Mister Cee Speaks
It's been a roller coaster of a week for Mister Cee. The Hot 97 DJ, host of Throwback at Noon and Friday Night Live and a staple at the station for 20 years, resigned Wednesday after a video surfaced of Cee soliciting oral sex from a transsexual prostitute, the third such instance that Cee has been connected with in the past three years. After speaking with management at the station—program director Ebro Darden, as well as the higher-ups at Hot 97 owners Emmis Communications—Cee rescinded his resignation Thursday and went back on the air at noon for his usual time slot. The earthquake had settled.
But though aftershocks may still rumble, they cannot shake what Cee has done for hip-hop throughout his career. Growing up in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the 1980s, he met Big Daddy Kane while the two attended Sarah J. Hale High School, and the pair—Cee the DJ, Kane the MC—struck up a musical partnership, teaming with Marley Marl's Juice Crew and working together on Kane's legendary 1988 debut album, Long Live The Kane. He and Kane would work together over the next six years, with Cee then taking a job at Hot 97 in 1993.
Around that time, Cee came across the demo tape of Christopher Wallace, which he sent to The Source's Unsigned Hype column. He would go on to sign Biggie Smalls—as the kid became known—to a production deal, arranging his first photo shoots and coordinated his first meeting with Puff Daddy, who at the time was an A&R at Uptown Records. After Puff took Biggie to Bad Boy Records, Cee gave up his production deal but still helped to work on his seminal debut, Ready To Die, lending his scratching skills to "Gimmie The Loot" and receiving associate producer credentials. Over the next 20 years, Cee would continue to rep for underground and up-and-coming Brooklyn MCs, lending a hand and giving a start to a number of young rappers coming from his borough.
Things began to come off the rails a bit in 2011, however, when Mister Cee pled guilty to loitering for the purpose of engaging a prostitute after police officers found him in his car in lower Manhattan engaging in a sex act with another man. The charge, originally a misdemeanor, had been downgraded to a violation, and Cee was tasked with completing three months or 12 sessions with a doctor. Then in May of this year, Cee was again arrested, this time for soliciting sex with a male undercover police officer. Cee called it a "sting" operation, and the charges were dropped this Monday. Then the video, allegedly taken at the end of last year, surfaced Wednesday, plunging Cee back into the same morass of rumors, allegations and questions.
Now Cee, officially back with Hot 97 and preparing to move forward, spoke to XXL Thursday (September 12) night about the recent video, his past indiscretions, how he's moving forward and the support he's gotten from the Hot 97 brass. After a week of turmoil and confusion, Mister Cee speaks.—Miranda Johnson (@Randa_writes)
Why did you announce your resignation so quickly? Did you think it through?
I definitely thought through it yesterday. It was a combination of two things—I decided to resign yesterday because I just felt tired of putting the station through the mud because of my behavior and my mistakes, transgressions and so on. It was also a part of me not wanting to face the fact that I have to be honest about who I am and what I've done. And part of it was for the betterment of the station. It was a combination of those two things.
Do you feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders?
I definitely feel that it's a weight that has been lifted because for so long I've just been... From the first incident in 2011 all the way up until the situation with the video that came out yesterday, it's just been, "What lie can I come up with next?" I even said this to my boss Ebro [program director at Hot 97], I wish I could have done this on my own terms. Being that there was an unfortunate circumstance or somebody that tried to entrap me, at that point it's like your hand is forced. The whole thing of why I never wanted to be honest about what I do in my private life is because I wanted to protect my family. I hold my family down with a lot, and a part of me felt like if I would have came forward then maybe I wouldn't have gotten the love or whoever was supportive of me, I would have lost the support. And in that maybe I wouldn't have been able to provide for my family the way I provide for them now.
What would you label your sexuality?
I don't think that I'm gay. From time to time I had experiences with getting fellatio from a transvestite—oral sex from a transvestite, but I've never had sex with a man, and a man has never had sex with me. That's why I feel that I'm not gay. I also know that part of that is still me being in denial too. But that's when the therapists come in. I'm going to go to therapy and trying to deal with that side of it, recognizing who I really am. Maybe I can go to therapy and try to move forward with this and actually one day say that, "Yes, I'm actually a bisexual man." ’Cause I do love women too. I have my experiences with women.
Would you say that the acceptance of people being gay in hip-hop has something to do with why you may be holding back?
No, that really don't have nothing to do with it. I think part of it is what I have done with a transsexual was just them giving me oral sex. I think because I haven't had intercourse with a man, that's part of the reason why I'm saying I'm not gay. That's also a part of the denial because if you’re doing any type of interaction with the same sex, it is considered gay. I can't really say that I'm there yet to say that. I'll be going to therapy and dealing with that, and maybe I can come to the realization later on.
Are there any other steps that you plan on taking to avoid these situations popping up again?
To avoid these situations popping up, that's not what I feel that I need therapy for. I feel that I need therapy to come to the realization of who I am as a person. Will I ever engage in sexual activity with a man ever again? I can't really say if I would or if I wouldn't. Have I been involved within recent months? I have not. I'm still dealing, and I'm still finding my way through whole thing. One thing that I can almost guarantee is that I'm not going to be arrested for prostitution again. That's not going to happen again. That's a distant memory. It has been for a minute, but with the video coming out, which is an old video, I've tried to move forward from that, but it's almost like the Anthony Wiener situation: It comes up to an old text or here comes a video that you didn't know somebody was filming you.
Did have a feeling that something was up that day in the car at the time that the video was being filmed?
I had absolutely no idea that I was being filmed. And I know who the person is. I don't know the person personally. I haven't been involved with the person on numerous occasions. It was a one-time situation, but I know exactly who the person is. And I'm saying I know the person who I picked up. I don't know what the person does for a living or whatever.
Why do you think the video was released yesterday out of all days?
I don't know. That I can't say. I went to court on Monday for my situation in May where I quote-unquote was trying to solicit a male undercover officer. I went to court this Monday that just passed, and my case was dismissed. Nobody reported it, it wasn't talked about. And that person filming has no relation to the case in May, so I can't even sit here and try to say there was a connection with that. I really have no answer for that. I just went to court Monday, and this situation happens. It's like you take one step forward and two steps back.
How long have you been soliciting prostitutes?
For like five plus years or so. I mean I never counted when I actually started soliciting transexuals. I can't say the actual day that it started but over five years.
How have the fans responded?
First and foremost, let me say that I am not on Twitter. There's a person that's on twitter "Real_Mistercee" with the whole I might kill myself... That is not me. I am not on Twitter at all. I'm on Instagram. I'm saying that just to say what I been getting from social media, it's been positive. I would say 85 percent positive and 15 percent negative. But even with some of the negative it's like, “I don't condone what you do, but I'm glad you came forward.” And some of the comments are just outlandish, homophobic slurs and what not, but I've been dealing with that for two years since my first incident in 2011 anyway.
Do you believe this could turn into something good for hip-hop?
I hope so. First and foremost I never decided to do this to be the person like, "This is the first hip-hop personality that finally..." It was more or less like I got to stop with the hiding and the lying. I do believe that taking the first step with what I did today will first help me but will also help a lot of other people that have the same issues that I have.
Are you back at Hot 97 for good?
I came back today. Me, Ebro and the team are discussing the situation moving forward. I may take some days off just for some personal time. That will be within the next few days or weeks. But to put it in a nutshell, yes, I'm back. I will resume all my normal duties. I'm just blessed that the company believes in me enough to allow me to return. As I said, me resigning was totally my decision, and for them to come back to me and say, “We can't let you go out like that,” that in itself just means so much. How often do you work for a company putting them through so much and they say that, "We're still here with you"? Once I did the resignation, that's an open season for saying, "Let's move forward as a company." But for them to snatch me back up and say, "We're not letting you go that easy," it's still unbelievable to me. I'm so humbled and blessed, you don't even understand.
Well, you're a legend, and that's your family right there.
I don't look at myself the way other people look at me. I can get on that radio, I can be in the clubs and talk hella junk on that mic like I'm the biggest and baddest thing out there, but when I'm off that mic, when I finish the set, I'm just Calvin. It's hard for me to look at myself in the mirror as Mister Cee, it's very hard. I think that's part of the reason I've still been around all these years. I don't get caught up in the hype. I get caught up when it's time for me to do my job, but when the job is over, it's back to reality.
Now that you're staying, are there any new guidelines or limitations that have been put in place?
Well, the No. 1 guideline is don't get arrested and don't get into the situation again. With this situation it's a better process—from Ebro to Karlie Hustle in programming to Alex Cameron my general manager all the way up to the upper management in Emmis, they are totally walking with me step by step to make sure that I get the help that I need to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again. Where as with the other situations I was telling them, "I'm okay, I'm okay," and this trip they are like, "You're not gonna tell us you're okay. We're just with you. We're gonna walk this together." And I need that. Of course I'm gonna get that from my immediate family, but to get that from my Hot 97 family, which is a different approach from the other times, is so much more satisfying to know that I have that safeguard.
Previously: Mister Cee Resigns From Hot 97 After New Prostitution Allegations
Mister Cee Signs Off From Hot 97 With Heartfelt Goodbye, Mobb Deep Song
Big Daddy Kane Has Mister Cee’s Back Amid Recent Allegations
Mister Cee Admits To Sexual Encounters With Transsexual Prostitutes, Reconsiders His Resignation
Mister Cee, “The Bigger Picture” (Originally Published April 2003)
8 Facts You Might Not Know About Mister Cee