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Shawnna - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Shawnna: Gettin' Some

April 2006

Daughter of renowned Blues artist Buddy Guy, Shawnna was destined to rap since her first listen of Ice Cube's material. She went on to form the Infamous Syndicate before moving on and joining Ludacris to add a female touch to D.T.P. Now on her sophomore album, the Chicago native is ready to put out "Block Music" this June on Def Jam.

MVRemix: What's your first memory of Hip Hop?

Shawnna: [ponders] Seeing my recordings coming onto the TV when Rap City was first on.

MVRemix: What was your father's initial reaction when you first told him you wanted to become a rapper?

Shawnna: "Don't do it."

MVRemix: What was it that brought you to actually get into rapping?

Shawnna: Just the fact that I was so head-strong and focused that I was gonna do it, he decided to get behind me and supported it anyway.

MVRemix: Tell me about "Block Music"

Shawnna: Well "Block Music" is just to symbolize that even though I've been all over the world; in and out of the country with Ludacris... That I never forget where I came from.

MVRemix: What concepts do you use on the album?

Shawnna: I think with music you don't want to get too intense and go too far with it, that's where you lose people. If you kind of keep it basic and just have it kind of like theme music - that's what "Block Music" is. What you go through everyday - what you see on your block; whether it's in the suburbs or it's in the city, in the ghetto, in the hood... It's the things that you see and the fun that you have... The sorrow that you go through... The people that you see and so forth. Music that you wanna hear every day.

MVRemix: Is the record now finished?

Shawnna: Yes it is.

MVRemix: How long did it take to record?

Shawnna: It took less than a year, about six months. Due to touring and still being out supporting "Worth Tha Weight" here and there, it took about six months.

MVRemix: What about guests/producers - who's on the album?

Shawnna: I like to stay local as far as production is concerned... I don't like to get with the big cats because the guys around me have really got to get known - they more thirsty and their beats are harder. They're more grimy, more geared towards the streets and that's the kind of music that I like to put out because when you go into the clubs or you go to the venues to perform, those are the people that go out to see you and enjoy the performance that you put on. So my production just kind of is really local. A guy named Voodoo, he's kind of well known now because he produced "Georgia," the single off the D.T.P. compilation... My brother Iced Drake, he produced "Splash Waterfalls" for Ludacris, and the list just goes on. It's just local producers from around Chicago that I wanted to help out and get to the next level of their career. At the same time, I felt like the level of their beats and their artistry could help me get to another level, also.

MVRemix: What's the next single? I know "Gettin' Some..." is doing it's rounds right now...

Shawnna: Yeah, the next single is actually... "Gettin' Some..." is actually the second single off the D.T.P. compilation and it just so happened that its been so successful that it's leading into my first single release which is gonna be called "Take It Slow" and it features Ludacris and Bobby V[alentino] of D.T.P.

MVRemix: When's that scheduled to make it's rounds?

Shawnna: Since the album is scheduled to be released June 21st or the 27th, I'm assuming that's set up for an early May release. [Background "May 1st!"] May 1st that's gonna be shipped out.

MVRemix: How do you feel Chicago is portrayed in rap?

Shawnna: I think that right now everybody is just waiting to see what else Chicago has, with the success of Kanye West and Twista... We've already known about R. Kelly and what he's contributed to music, Da Brat and other local artists. I think it's our time to go ahead and show 'em what we got. I think people are just waiting to see what we can bring, they haven't really put a label on us or said too much about us. It's time to show what we can do.

MVRemix: Field Mob recently expressed their feelings that New York rap was taking pot shots at the south - what do you feel about that?

Shawnna: I don't know. I think when you upset, you say things that you don't mean and I think that right now, since New York has been on the forefront of the rap industry, and now you have the south kind of doing they thing - it's just kind of like... It was surprising to them, so things may have been said, but, me being in New York and being around the people - I can tell you it's not really an upset. They playin' a lot of the south's music up here. People are enjoyin' it and listenin' to it in the clubs. I just think that some of these artists don't know how to accept not being in the limelight for a little while. 'Cause you know, New York is a strong element of Hip Hop and it ain't goin' nowhere. Just like it's time for Chicago to do somethin', it was the south's time. We gotta get that to 'em. It's like I heard a track yesterday from Jada[kiss] and his first line was "What is everybody so mad at the south for?" Just pay attention and switch your game up. That's what Hip Hop is about - learnin' and metamorphasizing into somethin' else. Instead of bein' mad at whoever, niggas need to just clam it up. Step your game up or whatever to maybe where you could take the attention off the south in the next couple of 'em.

MVRemix: What's currently going on with Disturbing Tha Peace as a whole - group projects etc.

Shawnna: Disturbing Tha Peace is just extremely grindin' right now because we know that our artists are ready; we focused. We came out before and we took some L's, we took some boosts - Luda is doing his thing right now as far as movies and music. Bobby V[alentino] did great when he came out... The expectations for Field Mob are incredible... Playaz Circle which consists of Titti Boi and Dolla Boi are just on the underground bubblin', they just remain on radio regardless. So right now we're just tryin' to make sure that we execute the right moves - not throw everybody out there at once and not have anybody to fall back on. Everybody's ready right now, everybody's music is ready - they game face is on and we just tryin' to make sure we do everything right.

MVRemix: There was recently a study conducted stating that rap leads children to drinking and drug use at a younger age - what are your thoughts on that?

Shawnna: I think that the lack of parenthood drives children to drink and to drugs because not only do you hear it in music, but you see it in television and other entertainment. I think that they just tryin' to make Hip Hop play the scapegoat because a lot of people don't want it around, still, to this day. But I definitely don't feel that Hip Hop is an influence on children to take a drug or a drinking route.

MVRemix: As a parent, do you shield your child from your music? Or do you share it with them and maybe embrace it, or...

Shawnna: I like to embrace the fact that I teach them there's a difference between entertainment and reality. I think as long as parents maintain that boundary with their children... They have to expose them to things because they're going to be exposed to them regardless. When they leave you, you can't be around your child 24 hours a day. When they're not around you, they're sometimes around things that you wouldn't necessarily expose them to. So I like to say that I would rather be able to have a conversation with my child, or have an understanding with them rather than them be scared to talk to me about what's going on... I don't necessarily embrace what's going on with my music - I just teach them that this is entertainment. This is what people want to pay to come out and hear Mommy do, but when I go home - that's over. Then I have to teach them about reality and the right decisions and how to differentiate between what's real and what's not.

MVRemix: Are you working on anything else aside from the album?

Shawnna: Definitely. Like when I go out and I do these shows and these guys come up to me, DJ's and tell me that they've got these mixtapes comin' out, or whatever events, shows - I'm doin' everything. I just wanna get my name out there, get the music out there and let people know I ain't goin' nowhere.

MVRemix: What's something about Shawnna that her fans wouldn't expect?

Shawnna: [ponders] That I don't like to go out and party.

MVRemix: And why is that?

Shawnna: I'm afraid of crowds; crowds make me nervous. I'm afraid of being trapped in a situation where something'll go down and I can't get away.

MVRemix: How did you overcome that? Because of the fact that you perform in front of such large audiences?

Shawnna: It's funny because once you become an artist; you're in the situation where you come in the back door. You come through the kitchen... There's a different ramp you can use to exit the building... You're very secured and sheltered and away from the crowd. It's just that when I go back home and I have some time to be with my friends, I don't like to go out and be in the clubs or stuff like that unprotected because I have a paranoia of a drama going down and being caught in the middle of it.

MVRemix: Any last words?

Shawnna: Definitely so. I don't know if you're aware, but I had a previous release called "Worth Tha Weight," and a lot of my fans went out and got that. They stood behind me and they supported me and that's the reason why I'm still here and I'm able to do what I'm able to do. That just means so much to me, so please continue to do so and don't forget about me.

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"I think that they just tryin' to make Hip Hop play the scapegoat because a lot of people don't want it around, still, to this day. But I definitely don't feel that Hip Hop is an influence on children to take a drug or a drinking route."