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.
Its 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 Squads 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
AllHipHop.com: So why did the departure from Flipmode come about?
Rah Digga: Basically, it came about because Im at a point in my life
where Im shifting gears with everything: revamping my team, revamping
my focus. Im focusing on film. I just recently relocated to
California. So Im putting music on the side burner for a minute and
Im gearing up for a couple of roles. Im already preparing to play
this year. I havent fully abandoned music; Im still releasing
something to the Internet over the summer, but it just got to a point
where I wasnt 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: Its something Ive been contemplating for a minute, but
there was never really a need to say, Okay. Im 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 didnt think he
saw it coming. Weve actually been working separately for quite some
time. So I guess he saw it coming. I guess he just didnt 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 havent spoken to him since.
Rah Digga: No. We have mutual working friends and working partners.
Hes overseas so we really dont have anything to just aimlessly talk
on the phone about, but its no hard feelings.
AllHipHop.com: What about you Rampage, as Bustas blood cousin, are you still a part of Flipmode?
AllHipHop.com: What has Flipmode been up to lately, if anything?
Rampage: I havent 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 havent been rhyming with Flipmode in a while, I just been
chilling. Due to a lot of things thats about to take place before I
drop this Ambush
album, I havent been rhyming with them. I aint done no mixtapes. I
aint done nothing. I havent been in contact with nobody I just been
pretty much doing me. And me and Rah Diggas been on the road together.
I dont know whats up. Thats a Busta Rhymes question.
AllHipHop.com: Can you briefly describe what youve been doing since you joined Flipmode?
Rampage: I got my own label. Im 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. Im the
lieutenant of the squad. You know what I mean? Im the first one in
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned being a ghostwriter. How is that? Being a ghostwriter?
Rampage: Well, you know its pretty good because the checks is real
frosty. [Laughs] The checks is real frosty. So if you havent seen me
with Flipmode, I been behind the scenes doing my A&Ring thing. Im
also the one who broke Cassidys record Im 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, Im 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 thats what it is. Im feeling that way
sometimes too. Maybe in the future I might be headed towards them steps
too because it aint 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 theyre 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 cant even remember what was the last female album that
came out and went platinum. Even gold for that matter. From Missy on
down, its like we dont 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 isnt 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 youre a male or female MC, I think
if youre part of a CEO/rapper/executive situation, then that has its
pitfalls. If youre 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 rappers 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: Thats the vibe that I get from a lot of females. I know
Eve, you know shes a good friend of mine, and Kim is a good friend of
mine. In so many words, everybodys just kind of like, Okay, were
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. Its easy for
a man to be in his late 20s, 30-something running around with his
pants sagging and pretending hes a little kid, but thats not hot when
youre 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
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. Its 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, its like nobodys 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 its just not convincing. Like right now Eve cant come
back in the rap game and convince me that shes in the streets.
[Laughs] Like theres no female rapper that we know and love that can
really come back in the rap game right now and convince us that theyre
battling each other. I just dont believe you and I think all of that
has a lot to do with why female albums aint selling and so forth and
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. Im owning all the masters
so I got a couple of different offers on the table. Im seeing whats
the best situation for it, but ultimately its gonna be distributed
through iTunes and also through my own music store, RahDiggaMusic.com.
And I have a lovely contest going on too: its Sucker Free Contest. The
person that submits the hottest record Im gonna throw a verse on it
and it will be on my Sucker Free album.
AllHipHop.com: Once you release Sucker Free and thats out, are you pretty much done with music and rapping?
Rah Digga: No, Im not done with it. Im not done with music cause I
still plan on appearing on soundtracks and features. Im about five
minutes away from scoring movies. Its about to be real serious, but
Im done with the trying to create a buzz through the mixtape circuit.
What Im done with is going through all the extra hurdles to create
buzz and be famous. Im passed that. I dont care about being on a
major label. I dont care about having a million and one records in the
street before the album drops. I dont care about having four or five
videos. I dont care about first week sales. Thats the stuff that Im
done with. My thing is whoevers feeling Rah Digga like that, yall 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, its too
much paper chasing. I dont 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 theres a possibility that you might be working with
Kevin Federline. Did that ever come about?
Rampage: Hell no, I aint working with no Kevin Federline. Hell no. Hell no.
AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] Its money
Rampage: Every money aint good money. [Laughs] Kevin Federline? Hell no.