Tahiry Jose will forever be linked to two things she can not shake. Her devil (Joe Budden) and her ass (pun slightly intended). Both have helped her become a fixture on blog sites and magazine covers long before VH1 came calling for Love & Hip Hop New York. You can almost argue that the Dominican bombshell and the No Love Lost rapper’s YouTube adventures back in 2009 was the catalyst for that show’s creation. However, it is 2013 and the Dimes & Rhymes cover beauty has grown from an internet baby into a primetime starlet right before our eyes. Jose, 33, is now a philanthropist, an actress and recently released her first song as a recording artist entitled, “Devil”. Tahiry spoke in an EXCLUSIVE AllHipHop interview about the making of her song “Devil”, if she will continue dissing Joe Budden’s new girlfriend, Kaylin Garcia and how she almost could have got you arrested.
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AllHipHop: I have to ask you about this song “Devil” that has made its rounds through the internet. You sat down with some writers for the song so how involved were you in the writing process?
Tahiry: I sat down with Shannon Jones. I was all the way involved. I was f*cken going through it. This was done months and months ago. At the moment, I heard the hook when I was in the studio with Shannon and said “That’s my hook!” This is Tahiry who is just learning, I’m still like “That’s my hook!” It developed into something. You got this hook about a devil that I can relate to because we woman always have a devil we can never get away from. So you start tapping into your past. So you start thinking about your past situations that are never ending. Speaking with Shannon, we went back and forth with it until “Devil” was created.
Were you worried about the reception? Because calling somebody a devil are fighting words.
But it says your my Devil. [Laughs] So no matter how good or bad your are, you’re MY devil. Everybody has that person who is not good for you. Who is toxic. It’s not good for you but it’s never ending.
I remember watching you back in 2009 when you were shy during your first interview. Now you are on magazine covers, starring in reality shows, doing songs and handling interviews like a pro. What changed in the past 3 or 4 years?
Everything. I’m just evolving as a person. As a personality. As an artist. Basically growth. I started as an internet baby to being on covers. Joe [Budden] and I first started something that I don’t think we knew would turn into what it did.
How did music out of this? I didn’t see this coming.
Neither did I. [Laughs] Music came from me going through my issues. It was therapeutic for me.
Is this a serious endeavor?
I started to play around and have fun with it and then I realized it was something I wanted to really grow in and I want to learn. It’ sreally new to me and I am taking it serious because I want to get better.
Did you grow up in a musical household?
Yes I did, but it was more so Spanish. I’m Dominican so it was more Salsa and meringue Then Hip Hop the older I got. Then again, being in a relationship with someone who is a old soul. So I learned from him Kool & The Gang, Prince. Music has always been around me. I remember walking in to the booth and was like “Oh god” and then going back for more. Then going to see a vocal coach. To me it’s proving to myself to prove that I grow at something.
Speaking of your upbringing in Harlem. I just saw the latest episode of Love & Hip Hop and I have to ask. Did you take boxing lessons or something at some point in your life?
Oh my god I am so so so so ashamed of that little part right there. I..I..I got out of character. Yeah I took some boxing classes here and there as a workout. I’m in the gym a lot so yeah, took a few. [Laughs]
I remember Joe told Raqi [Thunder] in an episode, “One thing that would have happened was Tahiry would have whooped your ass. Do you have a violent history?
No, No. I’m actually pretty sweet. But once you take me there… Again, I should have known better. I am not proud of that moment. But through editing, you guys only see about ten seconds of anything when we’ve been going back and forth for hours. But I am not happy about that whatsoever. But I can defend myself. [Laughs]
[ALSO READ: J.R. Smith fined $25k For Tahiry Booty Pic]
Since the show is still being taped, do you watch some of the episodes and think, “Aww man, they should have shown this?”
Absolutely. Of course. I have watched these episodes more than once. Even your train of thought is different when you ‘re watching yourself like ‘damn I should have known better.’ Another thing, we are not in control of the editing. So they edit it and you watch it and it’s like ‘wait a minute.’ I didn’t flip that quick. It actually took me an hour or two. But the viewer doesn’t get to see that.
How has it been doing press and promoting the show with people from the show, specifically Joe Budden, that you may not get along with?
Umm, it depends on the day. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes we don’t speak. For the most part, I knew most of the cast members before I decided to get on. We’re all cool. We’re able to separate work from personal. Sometimes we intertwine both.
You aren’t just beauty but you have brains and a Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. What were trying to do with that? What was your original goal?
My original thought was anything in the law enforcement field. FBI. I decided to try and join the NYPD and that was supposed to be where I was going to go after college I’m not a cubicle kind of girl. I need to have something different everyday. I thought the NYPD was it. I went as far as taking an exam that was going to promote me right into the Academy. I remember telling my mom ‘There is something bigger out there for me. I don’t know what it is right now But I will not cheat myself. I am going to go and explore. And I am here today.”
So is there any chance someone might one day get arrested by Tahiry Jose?
[Laughs] No there’ s no chance I’ll be a cop.
What’s your future for you relationship-wise? Kids in the future?
Of course I want kids and I want to get married and I want to have the white picket fence. Right now I’m going on dates, but my schedule is so crazy that I don’t even have time to myself. If I date someone who is not going to be understanding that is going to be a problem. Right now I’m just really in love with my work.
Do you think you would prefer dating someone in the business rather than someone out of it, because they might understand your hectic schedule more?
Yeah. I tried dating someone outside of the business and that didn’t work out because they didn’t understand my lifestyle. Ive left that all up to God. [Laughs] It is what it is. The last date I went on. I had to have dinner and then rush out because I had an interview and forgot.
This might sound like a loaded question but given all that you’ve went through I wonder, What is love to you?
Wow. [Laughs] Wow..can you get back to that question? You’re tapping into girl Tahiry. [Laughs]
Ok, I’ll hold you to that. You recently did a charity event for impoverished children in the Dominican Republic.
Yes. Orange Hearts. (Orangehearts.org) It mainly focuses on education. You know, kids are our future. I just did my first fund raiser and it makes me happy. I don’t have much but the little bit I have, if I can help I will. These kids need our help. We take a lot for granted over here and these kids have nothing. Some of these kids don’t have bookbags.
You’re a model, so your looks are very coveted to say the least. When did you know you could use your looks for your benefit?
My mentality wasn’t on my looks. My mentality was a hustler’s mentality. So it didn’t start with ‘Oh I look good.’ I didn’t even know I was a people person. I wanted to be a cop. I wanted to slap mother f*ckers and lock em up. Due to September 11th I started to bartend. No. I actually started as a cocktail waitress. Then I started looking at how the bartender made money per drink she sold. I’m over here trying to hustle dudes around the club to not go to the bar cause I have to serve them drinks. The bartender sells a drink and she gets $2 back. I calculated the math. 300 times 2. The least she can do is 600. It is going down. I was thinking flipping. I was thinking hustling. So I got my bartender’s license. I even thought to myself, I would never waitress but I’m at the bar I was working at and the waiters got more money than the bartender did. So I became a waitress. My grind isn’t on how I look. I just have the hustler’s mentality of getting that money.
Whats the most interesting storyline to you on Love and Hip Hop?
Remember, we’re only on the fourth episode so there are a lot of other episode that have not came up yet. Rashida storyline. Winter story line. L’Oreal is up in there. I would say I am the most interested in Yandi and Mendeces story and Jen and Consequence. Ive found myself crying at their stories. As a woman I can relate to them. I don’t have kids but I watch them and think how would I react. Ooh and I love Olivia. I see her with Rich and now with me working with Cisco Rosado I see similarities like ‘we go through the same things.’
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Rashida and Winter have come to you and kept it 100% real. How many people do you think around you are as honest as those two. Everbody or a select few?
I have no ‘Yes’ people around. I am grown and mature enough to know when I am wrong. I want no ‘Yes’ people around me and my circle is pretty small. People keep it real and I am not upper cutting them. [Laughs]. I’m good with communicating with people without my hands.
You still know how to hit them where it hurts. I saw your Instagram and you sent out some pictures for a certain Kaylin Garcia to look at. Are there going to be any more disses?
No. This girl never did anything to me. Just stay tuned to Love and Hip Hop at 8. You guys watch the show but life is going as we are filming and things happen. But she hasn’t done anything to me and sometimes women act like women. But..I just wanted somethings to be clear. [Laughs] Tune in Monday Nights, 8pm on VH1. [Laughs]
Ok, I have to come back to the question. I let you hold off for a little while but I need to know. What is love to Tahiry Jose?
I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s a feeling. I’ve been told I love sick. When I love I LOVE. It’s unconditional. It is accepting. It is compromising. I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve said it’s when you breathe, eat and sh*t a person. Giving yourself to someone 100% with no question.
So what’s the next hustle?
Building my brand. Building my empire. Just having a little of Tahiry everywhere. I’m already on national TV. Household name. From clothes to music. Im working on opening my own bar because it juts makes sense. I love to host. I’ve been behind the bar for 8 to 10 years, it’s time for me to own my own. I’m a firm believer in trying things even if you never know.