Monie Love's School of Rap

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Monie Love.

Monie Love.

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Rapper Monie Love is trying to revive a passion for old-school hip-hop through the True School Corporation. She explains how it has been fostering classic hip-hop culture across the country.

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FARAI CHIDEYA, host:

I'm Farai Chideya and this NEWS & NOTES.

Rapper Monie Love is on a mission to preserve hip-hop's roots. She recently teamed up with the True School Corporation. Seven young men founded True School hoping to shed light on hip-hop and R&B from 1980 to the mid-90s and restore respect to the genre's roots.

Welcome back, Monie.

MONIE LOVE (Female Rapper): Hi, thanks for having me.

CHIDEYA: That was so much fun, huh?

MONIE LOVE: Oh, wow, yeah. It was always beautiful.

CHIDEYA: I had no idea that you and Lyte went back like that, so.

MONIE LOVE: Oh, absolutely.

CHIDEYA: Yeah, well, tell me about True School. How did you come across it?

MONIE LOVE: Okay, well, True School, like you so eloquently said, was put together by seven brothers, college and university alumni put together, was one of the names is a producer DJ named 9th Wonder, known for doing a lot of work with Jay-Z, the likes of Jay-z, Destiny's Child, Memphis Bleek throughout hip-hop and R&B, a lot of work has them(ph) group, little brother out of North Carolina. They actually came to the town I actually was on radio in the Philadelphia Tri-State Area and they came to town on a promotion doing something and it was through a mutual friend who's actually Questlove from the Roots.

CHIDEYA: Oh, well. I'm a huge fan of his, by the way.

MONIE LOVE: Yeah, it's, you know, he put us together while in the same room and we went out to dinner. There's a good 15 of us and we had dinner at night. Then, I got an opportunity to speak and we were both like in the same place, musically and spiritually, and as far as our attitudes towards, you know, what happened to that sector of time in music that seems to just have disappeared like, you know, our parents has, you know, some place where they can go and listen to the (unintelligible), the Stylistics, and, you know, Barry White and Teddy Pendergrass and all of that. And then, the kids…

CHIDEYA: So what I'm hearing from you is, you know, people talk about old school hip-hop and new school hip-hop. Is this middle school?

MONIE LOVE: You know, I think, we really need to address the fact that there is a middle school like children do not go from elementary to high school. It just doesn't happen. There is something in between that, you know. And it seems that as far as representation on any kind of media, whether it be radio or TV, that middle-school representation is just not there.

So people kind of just like has to force themselves into one box or the other and never really fit. It's like a round peg trying to go in a - a round thing trying to go in a square hole, you know, what I mean? It's just not fitting.

So this is the discussion that Mike(ph) and I had and one day, you know, working on the radio and playing, working on like contemporary radio and playing the type of stuff that I don't mind playing but at the end of the day, I'm in the studio with the volume down because I'm like, oh my goodness, like I can't do this, like, all day. And I'll go home and I'll call Mike one day and I'll said to Mike and I'm like, oh, this is really frustrating and it's like I don't mind listening to the, you know, the white T-shirt and jeans down to your ankles music but where's the middle school? So he said, you know what? What are you doing this weekend? And it happens to be the weekend at CIAA in North Carolina.

CHIDEYA: Which is?

MONIE LOVE: So which is - I'm clueless. I didn't know what it was until I got there. It was - it's like this huge college basketball tournament, where it's like the top five schools and as far as their basketball teams, there's, you know, there's one big game and…

CHIDEYA: I'm a little sports illiterate. You're going to have to forgive me. But you know what?

MONIE LOVE: (unintelligible).

CHIDEYA: I just have to jump ahead. I know that this is about your development with 9th of the True School, but you keep bringing up your radio time and you actually are no longer at that station. You got into a heated argument with Rapper young Jeezy over Nas' beliefs and the title of his album, "Hip-hop is Dead."

MONIE LOVE: Right.

CHIDEYA: Tell me how that unfolded?

MONIE LOVE: Okay. Well, it's interesting actually because young Jeezy had absolutely nothing to do with why I'm not on that radio station in Philadelphia anymore. I had actually been going through a yearlong of negotiation, to renegotiate my contract. And, unfortunately, we have to go separate ways because there were conditions within the contract that I felt infringed upon the fact that I am an entity outside of radio that does radio, like Monie Love did not receive any prestige from doing radio, like I was already self-invented.

CHIDEYA: Yeah. I know what you said, what you're saying.

MONIE LOVE: You know what I mean? Before I came I came to radio…

CHIDEYA: But what was the beef with, you know?

MONIE LOVE: It just so happen. Yeah. It was just ironic that everything happened at the same time because within the same week that I had a deadline that I had to give an answer regarding the last contract that they presented me, within that same week, Jeezy was a guest on the show and I was still working. So, you know, Nas actually was not - the only part of the conversation that Nas' album, "Hip Hop is Dead," was, was when I placed the question to Jeezy regarding some very out-of-pocket comments made by Lil Wayne towards Jeezy's boss, Jay-Z.

And I forgot the name of the magazine, but there was a magazine where Lil Wayne was in it saying, you know, who says that Jay-Z is back to save hip-hop and who is he to say that? And it doesn't need saving, and all the rest of it. And he said, you know, if this is his house then I then slept with several women in his bed and, you know, metaphorically, being extremely disrespectful.

So based on that, I asked Jeezy, well, how do you feel about Lil Wayne's comments towards Jay-Z and the connection was, you know, Jay-Z is basically - he's under Jay-Z's umbrella. Oh, that's funny, isn't it, especially with the Rhiana under my umbrella.

And he said - so, you know, that was the reason why I placed that question to Jeezy. So Jeezy, and I said, you know, (unintelligible) album's out. We got Nas' album on the way. How do you feel about this comments that Lil Wayne made towards Jay-Z? That is exactly how the question went and he commented very little on the actual question. But then when it's the whole Nas thing, well, anyway, who is Nas to say, but wait a minute I wasn't talking about Nas, I was asking you - the only mention of Nas was that he also has an album coming out around the corner.

CHIDEYA: I'm going to have to stop - I'm going to have to stop…

MONIE LOVE: Yeah.

CHIDEYA: …this and just redirect us one more time. This is, you know, for people who don't know hip-hop. I hope you all folks are still listening. There's a lot of names here: Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy. You can just Google them all. There's a whole pantheon of hip-hop…

MONIE LOVE: Basically.

CHIDEYA: …out there. But just one minute on what you think True School can do to make people more enlightened about hip-hop?

MONIE LOVE: True School is one great big reminder. It's a reminder to everybody in that middle school bracket that was in school when playing hard to get was out. And I like the way all the High Five(ph) raising guy and SWV and Brown Stone and, you know, all the way up to total for crying out loud because you don't even get to hear that stuff anymore, you know.

So it's basically a great big reminder allowing everybody to come back out because there are people that - we don't socialize outside of our homes anymore because we don't want to fight with the white T-shirts. And we're not ready for white linen pants and black belts either. You know…

CHIDEYA: If you're talking generationally, like the folks, who are a little squeezed between the…

MONIE LOVE: Absolutely. Actually

CHIDEYA: You know, kind of, yeah. I know, well, I'm getting flashbacks to my friends, who would go to tell us and buy those colored jeans, you know, those are the ones that came in all those…

MONIE LOVE: Absolutely. Yes. Yes.

CHIDEYA: Yeah. I know you probably brought some of those (unintelligible).

MONIE LOVE: Are you kidding? Black on the front and white on the back.

CHIDEYA: That's right.

MONIE LOVE: Absolutely.

CHIDEYA: Monie Love, thanks so much.

MONIE LOVE: No problem.

CHIDEYA: Monie Love helps represent The True School Corporation, a group created to receive, love and respect for old school hip-hop and R&B. She joined me from the studios of WHYY in Philadelphia.

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