A well over a decade has passed since the first lady of No Limit, Mia X, released her last album, 1998’s Mama Drama. Her departure from the rap game was initially sparked by the abrupt loss of her parents, resulting in Mia becoming the matriarch of her family. With two kids to raise and a sister to put through med school, a career in music just didn’t seem as important.
Fast-forward 12 years later, her children and sister are leading their own lives and Mama Mia is eager to get back to the mic. Following the release of her Unladylike Forever mixtape, the New Orleans madam is releasing her comeback album, Betty Rocka Locksmith. Supported by local legends like Juvenile, Fiend and KLC, as well as newfound supporters Drumma Boy and Gucci Mane, X is back for her spot. XXLMag.com caught up with Mia to get her story of hardships, returning to rap and why there’s still no limit.
XXlmag.com: It’s been a long time since fans have heard from you; how much of a factor did the death of your parents play on your hiatus?
Mia X: My parents died right after I put Mama Drama out… I lost my mother and father five months apart and then my grandmother eight months after. My father he drove 18-wheelers. To avoid hitting a driver, he stepped on his brake and it caused the trailer to jackknife. My mom and dad plunged into a 20-foot ravine. My mom was killed. Five months [later] my dad was leaving a party and he was killed. It was one thing after another. I was in a bad place just getting enough strength to do the mom thing, be a cook every day and care for the children. When that part of the day was over I was just curled up in the bed. I’d shut myself off from the world. I turned the ringer off on the phone and faded off into the darkness. It was just a very hard time and a very sad time.
XXLMag.com: Many people can empathize with your decision to step away from the game but was your split from No Limit amicable?
Mia X: We never split up. We are the godmother and godfather of each other’s children, we are in-laws to each other; we are truly family. We still hang out. I just went to a Juvenile concert with Fiend, Mr. Serv-On and KLC and it was really fun. We still communicate with one another because all of us we’re family…
XXLMag.com: What about Master P?
Mia X: We all still love Percy [Master P] dearly but at the same time you got brothers and sisters that you just don’t fool with for one reason or another, that don’t mean you don’t love ’em—dude is family… I wish things could be a little different. I wish we wouldn’t have lost the communication. No Limit was run like a family business, when he went to play basketball [in the NBA] the communication broke down between him and all of the artists.
XXLMag.com: How so?
Mia X: We had a different relationship with our CEO; we used to sit down at the roundtable to discuss the projects, the marketing, videos, dates and then things got really formal and unfamiliar. A lot of people think it had a lot to do with money, it really didn’t. It had more to do with way things were structured. No Limit was a movement, we had a good thing. When things shifted, my parents died and I was like, Well, P ain’t at the label so I might as well not go back and that’s pretty much what happened.
XXLMag.com: What label are you working with now?
Mia X: I have my own label Music Life Recording. I’m happy to be in control with what’s going on with me. In the past, because I was one of the artists on No Limit that didn’t have a contract, I was just like Silkk and C-Murder. I was treated fairly and my schedule was flexible, but I still did what Percy wanted done. He was about keeping a lot of things No Limit things and I wasn’t going against the grain. Now it’s different, I can work with whoever I want whenever I want. It’s a good feeling for me.
XXLMag.com: What the meaning behind the title of your album, Betty Rocka Locksmith?
Mia X: I come from a long line of cooks—family had a catering company—and I cook usually when I go to the studio and do a session. I find out what the producers and the engineers favorite food is, no matter what it is any kind of food I make it, so going in the booth with a couple of different producers…they’d say that’s Betty or as KLC would say, “That was that crack,” so see the cooking and the rocking that’s where the Betty Rocka came from. And you know a locksmith is a person you call when you need a key, you need the person with the keys. I am Betty Rocka Locksmith, the holder of the dope in this game.
XXLMag.com: You mentioned you have the liberty to cook up collaborations with several artists and producers, at this point who can we look forward to hearing on a track with you?
Mia X: Definitely have to keep my No Limit family on deck because we had so much chemistry. I just did one of B.G’s songs for his album… Mannie Fresh is working on some things… I’m working very close with KLC and Fiend; Serv-On [and I] we have a very good chemistry, that’s my brother… Drumma Boy, I was fortunate to work with Gucci Mane; he reminds me of Master P in his younger day. I worked with Yung Joc, Monica… I’m having fun right now because I controlling my own destiny. I am my own boss.
XXLMag.com: Aside from being your own boss, what’s your motivation for coming back to the game now after so many years?
Mia X: I never stopped writing music, and poetry. I would wake up in the middle of the night and hear a hook or hear a verse. I wrote some really good songs. They weren’t based on what I was going through at the time; I just wasn’t ready to go in the studio and record. I just didn’t want to talk to anybody, but I never stopped… All that time I was patiently waiting to find a female artist that I could say damn she reminds me of me. But you know everybody have their own idea what they want to tell their fan base so I had to come on back.
XXLMag.com: Have you noticed a change in the game since you’ve been gone?
Mia X: I understand the game has changed but my core fan base has remained loyal to Mia X. People like my subject matter, they like what I’m saying to them… I owe a lot of these young broads the whole story… I got two baby daddies and one went to the Feds for two years… I know about the glamorous side of being in the middle of the streets and I also know the tragic side… It’s not all we scored, we flipped, and we balled…its jackers, murderers, police, and diseases. A lot people I went to high school with they’re certified crack heads. These things happen when you get in this game it’s a couple of different ways it could go. That’s why I’m not changing my style; I’m not changing my message. —Rosario Mercedes Velazquez