Every Monday night, audiences across the country are hypnotized by the drama that thrives off VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta. From Scrappy’s parking lot throwdown with Stevie J., to Karlie’s table-shaking incident with K. Michelle, the primetime docu-drama continues to whet the interests of hip-hop lovers not because of its ties to the culture, but because of its perpetual displays of pure “ratchetness.” But while the complex relationships of Erica, Scrappy, Karlie and Benzino continue to heat up, nothing compares to the ongoing saga between Mimi and Stevie J.
Stevie J may be known for his Notorious B.I.G. and Puffy-produced tracks from the ’90s, but it’s his prevaricating tongue and unwarranted facial expressions that seem to be making headlines these days. From lies surrounding his ongoing affair with Joseline Rodriguez to his on-again-off-again girlfriend driving over his Gucci and Versace apparel, EBONY.com caught up with the Atlanta couple to get the truth about their relationship. It’s clear there’re two sides to every story.
WHAT SHE SAID:
EBONY: Did you know everything that you were getting into when you agreed to do the show?
Mimi: No, absolutely not. We don’t know anything. That’s the element of surprise. That’s the mystique of the show. It is reality TV, so you’re not told anything. We go to set, and once we’re on the set they say this is what the scene is about and hop at it.
EBONY: So let’s jump into the drama. Two weeks ago, you dropped off Stevie J’s clothes in a driveway and decided to drive over them. What was going through your head when you did that?
Mimi: I was just fed up with him at that point. Some people [said], “All you had were three boxes?” Well, let me clear that up. I had tons of boxes. Just for the scene, I would have to have movers come with me to bring the stuff. There was way more than three boxes. Let’s be clear on that.
EBONY: What about Joseline and the pregnancy. When you first found out, was it over the phone or was it in-person, at the restaurant, and what was your initial reaction?
Mimi: When I sat down at the restaurant. If you look closely, you see me swallow very hard. If you look back [at the episode], I swallowed like I swallowed a damn golf ball or something.
EBONY: Was it Joseline’s idea to have Stevie J meet the two of you, and did you know he was coming?
Mimi: That was my idea. They were texting each other back and forth. I told her, “Since you’re going back and forth with him, tell him to come down here.” I was trying to figure out why she’s telling me.
EBONY: After you find out—according to the show—Stevie walked through the doors with the pregnancy test in his pocket. Your face said everything at that point.
Mimi: Well, I didn’t know it was in his pocket until he pulled it out and started tapping it on the table. I was like, ‘Who does that? How long had it been in his pocket? Who carries around a pregnancy test?’ I couldn’t wrap my mind around why the hell this man would be carrying around a pregnancy test.
EBONY: Fans have pretty much labeled this the “abortion episode,” for obvious reasons. Your first time watching the episode, what went through your head seeing Joseline say, “Do you love me Stevie?”
Mimi: It makes me sick to my stomach, because I don’t know what they tape or what they tape when they tape. So to see this, watching this along with the rest of the world and having to listen to everyone’s opinion and their judgments about it. I mean… It’s sickening. I don’t even have another word for it.
EBONY: So what is your relationship with Joseline now? Do you two speak?
Mimi: [Laughs] I have not seen Joseline. Where would I possibly ever see Joseline? If I did see Joseline, I doubt that we would speak about it. Speak to each other for what? Why?
EBONY: What about you and Stevie? What’s your current relationship?
Mimi: We have a daughter. We’re cordial.
EBONY: Okay, understood? So why wait so long to leave to him? It seems like fans have commented on you being such a strong woman, but this man comes off as your kryptonite.
Mimi: I did not see everything everyone else was seeing. All this stuff you guys are seeing in our world…you think he showed me this? Of course not! Everybody thinks, ‘Oh, why would [she] stay?’ I didn’t know. He’s a liar. If I knew all this was going on, you think I be sitting there like, “Oh, this is cool. I’m with this.” Nah.
EBONY: Since you know him best, what is going on with all the facial expressions Stevie makes on the show? He tries to do this LL Cool J, licking lips thing while he scrunches his face when he knows he messed up. What’s going on with all that?
Mimi: I really don’t have words. I swear I don’t. I don’t even know who this person is. Who are you? This is not the man that I laid down and had a child with. This face making jerk ya’ll see, I’m trying to figure out who he is too. SO when you find out who he is, you let me know?
EBONY: What’s been the hardest part about doing this show for you?
Mimi: It would have to be living it and then reliving it for 10 weeks. I had to live it in real life and now I have to relive it again and again.
EBONY: Watching the show as it’s aired since day one, would you have been more hesitant to do the show?
Mimi: [Laughs]. Absolutely. Had I known everything I knew today, I really don’t know if I would have made that choice. It’s been very enlightening all across the board, so that ends it.
WHAT HE SAID:
EBONY: Did you know what was going to happen on the show? Were you prepped on what the cameras were aiming to capture?
Stevie J: Well, I had a vision; I had a perspective. Let’s say it that way. I kind of want [the show] to put it out there on front-street, and show just a different perspective from a guy like me. I don’t fit the mold of the industry standard kind of dude. When I think, tables turn a little bit.
EBONY: Alright. So let’s talk about one of you’re the episode that aired two weeks ago, when Mimi ran over your boxes of your clothes and shoes. What’s the first thing that went through your head?
Stevie J: She was crushing my Louis Vuittons and my Versaces. I didn’t like that. If she was gonna crush them she might as well have given them to Goodwill, keep ’em at the crib or give ’em to somebody else. She didn’t have to do all that.
EBONY: What happened at the restaurant when Joseline told Mimi about the pregnancy? Why didn’t you tell her first?
Stevie J: At the end of day, it was a conversation I thought I should’ve had with Joseline before she met with Mimi. That through me for a loop, but once again, you got to be on point and be ready for anything, especially when your life is being filmed. I was thrown in the fire, and I had to come out pure gold.
EBONY: What possessed you to pull Joseline’s pregnancy test out, and why was it in your pocket?
Stevie J: That scene took place about 15 minutes after the scene when I just got the test. It’s like, am I supposed to just throw it away? After that it was like, ‘Damn, this is what’s going down? [I] got to let [my] girl know about…all this.’ It [wasn’t] like, ‘Let me just keep this and let me frame this. Let me put this joint on eBay or something.’ Nah. [When] I walked up out of there, I got in my car, drove off and threw that joint out the window. It’s not like I was going to save that joint or rock it as medallion or nothing.
EBONY: So what was your first reaction when Joseline told you she was pregnant?
Stevie J: I didn’t know what to think. All the worked that we put into get this project rolling, all the time that I put in to get into the studio and get her to become the artist she was becoming, was it all for that? Was it a waste of time? I know I just felt her telling me that she wasn’t ready to take on that responsibility. Being in a position she’s in, I just wanted to give her an option. What’s important to me is to help her succeed in life rather than help her deal with a child.
EBONY: After Joseline’s trip to the “doctor,” she asked you, “Do you love me Stevie?” You just kissed her on the forehead. Why not just tell her no?
Stevie J: When you’re around a person every day in the studio, when you at rehearsal with somebody, when you at artistry development with somebody, you kind of catch feelings for them. Joseline became a close friend of mine…then we were in a physical relationship. Do I love her? Of course, I got love for her. I have a tremendous amount of love for her.
EBONY: What’s your relationship with Joseline now? Strictly business?
Stevie J: We’re running around and we’re going to scrape up everything that’s on the table. We don’t want to stop. I push that on button and she’s like, ‘Solider, it's on. I don’t want it off. Let’s just go.’
EBONY: What about Mimi? What’s your current relationship with her?
Stevie J: Mimi is my world. I love her. She has my daughter. That’s my best friend. We’ve been friends going on 16 [years] now. I wouldn’t ever let that diminish or subside.
EBONY: You seem to have quite a hold on these women. No matter how bad it gets, they can’t seem to walk away. Why do you think that is?
Stevie J: God has definitely blessed me with different talents. It’s like [having] the ability…to go to a guitar, a set of drums, saxophone, trumpet, or a violin—any musical instrument—and play, and then have the ability to stay calm and cool. I think that adds a little fuel to my fire. [I also have] the ability to be a great dad and just be a great friend. I think they think I’m King Charlie Sheen over here.
EBONY: Okay 'Charlie.' Why does it seem like every time you get caught or something’s up you start licking your lips and scrunching up your face. Why so many facial expressions?
Stevie J: I guess my faces do more talking than me sometimes. I just give a look to tell you how I really feel. Hopefully that would just change the perspective of folks’ thoughts.
EBONY: What’s been the hardest part about doing the show?
Stevie J: Just seeing the transition from everything happy to not-so-happy. Everyday just seeing the pain and the hurt [that goes down]. It’s just not all happiness.
EBONY: Would you be hesitant to move forward with a second season?
Stevie J: Absolutely not! I’m ready to play it all back for another season. It’s an excellent vehicle to drive as a trampoline and jump into the next door in life.