(AllHipHop Features) Because of her successful three decade career in entertainment, Angie Martinez has been dubbed the “Voice Of New York” and is undoubtedly one of the most prominent media figures in Hip Hop culture.
Martinez is lending her popularity and prestige to help raise awareness and inspire action for a positive social impact around education.
The Power 105 radio personality will host the TIDAL X: 1015 charity concert on October 15.
As a Grammy-nominated performer in her own right, Angie is set to share the stage that night in NYC with superstars such as Beyoncé, Ms. Lauryn Hill, T.I., Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Common, and more.
Besides teaming with Tidal to introduce the performers at the Barclays Center later this month, Martinez’s 2016 had another major moment. The Roc Nation signee also released her New York Times best-selling book My Voice: A Memoir.
I spoke with Angie over the phone a few weeks back. We got the chance to chat about her memoir, the forthcoming 2Pac biographical movie All Eyez On Me, and how she wants to be remembered.
Congratulations on the success of your memoir.
Thank you. I’m super proud of it.
With the success of the book and with all the amazing stories in it, have you thought about transferring that into a biopic or documentary?
This has come up a few times. I have had some conversations with people and expressed some interest in doing that with the book. I’m totally open to it.
I spent a lot of time on that book. It wasn’t just something that I slapped together. To me, it’s like my baby. I shared the story of my life, my career, and my lessons.
If I were ever to translate that into another medium - whether it be TV, movie or doc - I want to give the same amount of love. I’m totally open to it, and there has been some interest. But nothing that I have to announce yet.
Is there any interest in doing another cookbook?
Maybe at some point. That was a book I wanted to do for myself and have exist in the world. I met this amazing chef that had something to offer in that space. I really wanted to put some of my thoughts and his amazing recipes out there.
That was more of a collaborative project. Not to say that I wouldn’t be open to it again, but I think it was a one time thing. But who knows?
One of the most talked about parts of your memoir is the section covering your interview with 2Pac. There’s an actress playing you in the 2Pac biopic. Have you had the chance to see the movie yet?
I haven’t. I kept trying to do it. I know some people that have seen it, and they told me great things. I was actually in L.A., and I tried to get with [director] Benny Boom because he was going to do a screening for me. We just weren’t able to get it done.
The girl that’s playing me [Lian Amado] - her role is super tiny, so I’m not worried about it. [laughs] I don’t know what it is specifically. Nobody has said, but I think it’s a tiny part.
I heard nothing but good things about it which makes me very happy. That’s a story that has to be told the right way. But I hear they got it right.
I heard it from some solid people. People whose opinions on the matter I would trust. Big Boy from L.A. and Snoop Dogg spoke to me about it.
The 20th anniversary of his passing just happened. I read that you said you often reflect on Pac and in particular that interview you had with him. Did he cross your mind over the last few weeks? What was going through your head about his legacy?
You know what’s interesting? One of the things we talk about a lot is Pac’s legacy, how much it still resonates, and how much people are still connected to him. When you think about it, he was 24 when he passed. Do you know how much life he lived in 24 years?
He lived a life in 24 years that most people don’t live in 50 years. When you think about how young he was.... when we were coming up, we didn’t look at him as young. We just looked at him as one of us.
Now when you’re older and look back, it’s like “Wow. He was 24 and did all that.” It’s really fascinating and unimaginable. It makes you wonder about what he would have been able to accomplish with just a few more years.
What are your thoughts about this ongoing conversation on the difference between 90’s Hip Hop and today’s rap music?
I’m not one to be like, “Oh, it was better then. Or it was better this time. Or the 80’s were better. Or the 90’s were better. Or the 2000’s were better.” I just think Hip Hop is a fluid thing that is always changing and evolving.
There are moments when I was a little kid listening to stuff in the 80’s that I thought was the illest. There are moments in the 90’s that I thought were the illest. Or the 2000’s. Even some of it from now, I like. I don’t necessarily like to compare too much. I feel like it’s forever evolving.
I like to ask people about their thoughts on the strengths of Hip Hop media now and what are areas where we could probably work on to improve on what Hip Hop media produces.
I did this press run with my book, so I met some great people. I had some amazing interviews with people that love the culture. Ultimately, it has to be rooted in that. You have to love the culture. You can’t just be in it because you’re trying to get your Instagram followers up.
It has to start with a love for the culture, because that’s what takes it further by asking the deeper question or writing with passion and conviction. If you’re just trying to get some social media numbers or something, that ain’t where the substance is going to come from.
I’m hopeful for it. It's like anything else. It’s easier for people to get in, so it’s a lot of fluff. But also, within there, there are gems. There are people who love the culture, have something to say, have an opinion, and care.
I think it’s up to those people to go extra hard and make sure their voices are the loudest. And it’s the responsibility of the community to support those journalists to make sure there are great stories being told all the time.
It's harder now too, because artists have their own outlets. They don’t necessarily need the journalists. You can say whatever you want to say on your own blog posts. So I think it’s a little bit harder to develop a brand with some substance, but it’s also more necessary than ever.
Lupe Fiasco put out an hour-long solo podcast celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Food & Liquor. He basically said, “I don’t have to do an interview. I’ll just talk and fans will listen to this. I don’t need to sit down and have a conversation with a journalist.”
But then it’s also one-sided for him. Nobody is challenging him. He’s only offering what he thinks people want to know. I would think you would want somebody to push you and challenge you a little bit. That’s how you get to the goods.
Would you like to see more high-profile artists do interviews?
Yeah, of course. I think even if you’re very choosy and choose one or two. It’s important for artists to really matter too. What’s your legacy going to be? You have to be pushed a little sometimes. Your story has to be told from an outside voice, not just your own. For that reason, I think the journalist is always going to be important.
You mentioned the word “legacy.” What do you want your legacy to be?
I think I’m still working on it. I think I’m still creating it. There’s so much more I want to do. I definitely want my legacy to be somewhat grounded in that I was somebody that loved the culture and had its best interest at heart.
Someone who always tried to do the right thing. Someone who pushed myself further and in turn pushed other people further. I think also something about giving people a voice. When I first started there were not a lot of platforms for rap artists to tell their story. That’s part of what I loved and still love about what I do.
[ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Angie Martinez & Cipha Sounds Talk “TIDAL X: 1015” Charity Concert Featuring Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, T.I. & More]
The TIDAL X: 1015 charity concert is scheduled for October 15 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Both Tidal members and non-members will have access to a livestream of the event provided by Tidal.