The Internet is an interesting place. You can get up-to-the-minute news from your favorite hip-hop website (like, ahem, XXLMag.com) or you can download the hottest album before it hits stores. But for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s Lil’ Cease, it gave the world an unexpected look into his past. Two weeks ago, a new street DVD, Cocaine City #8, was released with old footage of Cease, wearing nothing but a towel, stripping in a hotel room full of men and woman and exposing himself. The clip became one of the hottest topics on online message boards. Although rumors began circulating that the Brooklyn representative was so embarrassed that he was trying to get the footage pulled from the net, Cease tells XXLMag.com that he’s actually happy it leaked. He confirms that the homemade tape was shot in 1997, the same year Cease’s best friend and mentor, The Notorious B.I.G., was gunned down in Los Angeles. In an exclusive interview with XXLMag.com, Cease A Leo addresses the stripper footage and how he plans to turn this controversy into a promotional tool for his upcoming reality series and solo album.
The clip of you stripping in a hotel room and exposing yourself appeared on the new Cocaine City DVD. How did this 10-year-old footage leak?
I don’t know. I was working with this lady, April Maiya, who was with me when I did the Chronicles of Junior M.A.F.I.A. DVD. But our relationship ended and she held a grudge with me because I didn’t wanna work with her anymore. So she gave the footage to this guy [French, creator and producer of Cocaine City DVD]. I’m not really trippin’ about it. I don’t give a fuck about what was on the tape. Personally, I think it helped me out more than it could ever hurt me. I think there was a hype that was associated with it. I first heard about it as a rumor. Then I saw it online, [but] there’s no footage that can damage my credibility in any way. Once I saw the footage, I laughed. It was filmed around the same year that B.I.G. died. I should’ve put the shit out myself. I couldn’t give two shits about what people are saying. I was good before this and I’ll be good after this. Hell, no one thought to think I was naked on my first album cover?
Even still, does the fact this came out without your permission cause a beef between you and Cocaine City?
Man, there ain’t no beef between him [French] and me. To be honest, I have no idea why he did that. Before all this stuff, I gave him the footage with the Dipset crew [Cocaine City #4 featuring a fight between Cease and Cam’ron at Rucker park]. He was in a difficult position at the time and I stepped to the guy on the humble and held him down. He asked for the footage and put himself at risk. The footage that he put out on me didn’t make me look bad. He made me look good! Other than that, I’m not trippin’ about nothing. I just want to tell [French] thank you. Right now, I’m on every radio station and I’m smokin’ on the Internet. It had 500,000 views in three day, so, thank you! Anybody who says my name, I think they’re a part of my street team. I want to let you all know that I appreciate you all for that.
How do you feel about people questioning your sexuality because guys were in the room when you exposed yourself?
Let me tell you something; when people want controversy, they all want [it to be] negative in order for people to be interested. No one wants to hear anything positive. They want to hear some gossip. Anybody that knows me, knows that I’m comfortable about my sexuality. I was just tryin’ to get some shit poppin’ off in there. All these rappers talk about having orgies. I’ve done that shit when I was 15-years-old. That’s all I was tryin’ to get started in the room. You’re never gonna hear or see the truth because people are only going to check for [what’s] negative. It comes with being in the industry. I know you’ll get the good with the bad, but at the end of the day, you’re interested. Ever since that Lil’ Kim shit [where Cease testified against Kim in her 2005 perjury trial], people are throwin’ my name under the bus and that’s fine, because I know what type of man I am.
Can you clear up the rumors that you were trying to get the video off the Internet?
I’m not trying to get it off the Internet! I don’t sit on the computer all day trying to find out who has it. I’m just chillin’ out at the crib. It’s not serious with me. I saw some shit on there and people thought that I was responding in the comments section. I’m not an Internet thug. I’m not talkin’ shit on the net. I ain’t worried about anyone on there, son! People can put it up there. I don’t give a fuck what’s online! How many times did y’all fools watch that shit? Y’all the gay ones, not me. And [y’all] have the nerve to talk about me! I feel like one of them big time celebrities and shit—on some Paris Hilton shit. I got cats tryin’ to talk about me like I’m Puff. I’m just living my life like a regular ass nigga and people are tryin’ to keep me in the public eye. I need to do some real porn right now. [Laughs]
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m workin’ on this reality show. I didn’t go meet with any industry people; I’m shooting it myself. It’s kind of how Britney [Spears] did hers. I’m just trying to show my life. It’s an interesting tale. I’m workin’ on a solo project, too. I’m trying to get out of my independent deal with Sony and I’m tryin’ to work on something new. Also, I’m not doing anymore [Junior] M.A.F.I.A. albums. I want to work on mines, partly because my first album [The Wonderful World of Cease A Leo] got mad love and it was slept-on. So, I’m doing that and I’m workin’ on a book. I’m spending more time with my family. I’m tryin’ to do a lot of regular stuff right now. I just want to sit back, be cool, think of a plan and execute it promptly.
Being that you’ve been in the game so long, what’s your take on the state of music sales right now?
The game is so tough right now. No one is selling any records across the board. This online shit is killin’ everything. You can punch up anything and your whole history is coming up. So, you have to find your best way to eat in this game. You can’t even pump mixtapes any more. I want to tell dudes to stop wasting your hunger and make a hot album. I don’t give a fuck how nice they are. I’m tired of hearing cats rappin’ over that one hot beat. Fuck all them damn rappers! They don’t fuck with me and I don’t fuck with them. None of these dudes can come out here and talk about me foul. I can sit there next to Russell [Simmons] and Diddy and be good. They know me. I get love from these people. People are saying my name so much, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re gay themselves!