Pardon Joseline Hernandez is she comes off a bit harsh—initially. The 25-year-old Puerto Rican rapper has been through it all, and soon, you’ll learn about her rough upbringing and how it’ll play into her music. Hernandez is one of the cast members of VH1’s "Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta" show—which premiered last night. She’s working with the Grammy Award-winning producer Stevie J (his credits range from Notorious B.I.G to Jay-Z to Mariah Carey) – and his girlfriend may have a bit of a problem with him working so closely with Hernandez, a storyline we’ll see play out on throughout the series – but this emerging rapper holds her own.

Here’s more from Hernandez:

EBONY: What made you say yes to doing this show?

Joseline Hernandez: I was a little scared about doing the show, but Stevie my manager just really thought that it was a great idea for me, an artist, to be a personality, so that way people can really get to know the real Joseline Hernandez, and not just the artist Joseline Hernandez.

EBONY: You’re still shooting and the show hasn’t started yet, but so far who would you say you are in the context of this show?

JH: I’m not trying to brag, but … I’m a great person. I’m talented. I’m beautiful. I’m nice to everybody. I help everyone out. I give everyone my love. I care about people. I had a rough life. Growing up on my own since I was 13 years old, so I’ve had to do a lot of fighting. I hate to fight. I want to love everybody, but sometimes you can’t do that. I’m a fighter too. But I’m also a lover. And I’m just a great person all the way around, just a regular person. I’m just a human. I’m just Joseline.

EBONY: Who is Joseline the rapper?


JH: Well actually I am a Spanish rapper, I rap in Spanish. I do a little Spangslish, I have English and Spanish too, so everybody can kind of understand. I’m speaking for the young ladies, you know, black, Spanish, white, whatever, anybody, everyone. Because I had a rough life coming up and I just want to show the young girls that there’s another way. You don’t just have to be a stripper like I was. You don’t have to be in the streets like I was at a young age. When I was younger, I thought that that’s all I could do because I was always so pretty and I always had a beautiful body, you know? And it’s like when you’ve got all of these guys that’s throwing all of this money and gifts at you, you don’t really know anything, especially if you don’t have a strong home that tells you: ‘you can be an artist, you can be a doctor, you can be a lawyer.’ In my music, I want to really show these young girls (there’s a different way). I’m 25, I’ve been in the streets for 10 years. I’ve been raped. I’ve been beat up. I want to be a role model.

EBONY: Is that part of the reason that you wanted to do this show? That’s a lot to put out there; has it been a medicine to talk about what you’ve been through?

JH: I’m not gonna lie to you: when Stevie first told me about the show, I wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m going to tell my life story.’ I think we went in the show to learn about my career, about my music, to show people that I’m a regular person. But everything just came out in interviews. It was good for me. It was like therapy for me, because I’m speaking to these people and letting them know, ‘look, this is real.’ 

EBONY: Love or hip-hop?

JH: I don’t care what no one says— and I’m living this right now, so I know for a fact – you cannot have hip hop without the love. It’s just not going to happen.