There aren’t many labels that had a run comparable to Bad Boy Entertainment in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. Songs like “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” “Only You,” “Nasty Boy,” and several other platinum hits are considered classic records in Hip-Hop and R&B history. If people found out that the musical genius behind records such as these was also the same man who’s managed to captivate millions of viewers each Monday night on what is known as “ratchet TV,” they’d be amazed. Legendary music producer Stevie J. has a discography that includes the likes of Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, LL Cool J, Lil’ Kim, R. Kelly and a list of countless others that would make your head spin. However, the infamous member of the Hitmen production team isn’t only amazing people with his production credits; he’s also the star of VH-1’s Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta.
The reality show is a spin-off of the very successful New York City versions, which centered on Dipset’s own Jim Jones and his soon-to-be-wife Chrissy Lampkin. While the previous seasons were packed with its fair share of drama, it pales in comparison to what LHHA has brought to the table in its very short existence. The former Bad Boy sat with EBONY and spoke on the controversial show, his persona, Bad Boy and much, much more!
EBONY: Being the legendary producer that you are, how has Love & Hip-Hop affected your overall brand?
Stevie J: I don’t think it’s affected me in a negative way, which is what you think when you hear words like “affect.” It’s honestly helped blossom a lot of things as well as reach the youth. Being that I haven’t been out musically in a while, when they Google me, they can see a lot of my accomplishments. Now I have managers, labels and a bunch of other people calling me…It’s a great atmosphere for me right now!
EBONY: What would you say to people that have a negative opinion of the Stevie J. that’s seen on TV, or those that feel it’s just an act for the camera?
Stevie J: Well, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, just like they’re not immune to doing something wrong. I just live my life and try to be me. I don’t want anyone trying to pattern themselves after me or anything like that. The negative opinions don’t really matter to me. My kids are doing great; my family’s doing great…Life goes on. Anyone that dwells on another person, I feel is wasting their time. Instead of worrying about me, people should figure out how they can make the world a better place, themselves. As far as this being an act for television; you can just ask people that know me. You’ll have to watch the whole season to get an idea of who Stevie J is. You’ve gotta get yourself ‘The Full Monty’. Trust me; you’ll definitely get a chance to see more of Stevie J [laughs].
EBONY: With regards to what we’ve seen so far, how would you describe your current relationships with Joseline & Mimi?
Stevie J: It’s a love relationship, work relationship, family, friendship; it’s all of the above. Whenever I go in with a person, I go in all the way and it’s all the emotions tied together. Love is love [laughs].
EBONY: Has the show changed your stance on mixing business with pleasure?
Stevie J: [laughs]. I mean…you say (Poe-Tay-Toe), I say (Poe-Tah-Toe). That’s a good question; I’m kinda stumped with that one. At the end of the day, I’m just gonna be me. But hopefully, I’ve had enough business and pleasure.
EBONY: Is there anything that you’d do differently?
Stevie J: Definitely! It’s like an exam. You know how you’ll miss a couple questions here and there, but life goes on and you can’t dwell in the past. You live; you learn and hope to be a better person is all you can do.
EBONY: Given the fact that you and Mimi have a mutual daughter, if and when she sees the show, what advice would you give her if she wanted to date a guy that was exactly like you?
Stevie J: Being that I raise my daughter, she knows me, she sees me, so she knows I’m still her dad, I’m that dude! No matter what, she knows right from wrong. It’s kinda like, when I tell her not to go into the kitchen because it’s hot, she’ll say “hot.” It’s the same thing when you see something that you don’t like about somebody, it’s “hot” and you should stay away from them.
EBONY: Speaking of not liking someone, have you and Lil Scrappy spoken since the altercation, and is it possible that we’ll ever see the two of you working together in the future?
Stevie J: All I wanna do is work! I have no problem with Scrappy. I feel like, at this point in his career, he can make a few hits and solidify himself even further in Atlanta as well as Hip-Hop in general. I’m definitely wit’ it. All I wanna do is make music and be happy, and that’s it.
EBONY: What’s next for Stevie J, musically?
Stevie J: The next thing for Stevie J musically is to keep it coming! I have a bunch of new artists that I’m working with under my label, Danger Zone Entertainment. I have a female group out of Harlem by the name of B.B.O.D. (Bad Beauties On Deck), a Brooklyn artist by the name of Lenny Lo; I have a very talented skateboarding rap artist by the name of Eddie RapLife. I also have a talented female artist named Taryn Grant as well as a group called the Magnificent 757’s with Benzino. It’s actually an entire band. You might’ve seen them on the last episode, and they’ll be on a couple more.
In addition to those new artists, I’m also working on Beyonce and Kanye (West) right now. I also have my album coming…We working!
EBONY: Tell us about the Beyonce & Kanye collaborations, as well as your album.
Stevie J: As of right now, we’re just in the early production stages. We’re getting the beats and songs ready, but I feel like the projects are gonna be big! As far as my album, I’ve been working on it for a while. I believe that timing is everything and it’s definitely time…Divine timing, so to speak. I got to work with producers like Bink, The Justice League, The Renegades and a bunch of other cats, both new and old.
EBONY: Will Diddy make an appearance?
Stevie J: We’ll have to see because the album isn’t done yet. More than likely, I’ll get a “Yeah, uh-huh” or “Take-Dat” from him. But, you can expect it to drop between September and October of this year.
EBONY: Will your project be the first released under your label, and will Joseline make an appearance?
Stevie J: Yes. I feel like the world’s been waiting long enough for a project from me. I know I’ve been waiting long enough! 14 songs including interludes, intro/outro, and it’s really an amazing piece of work. I’m excited!
I definitely have Joseline on the album, along with another Latin artist named Sly D’Antoni. BBOD’s on the album, Lenny Lo’s on the album, Taryn Grant, French Montana, Curren$y, and of course, Biggie!
EBONY: You mentioned French Montana, who is part of Diddy’s new Bad Boy 2.0 re-launch. Which new artists are you checking for, and what do you think about the new direction of Bad Boy?
Stevie J: I like Big Sean, Wale, French [Montana]…There’s a lot of young talent coming up. I’m really excited about the music that’s coming out of Bad Boy, because it’s a pillar for Hip-Hop and music in general. It’s not just a Hip-Hop label, it’s a pop-icon type of brand and I believe Diddy knows what he’s doing. You’ve got artists like Red Café, [King] Los, French [Montana], MGK (Machine Gun Kelly), Cassie and of course Diddy! You know he’ll jump on something and scream, of course going H.A.M. the way he knows. It’s honestly a winning combination!
EBONY: With that being said, is there any possibility of you working with any of Diddy’s new roster of talent?
Stevie J: Of course! We’re in Daddy’s House [Recording Studio] right now! Look at all these plaques on the wall. Faith Evans, 112, the whole No Way Out is all me, Total…that answers your question [laughs]. We [Diddy & I] started with the music, that’s the way we’ll end.
EBONY: In the past, Diddy has explained what it means to be a “Star” and defined it for people. How would you define the term, and would you classify any of the artists on your label as such?
Stevie J: A star has to do with the qualities they possess, the energy you feel when you’re around them, their approach…it’s just a feeling of energy you get in their presence. It’s almost like a glow when you’re next to them. Biggie was a star, Pac was a star, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Prince, Beyonce, [Lil] Wayne…they’re all stars. You can feel it whenever you are/were around any of them.
As far as the artists on Danger Zone, I feel that all of them are stars within their own right. It’s a process of development, the right songs, grooming techniques, and you’ll eventually get there.
Stevie J: Her project is being worked on right now. We’ve got a single on MsJoseline.com called “Bailar,” which we were supposed to shoot the video for on July 19th, but I’ve got to fly to Virginia. But, I’m taking my time with her project and I really don’t want to rush it. I feel like she has such a great platform by being on television, so it allows us to take our time and go single-by-single, instead of rushing an entire album. She has the luxury of being in over 50 million living rooms, which is a blessing.
Its Danger Zone, We here!
Steve Rivers has contributed to The Source, ESPN Rise and a host of other online publications. Follow him on Twitter: @TheKidSkoob.