Remy Ma — Grammy-nominated rapper and ‘Meet The Mackies’ star adds talk show co-host to her resume
‘To not have people continuously judge me or base everything on my past has been a blessing’
“I know what you want me to say,” says Remy Ma, who chuckles when asked who’s the “good cop” and who’s bad on the VH1 reality show Remy and Papoose: Meet The Mackies. She co-stars with her husband and fellow rap veteran. “First of all, neither one of us are cops. Ha! Let’s get that straight. But … the good parent, that’s my husband. And the wicked-witch parent that tries to lay down all the laws, and who nobody really pays attention to … that’s me.”
Remy Ma (born Reminisce Smith) has a lot to feel good about these days. The Bronx, New York, native, who was discovered by Big Pun in the ’90s, is checking many been-there-done-that boxes. Her latest gig? The outspoken, hell-raising co-host of Revolt’s State of the Culture. If the show is trending, more than likely you can blame Remy Ma.
Since being released from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in 2014 (she served six years for her part in the shooting of a friend), the platinum co-star of hit songs such as 2004’s “Lean Back” and 2017’s “All The Way Up” (both with Fat Joe) has been making up for lost time. She’s also working on new music and preparing for her first child with Papoose. Life is good. The only downside is Remy Ma rarely has time to watch her beloved Hollywood musicals. Who knew?
You’ve certainly made noise on State of the Culture, even calling Joe Budden out for not responding to an Eminem diss. Were you always this bold?
I definitely grew up with a lot of busted lips. (Laughs.) I had a stern mom and grandmother who would tell me, ‘Be quiet … don’t say anything else!’ And I’ll be the kid who would say, ‘But …’
You also caught some heat for your recent Bill Cosby comments.
I speak my mind, and I like to use my brain. A lot of times, especially in today’s culture, people are trained and directed what to say. People don’t do their own research. They just go based off whatever the headline says. I’ve just never been afraid to speak on how I feel.
So you don’t regret anything that was said at that moment …
It is what it is. A lot of times people feel like if they say something other than what the majority is saying, they’d rather just say it in private when no one’s around. And I never really had that problem. I leave my job [at State of the Culture], and after I’m done, I go to one of my 17 jobs that I have.
Seventeen jobs is no hyperbole. You must have a body double, right?
Ha! I sleep in the car, in the plane and when I’m getting my hair and makeup done. Every now and then something gets canceled, and I consider it a blessing to take that day to catch up on things. But I’d rather be tired and working than to be well-rested and not working.
You pulled off a huge comeback with the success of your collaboration with Fat Joe, “All The Way Up,” and the Nicki Minaj diss record “shETHER.” Did you ever think you’d have these kinds of chances again?
When people ask me, ‘Did you ever think it would be this way?’ — of course I did. Because if I didn’t believe in me, who else would believe in me? There are plenty of people who have had way lengthier sentences than I have, and no one is feeling sorry for them. Sometimes I hear people say, ‘Oh, she didn’t sell this amount of records’ or ‘This didn’t happen.’ And I’m sitting here like, ‘Do you know what most people who have spent as much time as I did [locked up] go through?’
Six years is a long stretch.
When I went away, I was 26 years old. … I came back in my early 30s. People who have done as much time as me, do you know what their life is like? The obstacles they have to face as far as getting a job? Housing? And just getting their family back together?
We’re talking about everyday people struggling with incarceration.
Right. It’s a lot … it’s not easy. I’m thankful to have a great family foundation and structure … and have my financial situation in order … to have my sanity and never harbor ill feelings, which says a lot.
OK, I’m going to put a Bronx girl on the spot. Big Pun or KRS-One?
Come on now … we not doing that. (Laughs.) And that’s not only because Pun was dumb nice and is pretty much the person that changed my life. Let’s be clear, KRS is amazing. I hold both of them in high regard.
What’s the first hip-hop song that you ever memorized?
Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s ‘The Show.’ I grew up in the Bronx … I was just a kid at that time. I was old enough to go outside by myself but young enough to where I couldn’t walk off the stoop. And I remember they were having a block party and Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh were performing ‘The Show’ live outside.
Now that sounds crazy.
It was pandemonium. When I heard the beginning of that song [Remy does the iconic intro of the Teddy Riley-produced classic], I was like, ‘Yo, what is this???’ I was obsessed with ‘The Show.’ I looked it up, and I listened to it every time it came on the radio. To this day, ‘The Show’ is one of my all-time favorite hip-hop songs. I gave my husband an ’80s/’90s birthday party back in March and I was able to get Doug E. Fresh to perform.
That must have been surreal.
And I told Doug my story. It was just so crazy. He had no idea when he was in his late teens/early 20s that there was this little girl down the block … whose life he would change.
What’s the one movie you find yourself watching over and over again?
I have a lot of movies like that, unfortunately. My cable bill is crazy. (Laughs.) I’m the On Demand queen. But what I realized recently is that all of my favorite movies are musicals like Little Shop of Horrors, Sparkle and The Five Heartbeats. If any of those movies come on, I’m watching them. But that’s only when I have time.
You and Papoose … what’s the parenting dynamic like?
Papoose is an easygoing guy. If you want to get something that you really probably don’t deserve, or shouldn’t be asking for, you go to him. But if you want to earn it and have stipulations and strings attached to it and possibly get it taken away if you do something outside of what we agreed to, you come to me. So the kids don’t come to me for much. (Laughs.)
You’ve been pretty open about your past pregnancy struggles. Describe the moment you discovered you and Papoose were going to have a child?
To be totally honest, I didn’t want to talk about it. I acted like it didn’t even happen because after so many disappointments and so many months of preparing, going to doctor’s appointments and taking medication, the process is not really over until you give birth. I didn’t want to embrace it because I knew that if something would’ve gone wrong, I don’t think I would’ve been able to take it again. At this point, I’m seven months along with two months to go until my due date. Now it’s more like a feeling of excitement. Now I’m decorating the nursery.
So a new baby — and then a new album?
Soon. I just want people to know I have so much to say. That’s why I named my album 7 Winters and 6 Summers. I would have liked it to come out this year, but I think everyone is waiting for my delivery date and see how that works. Because I really do want to get out there on a roll, and I want to touch the fans and be able to promote it the way it needs to be done.
You already have it mapped out!
I’m just thankful that my team and my husband were able to set things up so I could move on a different level. I’ve always looked at music as a gateway to other things. I always wanted to eventually have my own talk show and do things outside of music, like television and movies. So to be able to do that and to not have people continuously judge me or base everything on my past has been a blessing.