For this St. Louis cardinal, her timing right now could not be more perfect as she prepares to unleash her personal tales from the Lou, straight no chaser. Fueling her love of hip-hop as an adolescent, Penelope performed gospel raps in church. Local talent show performances soon followed as she formed groups with her friends.
Because of her constant grind as a solo artist and maneuvering in and out of groups, Penelope’s star began to shine. By her early teens she found herself recording her first demo with The Crew From The Lou, as local club owner put them to the test. Penelope even began to open for some of her rap influences including 2Pac and Ice Cube, whenever they performed in her city.
By the year 2000, fellow St. Louis native Nelly was making a name for himself, his city and his St. Lunatics crew. Nelly’s management team remembered young Penelope from her St. Louis grind time during years prior and solicited her for recruitment to the St. Lunatics – Fo’ Reel Entertainment team. October of that same year, Penelope had a new deal on Fo’ Reel Entertainment, recorded “Jang-A-Lang” with the St. Lunatics and began recording for her own solo debut.
Then, times changed. Two months later, Penelope was at the wrong place, wrong time and by the end of the year she was indicted by the Feds for conspiracy to commit drug trafficking by relaying a message of an incarcerated family member. She continued to work as usual, even appearing in the St. Lunatics “Midwest Swing” video. By June 2001, Penelope could no longer keep her secret. Sentenced to 56 months in jail, the charges were reduced to what is called “phone count” and Penelope received 48 months. At twenty years old she was subsequently dropped from Fo’ Reel and faced up to four years in jail.
With steadfast perseverance, Penelope utilized her time wisely - working out, earning a business degree and becoming a certified personal trainer. Her fellow inmates even served as constant inspiration, encouraging the young woman to continue honing her performance craft. On the outside, it was her brother and family that served as Penelope’s backbone. When her brother was murdered three months prior to her release date, twenty three year old Penelope found herself wanting to put everything on hold.
Upon release, working at Gold’s Gym and living in a half-way house during her parole, Penelope’s former manager during her Fo’ Reel days contacted her about a meeting with Hitco Music Publishing Vice-President & General Manager, Shawn “Tubby” Holiday. Excited about Penelope’s past performance, Tubby assumed the role of manager to Penelope as they maneuvered through hip-hop terrain together. The timing could not have been better. Utilizing a sample from The Kingsmen, Penelope recorded the St. Louis anthem and ode to her hometown, “Louie, Louie”, and by February 2005 a bidding war ensued for the persistent lyricist. Right place, right time.
As Universal's latest signee through the production company she formed with Tubby, M.O.N.Y (Missouri To New York) Entertainment, Penelope is gearing up to share her story with the world. With her yet to be titled debut album simply reflecting the image of what Penelope sees in the mirror, “it’s just me”.
Acknowledging, “God always has something else in store for you. You go through things just to see what He has for you on the other side. So whatever your dreams are, never, never give up”. Spoken like a true St. Louis cardinal, right on time.