Shawnna
Never Forget Me

shawnna-1.jpgShawnna has an innate musical talent. But that can be expected when you’re the daughter of legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy. Growing up in Chicago during the 80′s, the self-proclaimed tomboy was exposed to blues and rock ‘n’ roll through her pops yet it was hip-hop that captured her attention.

She first fell in love with hip-hop after listening to Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s 1988 hit, “It Takes Two,” but it was Ice Cube’s “Jackin’ For Beats” that inspired Shawnna to write her first rhyme. In 1997 the aspiring MC signed her first record deal as one-half of the lady duo Infamous Syndicate and released their 1999 debut album, Changing the Game on Relativity Records. That same year, the duo split and after a chance meeting with DTP executive Chaka Zulu, Shawnna signed as a solo artist on Luda’s Disturbing Tha Peace crew on Def Jam Records.

The first lady of DTP went on to drop two solo records with the crew: Worth Tha Weight (2004) and Block Music (2006) and is currently finishing her third album, Mr. Radio, and a new mixtape, Jackin’ For Beats. Lately, though, the buzz swirling around the 28-year-old rapper has been more rumor than fact. There’s been speculation on everything from her relationship with DTP to the status of her all-female rap group with Remy Ma and Jackie-O. During a break from recording Mr. Radio in California, Shawnna sets the records straight with XXLMag.com.

There are rumors you’re leaving DTP. Is that true?
I’m actually in the process of leaving Disturbing Tha Peace. It’s definitely not on a beef-type thing. They got some new artists and there’s been a lot of distance since I first signed with Def Jam. When I signed, it was Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen [running the label]. Now, we have a whole new regime up there. I feel like they don’t support me, they don’t love me. They don’t have that interest in me as Kevin Liles did, and Luda agrees. He supports [my decision] to get the independent thing poppin’. He’s like, “Well, wherever you go, I got your back. Just kill it.”

Is there any truth to the rumors it had something to do with money?
Nope. I ain’t never had a problem with them [DTP Records], never had any bad business. I just feel like… [Luda’s] done enough for Atlanta, and he’s shown me how to do it. I want to go home and do it for Chicago [now]. I want to be able to feed my kids. He’s supportive of that. We’re friends before business partners. He’s going to support whatever I do.

What label are you going to sign with for your next album?
Well, right now we’re probably gonna go somewhere independent, because that’s where the money is. Some heavy labels that already got money — that have their 50 Cents and their heavy hitters — they know they got platinum sales coming. They get comfortable with that and they don’t really put too much into their artists. I’ve learned that over the years, so I want to go somewhere independent [where] they’re trying to break through and prove a point to these major labels.

In a recent interview, you said you’re no longer part of the group Threesome with Remy Ma and Jackie-O. What happened?
Everybody jumped the gun on that. Me, Jack and Rem just decided that we were gonna do some songs together, do a mixtape together [and] they just jumped on that, like, “Oh word? That’s fly. It’s a group.” They’re my bitches. We get down. We gonna do that shit. But [as far as] a group, and signing a deal, I got a lot of umbrellas over me right now. I gotta deal with Def Jam and Disturbing Tha Peace. I don’t want too many contracts on my table. And when you’re dealing with girls…it’s real critical, not something you can jump into. We’ve got to make sure everybody’s comfortable. We’ve all got kids, so we’ve all got separate needs. I don’t want to lose a friendship over trying to make a couple extra bucks.

shawnna-2.jpgAre you happy with the response that your last album, Block Music, received?
Definitely. I love it. That’s the reason that I’m still sane, because everybody loved me like that. I don’t like looking at the numbers because I know that the marketing and promotion wasn’t there. And if it was there, it was sloppy. I’m gonna keep it all the way fuckin’ real. Def Jam didn’t have it’s fucking shit straight. If you tell me that my album was garbage, that I didn’t put out fucking fire, then I [would] understand. But I did all the fucking work. We put out “Gettin’ Some” by ourselves and sold it to DTP for the [Ludacris Presents: Disturbing Tha Peace] compilation. It wasn’t even gonna be on the compilation if it wasn’t for that move. I had one of the biggest fucking remixes of ’06. Why the fuck was there no video? I’m not holdin’ my lip no more. I gotta let muthafuckas know. Fuck this shit. Me and Luda, that’s my nigga. Like I said, that’s my nigga aside from rap, so I love him like that. But the rest of the people under that umbrella – I’ll see you later, man.

So Def Jam dropped the ball?
There was nothing done. They barely shot a video for “Getting’ Some.” You can look at the video and see there was basically two scenes. Come on! It was one of the hottest fucking club records of ’06. The video was nothing. So we come to the second single, which is “Damn.” We had Smoke from Field Mob featured on the song, and he was in jail at the time. So I personally didn’t think it was a good time to go ahead with the video. I just couldn’t take it no more. Honestly, I was left at home from the day my album dropped. My album dropped and I had no work booked. If it wasn’t for my management company and the agency doing something, as far as shows, there [would have been] nothing. The label didn’t even call me for a fucking meeting. I guess I was a write-off. I’m sick of it. When I started this shit, I had babies, and now I’m still screaming the same shit. [But now] I got big kids. [Laughs] Straight up, I’m trying to put trust funds together. I need college tuition. You need to stop fucking playing with me.

Are you doing an entire album with Ludacris?
Hell yeah. He came to me like, “You know, before you leave, I want to do this album with you that we’ve been trying to do forever.” Me and him been trying to do this Battle of the Sexes album ever since we first started going on tour together. People [always] made comparisons between us, saying how well we compliment each other and how I can hold my weight [with] him. You don’t normally see a female who could match a caliber like his. We’re actually like six songs in, and that was just from spending like a week locked in the studio together. His schedule is so crazy. He’s “Hollywood,” so there’s all kinds of other shit going on for him. I’m happy for him, though. Keep doing that shit, nigga. I’m chillin’. Whenever he gets the time, I know how we get in the studio. If the chemistry is off the chain, all it takes is another week to lock the next six of them down and we’re done.

  • Jo-Jo

    Her downfall was production. Better production she from Chicago I didn’t hear any soul typr of beatz. Come on kayne No.ID Bigg Unit all the dope chicago producers and not one made the album.

  • smog

    Shawnna is fire. That battle of the sexes thing would be hot.

  • braaaaaa

    Her album was hot.

  • Deej

    You go girl!

  • public doamain

    DefJam is an absolute joke….And it has always been nothin’ but a drug front….Down with Jay, Down with Rush…Independent party on eyyythang….

  • Holla

    Another unhappy Def Jam artist, what a surprise. When are people gonna realize Jay is the worst executive. Nobody on def jam likes him besdies nas, jeezy and kanye. If ur not in that click, jay dont give a fuck about u.

  • http://zzoz207 GEROLD

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  • http://myspace.com/amnjordan jordan-philly

    shawnna is a good mc. she is one of the best females i’ve heard in a long time…and i am glad she isn’t doin the female group. you put 3 bitches in a cage with there kids…something crazy is bound to happen. i believe koch might be the best fit…$8 a record is a great deal!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com King Ben

    Motherfuckers shut up, little whiny ass dudes sound like my bitches. Jay can’t sell everyones records. Come on Jay ain’t in charge of marketing, advertising, and promoting, hes not an A&R dumb shits. He President he oversees shit and gets a check. Shawna is wack, her album is the best out the whole dtp cuz there all wack. BANG! BANG! MONEY Gang!

  • Holla

    Well, let’s see. Nobody was really complaining about Def Jam until Jay took over. Then, magically, everyone – The Roots, Redman, Method Man, Joe Budden, Shawnna, DMX – starts talking about how def jam. Thats reality. the label fell off. When half of your label is complaining, something is wrong. Yeah, Jay doesnt handle the promotion, but if its not working, that shit comes from the top. Anyone in business knows that. It starts at the top, and if the shit at the top isn’t right, then everything else is fucked up.

    Wake, up, Jay has done a terrible job at def jam and he’s my favorite mc of all time – so get off his dick and look at reality.

  • http://xxl.com YounGuttaAkaBlaqueCzar(longliveDaking)MW

    Jay-z…wat else will he fuck up…Shawnna is bad …I got err as my screensaver right dis second….Do it big shawnna

  • http://blogs.hiphopdx.com/meka Meka Soul

    >Well, right now we’re probably gonna go somewhere independent, because that’s where the money…>

    SWOOOT!

  • Big Tone

    These artist at Def Jam have a problem because Jay only thinks about himself. The only thing he did since he came to Def Jam was talk about and promote that wack ass album Kingdum Come, and talk about the Nas thing. Besides that, he’s done nothing for the artists there. And there are a lot of albums that come from these artist that are fire, but the get no promotion, no marketing, and no sales, (which by the way Jay Z has the authority to decide on all of those. Sales come from the promoting and marketing. If thats not done right the album won’t sell which is whats going on over there. He’s not giving these artist what they need and it shows all the way around the board. If he gets his head from out of Beyonce’s ass maybe he’ll recognize that Def Jam is slowly but surely sinking.

  • HollyHood

    Nigga its a different day and age with music. Niggaz ain’t doing 3 and 4 mill no more. I agree somebody ain’t believe n her album, but y the fuck everybody blame Jay when niggaz don’t do goo. But they give the artist all the credit when they do good. Meth, red, ghostface all them niggaz with no promotion ain’t relevant. I wouldn’t put no $ n a project that will barely go gold with a lot of promotion. Its a new day!!! Them niggaz had there time!!! Let the new niggaz do there thang pimp!!!! 100!!!

  • THE KING OF LONDON

    U CANT BE POINTIN FINGERS @ HOVA??? SHAWNNA IST LP BRICKED WHEN KEVIN LILES N THAT JEW WAS THERE. N B4 THAT N AFTA METH,KEITH MURRAY,GHOSTFACE,JOE BUDDEN LPS BRICKED 2. SO DONT BLAME HOV 4 THESE ARTISTS FLOPPIN THEY NEED 2 KNO HOW 2 MAKE GREAT MUSIC N PROMOTE THERESELVES BY VIA ALWAYS DOIN MIXTAPES N SHIT!! N REMEMBER PPL WE R IN 07 THE DOWNLOADIN ERA EVERY 1 IS BRICKIN ON ALL GENRES!!!

  • YoungFocu$

    Im sorry jay-z is argueably the best mc or at least the closest one but……

    by him being an artist from reasonable doubt to kINGDOM COME he should know that when you drop an cd by a artist you are supppose to create a buzz for the single and let the track build up momentum as oppose to as soon as the song hiting # 1 on 106 and throwin the cd out the following tuesday.

    jay-z and def jam SERIOUSLY needs to revamp because if you haven’t noticed rappers are refuseing to sign with them.

    50 was wrong about KOCH….Def jam is the graveyard…the only artists not complaining on def jam is NE-YO, Rihanna,jeezy and Jay-z cuz they basically keep the lights on.

    You can’t just blame hov, L.A. runs def jam to he is actually chairman ova hov so he is hov’s boss.They are basically rapeing the indusrty hard.

    sign with def jam you can expect the following:

    1)one video
    2)no promotion
    3)a rushed album release
    4)poor album sales
    5)no marketing
    6)2nd album may never see the light of day
    7)undershipment of your album (low availbility)

    Russell has got to be pissed at how his former label has been run to the ground

    disgruntled def jam artists:

    dmx
    roots
    shawnna
    ghostface
    nore
    murder inc
    redman
    method man
    joe budden
    ll cool j
    memphis bleek
    beanie siegal

    damn thats fucked up

  • young focus

    def jam is dead

  • Knowledge Speaks

    Block Music was a sick ass album. Definately lacked promotion from the label.

  • moneyovahatas

    shawnna be holding it down. Block music was tight. Her and remy the only females thats good lyrically. Defjam is garbage except ne-yo, nas, kanye, luda, and fabolous.

  • roycie

    Man yall should look at past numbers b4 yall blame Jay for niggas who’ve been goin wood not sellin. Its popular now to blame the label when u flop. dont be fooled. Numbers dont lie

  • Jazz Man

    Let’s Be Real….Jay is like Jordan…One of the best to do it in there professions, but when it comes to overseeing people…it’s just not there niche. Jay has to understand that artist now-a-days are not on the level as old school artist. The work ethic just isn’t there. The newer artist think they are going to be catered to because of one hit(for example Chingy, Cassidy, Young Gunnz, Joe Budden and the list goes on). Some of the artist mentioned are good artist, but they are not complete enough to go past gold status if that. Shawnna is a nice artist and she is the exception. Her label failed her. They made her out to be a great featured artist. And Luda gets part of the blame because he should have had her music coming off the DTP imprint opposed to Def Jam. Loyalty is great, but once you have the chance to eat and have yourself established then set it up so your fam can eat too and he did shawnna no justice. But she has to do her part too. A closed mouth don’t get fed and if you don’t open it to the powers that be then you (and your kids) are going to starve!!!!!!

  • j syd

    are u niggaz serious?????? b4 jay even took over, who was talikin about def jam anymore???? Meth (tight mc) wasnt sayin nuffin about def jam when tical teh prequel did wood? And dmx’s (thats my dude too)album and then there was x was hot garbage. and it flopped! But i guess that was j fault too?? come on niggas, he cant get all of the blame and none of the credit!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dr Flav

    Say what you will about these female artists, the Rahs, Remys, Shawnnas or whomever, they damn sure dont have a problem opening thier mouth if they see ish is shady. I also say 20 mill for promotion seems kind of excessive for any artist, son could have made a movie about the album.

  • Pingback: Shawnna Drops DTP Records |

  • jojochicago

    She was most definitelt fucked! i didn’t even know she was on Def Jam! i didn’t know when the cd dropped either. what i do know is that her performance or shows is wack! but she has flow, lyrics and something to look at fo show! so go that indie route, bring it back home and get paid. get with yo boy Young Blaze and make hits! Yo brother is hot as a producer too. get those beats and make it pop! shit if u sell 200k in the midwest alone u rich! so o it and do it right!

  • http://www.myspace.com/arkaplan - OZ – www.myspace.com/arkaplan

    DEF JAM IS FUCKIN THEIR ARTIRST

    ALTOUGH THEY R BIG RAPPERZ

    DEF JAM FUCKS THEM

    -DMX
    -METHOD MAN
    -SHAWNNA
    -REDMAN
    -GHOST FACE

    THERE WERE NO ENOUGH PROMOTION 4 THEM

    THERE WERE NO TIGHT BEATZ

    JAY-Z! WHAT R U DOIN MAN????????

  • young_fane

    DO IT BIG BABY GIRL….. BRING IT TO THE MIDWEST…. IT’S SOME RIPPERS OUT HERE MAN…. BLOCK MUSIC WAS THAT SHIT…. MY BITCH BE BANGIN THAT SHIT B….. IM COMIN…. PROFANE .S. FLAMES, MURDA MICHIGAN, MIDWEST ALL YEAR….. REAL SHIT

  • DANJA29

    the thing with Jay is this- I don’t believe that bein’ an exec is his forte… but everybody’s so quick to bring up the projects that flopped and completely ignore the ones that didn’t. Def Jam has been horrible on the promotion tip since before Jay came in. Redman has had issues with Def Jam since ’03, Method Man’s been mad at Def jam for years, Joe Budden’s had issues with Def Jam since the moment that first album dropped… so it’s not all on Jay. I think he’s done good for some and terrible for others.

    But I’m sure that job is a terrible position to be in anyway- cause if a nigga flops it’s the label’s fault, but then if they sell a gang of records, they never give props to the label. It’s a lose-lose situation.

  • young focu$

    defjam isn’t hip hop relevant anymore

    it’s a r and b label now

  • young focu$

    defjam isn’t hip hop relevant anymore

  • kat

    shawnna is one of the hottest female rappers out there. Records labels dont cherish female mc’s and dont appreciate what we bring to the table. keep doing what you do!

  • V

    what the last guy siad was right, with how Redman and Joe Budden, been had propblems with Def Jam, but when someone comes in they should help the problems, I mean look at the Roc, no disresict but who beisdes Kanye and J has sold off that lable that’s still there? Bleek ony went gold and fell off, Peedi Peedi hasn’t droped on album yet, young gunz are one hit wonders, no ones heard of Tru Life and Foxy’s a hasbeen. Then when Jay took over Def Jam, Kanye sold because of what Dame did for him, also givin his hype is anothe rreason he sold a second time, Jeezy sold cuz of L.A. Ried., Luda sold cuz his hype, and that he sold through his own lable, and Ross sold cuz of the Southern explosen that hit in early late mid-’05 and ’06. Redman droped an album with little promotion, and Meth with none. Buddens been pushed back further then Dick Cheney’s hiar line, GhostFace dropped two albums with only one single, all the DTP people signed to Def Jam don’t have shit out but Shawnna(lil fate just lazy)and Shawnna barely went gold first album, and the list goes on and on. No Jay ain’t entirely to balme, but being the Pres of Def Jam u have a say in what happens even if all u do is cut a check. Help ur people out Jay

  • Holler_Back_Bowie

    great interview. good info. they need better this like this here because i cant take bol or tara henley seriously.

  • thoms3

    everyone says let’s be real so, let’s be real, if you don’t back yourself and have your money right why would you expect a label to do so, no matter how HOT your music is; if your business ain’t right then, you fall…and since we are honest, I love the way Shawnna raps but I didn’t pick up her album! not because of videos, I just thought the single was wack

  • Fernando

    She is the most forgettable female rapper evar! What a worthelss wench! The article should have been “PLEASE DONT FORGET ME…PLEEEAAAASSSEEE!!”

  • TONY_SUNSHINE

    But she was obviously memorable enough for your crispy lack ass to read an article about her. Fuck the haters Shawnna. You got mad skills and your fans will support you. Keep doing what you do.

  • http://xxlmag.com Record Setter.. 7

    The numbers are working against those who think Jay’s sinking Def Jam. You list the numbers of niggas who aint happy or are have left or about to leave. Some of these niggas projects was on ice before Hov stepped in and most if not all these cats done had thier shine in the 90′s but for the artists like Jezzy and Kanye.. Now that they at the end of their game they expect clockwork like the Lupe or Rich Boy..Come on???? We all need someone to blame and for rationalities sake who really thinks Jay running anything down there?? He a chess piece in a bigger game. L.A got more answers to this Jay gettin sh*t from people cause we know him like that and We don’t even know what the real players look like.100!!!!

  • traebizzo

    Def Jam has a promotion problem. If LL cant sell and ghostface/Meth can’t get good production then who fault is it?