Having turned down a $500,000 deal at the age of 16, Texas resident Candi Redd is now 21 and is just about to drop her Redd Turn Head album. She has a whole lot of projects on the go and is looking to make moves. Check out what she had to say to Danielle.
Give us a break down of who Candi Redd is?
Candi Redd: I’m real laid back and down to earth. I’m a [keep] to myself kind of person until I get to know people and then I open up more. I love to laugh, meet new people, go to new places, learn new things, just enjoy life, but at the same time I’m very serious about taking care of business and getting things accomplished. As an artist I can be described as a sexy gangsta. LOL.
You are busy working on your debut album “Redd Turn Head” what can we expect from the album?
Candi Redd: Lyrically you can expect a variety of topics. I’ve never been one to put out a whole project on one subject. I rarely talk about cars, clothes, money, and everything else artist talk about 24/7/365. When I do talk about these things it’s only to grab a certain audiences attention because I feel like I have to give some fans what they want in order for them to learn to want what I have to give. Now, what I have to give is something people can relate to. Music that can touch your heart and make you wanna make better decisions. Music for self-betterment and my opinion on politics and religion. Those are more the topics that I enjoy talking about but I won’t flood my whole album with it. It’s just that I challenge myself as an artist to touch on subjects outside of the box.
I personally love your style, if asked though how would you define your style?
Candi Redd: Not duplicated, ya know. I have a very distinct voice that catches the listeners’ ears. My style is switches up frequently. I can rhyme fast or slow. Sometimes I’m hard core and real street, other times I’m real laid back. It really depends on the subject matter and how the beat moves me. I just do me. I don’t try to sound like other female rappers who have paved the way although I respect them all. When you hear Candi Redd if you haven’t heard of me your first question would be “WHO IS THAT?” If you have heard me you can identify me as Candi Redd and wouldn’t confuse me with any other artist because I don’t sound like anybody else.
Your Mix-tape “Hustle” dropped back in 2006, what feedback did the streets give you on that release?
Candi Redd: I got a whole lot of support from the hood. I’m from the S.W.A.T. That is Southwest Alief, Texas for those who don’t know, lol. Soon as I finished recording (Hustle Mixtape Vol.1), I hit the streets everyday from 9am to 5pm. I took it serious like I was working a real job. I sold about 100 mixtapes per day at $5 a piece and was making in between $500-$550 a day. I looked at it like I was getting paid to promote myself. That mixtape gave me a huge buzz because everybody had it, and I didn’t have to give them all away. When people pay for your music that you put hard work into it feels good to get paid to do what you love to do way better than just working for free and giving them all away.
It seems a lot harder for a woman to make it in the Hip Hop game than it is for a man, have you had any negative experiences within the music industry simply because you are female?
Candi Redd: Well I agree with that to a certain extent. I feel like the reason behind this is because when you have so many female artists willing to perform sexual favours to get ahead, it makes it hard for the next in line because they are going to expect the same from you. Now I don’t knock anybody or judge anybody for their actions because that is not up to me but a the same time I don’t condone that type of activity. It’s also been proven time and time again that women who have sexually explicit lyrics were selling more records. I beg to differ though because the first female in the game to go platinum was Da Brat and she didn’t talk about none of that shit.
Majority of the studios are owned by men. There are very few women who own studios so you may run into some asswholes who will do things for free then be expecting to take you out in return, but that only applies to artists who carry themselves in that manner. When producers, studio engineers, photographers, graphic designers, etc. see that you carry your self as a women and not a hoe down for whatever, you get respected as a women.
I have never experienced any negative things dealing with guys in this industry. I just hate when guys say, “you go hard for a female!” I be thinking, “for a female?” Why I can’t just go hard? I really think a lot of women use that (it’s harder for a women) as an excuse, because at the end of the day if you are talented, rather you a man or a women people will be more willing to work with you and get things done for you on GP. The problem is majority of these females are just not good. There are very few female MC’s that even I listen to. I like Mc Lyte, Da Brat, Remy Ma, Shawna, and Lisa Left Eye Lopez. Those were my all time favourites.
You really are representing for the ladies out there! But what advice would you give to a woman trying to push forward in music?
Candi Redd: My advice is to do your thing ma, never let what people say get you down or side track you because in this industry there is a lot of negativity and a lot of people who don’t want to see you doing good, I think we call them HATERS. Lol. If I had a dime for every time somebody told me I was wasting my time, nobody wants to hear a female rapper, or there is a one in a million chance that you are actually going to make it, I would be rich by now.
Always take constructive criticism and use it to better your self and improve and remember that there is always room for improvement. Most importantly, young women please respect yourself and others will do the same. A square is a square and a circle is a circle. I said that to say this, if you act like a hoe, you will be called a hoe. If you act like a grown woman, you will be treated like a grown woman. Don’t feel like you are obligated to do anything to get something in return. That is the easy way out and when you take the easy way out that negativity will follow you throughout your entire career.
You released a Mix-tape way back called “Bench Warmer (I Play No Games)” has your style changed much since that release?
Candi Redd: Has it? Oh my goodness, in a major way. I dropped that mixtape my sophomore year in high school. I still sounded the exact same, maybe just a little bit younger. It’s just that I’ve matured so much and that mixtape is so lyrically immature. At the same time it has just always been in my nature to touch on topics outside of the box so although I had a lot of flossing, getting money, and whooping ass tracks, I still had something real to say on certain songs as well.
You had a Basketball scholarship right? What happened with that?
Candi Redd: My AAU coach, Fred got me a full scholarship to Lamar University in Beaumont. They came to an AAU game that I had at UH during the summer right before my senior year. They told Fred about the offer and them seeing how my season with at Elsik High School my senior year would have sealed the deal. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity because I was a little hot tail and was acting real fast and I got pregnant my senior year. Everything happens for a reason though. I just look at the bright side. I have a beautiful baby boy by the name of Darius whom will be three in April. Maybe basketball wasn’t what The Most High had in store for me. Although I love basketball, I have always had more of a passion for music anyway.
You actually had an offer to sign to All Star Entertainment at 16 right?
Candi Redd: Yes, Birdo Beats is the CEO of All Star ENT. I met him my sophomore year in high school while recording the Bench Warmer Mixtape. He was impressed with my talent and wanted to sign me to his label. The offer was $500,000 and that is a lot for a person in the 10th grade with no bills, lol. I took it into consideration but after talking to my mom I had a change of heart. After reading through the fine print, they also would have wanted me to sign for 10 years. When I asked he said no you would just have to complete 10 projects. Then I was like well the only artist dropping a project every year successfully is the Jigga man. So if you doing it like that, it could be longer than 10 years. To make a long story short, he thought I was stupid because I was young but I have always been very business savvy. This was back in 2003 and it is now 2008. I’m 21 right now so by the time my contract was up on his label I would have been 26 years old after signing at the age 16. That contact would have been from 2003 all the way ‘til 2013 all for half a mill.
Your relationship with your mother was affected by your decision to pursue music, have you both managed to mend your differences?
Candi Redd: Not so much my decision to pursue music, but more, making some of the bad decision that I made in high school as far as getting pregnant. We have never just had the best relationship to begin with but that made things worse. She helps out with my son when I have shows and need a sitter, but she has always just been so negative. She was one of the people telling me the chances of me making it were slim to none. So, it doesn’t bother me when other people come at me with negativity because I receive it from the people I love the most. She even told me, “you ain’t going to school, what would be the point in you going? You ain’t gone finish”. Those were her exact words. I still could have went to school after I graduated, just not on a scholarship. But when I tried to apply for financial aid she wouldn’t provide her tax information for me to even go. So being a recording artist was not only something I love to do, but I was also kind of forced into this. When you have so much drama in your life it gives you a whole lot of inspiration to write songs and I’ve had nothing but time and experiences to do so. She is a little more supportive of my music career now that she sees that I am dead serious about it and this is not something that I’m going to give up on.
So besides an album release, what else can we expect from Candi Redd in 2008?
Candi Redd: Well simultaneously I am working on a group project with C3. Beat King started the group. He’s a very exceptional artist and producer. He had done some of the best tracks I have heard from any producer in the south so he does all the groups tracks. We have several projects out. Mercy 1, Beat King’s solo Oblivion, Mercy II hits the streets February, and our project Texas Hammers will be in stores because that project has distribution through One Stop. Check the group out at www.myspace.com/c3texashammers. Then it doesn’t stop there. I am also working on a group project with an all female group called the Gutta Mamis with Sugar of UGK records, Kharma, and Surreall. The project is titled, M.O.N. and expecting to hit the streets summer of 2008 along with my solo project, “Redd Turn Head”. You can check the Gutta Mamis out at www.myspace.com/guttamamishouston. Of course y’all know you can check me out at www.candiredd.com or www.myspace.com/candiredd.
Candi Redd: Yes, I wanna give a shout out to the SPC and Rap A Lot because they paved the way for artist here in Houston. I would like to give a shout out to my sister Hameria, my son Darius, K-Hood, C3, Gutta Mamis, Carissa Luckey, Djuana Eaglin, Godwin, Gangsta One of Billionaire Records, Lil Kano, Jean Baptiste with Mental Vision Graphics, Showcase, DJ Amazing, 8500 Cook Road Swat Shop, The Real DJ’s, The Hustle Squad DJ’s, The definition DJ’s, The Lord Gang DJ’s, Linda Palmieri, Syl Johnson, Hakeem, KB Lacy and Lee of L.I.G.H.T. Studios, Dope E or The SPC, Prodigy, Sean Blaze, Mac Tyme, Troy of Power Playas Magazine, Bang of Mo Bang 4 ya Buck, Sye Ellis Photography, Mc Wickett Crickett, Vee Mann Greg and Dre from S.A. of Chop TV, Everybody out there in the SWAT! (Dubs Up) and last but definitely not least my boy Willie James. Make sure y’all check me out at the following sites.
Interview for British Hip Hop courtesy of Underground Promotion UK.