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Phoebe One - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Phoebe One: London Style

September 2005

Phoebe One is taking herself further than ever before this year, bringing her next album out with help from faces in New York. The MOBO Award Winner of Best Hip Hop Act (the only female rapper to win a MOBO to this date) is gearing up to release a new album, and while in New York, took some time out to talk to MVRemix.

Not only an artist, Phoebe One is the voice of the UK station Choice FM as well as a host. She's intent on bringing her enterprise Rugged Chick Entertainment to the world.

MVRemix: How did the moniker Phoebe One first arise?

Phoebe One: Okay, that's my original name actually. Because it's so rare I thought I'd keep it and keep it moving.

MVRemix: As a teenage girl growing up in the UK, who initially inspired you to begin rapping?

Phoebe One: Just music in general. I've always loved poetry and stuff and I heard a lot of Hip Hop comin' out of the US and I was like, "Yeah, I like this." I always told my teachers I was gonna be famous when I was younger so I just stuck to that road.

MVRemix: How do you feel the UK scene compares to that in the US?

Phoebe One: Obviously here (talking in New York) is like the home of Hip Hop, like they say Jamaica is the home of Reggae, but here is definitely the home of Hip Hop. We have our own market over there for different things now. It's catching up, it's definitely catching up. But here's busy and thriving. Everybody looks to the US for Hip Hop and respects it an awful lot. So there is a whole lot of difference. The movement is catching up.

MVRemix: Do you feel UK rappers will ever get the respect they deserve in the US?

Phoebe One: I know I'm gonna get the respect I deserve in the US! I don't know about anybody else. [chuckles] Definitely yeah, of course. Like they say we're a few years behind with regards to catching up to the business, the whole way things are run. But we're getting there.

MVRemix: When I was last in the UK, the scene was big, but not as big in the mainstream as it is in the US. Do you feel UK rap will get as much respect as the US in its own country?

Phoebe One: It will do. It definitely will do, but it's just making moves. I work on a radio station, I work on Choice FM in the UK and I do a show called "UK Cuts" which is promoting Hip Hop and R&B. But I'm more of a Hip Hop head, so I put a lot of the artists out there. So I get a lot of the world; Australia, Africa, the States, listening in to what's hot out here. It kind of keeps things on to where people will realize what's going on - the industry heads in the UK to what's going on. They'll listen and be like, "Okay, the rest of the world is on this, lets put it forward." We're tryin' to get some number one's out there at the moment.

MVRemix: How long have you been doing the Choice FM show now?

Phoebe One: Choice FM I've been doing for two years now; a year and some change. But I'm also the voice of the station. So I do all the drops like the Choice FM drops and stuff like that. So that started first and they approached me with my program, kind of control it myself. I got a phone call and they asked, "We love you on the station Phoebe, and you started your company Rugged Chick Entertainment and we'd love you to be on Choice FM." I said "If you let me do me then I don't care what we do, it's all good. But we're gonna have to talk." They let me have my way and kind of put my personality across through myself and my management.

MVRemix: Tell me about what you're currently working on in terms of music because I heard you were at the studio earlier today...

Phoebe One: Yeah, over with Vacant Lot working at Dame Grease's studios workin' on the album. Got the single comin' out in the UK called "More Than Me." The video's out, that's on Rugged Chick Entertainment so we're pushing that in the UK. We pushin' that out here with the interviews and stuff. We've come here mainly to kind of work the album and because I'm an entertainer and a radio personality, we're also kind of pushing the radio station because I'm a DJ as well. And the whole Rugged Chick Entertainment - the logo, the company as well, you know. I'm working out here as well. I'm working with P.R.'s finest Cynamin Jones - used to look after Wu-Tang and everybody here in New York. That's what we're doing out here right now - gettin' money, gettin' paper and spreadin' the good word! The Rugged Chick Entertainment bible - we're creating another religion! [chuckles] They all need the word and our word is the gospel right now. We're doin' a lot of DVD's, I'm well happy out here doing work. We're entrepreneurs and entertainers so we're just tryin' to get it. Keep it movin' - stackin' them chips.

MVRemix: Can you tell me a bit about the album?

Phoebe One: Well I've actually got three albums worth of material now. I've come out here because I've done a lot in the UK, I've worked with a producer called DaVinci. We've got different producers that we work with. Rugged Chick Entertainment is doing some of the tracks out here. Because Dame Grease is like family, Vacant Lot is like family to me - they welcome us with open arms. So I'm working with like I said Grease, Pops is in there, Lenox Bad Boys, Cashmere is in there... We're also working with Black Hand Entertainment; Grafh, Chad and the whole Black Hand gang. There's a couple more collabo's that we're working with as well. I don't want to mention any more names because you know how it is, we're recording but we might not put it on the album. We've had a lot of offers though. The phones don't stop poppin' off - we're always getting phone calls. My management are always like, "It's so and so, they wanna be on the album!" We're tryin' not to offend anybody. We're not tryin' to offend New York, we're trying to defend New York. [chuckles]

MVRemix: How do you find it in comparison to London?

Phoebe One: I love New York! I love my home, I love London - I really love London, nothing can compare. But, 92 degrees is kind of high in the middle of September, [chuckles] nothin' can touch that. I'm gettin' tired at the moment, but it's beautiful - the clothes, the people. It's a whole different environment. It's like a rapper from the US goes over to the UK, they get a different vibe. If a producer goes over they're gettin' a different vibe. So to me, being here and thriving in the middle of New York, it feels like its all just started now. The whole vibe is different... Different treatment; going into labels and seeing how people work and watching people on the grind. Watching how people have to suffer. It's a different thing also because you notice they can't rely on the government over here, people have to really work. You've got to really, really, really put your work in and I respect anybody that does that for what they love.

MVRemix: What's going on with Def Jam because I know you have a meeting with them later... anything there?

Phoebe One: Going up to Def Jam to have a meeting, but also we're going up to Def Jam because this is how we do it, Rugged Chick Entertainment forever! We're going up there to see a couple of people, do some radio interviewing and going up there to interview Juelz Santana for the radio show. That's how we're doing it, we're winning; we multi-task. While we're out here that's what it's about - there's no sleepin'.

MVRemix: I don't know if you've heard it but Rising Son, Youngun and Doc Brown recently did a diss track towards Common about his comments on inter-racial relationships - do you have any opinions on that?

Phoebe One: I have no... see inter-racial relationships over here and what it is in England are two different things. In England it's just black and white, over here there's a whole mixture. I have no comment whatsoever - at the end of the day, whatever they decide to do on vinyl, that's their beef so I don't have a problem with it. But to me, I come to New York and I see some beautiful people, so to me all that really, really is so irrelevant and has nothing to do with anything because inter-racial means a whole lot more over here than it does in the UK. I've seen a beautiful mix of people; I've been to Spanish Harlem - I've seen things I'd never see in England. I'm like "Wow!" [chuckles] So to me that is so irrelevant, to me the whole game right now is just about gettin' money, touring and whatever anybody wants to speak about, that's on them. Nobody wants trouble. Me, I don't get involved in the arguments. I'm one of them people that if you're messin' about with my team then you're beefin' with me. If it ain't about me, I don't get involved.

MVRemix: Do you have any opinions on how the US Government has dealt with Hurricane Katrina?

Phoebe One: The Katrina thing I think is really sad. I don't know where to begin to comment on that one because I've never seen anything like that in my life. When I seen that on the TV - that shit's frightening and I wouldn't wish that on anybody. I just hope the government do the right thing. What can you do? It's a natural disaster. Maybe they could have moved a little bit faster, but I don't know 'cause I don't live here. I saw that from when I was in the UK and I was like, "Man..." Coming here and seeing what has happened is actually quite sad, it's very sad. But what can you do? Everyone's surviving. They're tryin' to make black people look bad on TV at the moment, but what can you do though? What can you do... you know?

MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"

Phoebe One: If I had to fight a celebrity, I'd fight Phoebe One.

MVRemix: And why would you do that?

Phoebe One: I'd fight my alter ego to see which one would come out on top. My devil or my angel. [laughs] Bet you never heard that one before, have you? I would fight my bad and my good side and see which one would come out on top. I think I know which one would win, but I'm not sure 'cause there's a lot in me. I'm that one that's left handed and right footed and I got fire baby. I don't scrap with celebrities. I wouldn't scrap with a celebrity unless they brought it to me and then I'd bring out the bible - the Rugged Chick Entertainment scripture! Now what!?!

MVRemix: Aside from the album, what else have you been working on? Guest appearances, compilations etc.

Phoebe One: Yeah, I've done a lot of touring. I toured with Game, done a couple of tour dates with Game back in the UK. I've toured with Usher a couple of years ago, Run DMC, Redman, Eric Sermon. There's a lot of people that we've worked with. Been gettin' together the DVD's, the Rugged Chick Entertainment mixtapes, tryin' to wind up getting those both in the States and Australia and Africa as well, 'cause I've got some stuff goin' on in Africa and Japan as well. It's just gettin' a little CD stock that we're tryin' to push by different companies, maybe gonna do some TV presentin' and record labels are comin' up askin' me to do different things - voice overs and stuff. You might be seein' us every other week. That's what we're really workin' on and the clothing line and all that. I know a lot of artists say that, but that is what I'd really like to do. The little stores, a little parlour or something. With business man, you never know. We wake up with things in the mornin', different things every day. The world is a big place and it needs a lot of things.

MVRemix: Any last words?

Phoebe One: Just keep buying the singles, the albums, keep supportin' me. Believe in Phoebe One because I'm here to do my thing. Just a big thank you to everybody that has supported me and a big hello to the new fans. Just mad love.

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"It's a different thing also because you notice they can't rely on the government over here, people have to really work. You've got to really, really, really put your work in and I respect anybody that does that for what they love."