it’s like we don’t really have folks running out buying our

albums like that and then from the label standpoint, it costs about

3,000 [more] to market a female so I think labels are kind of feeling

like it really isn’t worth the investment, female MCs. It has a domino

effect on everything that gets detected from the marketing on down. And

ultimately, with any crew, whether you’re a male or female MC, I think

if you’re part of a CEO/rapper/executive situation, then that has its

pitfalls. If you’re the type of artist that can probably double your

own artistry along with other people then your crew is gonna sell.

AllHipHop.com: Do you think that will change anytime soon? As far as the female rapper’s role in Hip-Hop today?

Rampage: I think a lot of female rappers like Rah Digga should start

they own label and start they own teams. I think they should stop being

with a lot of crews and make they own female crew and they own female

business. You know what I mean? For us men, we want our own labels. We

want our own thing. We put out our own crews. Digga got a whole squad.

She could grab her squad put them on. I think it needs to be like that.

Rah Digga: That’s the vibe that I get from a lot of females. I know

Eve, you know she’s a good friend of mine, and Kim is a good friend of

mine. In so many words, everybody’s just kind of like, “Okay, we’re

grown.” [Laughs] How much longer are we realistically going to run

around pretending we the “queen of the streets”? Chicks wanna wear ball

gowns. It just comes to a point where you out grow that. It’s easy for

a man to be in his late 20’s, 30-something running around with his

pants sagging and pretending he’s a little kid, but that’s not hot when

you’re a woman. I think the life span for the female is a little bit

shorter as far as rap music goes anyway than the male. The male could

keep up that pretense for however long he wants to keep up that

pretense.

AllHipHop.com: So women mature faster and guys kind of stay immature

for a while longer so they can probably maintain that lifestyle?

Rah Digga: Yeah, I guess. I mean that along with the images that rap

portrays for females anyway. It’s like in rap music, you kind of have

to exude some type of street element for it to even make sense. Once

you lose that, it’s like nobody’s really checking for you anyway. You

can be positive and do all of that [if] you want, but there still has

to be some sort of rough and rugged edge for people to really take you

serious as a rapper. I think once females reach a certain level or a

certain age it’s just not convincing. Like right now Eve can’t come

back in the rap game and convince me that she’s in the streets.

[Laughs] Like there’s no female rapper that we know and love that can

really come back in the rap game right now and convince us that they’re

battling each other. I just don’t believe you and I think all of that

has a lot to do with why female album’s ain’t selling and so forth and

so on.

AllHipHop.com: Rampage, do you want to add anything to that?

Rampage: No. Hillary Clinton for president.

Rah Digga: [Laughs] Hillary Clinton for president. We about to run for president.

AllHipHop.com: When can we expect this Sucker Free project and what can we expect on that?

Rah Digga: The Sucker Free

project is dropping this summer through iTunes and whatever other

company decides they want to distribute it. I’m owning all the masters

so I got a couple of different offers on the table. I’m seeing what’s

the best situation for it, but ultimately it’s gonna be distributed

through iTunes and also through my own music store, RahDiggaMusic.com.

And I have a lovely contest going on too: it’s Sucker Free Contest. The

person that submits the hottest record I’m gonna throw a verse on it

and it will be on my Sucker Free album.

AllHipHop.com: Once you release Sucker Free and that’s out, are you pretty much done with music and rapping?

Rah Digga: No, I’m not done with it. I’m not done with music ‘cause I

still plan on appearing on soundtracks and features. I’m about five

minutes away from scoring movies. It’s about to be real serious, but

I’m done with the trying to create a buzz through the mixtape circuit.

What I’m done with is going through all the extra hurdles to create

buzz and be famous. I’m passed that. I don’t care about being on a

major label. I don’t care about having a million and one records in the

street before the album drops. I don’t care about having four or five

videos. I don’t care about first week sales. That’s the stuff that I’m

done with. My thing is whoever’s feeling Rah Digga like that, y’all can

log on to this website and cop this album.

AllHipHop.com: Why did you decide to make that move to acting a few years back?

Rah Digga: The money. [Laughs] It pays better. With music, it’s too

much paper chasing. I don’t like doing a whole bunch of work and

getting paid at the end of the day. In Hollywood, they pay you first.

AllHipHop.com: Rampage, in an interview with AllHipHop.com last year

you mentioned that there’s a possibility that you might be working with

Kevin Federline. Did that ever come about?

Rampage: Hell no, I ain’t working with no Kevin Federline. Hell no. Hell no.

AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] It’s money…

Rampage: Every money ain’t good money. [Laughs] Kevin Federline? Hell no.

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