Rappers & Their Wives: Aliya S. King’s “Platinum,” Fact or Fiction?

Make no mistake about it, “Platinum” is a fictitious tale (wink, wink). But, once one picks up the book as written by Aliya S. King, said reader is immediately drawn into the engrossing story in a way that they are attracted to the rumors page on AllHipHop. The characters in “Platinum” are eerily close to real life people in Hip-Hop and R&B. Perhaps, this is because her previous works have been about real people like Faith Evans, wife of heralded rapper Biggie Smalls. Recently, the NewYork Times best selling author penned the life of Frank Lucas, entitled Original Gangster, and co-authored an upcoming memoir called “Raised By The Mistress.”

King has people already guessing who is who and what is real. “Platinum” chronicles the lives of several women in the music industry and the male artists they are in relationships with. Fictitiously, there’s a lil Jay-Z here, a lil Superhead there….a dash of Chris Brown and Rihanna. Even some DMX and Beyonce…allegedly.

AllHipHop.com: Give me the basic overview of how “Platinum” came about.

Aliya S. King: The story [of “Platinum”] was born out of a story that was given to me by Serena Kim over at VIBE. Serena decided she was curious to know what it was like for a woman that was married to a rapper – a popular rapper. They got all this money, they got all these things. They got the fancy house…are they happy? This is around the time when  was running through the whole industry. It was that aspect too. “Can you really be happily married if your husband is rumored to be sleeping with someone else?”

She send me out  on a journey that was nearly impossible and she said, “Find these women.”  Its not like these kinds of women are just hanging out at the club. That might be the case now where you have reality shows, but back then, they stayed in the house. They weren’t out and about. They were home with the kids chilling out. So, I started a letter-writing campaign. I wrote letters to Ja-Rule’s wife. I wrote letters to Shante Broadus, Snoop Dog’s wife. Tahera Simmons,’ DMX’s wife. And I just  didn’t give up. I would write them letters, I would send them flowers and eventually, I wore them down and they started to get back to me. When the story came out, I was proud of it, but I decided I had more to say. I thought, “This would make a really good novel.” And that is how “Platinum” was born.

AllHipHop.com: How close was your relationship with the wives and ladies? What is reflective of the lead character Alex?

Aliya S. King: Yeah, its very reflective of the lead character. Alex is me for the most part. I did end up becoming close to the women in the process of writing the story. What I found interesting is they wanted to talk. The husbands had set them up in a way were it just wasn’t considered something you do.

AllHipHop.com: I know every character is a composite and things like that, but there’s been some talk this one character Cleo is Karrine “Superhead” Steffans. Yeah? No?

Aliya S. King: I have to be honest and say that Cleo is very closely related to Karrine Steffans. And the only reason I can say that legally is  because she wrote a book about her life. I don’t have a character based on somebody that’s never talked about what they did. If Karrine Steffans hadn’t written a book, I proably couldn’t have gotten away with a character like Cleo. But she put all her stuff out there, which means I can take that and fictionalize it if I want. At least that what my lawyer tells me.

AllHipHop.com: Now, here’s something that’s a lil more touchy. There’s this guy named Jake…and Kipenzi,  his lady. They closely resemble Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Aliya S. King: Do they?

AllHipHop.com: He’s a big time rapper and president of a label.  She’s successful as well as an R&B singer. There’s even this younger R&B singer that seems to be very much like Rihanna.

Aliya S. King:  When you say Jake  is a rapper  who run a label, I can think of others that fit that bill. Damon Dash at one time was running and was involved with Aaliyah when she was at her height. Sooooo…you know, you never know.

AllHipHop.com: Dame’s not a rapper though. He’s not an artist.

Aliya S. King: This is true, but I did say they were composites.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah.           

Aliya S. King: Yeah! Tommy Mottola is an exectuve that was married to a very popular singer (in Mariah Carey). He didn’t rap – not that I know of – but again…they are composites.

AllHipHop.com: Do you think that they are going to read these stories and feel a way about it?

Aliya S. King: I hope so.

AllHipHop.com: Why?

Aliya S. King: I hope they love it. I hope they feel so away about they want to option it into a film. Then, they can do what they want with it.

AllHipHop.com: Is that one of your ambitions?

Aliya S. King:  I can’t say who, but I’m happy to say that someone, who is portrayed in the book is interested in optioning it into a film. But I don’t put any stock in that. Those things can change by the day. Things happen.

AllHipHop.com: What about the whole thing with Beth? Can you say who that closely resembles? Obviously, she has a drug-addicted man who is a rapper? Obviously, we’re talking DMX.

Aliya S. King: Hmmmmm…but you know…Beth is a blonde White girl from Mississippi. Did I just change her nationality and her hometown to throw people off? Maybe! I think Beth and Z (the DMX-like character) are the one couple that people are going to be able to say,  “I know who this is.” I’m not saying who this is, but I do think that the readers will know.

AllHipHop.com: Right…so legally, you have to say “Mums  the word” and let people figure it out.

Aliya S. King: What’s interesting about Beth and Z is the person that I am loosely, allegedly based that on, she got ahold of the book early on and she called me. She said, “Girl, you know I’m Beth so don’t even try it!” I was like, “Oh God…what is she gonna do? Is she gonna beat me up?” And  you know what she said?

AllHipHop.com: What?

Aliya S. King: “I don’t have any beef with this  book, because it was right on point and I can identify with, not just Beth, but with all the women in the book.” So that made me feel good.

AllHipHop.com: So, I’m trying not to cross the line since I have my inside info.

Aliya S. King: Cross the line!

AllHipHop.com: Are you doing a tell-all book with one of these ladies?

Aliya S. King: That’s a possibility! That’s definitely in the air. There are actually two people that see themselves in the book. Its interesting because the work came to me because of “Platinum.” I thought that when this book came out these women would run to the hills and hate me.  But instead, I’ve been sought out. They are like, “You wrote the fictional portrayal of what I went through, but I’m ready to write the real deal!”

AllHipHop.com: I heard your working on the second part already.

Aliya S. King: “Platinum” does end on a cliff hanger. I definitely left it open-ended. I wasn’t sure if was going to write a [sequel], but I like the idea of not wrapping things up in a neat bow. Part 2 will be in stores  next summer?

AllHipHop.com: so is this Chris Brown guy (character Zander) going to be in Part 2?

Aliya S. King: You said Chris Brown, I didn’t. I would say Zander and his girlfriend Bunnie definitely gets a bigger parts in Part 2. They are going to go through a lot together.

AllHipHop.com: Is there any deeper meaning to the book? The book shows the dark side of the music industry, especially how some of them are portrayed.

Aliya S. King: I think so. And you know what’s funny? When I wrote the book,  I didn’t think so. I thought this is a fun, sexy, salacious book that I would love to read. After re-reading it and after hearing what people are saying…this is a cautionary tale. I’ve heard from women who are saying, “I don’t know if I can be with a rapper based on what I’ve read.”

AllHipHop.com: Last question. Will men like this book?

Aliya S. King: Well, you know what’s funny?  I have a nice group of men who are reading it and they pretend that they are just reading it because their wife had it and “I just picked it up.” They are loving it. Its not just about these women – its about these men that they can relate to. They are sitting there trying to figure out who Jake is too.

For more on Aliya S. King, visit: www.aliyasking.com. “Platinum” is in stores now and at online outlets like Amazon.com, Borders.com and other fine places.

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