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Has New York Rap Fallen Off? "Universal Lover" Raye 6 Tolerates A Few Questions

The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to

This Week's Rapper: Raye 6

This Week's Subject(s): New York's non-powerhouse status in hip-hop; Lil' Mama's forehead; whether or not Beyonce changed Jay-Z from thug thizzle to house cat.

Raye 6, "Universal Lover"

Raye 6, "Universal Lover"

Ask A Rapper: Okay, ma'am, seeing as how you're from up yonder, we could cut it up about that. New York used to be the hip-hop capital of the world. But you guys have been off it for a minute. We mean, New Jersey has been getting after it more than you all have lately. What's up?

Raye 6: Mainstream "hip-hop" is not my interest when it come to the music. I don't know how listeners let half the shit they do get on the radio. I'm into what most listeners would call "Underground Hip-Hop," real music, music that educates me and has me thinking and doing. Groups like the A-Alikes, Homeboy Sandman, Johnny Voltik; shit, me, I'm a little hip-hop. I have a song on my L.I.P.S. mixtape called "Chocolate Mahogany Poppy" where I'm spittin'.

AAR: Do any of the Houston rappers rate up there? Like, do any of their names ring out?

R6: I'm feeling Houston rapper/composer Devin The Dude. Tell him I said get at me - let's get in the studio, I have exactly what he's looking for.

AAR: Ack. How much do you guys hate Lil' Mama? She's awesome, right?

R6: How much do you guys hate her?

AAR: Can you explain where her ends are? It's like her forehead goes on for days and then her hair just sort of explodes out of her head. Is that a New York thing?

R6: That's a thing only the feeble would care about.

AAR: We don't understand. Why's that? Hair ends are an extremely important component of any conversation, particularly within the parameters of hip-hop, and especially so with regards to Lil' Mama. Disregarding them is not only detrimental to the advancement of mankind, it's also culturally irresponsible.

R6: It's a question my mind can't comprehend. Seriously, I'm a independent black female artist in the game doing it; doing all kinds of things from putting out gorgeous calendars that don't objectify black women, writing and producing amazing songs, running my own businesses, doing grown woman shit that should be noticed and I'm about to answer a question about Lil' Mama's forehead? I think not. Ask me more about Raye 6.

AAR: Jay-Z is the most successful rapper of all time. For all intents and purposes, he's That Dude. And he went on and on about how much of a pimp he was and this and that. And then BK (Beyonce) got a hold of him and that was that. He started doing love songs and appearing on Oprah and whatnot. Score one for Houston, right?

R6: No, score one billion for a strong black man being able to change for a strong black woman.

See Raye 6 online at

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Shea Serrano