In today’s hip-hop climate, beef is an accepted form of promotion. Therefore, when producers Timbaland and Scott Storch released diss tracks and YouTube videos attacking each other, Ms. Jade felt compelled to jump in. The Philadelphia native, who was formerly signed to Timbaland’s Beat Club Records, took offense to Scott Storch’s diss song, “Built Like That,” in which he dissed Timbaland rapping, “Everything you signed to Beat Club was fucking wack.” Jade responded with “Beam Me Up, Scotty,” a record attacking Storch’s sexual prowess and alleged drug problems. It’s the first time fans have heard new material from Jade since her departure from Beat Club three years ago.
Ms. Jade Young received her big break in the hip-hop industry through a chance meeting with Elektra Records A&R, Jay Brown. Impressed by her music, Brown introduced Jade to Missy Elliot. The two formed a friendship and in turn, Missy introduced Jade to Timbaland. A couple of weeks later, Jade signed to Timbo’s Beat Club imprint.
With an aggressive and charismatic style honed in the streets of Philly, Jade caught the ears of listeners looking for more out of their female MCs than just a pretty face and risqué lyrics. In 2001, she appeared on “Slap! Slap! Slap!” off Missy’s platinum album, Miss E…So Addictive. She also stared on “In Time” off Timbaland & Magoo’s 2001 album, Indecent Proposal. Her most notable appearance, however, came on Pastor Troy’s 2002 hit single, “Are We Cuttin’.” That same year, Jade released her debut album, Girl Interrupted. While Timbaland produced nine tracks and Jay-Z, Missy, Nate Dogg and Nelly Furtado made appearances, the album was a commercial flop. Shortly after, Jade parted ways with Beat Club and then Timbaland dismantled the label.
Since then, Ms. Jade has been low-key, working on new songs and prepping the release of a new mixtape with DJ Drama and Don Cannon. XXLMag.com tracked down Ms. Jade to talk about her beef with Scott Storch, her relationship with Timbaland and her future projects.
You released “Beam Me Up Scotty,” a vicious diss towards Scott Storch. Why are you getting involved? Are you sticking up for Timbaland?
I’m not sticking up for anyone. That’s their beef. I don’t have anything to do with that. The only reason I came at him is because he said, “Everything you signed to Beat Club was wack,” and that [means] Bubba [Sparxxx] and me. Who else do you know that was signed to Beat Club? So I was like, “Damn, Scott, you and me was alright! You told me I was the best girl you ever heard and this and that.” So I can’t let anybody just disrespect my job. I’m working hard and I’m not gonna let that be the last thing people hear about me. So I just had to give him a little something. And I didn’t do it for no hype. I did it for him, so he could hear it. This is a message to you, Scott!
But the song seems real personal. Was all of that really because of one indirect line?
No. [Laughs] I mean, Scott and me were alright. Scott was on my album and that’s what threw me off. It was only that one line, but it was the way he said it. And then at the end [of the song], he’s like, “You don’t know how to pick talent.” So I was like, “Oh, you still going on, huh?” You could have said everybody except Jade or something, so I don’t appreciate that Scott. But that whole producers beefing is wack. I don’t even know how [my song] got on the Internet, but I didn’t do it to be on the radio or none of that shit. I just did it for him. So if he wants to jump then fucking leap!
Your debut album, Girl Interrupted, had nine Timbaland tracks and guests appearances from Jay-Z, Missy Elliot and Nate Dogg. Why do you think it didn’t it sell?
I think it was the wrong time for me. Promotion has a lot to do with it. The album was pushed back like seven times and everyone was like, “When’s it coming out?” Three months after it came out, I had people asking, “The album came out?”
Timbaland is one of the biggest producers in hip-hop, but his artists on Beat Club didn’t do very well commercially. Why is that?
Sometimes hip-hop becomes [too] popish. We want hip-hop! I liked my album, but with my singles, like “Big Head,” you wouldn’t know that I could really rap. I was trying to crossover. So I think that him [Timbaland] being as big as he is, he doesn’t start hip-hop from the bottom up. But that’s what you have to do. You just can’t blow up automatically. You have to build your fan base from the street corners to the mixtapes, then, go up.
Did you leave Beat Club or get dropped?
Well, the album didn’t do good and I was on some shit like, “Okay, so what’s the next move?” When I started my album, I listened to everything he [Timbaland] said, like, “Whatever you say, it works, because you’re Timbaland.” So I kind of closed my mouth about a lot of stuff, so when it didn’t go as good as planned, I was like, “Okay, let’s try it this way.” I don’t know what type of shit he was on, but he had me waiting and I was ready, like, “Let’s do this!” We just weren’t seeing eye to eye and I asked to be released. He was like, “Alright.”
Is there any bad blood between you two?
Na, there’s no bad blood. I talked to him like two weeks ago.
How has growing up in Philly influenced your style?
I got that ol’ MC Lyte, “I’m better than you,” style. That’s what I fell in love with. Some people do metaphors and all that, but [my style] is like, “Who want what?” That’s just the Philly attitude. We don’t trust people, so when you spit, you have to come with it or you’re getting played. It’s that attitude that makes me the rapper I am. Nobody can fuck with me.
You’re one of the few lyrical female MCs out today. Do you think there’s a market for a female rapper who relies on skills over sex appeal?
[Yeah], especially right now because we’re dinosaurs. We done heard the bubblegum yum yum [rap], so now it’s time for somebody to step up and be like, “I can rap with the guys too.” [Because] I can spit!
What have you been up to since your album?
Well, I never stopped recording. But now I think I’ve found myself as a person and as an artist. After the album, I was like, “Fuck that, they think I’m bubblegum.” So I was on some extra, trying to be hard shit. But I can’t do that because it’s not believable. I was just going through something in my head, like, “Oh no, I gotta prove myself and I gotta be extra hard.” But then everybody was like, “Where’s the Ms. Jade we knew?” So I had to reevaluate the situation and just speak from my heart and do me. That’s where I’m at now.
Have you ever felt like giving up?
No. You go through those days where you’re like, “Shit, this is killing me!” But there’s nothing else that I want to do. I’ve never been one of those people to just give up. There’s a reason why I do it, so I have to take that opportunity and run with it.
Remy Ma, Jacki-O and Shawnna formed an all female group called Threesome. They were in the process of recording an album, but Shawnna recently dropped out. There have been rumors that you might replace her. Is there any truth to that?
Na, that’s the first time I’ve heard that.
Would a group composed entirely of female MCs ever work?
I think anything is possible, but you have to be in that right mind frame. The thing about female rappers is, there aren’t that many of us, so everybody wants that top spot. If you can set aside your ego and be like, “We’re all gonna do it,” [it can work]. But that’s not in a female’s nature. Especially in a hip-hop group because everybody thinks they’re the best.
What’s next for you?
I have a new mixtape with DJ Drama and Don Cannon. But it’s so crazy because I didn’t know what to do after that shit happened to them. I was gonna put it on the Internet [because] I got a big box of them sitting here. I’ll probably just give them out. So if [people] come to my [Myspace] and ask for it, or tell me where to send it, I’ll do that. But I’m not trying to post it up and get booked. [Laughs]