The ladies love his sexy, prowling tenor voice when it drops in the club. For many, Bettie Grind is the type of artist that makes them reach to turn the dial up on their radios when they spin his records. Not many independent rappers are able to ride such a tidal wave without crashing from over-extension, but somehow here he is – with a unique name in tow. In the place known as “Queen City,” Bettie Grind stands tall as the King, and his music keeps newcomer emcees far from grasping his version of “the throne. “
Bettie Grind is experiencing a great deal of success from his latest single “Ciroc Money.” The video has been shot, and he now focuses on leaping even further forward than he already has. Bettie Grind says he loves perfecting his art against all odds, and AllHipHop.com caught up with him on the brink of his musical climax:
AllHipHop.com: Who is the man behind the artist named “Bettie Grind?”
Bettie Grind: Bettie Grind is a protector and provider. I come from a single mother, who was pregnant with me as a minor. My mother and I grew up together. I watched her smile, laugh, cry, struggle, provide, succeed, fail, and make a way for three kids when the means weren't there and sometimes without any support. I watched my father make hundreds of thousands of dollars as a young man before he was sentenced and went to jail. If he and my mother weren't on speaking terms or not living together while married, we sometimes went without water, lights, gas, and food.
I watched my mother and father try to make a somewhat forced marriage work; even though they were too young to really want or need that type of commitment. They were forced into marriage 26 days before I was born, because my mother became pregnant with me. I watched my father get 10 years federal time as a child. I watched my mother, grandmother, aunts, and uncle cry as my father was sentenced. As a young boy, I was entirely too young to witness something that horrific.
My father was set up by the same informant who set up [both] Mayor Marion Berry and the infamous Rayful Edmond. He was put on a $2 million bond that Easter. I was a young boy wanting to help my mother, and I couldn’t because I was too young to really help her at all. My mother’s pain and struggle fueled my hustle, and my hunger for more made me who I am today. I want to perfect all the good my parents did and re-write everything they did wrong with our family. I want to break the generations of curses. So today, the man behind Bettie Grind is a provider and protector for his family and friends.
AllHipHop.com: When you first began rapping, who were some of your early influences?
Bettie Grind: My early influences were Outkast, Jay-Z, Nas, Goodie Mob, and Wu Tang. Surprisingly, the first rap record I loved was Rob Base's "It Takes Two." My friends would laugh at me about that, and some of them still pick at me to this date. But Jay-Z, Outkast, and Biggie are the artists that made me want to be different and GREAT, and I’m hoping my fans feel I am just as great!
AllHipHop.com: Not too long ago you experienced success with your hit, "What Its Gone Be," and it was an especially huge success amongst the ladies. So, tell me what does it take for a lady to get your attention?
Bettie Grind: Loyalty! I only ask for that. It seems to be almost impossible these days. I try to be somewhat optimistic. Betrayal and deceit seem to be the norm these days. I can handle the rest, but I just need a lady who is loyal. If you watch any of the classic movies such as Casino, Blow, and Scarface, women were a big part of their demise and fall. Adam gave his rib in hopes Eve would never leave his side EVER!
AllHipHop.com: I know you're really active within your community. Tell me some of the many ways that you give back?
Bettie Grind: I do a yearly Turkey Giveaway with the radio station here, Power 98, to people in need. I've watched my mother have to scrape loose change together to get Thanksgiving done, so I know firsthand that there are people struggling and need a helping hand. Now that I am financially able to, I purchase turkeys, and myself and my team/label, Hood Supastar Entertainment, go out and give them out to the ‘hood. I also do, “Back to School Haircuts,” and I donate yearly to the battered women shelters, etc. I'd prefer not to go any deeper, because I give from the heart and not for the promo or the praise. God and I know, and that's all that matters.
AllHipHop.com: Charlotte has already demonstrated that it can produce entertainment arenas with places such the Panther, Bobcats, NASCAR, etc. Why do you think it’s been hard for a rapper to make his mark on a national scale from there?
Bettie Grind: The Carolinas is no different than any other new market. You have to get the people to understand it’s OK to support your “hometown heroes.” You have to get home to believe and become fans of artists from their city and state. The Carolinas hold a lot of stars outside of me. I work every day to expose that. The radio stations and DJs are doing a much better job in the Carolinas, too. But it will take a lot more from us as a whole. We need all the DJs playing Carolina records in regular rotation. Some do, but we need them all to. We need radio to keep doing what they are doing, but as we grow, hopefully they will grow with us. I believe they will.
Also, we definitely need the fans to buy the music. There is no way we can make it without sales, shows, spins, and play. We have to create our own self-sufficient music industry, and then we all can eat and make the fans happy. I am where am because my team believes in me, and they have since day one, even when no one else believed in me. I'm here because the DJs made me, and the fans believe.
A word of advice from me personally to the up and coming artists: Don't wait on a deal! We have to do it indie first and really show them we have a profitable market and that we are “Team Cak!” It can be done! I'm living proof of getting paid shows and being contracted for thousands of BDS spins throughout the country. It's on us! The artist, the fan, the DJ, and radio – we are the answer to the Carolinas success!
Oh, and the answer to your question is: my record "Dammit I'm Fly" went national! I'm the first indie to accomplish that!
AllHipHop.com: Now, you have been approached by many labels but never signed. Why was that?
Bettie Grind: If I can't get a deal that offers more than I have “buried” in safes or own in assets, why would I sign? I already live like a rapper. Sh*t, honestly I live better than a lot “signed” rappers. No disrespect intended to any of ‘em, but I'm in this strictly because I love what I do and I do this for the future of my kids and my team’s kids. I don't want them to ever see the struggle we all saw as sons raised by single mothers. I don't ever want them to have to do what we had to do to get where we are.
Why would I sign to a label if they can't put me in a position to leave our legacies generations of wealth? If a label can't see that I make continuous hits and have accomplished what no other Carolina indie artist has without any major backing or assistance, why sign? I turned the light on in the industry's "black hole." The impossible has been done! They wanted to see spins, shows, image, viral, a movement, etc. and I did it and have been doing it consistently. As my fam, “Fresh” would say, "Sh*t, I been n*gga rich! I want to be wealthy!"
AllHipHop.com: Right now you're pushing the single "Ciroc Money." Tell me about the concept for that song.
Bettie Grind: There really is no particular concept for “Ciroc Money? HELLO???” The record is an anthem. When I make records like that with producer Drumma Boy, I'm just talkin' what I live. My other hit single, "Dammit I'm Fly," was exactly what my team and I was living. “Ciroc Money” is just about how we live and how we feel! We real, so hop out the Rolls. We really do hop out the 6 (Maybach.) “Ciroc Money” is for the person who can only buy a drink, or a bottle, or the ‘Hood Supastar who buys the bar! “Ciroc Money” is Bettie Grind, period! I just want the people to feel me because I'm speaking through my music what fans white, black, yellow, or green can feel. I just want people to know it’s OK to be you sometimes. You can look in the mirror and say, “DAMMIT I'M FLY!” Don't let someone else determine your happiness. "I got a pocket fulla Rose' and Ciroc Money." Don't you? I do.
AllHipHop.com: When can fans expect to see the video?
Bettie Grind: It will be the first OFFICIAL single off the TGFC street album and DVD that will be released November 1. It was shot by @LeonidasFilms, Devin Johnson, and Chopped By Champ Productions. They did my "What It's Gone Be" video. "Ciroc Money, HELLO" features King Magazine models, Core DJ models, etc. It's CRAZY!
AllHipHop.com: You have a respected reputation for enjoying the finer things in life. What are some of the typical lavish items a person might catch Bettie Grind partaking in?
Bettie Grind: I live life. I enjoy the best. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, jewels, food, cars, or women, I only want the best. My shoes may have red bottoms or LV print. My brunch of choice last Sunday was $400 at checkout. Shout out to Ruth's Chris and my favorite waitress, Alona. When it comes to women, I only want the company of a SUPA B***H! Pardon my French. I mean that in the highest form of compliment possible. Any n*gga can get a dime. I like my women a step above that; invincible like me. Jewels? Well, when you see the "Ciroc Money" video, you'll see. Cars? I had ‘em all. This ain't a movie for me; it's a reality show. I'm actually living this shit ‘til God says it shall be no more. If so, it is what it is.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me a little about your recording process. Describe a typical session.
Bettie Grind: My sessions are usually quiet and empty. It’s usually just my manager and I. I don't drink or smoke, so there are no aids. I'm high off me. Just turn the beat on and let me get my Tourette’s Syndrome bounce on. [laughter] I enjoy making music. The producer tells the engineer to load the beat. I tell him to turn it up! My manager Cash usually tells everybody, "Now watch Clark Kent turn into Superman." You'll see me start bouncing and speaking in tongues very low, and 20 or 30 minutes later, Bettie Grind aka G'S US is done!
AllHipHop.com: You're getting ready to drop your street album. Tell me about that.
Bettie Grind: “T.G.F.C.” aka “Thank God for C.R.A.A.A.A.C.K.” is due to drop November 1 of this year. We Just inked our distribution deal this week, and when choosing, we let the money talk, which is the only thing my ears will hear. Nothing else mattered. I won't say if the street album and DVD is good or bad. I hate to hear or read other artists say, "it's a classic" or something like that. I will just say if you’ve enjoyed my singles or mixtapes, you will definitely want to listen to T.G.F.C. It’s 19 tracks of industry level production, and “G'S US” is speaking, and my fam, DJ Chuck T, is hosting it. What else could you ask for? HELLO!
AllHipHop.com: Who did you collaborate with for this project?
Bettie Grind: I have producer Drumma Boy on there a few times. I have production from Rio Productions, Marshall Law, Slip N Slide, Trap Camp, Boogz from No I.D. and Kanye West’s circle, but I won't say anymore. Just buy the album! Let's take it back to the time when you bought an album and everything was new to you! T.G.F.C. We here!
AllHipHop.com: What has been the hardest part of making this album?
Bettie Grind: The hardest part was picking out what distribution company offer to sign. I'm under no contracts. My team and I are all street n*ggas. We live by street code. If you say it, you do it, and live with it! We’ve been in this since 2006, so for me to sign to anything is a really big deal for us. Win or lose, I have to make this step into retail for the Carolinas. I helped pioneer radio for us. I helped pioneer paid shows for us. Now, I have to campaign that the album and DVD, TGFC will be available for purchase virally iTunes, Amazon, and in Best Buy, DTLR, FYE, Target, and other retail locations on November of this year.
AllHipHop.com: You are known for being very private. Is there any particular reason why?
Bettie Grind: I come from the type of lifestyle where you walk light. Privacy is practiced until it’s habit. Safety is first and freedom second. If you're not here, you can't provide. Privacy can be a privilege or a curse. It's a choice for me at this point. Some fallen soldiers found it in a box or a cell. I prefer it my way, which is to stay out the way. I've always been the type who would rather have the money. I'll let the, “soon to be indicted n*gga” have the fame. My pop taught me privacy. He was private, and the one time he opened himself up, it got him popped and given the type of privacy he, nor his family, wanted – a cell.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about the documentary that will be accompanying the mixtape.
Bettie Grind: The documentary will give people a better view of Bettie Grind. My father is on it and speaks on truths about my life. You get a day in the life of Bettie Grind. You get to see the shows, photo shoots, thousands of fans chanting my name, asking for pics and autographs. You get to step into my life and see that Bettie Grind, the movement, is for real! It is a fire! Bettie Grind isn't smoke and mirrors. You will see why I'm a pioneer and leader of the movement. Things you will see on the DVD will signify who I am in Southern Hip-Hop and the Carolinas. It addresses the lies and rumors and shushes them forever!
AllHipHop.com: You've recently experienced huge charting success with online radio. What was that like, and how did that help push your career?
Bettie Grind: The Internet is the new wave of music. When I hit #1 and passed records with Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross, etc. on them, it was surreal. When you gain success on the Internet, your @BETTIEGRIND grows by thousands of followers. Your iTunes sales grow, and the bloggers e-mail and call your publicist for interviews and exclusives. I just thank GOD and my team for working hard to attain success. We ain't done, though. In my opinion, we haven't even started!
AllHipHop.com: If Bettie today could go back and give advice to Bettie of yester year, what would he tell him?
Bettie Grind: If you're speaking musically, he would tell him, “You made the right choices in those label offices and what you're doing will forever label you as a pioneer for the movement.” He would tell him, “You wasted a couple hundred grand at points, but without failure you can't appreciate true success.” He would say, “Continue appreciating your team because without them you're nothing.” He would say, ‘Hood Supastar is the movement and people believe and will believe. He would say, “F*ck them hatas and stay focused!” He would say, “The only new faces you need around you are green ones.” He would say, “Continue to make the music that made you!” He would say, “Keep leading with your heart; it can't go anywhere without your brain.” He would say, “If Jay HOV, you're “G'S US,” fasho! He would say, “The labels have tapped every other major city in the South and yours is the only one left. Who do you think they have to come to? You! The leader! They will look to you all to start the new movement of fads, sounds, and fashion. Be patient and pray.” He would say, “Continue to keep God first, family second, and everything else can get in line or fall the f*ck off.” HELLO!