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Ladybug MeccaDigable Lady
Femal Rapper Ladybug Mecca Speaks with QV.

—By qvStaff

THE DIGABLE PLANETS was one of the most promising and creative Hip Hop groups of the early ’90s, with hit songs like “Cool Like Dat.” Now, lead female singer Ladybug Mecca is stepping out on her own with a new CD due this fall. We spoke with Ladybug about her new album and about Hip Hop and QVs.

How did you get your start? I graduated from high school and I moved to Philadelphia for about a month. I hung out with a group of people there who were very creative. That’s where I met the other members of the group Digable Planets. We moved to New York about a month and a half later. I was just a little girl, so I didn’t know anyone in the industry at all. But one of the members took a job at a small label as an assistant A&R and we ended up signing up with that label.

What did you learn from your experiences in being in Digable Planets? The biggest lesson I learned, aside from the ability to grow as an artist creatively, is that your business has to be tight. It is a business. If you don’t have that part in check, it’s easy to allow your career to slip away and for others to take advantage of you. You have to be on top of your business. It is a business—a very big business.

Do you feel you’ve got yourself more together now in terms of being prepared for the attention? Now, I’m an older, more evolved woman. Then, I was 17-18 years old and being guided by the universe, but at the same time I had my trust in people around me that frankly I didn’t know. It became a circle where I didn’t feel comfortable or safe. You start to not trust people around you and you begin to question people’s loyalty and their intentions. I do feel more in control now. I’m a Virgo and I’m very guarded and I protect myself, so I was still protecting myself an questioning everything around me when I first got into the game, which is good. That was my protection. Now, I’ve seen life and my experiences have given me a whole different perspective on the industry and life in general.

What made “now” the time to do your first solo album? I had a deal on another label in 1997 and it didn’t pan out. The label had difficulty with their business affairs. It was divine order that everything has now come full circle.

What can we expect to hear on the new album? Digable had a jazzy funk kind of style, musically. On this album, it incorporates those influences, but it also goes back to my childhood influences. It goes through all the phases I’ve gone through growing up. It starts off with Brazilian music, which is like samba. And then bringing in Afro-Beats and bringing in new wave rock. I’m really able to go into all kinds of influences across the board. I also sing in Portuguese and in English. I think it’s diverse musically. I am singing and rhyming and doing something kind of like in between the two. It’s very free and open and hard to classify.

What were some of the influences you had in making this album? Did you write the music on it? I wrote all the lyrics. I brought in some of the producers and I also collaborated with some other producers. I did hand pick everything. And I did do all the writing. I guess my influences are just from life—point blank, period. All the lessons behind them and the experiences. That’s where I drew my inspiration from—reality.

When Hip Hop first started, many people didn’t think it would last. What do you think has made it have the longevity that it has had? Just the fact that it has been embraced by the world as an art form. Everyone can relate to the lyrical content of different artists. Music speaks to everyone, period. Like they say, it’s a universal language. Those of us who are within the culture and understand it, over stand it, and inner stand it, knew that it wasn’t going to go anywhere. And the fans made sure that was true. And it has spilled into other genres of other music. It’s not going anywhere now.

What are some of the messages you want to convey with this album? I’m not coming from a preachy standpoint. I’m just kind of putting my experiences out there for people. If you get something out of it, that’s beautiful. One song that I did is about knowing when to let go of the people and things that just aren’t good for you and being able to say, “Hey, change is good.” If things or people are holding you back and trying to block your light, you’ve got to let that go.

A lot of people consider Hip Hop homophobic because of a few lyrics by a few rappers. Do you think that there is a lot of homophobia in the Hip Hop world? I think there’s homophobia all within society. It’s definitely going to trickle into the Hip Hop world. It’s understandable because a lot of people just aren’t in touch with their feminine and masculine side. People view being QV or lesbian as a personal preference or a sexual choice, when I believe it’s much deeper than that. There’s nothing wrong with it. People who don’t understand it from a deeper perspective will just lash out at it. It’s definitely not just the Hip Hop world, but it’s society as a whole.

What would you say to your QV fans? I don’t really separate my fans in that way. I look at everybody as people are people. I don’t have a special message for one certain type of people. I just think we’re all one in the same.

Where do you see yourself going with your music? I would say, just completing this album and getting it out there and being able to connect with the fans. I just want to get on stage and have fun with everybody. That was just the highlight of my life—being on stage and just vibin’ and kickin’ it and partying with people in an intimate setting like in clubs and stuff. Really, that’s the main thing. I’m also looking forward to expressing myself on a visual level through videos and so forth. And then, just getting into certain films. I’d definitely like take on a really good role. And just helping this label move forward. It’s a great place to be and there are great artists here and we’re collaborating. Then just taking a break and raising my children and schooling them in reality and life. And then jumping back into it and exploring anything that comes my way. Kind of just flow with the wind.

How many children do you have? Four. My oldest is six, the two middle children are three, and the youngest is 8 months.

How is it balancing the music career with the family? It’s kind of tough but I have a lot of help. I definitely can’t get into the creative process while I’m watching them. So I have a lot of help in terms of having someone watch them when I’m into that mode.

Anything else on your mind? I just want to thank the fans for being patient with me and anticipating my album. The response has just been incredible, overwhelming, and very humbling. Usually careers are pretty fickle, but it’s cool that I’m getting all this love and anticipation. I’m overwhelmed by that.

Have you previewed any of your music? A little bit. We’re going to get into a little more of that very soon. We’ve been doing a teeny tiny bit. We just have so many beautiful, wonderful songs to choose from, we’re trying to be very strategic with how I’m re-presented into the swing of things.

What would you say to a person who is interested in getting into the music industry as an artist? I would say to remain focused and make sure the people you have around you are real people. They have to respect your creativity and insight. It’s tough because there are a lot of vultures out there and a lot labels that want to create their own images and want you to follow the latest trend. It’s important to maintain who you are through it all. As long as you stay focused and grounded and real, then I think you’ll be okay.

 

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