How Honey C Overcame Depression to Deliver ‘Wildfire’ Album
This past spring, the Tyga affiliate announced the end of her hiatus with "No Time," the throbbing first single from her newly released Wildfire album. The track emits the confidence that her fans have come to know and love. It's also embedded with a few nuggets that hint at the turmoil that kept the the rapper away from the spotlight the last few years.
"I'm done with the fake shit (fuck it)/My time never wasted (hell nah)Ain't taking vacations/I'm chasing the bacon," she spits on the track, distancing herself from the fake gold of the world. Speaking with XXL, the 25-year-old says the glamorous but hollow nature of Los Angeles played a role in her hip-hop sabbatical.
"I was surrounded by the wrong people," Honey says while seated in a chair at XXL's Manhattan office. "I was living in L.A. for a while and it was kinda poisonous, in a sense. Just the atmosphere, the team that was around me. I just stepped away from it, traveled, and kept to myself. Pretty much just depression. Going through that really made me lose my passion for creating music. I just didn't want anything to do with it."
Speaking with XXL, Honey C touches on Wildfire, overcoming depression, recapturing her confidence and more.
XXL: You've spoken about the poisonous nature of L.A. What was it about that environment that was so toxic?
Honey C: Where I'm from in Toronto, I'm used to certain type of people. And it has nothing to do with race, gender, age or anything like that, 'cause Toronto is super diverse and everyone's friends with everyone. Nothing against L.A.—I plan to buy a home there, 'cause the weather and the food and all that—but it was just Hollywood. It was all about who got the nicest cars, the latest bags, the most exclusive shoes, who's gonna drop the most money for bottles tonight. That's just not my scene and I don't wanna be a part of that. It was draining.
We have rappers starting early, but being 18, 19, 20 like you were is still really young to be exposed to all that in full force. It's easy to see how that could all be disorienting.
It was really confusing. I had no background in any of this. I didn't know what to expect. I was just lost a lot of the time. [I was] very uneducated, inexperienced. It was just like literally throwing someone into the middle of the ocean [and being like,] "Swim, bitch." But I made it to the shore and I'm cool now.
Early on you collaborated with Tyga a lot. Where was he during this rough patch of your career?
He was just being T-Raww. Living his life, working, making his money, making new music and whatever. We're still friends. I give respect to him all the time. He's the one who pretty much discovered me. He was the one who threw me into the ocean. But I didn't end up signing to him or partnering with him in any way. We collaborated, we did some tours, made some money together and went our separate ways.
We're friends on a human level. But the type of person I am, I don't really hit people up with my problems. Not my personal friends, not my business friends, not anyone around me. I'm the strong one. So, no one really knew, not even my parents, not even my brothers—no one.
Six years ago, you were shot after doing a show with Tyga. What do you remember about the moments leading up to that incident? Was there anything you learned?
We pulled up to the venue and a local artist wanted to perform. It was something about sets getting cut—they just weren't able to perform. And I guess they took that the wrong way and when Tyga was performing they started throwing shit onstage, which is just disrespectful. No one wants to do that, no one wants that. It's dangerous for everybody. But I understand, it's cool. When Tyga left the stage, he defended himself, just like I would have done. If you are not here to support me, than why did you buy a ticket?
Anyway, it's deeper than that. I don't really know all of the details or the facts, this is just what I know. Tyga left and he was in the van that looked exactly like my van. Sprinter vans, which people use on tour. So I guess they saw him enter his [van] and were like, "Okay cool, we're gonna go after him." I don't know what their plans were—I don't even know if it was those people. But all the events lead up to that, I don't fucking know, could have been anyone else.
I was leaving and my two drivers were in the front. The last thing I remember is like, "Yo, why the fuck are they turning their lights off?" And I turn to look and I see this car for half a second and then, shots. 18, 19, 20, 30. This is what good came out of it that I can send a positive message to people. Something that people need to wake up to: I was on my fucking phone, that's why I couldn't duck in time. I was on fucking social media. I thought [the shots] were fucking fireworks. Everyone else ducked. Not to say those muthafuckas ain't on their phones all the time, but at that point they weren't. I was so distracted by my phone that I couldn't process what was going on. That's why I got fucking shot. If I'd ducked I would've been good.
Getting back to your bout with depression: It wasn't solely because of the superficial L.A. area. Was there any internal conflict? Any family drama?
I would say that L.A. was a big factor that contributed to my depression, but it was mostly just this sense of loneliness. Just leaving home at 18, 19, 20. Even before that, I was never home. I was always my own person. Always here, always there. It forced me to kinda grow up into a young adult immediately. On some shit like, "You're gonna pay for everything now on your own. You're gonna do this, you're gonna do that. Ain't no mommy and daddy anymore."
So when I was in L.A., yes, there was the superficial factor, but it was also just feeling lonely. I was trying to find love—didn't find it. Didn't find the right love. I put myself in horrible, dangerous situations because of my loneliness and it was super unhealthy.
And I just felt like there was no way out of this shit. There was no one that understood what I was going through. I couldn't talk to family; they wouldn't understand. You know, it was 90 percent the feeling of loneliness.
Why did you choose "No Time" to kickoff promotion for Wildfire?
It's just right in limbo of who I used to be and who I am today. As an artist you're gonna find the same ingredients that Honey has always had: raw, hard, cool as shit, cute [Laughs]. But since I've transitioned in my life, I've transitioned as a person and an artist. So that, like I said, is right in limbo. It's a little bit of where I'm gonna take my music and where I've already been.
So I feel like that was a cool, soft welcoming so people can see this and stay familiar. Like, "Oh, okay, that's still her—she still got bars." But still give them a little dash like, "Oh nah, it's bigger than that now." You can see the comments on YouTube, they're like, "Oh my god! What the fuck does the rest of the album sound like." It was a good tease. It stood its ground as a foundation of who I was and am.
Listening to Wildfire, your songs sound really celebratory and anthemic. Do you get more somber on the project or address any of the depression you're talking about?
What you will hear in this project is me getting past a certain stage of my life. And if you compare that to what I've done in my past, it was just me talking about me being cool, having this and having that. And that was my life at the time—[having] chains and all that shit. You'll still hear a little bit of that in there, but, like we just spoke about, that little gap, the setback, that depression, the anxiety, the demons, all that. The internal, the dark cloud over me.
What you would hear in this project is celebratory. It's me moving past that, me finding my strength again. Me rebuilding my confidence, and now finding an actual target substance of what I wanna spew out. Do I wanna fucking talk about chains and cars and clothes? I don't have to, because everyone else is already doing it. What I really wanna talk about is the working women. Women in college, women out of college, women working nine-to-five's, women working five-to-nine's, CEOs. Fuck it, if you work in a factory, you're a student, it doesn't matter.
That's who I was. Even though I'm a musician and I feel into it. At the end of the day, I'm a working woman. What I went through was super-relatable. It's happening right now, and it's gonna happen again and again and again. It's just what we go through as human beings. So I wanted to kinda step away from the superficial content and give them something that they can quote and tattoo on their booties if they want to [Laughs] but still make it sound cool, because it's fucking hip-hop.
What made you decide to make Wildfire the title of your album?
You can't contain a wildfire and I felt like my demons, what I was going through, it was a little fire. It spread and spread and spread. And me living in L.A., I saw the wildfires this year. That's metaphorical and that contributed to the idea of the title. It's symbolic in a way. If it's man-made, it don't mean shit. An arsonist lit that shit. I feel like internally, I have a wildfire in me, and that shit is just spreading and spreading and spreading, and I would like to do that with my music.
It's a natural organic thing. I went into this project with an organic, natural mindset. Like whatever the fuck I'm feeling today is what I'm gonna rap about and write about and sing about. As much as its destructive, it's a beautiful thing and it's natural. In my life, I don't wanna force anything anymore. I wanna let this little fire take its course. Spread wherever it needs to spread. If I die, I die.
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