It's easy to judge someone by their past and celebrity without getting to know whether their decisions have any merit. When first gearing up to interview Heather, I assumed she'd simply be a pretty face (and other things) with an open eye for money and have little to no knowledge/history with regards to Hip Hop. So, I threw her a few curve balls in the hopes of identifying her true intent. Thankfully, she knocked them out, proving a valid history and brutal honesty.
Not ashamed of her past, and not pretending to be anything she's not, Heather will be dropping "The Unexpected" on Blo Records on July 12th. With production from the likes of DJ Premier and Scott Storch, she aims to prove that not only can she "----," she can rhyme too.
MVRemix: What's your first memory of Hip Hop?
Heather Hunter: My first memory of Hip Hop was the first time I actually saw Public Enemy perform at "Latin Quarters." It was a famous Hip Hop club in the early 80's, basically in the beginning of Hip Hop. I saw Public Enemy perform and that inspired me. That's when I was consumed with Hip Hop.
MVRemix: I've been hearing about you and Akinyele working together for a few years now. How did you two meet up?
Heather Hunter: Actually, I met Akinyele through a TV show I had on B.E.T. I was the host of a TV show called "The Peep Show," and he was one of my guests. From the very start we hit it off very cool and he asked me if I knew how to rhyme. I was like, "I don't know, but I'll try." He said "Aight, I'ma give you some lyrics, I want you to learn 'em. Call me back and spit it to me." So I did that, and out of nowhere he was shocked; I was shocked. He was then like "Okay, we goin' on tour." [chuckles] That's how it happened, that was about six or seven years ago. I've now kind of naturally progressed to this point.
MVRemix: Why is it now that you're releasing an album? Why has it taken so long to come to this point?
Heather Hunter: I wanted to be comfortable with the product I was gonna put out. I never like to feel that just because I came from the X-rated film industry twelve years ago, I never wanted to feel like a novelty act. I wanted to feel like someone that had really good production, something I could be proud about and I could wake up in the morning and know that I'm happy with what I did. I love real music and I love good music - I didn't want my stuff to sound bad. I wanted to make sure I really had it, and I've got the niche now. I'm very happy with this album that I'm putting out.
MVRemix: A lot of the tracks I've heard aside from "So Serious" and "In Love" seem heavily sexually geared. Tell me more about "The Unexpected," and its content.
Heather Hunter: Well "The Unexpected" as in the content of my album, I would think that would be kind of expected because I've never been shy of my past. I embrace the sexual industry part of me, as well as the mainstream. I've always tried to collaborate them both. "The Unexpected" part of my album is that I can actually rhyme, I'm actually a good rapper. [chuckles] People are shocked by that because when I took on the craft of learning how to rap, it was unexpected to me as well. I guess when you truly have a passion for something, you're really gonna do your best. I found my niche musically. I used to be with Island records in '93 when I did House music and then I was signed to Tommy Boy records. Tommy Boy records basically didn't know what kind of music to do with me and I got shelved. So it took me a second to get back into the music business because I wanted to make sure that I truly knew what kind of music I really wanted to do.
MVRemix: How did you hook up with DJ Premier and Scott Storch?
Heather Hunter: Actually Premier, it's so funny... I've been in this industry and I've had a career for twenty years, I have a lot of history. I grew up with a lot of people, DJ Premier I've known since I was fifteen years old. I used to work at the club "Latin Quarters," so a lot of the Hip Hop artists that are huge today are people that I basically knew all my life. Or we've been in the same club scene, the same night life through all these years. DJ Premier, I met him that way. With Scott Storch, Scott Storch came through. He really came to the table giving me the love and support of seeing me succeed, he's a very close friend of mine. I consider him family. So, a lot of people that supported this album and put together this album were people that really want to see me succeed in life. I don't think people wanna see me swinging on a pole or doing porno for the next twenty years. It was really good how this all came together and the project was actually finished.
MVRemix: Are you still heavily intertwined with adult entertainment, or is are you now solely geared towards music?
Heather Hunter: I have so much within... Music is not my only genre. I'm basically doing an empire right now. I've always believed, from the beginning of my career that the erotic business can be collaborated with the mainstream. The proof is in the pudding now a few years later. So I'm at a pinnacle in my life right now. For the past six years I've been writing a book, my book comes out in the fall. That basically is an erotic-fiction novel. I'm putting out a series of those. Then I have an art gallery, I'm a painter. I'm an original graffiti artist from the '80's. I have an art gallery that I'll be opening some art for in NYC. I'll be exhibiting my paintings as well as new artists, popular artists - anything I can contribute. Culturally art is in my blood. There's nothing I can do about it. [chuckles]
MVRemix: With regards to that, how long have you been working on "The Hunter Collection," can you tell me about that?
Heather Hunter: My art is my first love. It's so funny because I used to be a graffitti artist until I got busted, like any graffiti artist might. I was put into a workshop as a child, which was Keith Harings workshop - that inspired me to go and start painting on canvases. I've been painting for a while; fifteen or sixteen years of my life. I've painted a lot of private collection stuff through celebrities and close friends, a lot of people that I know. This is the first time I'm actually gonna be displaying my art; showing it to the world and sharing it. That's my first love, it's a personal thing. [chuckles] I'm painting right now. It's so funny that you say that, I'm sitting here with a paintbrush taking time to the interview. I'm painting the Brooklyn Bridge.
MVRemix: Have fun with this one, a la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"
Heather Hunter: Wow. [pauses] That's kind of kinky. [chuckles] Traci Lords, probably I would say that.
MVRemix: And why would that be?
Heather Hunter: When I was in the adult industry and I was collaborating into the mainstream she said something that I thought was calling the kettle black. She basically was saying what I was doing was... You know... That I should be doing something better with my life. I thought that that was calling the kettle black. She came from the same past that I came from. The difference between us is she regretted her life, but I've never regretted anything I've done in my life. I've always believed if you're true to one's self, you'll always be free. So if I could take somebody down, I would take her down. [laughs]
MVRemix: Reverting back to the music, who's your favourite ol' school rapper?
Heather Hunter: [ponders] I have so many. But I can truly say I loved Big Daddy Kane back in the day.
MVRemix: Any particular favourite tracks or albums?
Heather Hunter: I can't remember going back through all his tracks. I liked the Chocolate ("Taste Of Chocolate") album, I really liked The Chocolate album, but I really loved everything about Big Daddy Kane back then. I loved the way he flowed, I loved the tone of his voice.
MVRemix: Aside from the album, are you working on anything else musically?
Heather Hunter: The last thing I did was with Timothy Greenfield, he's a photographer. It was on a compilation of his and one of my tracks, the DJ Premier track "Freak Like Me" got on there. I'm basically trying to get things geared for my album, which comes out July 12th, in stores this year. So I'm trying to put that stuff out, then I'ma start doing a lot of cameos. I'm focusing on myself right now, getting it out the door.
MVRemix: Describe for me this Summer.
Heather Hunter: This Summer? A lot of work! [chuckles] I'm already working hard. I have no time off this summer, but I'm gonna be doing everything that I love to be doing so it's gonna be a fun loving, musical, kinky experience. And I'll make lots of money.
MVRemix: Do you have any last words to your fans?
Heather Hunter: I just want to thank all of my fans for anything. My fans come from the new generation to the old and I love them. I want to thank them for being supportive and loyal and letting me express who I am. That's what I'd say to them, hopefully they'll enjoy anything that I throw their way. One more thing, I have one public announcement that I tell everyone in this world if I get the chance to. It's okay for everybody to be comfortable with their sexuality these days, but the most important thing is for people to practice safe sex. Please wrap it up. You're gonna be happy for the rest of your life if you do so. That's really it because I want everybody to be freaky like me for the rest of they lives, and live long lives. That's something I definitely try and preach to the young as well as the old.