Posted by: Necci – Nov 01, 2012
Recently I caught up with one of the hardest working women in local hip hop: Ms. Proper. We got a chance to talk before her show on October 6th at The Kingdom. I was also greeted by So Illa, as well as Concise, Ms. Proper's comrade at So Proper Entertainment. This interview has given me a great deal of respect for her, and her goals to become one of the best. We chatted about the RVA scene, longevity, and the ups and downs of the road to stardom. Here's what she had to say:
So my first question is: where exactly do you stand in local RVA hip hop?
Ms. Proper: Honestly, I feel like I’m the queen, and that’s no disrespect to anyone because I feel as though there are other queens and there’s not just one crown. But I do feel as if I’m the queen. You’ve got to have that mentality here, and strive for the best.
Where do you see the So Proper Movement in the future?
Ms. Proper: With everything we have going on, I see it as limitless. We have so much going on inside and outside Virginia and even across seas, that I see us going far. The potential is there, so whatever you see as success in your mind, that’s what my team and I are reaching for.
In RVA there is not as much attention on female emcees as on male emcees, and you have exceeded a lot of expectations for both genders. As far as female emcees go, what position do you play?
So Illa: As far as females, you can’t compare. I honestly see nobody making as many progressive moves, besides a few from the DMV. That’s my opinion.
Ms. Proper: [chuckles] I mean... yeah. He said it best. I really don’t like to be compared, but I have a lot of respect for Destiny Tha Chef, Rah The Emcee, and a few others. I respect their movements, but I believe Illa said it best.
There are many musicians that have opened up about their sexual preference in the past few years. Do you ever see your sexual orientation hindering you with your movement?
Ms. Proper: I never have or see a problem with it. I have never tried to hide or capitalize off of it. I didn’t realize how much of a impact it [had] until people that are in that community started hitting me up, like, “Hey, you're putting on for us,” like I was representing them. So now I take it more seriously. The only times where its brought up as a negative thing is when people are trying to create a issue and of course that’s the most typical thing they aim for and I’m just like "boo you" [She smirks]. So what? I’m comfortable around people and they’re comfortable around me so I’m happy.
Great answer. Are they’re any projects we should look out for or upcoming shows?
Ms. Proper: Why yes. As of right now we are working on Escaping Reality, which is my next project. I will be telling my story from everything i've been through this year. I’ve been through a lot and you will get a deeper side of me. You can catch my single “Say It,” which dropped this past summer. As far as shows go, on November 3rd I will be in Atlanta for the Sweet Auburn Festival, which i'm very excited about because the whole city comes out for it. Besides that I’ve just been putting my heart and soul into my next project and my team. Eclipse the Champloo, who is one of my artists, just got back from Japan, so I’m waiting for him to put his touch on the album. You will hear everything from party music to soul, but overall you’ll get Ms. Proper.
Everyone is striving to “get signed” but there are only few taking the necessary steps to do so. What can you say to the ones who aren’t as educated about what it takes?
Ms. Proper: Don’t be afraid of loosening up. This is one thing I see as a problem for a lot of new acts, because they seem so timid on stage. I was shy once but I had to break out of my shell. Don’t be afraid of yourself.
How do you feel about performing with vocal tracks?
Ms. Proper: I can understand if you may not have the show copy, because that’s happened to me, but if you can get a show copy [backing track without words] then by all means get one. It’s just more professional.
We all know who Ms. Proper is, but who is on So Proper Entertainment?
Ms. Proper: Well we have myself; So Illa, who has a project called For The Fuck Of It coming soon; Concise; T- Monay, which is my female R&B singer; Tre No Y, who is a male R&B singer doing his thing out of the ODU area; Eclipse tha Champloo; and Paul Jones, who is my producer and an artist, who also has his own team under us called Lame Ducks.
So Illa: What’s so cool about Ms. Proper is that she never hindered us from making our own music. Me and Champloo had a brand and branched out. It’s like one big community. It’s crazy.
Ms. Proper: I see So Proper Entertainment collectively as a unit. We have Richmond, Petersburg, North Carolina, Atlanta, and many other marketable places, including Japan, so I don’t see anything but success for us in 2013.
What created Ms. Proper?
So Illa: No Days Off!
Ms. Proper: [laughs] I mean, my first project [the No Days Off mixtape, released in 2011] and being able to grace the stage of 106 and Park was definitely game changing. I got into a whole different mindframe with everything. I sat back and came with the conclusion that I’m not going to be 30, still passing off a demo. It’s not an option. Being on 106 and Park showed people that I was very serious about my craft, and that I’m about what I say. Our mind frame is crazy when it comes to work at So Proper Entertainment.
What can RVA Hip Hop do to become a more relevant spot for talent in the industry?
Ms. Proper: As far as where we need to go, some people say we need to unite more, which I have [heard] a whole lot lately. [Whether] it takes myself or another artist to gain that attention or buzz to get someone to take RVA seriously, if it happens to be me or anyone else, we will put on for this city.
How is the relationship with your manager, who is also your mother, Ms. Tanya Monroe? I see you both have a really close bond, so what keeps you two together and so close with maintaining your family lives?
Ms. Proper: My Mom is my heart. I would never do what Usher [who fired his Mom over disagreements involving his wife] or anyone has done to their mothers who were mangers, because at the end of the day I can say that my Mom is in the crowd reciting my lyrics and she’s my biggest supporter. I couldn’t have made a better choice because when you pick a manager it has to be someone you trust. She’s the reason why I do hip hop. She used to write poetry, so I started writing when I was 8. We used to have rap battles with each other and listen to old school hip hop, so she’s the reason you hear and see me today.
What is the reason behind your trademark shades?
Ms. Proper: It’s like when Superman has his cape. When people look in your eyes you can sometimes feel vunerable, and that creeps me out when I’m on stage pouring out my heart and soul. It’s adapted so much now that I use it as a trend and a trademark.
Let RVA know about you from the heart. Is there anything you want to share?
Ms. Proper: Nobody has ever asked me that in an interview before. That’s cool! Id like to tell the people that I’m not as bad as critics make me sound. If you actually sit and have a conversation with me you will notice I’m a laid back kind of individual. I want everyone to make something of themselves. I’m not vindictive or spiteful by far. I want people to understand that I take this very seriously. I’m always working. Its all about strategy and you can’t tell everyone your moves. Keep supporting the movement, and follow me on twitter (@msproper) or facebook me. I’m outta here.
By Roger Tyler