Lisa Raye: No I haven’t. I haven’t dated a rapper. Would I date a rapper? Hmmm… I don’t know who that would be right now. But I don’t discriminate on that. We have some smart talented rappers out there. You know? They’re smart in the way they’re guiding their careers. Look at Ludacris and what he’s done and Ice Cube. Even Baby from Cash Money, he’s built an empire with the people he has on the charts. That doesn’t come from people that don’t know the business; that comes from people who have paid attention to the business.
XXL: Speaking of business, you’re now managing your daughter’s career. Are their any issues you’ve been able to avoid with her because of mistakes you made?
Lisa Raye: She did her first video last season, with Lil Wayne, Sean Paul and Lil Jon. She was not scantily dressed. That’s not where her head is. She’s not trying to walk around in a bikini. And we all know that I have. She says, “You’re the sex symbol Mommy. That’s what you do.” And I said, “You know what, you’re absolutely right. You have to build your own brand.” There’s a lot of things now that I wasn’t even doing back in the day. Like you saw last season when I did Today’s Black Men I was totally pissed off when they put that butt shot on there. I was like how are you going to do that to me? You just returned me back to my video vixen days and I’ve been there, done that. I’ve graduated from that. There’s growth there. Why don’t you show the evolving of a video vixen? There’s things I can tell her… I’ve made mistakes that she can watch out for. And that’s life. Shit happens.
XXL: A lot of people might remember you being in Luda’s video for “Number One Spot” but Ice Cube actually first saw you in a Tupac video right?
Lisa Raye: I was in his very last video, the night before he got shot in Las Vegas. I remember doing the video, I wasn’t supposed to do the part with him. I was just one of four women that were supposed to be in the video and he didn’t like the leading lady for his part and he saw me at the craft services and he said, “I want somebody fine like… like… her,” you know and he points to me. I had seen him around, but never had walked up to him before and that actually caused me to be in the video for a little longer than my part originally was and it became a world debut because he was shot the day after. The video was with Danny Boy and Aaron Hall “Toss It Up.” And Suge Knight was there so I didn’t know what to expect because you know you hear all the rumors, from the drama and stuff… but they were so professional, and it was so much fun. We developed a relationship there that actually took me to Vegas the next day for the fight.
XXL: Most people first took notice of you when you did Ice Cube’s film Players Club, do you still speak with him and do you have any plans to work together again?
Lisa Raye: Cube knows how to pick ‘em. He started a lot of people’s careers… Michael Clarke Duncan, Jamie Foxx, Alex Thomas, Bernie Mack, me. A lotta folks came out of that movie as a star. Absolutely when and if Ice Cube ever needs me I am forever in debt to our friendship because he started me out and without him I would have never been seen. I haven’t spoken to him in probably about a year. He interviewed me when he was co-hosting one my hometown stations in Chicago and we had a chance to get current on each other’s lives, but I haven’t talked to him since then.
XXL: Do you have a favorite hip-hop album?
Lisa Raye: When I was filming Players Club I kept Lil Kim’s CD in my CD player. Her song [starts rapping] Yeah… What what! Ya got it going on …What what! I used to be scared of the _____ now I throw lips to the ____ ! That was my song. That was my ‘get it started.’ I like what Queen Latifah has done, she has really put it on the map. From [sings] Ladies night, ladies night – to Oscar nominee to producer to jazz singer. She really just evolved. Easy breezy cover girl, she’s doing it.
XXL: You have a nice voice Lisa Raye, nobody has ever tried talking you into a booth?
Lisa Raye: You know what’s so funny I did that one rap song with Benzino called “If I Could” and Jamie Foxx came and did the video for me. After that, I kind of just did that because I could, but I haven’t touched it since then. Who knows though, I’m feeling so great about me and so good, so ain’t no telling. I ain’t turning nothing down but my collar.
Season 2 of Lisa Raye: The Real McCoy premieres Thursday April 7th. The film Single Ladies premieres on May 30th and the series debut follows a week later, June 6th.