Lil Mo: Big Pain & Paper Business

With a previous hit single titled "Superwoman," it would be safe to assume that it was just a mere song concept. That might not be the case with Lil Mo. Truth be told, there's a little more to Lil Mo than a few radio hits and features. She joins the ranks of women determined to take the driver’s seat in their lives and business endeavors. After her debut and follow-up albums, Lil Mo was faced with the common shelving of creative efforts. During the penning of Meet The Girl Next Door (Elektra) and an album that was abandoned by Cash Money Records, Lil Mo birthed two daughters. Now, after the completion of her new album Pain & Paper, Lil Mo is giving light to her record label Honey Child Inc. distributed by Koch - a superwoman indeed.Aside from possessing an easily identifiable voice and ability to write relevantly to audiences, there's a business savvy woman packed into her 4’11 frame. The self proclaimed Godmother of Hip-Hop and R&B chatted with Alternatives, relayed some business savvy information, discussed some controversies, and what made Pain & Paper her favorite project yet.AHHA: How has motherhood changed songwriting for you?Lil Mo: Actually, it’s matured me. But I also take into consideration that…music changes. So, when my first child was born “4Ever” was the hit single. So, my daughter knows that song. But now my two-year-old knows “Sumtimes I.” I just try to keep up with what I think [are] easy melodies and things that the kids could sing along to, but the adults can relate to. So, I always try to stick with one genre, my generation, but I always cater to the young folks. I don’t want to be too old where it’s just like, “Okay, I’m just all grown and sexy and I forget about my young audience.”AHHA: What major collaborations did you have on this album?Lil Mo: Well, the first single is with Jim Jones; he’s real hot right now. I had to definitely get him because he’s got that hood swag. It’s almost like the “new pretty boy” because, you know, everybody is wearing the tight shirts and the jeans and stuff. So, they’re giving you hood, but it’s like the clean version of hood. So I was like, who better for a comeback? I got Katt Williams on “Officially Hollywood” because he and I have similar stories about situations like – everyone sees the glory but they don’t know the story. People don’t know what we had to go through to get to where we at today. So, I have a song with Katt Williams, and he’s actually rapping, and he can really rap. He wrote his own rhyme! I have a song with Da Brat, and Trina, and my artist that I’m getting out there. If somebody is not on the album that means I didn’t call them.AHHA: So, was your expectation for the album to be “independent but major?”Lil Mo: Yeah, because I always felt – I like to set standards. I don’t just want to go independent just to be like, “Okay, well…you know, well I heard that if you go independent you get six dollars off the album.” Yeah, but you’re spending just as much as the majors, even though you get more of a discount. But I was just like, “Listen, me and my lawyer sat down before me and my business partner even came up with the idea.” He was like, “Listen, we can go get you a major deal but do you still want to be stuck in the same situation?” So, she was like, “Why don’t you be like the female Jay-Z?” I was like, “What you mean by that?” She was like, “Start your own label.” A lot of people have tried it, but they don’t really know talent; they really don’t have the time. But I make time. So, I hope this will open up a window for other sisters, like the Mary J. Blige’s, the Alicia Keys’ who have artists. Since they’re in so much high demand, “Well, if you want me here goes my artist as well, here goes what else what I’m coming out with, here’s my book deal.” Like 50 Cent, he has publishing deals, he has water. The man owns water! I’m just like, “Wow!” So I said, “I’m just out to set a standard from a female point of view,” and if I got to, lead it off. And I’m not saying that I’m going to make all these good guys some money, but I can be the person that lights the match then starts the fire. Let’s get it in! I’ve always had that type of spunk, that type of spirit. And I’m not going to stop just because I got to do it myself now, because I will see greater return. And honestly, this industry is not as hard as people make it.AHHA: Having worked with Ja Rule in the past, any comments on his arrest?Lil Mo: I heard very little about it because that was [driving]. I was in there with someone and they said, “Ja got arrested” - something about a concert. I was like, “He do got an album coming out.” I don’t know because I wasn’t there. But then they got specific and said everyone got arrested. I’m just like, “People don’t even get it now.” When they find out there’s a whole bunch of the same people, like rappers, going to one place, you know the cops are going to come in droves. So I’m like, “I wouldn’t even have went, number one.” I would have been like, “Y’all could use my name on the flyer for the commercial, whatever the case may be.” But a lot of things, to me, aren’t that serious anymore because you know the Hip-Hop police out here whether you doing something or not. You’re guilty by association – by the color of your skin. So to me, that was a racist move by the police, because what did he actually do? Nothing but showed up. Sometimes we have to all get together and think, “We shouldn’t show up.” Not to aggravate our fans, but to piss the police off. They eat this stuff! They breathe this stuff! They can't wait for their check to get in quick so they can take somebody down, for foolishness! To feel like they’re big boys. “Yeah, we had Ja Rule in there last night.” Then they’re going to be like, “My kids love your music.” I can't stand stuff like that! Half of the stuff is for bragging rights. “Yeah, we arrested a whole bunch of rappers.” For what? Now my tax dollars is going to go up because y’all keep arresting people for stuff they ain’t do.AHHA: In another publication a while back, you spoke about a heavy altercation with your husband where you waved a gun at him? Care to speak on that?Lil Mo: That was an old situation, and as of now that’s my ex. So, you can put that in there too! I feel there are times in your life when you should not be bothered. When you’re fasting you should keep your behind in the house ‘cause the devil is out there. He’s going to tempt you, and then it defeats the whole purpose of fasting if you’re going to eat a snack. When I’m pregnant, I don’t like to be bothered. I don’t answer my phone. Everybody knows how to privately get in contact with me. Somebody got my private line, and they disrespected [me] and it happened to be somebody that [my ex-husband] used to deal with, and I told him to handle it. He didn’t handle it in the amount of time that I allotted him. So, after I had my daughter, the situation happened again. I got home, and when I told him I said, “Didn’t I tell you?” I don’t know, he brushed me off, my parents were there, I was going through post-partum, and I went and I grabbed my gun. I said, “I’m going to blow your head off! Don’t freaking play with me!” It didn’t happen again until years later, probably when I had my second child, but then [my parents said], “Think about it, enough is enough.” I was just like, “Look, I have had enough!” But I’ve learned I have zero tolerance for foolishness, but if you keep on entertaining foolishness, it will keep on coming to you. So, I’ve learned [if] somebody calls my house I have no problem with changing my number, and just call the police and say this person is harassing me. There are certain things that you can press charges against. Before, I just would think that somebody would hold me down and just look at the situation and take my side because I was their wife. But they didn’t do that. So, y’all want to get street? I’m going to get gutter too.AHHA: What can your fans expect from you?Lil Mo: Nothing but love – L-O-V-E. I’m the person that really hits the streets. I don’t have to send people for me. So, if you see me on the streets, be like, “Yo Mo! You got it in!” That’s all they got to say. I holler back. I don’t hide behind security. I don’t hide behind smoke or mirrors. I don’t have nothing to hide. So, if there’s a question they want to ask me…they can hit me up on Myspace -