Hollyhood took some time out to work with our newest and youngest team member at POPGH.com, Joe Floe. Joe Floe is a student and is interning with us for the summer. We felt that Hollyhood both talented as a rapper as well as a teacher would be a be a perfect kickoff to Joe Floe’s writing career. Joe requested that we leave his age out of this so that he is taken more seriously when working with local artists.
How long have you been in the game?
I wrote my first song when I was in 6th grade detention (haha). But I’m not gonna say how long ago that was. 😉
How would you explain your career?
For me, even though I take it very seriously, it’s mostly play. Until I start getting a regular paycheck from it, it has to take a backseat to “real life” aka the things that pay the bills. Haha! If I never get a steady paycheck from it, that’s cool too. I do it because I love it. So either way, I’m good.
Who influenced you to become a hip-hop artist?
I wouldn’t say that anyone influenced me. I just sort of started writing about ideas that were in my brain. When I first started listening to hip-hop, I really loved the storytellers. So I actually started off as a storyteller myself, making remixes to songs by Suzanne Vega (who remembers that one?), Snoop, Bone, and South Central Cartel, etc. Who do you want to work with next? As far as local artists go, I definitely wanna work with Big Lyfe (holla!), but he already knows this. He is one of my favorite Burgh artists. I’m also feeling Phresh LaRosa, Varsity Squad, Justuce Street Poets, Emmiauto, and definitely 2 G’zz. Sash Meade goes hard, so we gotta plan something too. Oh! And my homegirl Molly Mawlz (MollyHood!!!) too! There are a bunch of them. People’s schedules often don’t match up, so things get delayed. Outside of Pittsburgh, I GOTTA work with my boy Magnum from out in Cali. If you like HH, you are gonna feel Magnum. I have something in the works with El Fiskal, an artist out of Miami. THAT is gonna be nuts!
What was your favorite song on Pink Elephant?
My favorites on Pink Elephant are 36 Straight and Pink Elephant.
Did you enjoy recording the new album?
I enjoy recording almost anything! I love working with Mike Hitt at MCM Studios. We always cut up and have a crazy time when I have a session there. Bring Hawk Junya and Tay Loc into the mix, and it’s goin down!
A school teacher and a hip-hop artist. Quite the mix, do you like to brag about it?
No, actually I don’t. I’ve had students who have seen me do shows or have been the videographers at some of the shows, and it was kinda weird for me. Being a teacher, I have to maintain a certain level of authority with my students, and that can be difficult to do when they see you in your “other” life (haha). I haven’t had any problems with it though. One reason it can be weird is because of the views that certain people have about hip-hop and thinking that this type of lifestyle can somehow be detrimental to my professional career as a teacher or administrator. But then I have to ask myself, “Would they view it the same if I was in a jazz band?” Probably not. I just have to be careful because some of the stigmas that uneducated people associate with hip-hop can make things hard for me in the workplace. Even though I’m a college teacher, and things are supposed to be a little more liberal in colleges, people will still try to create problems even though my life as an artist has no effect on my ability to teach. I teach artists (of a different nature), but am always a little unsure about how MY artistic abilities would be viewed by my colleagues. I will say, however, that I have a lot of students who do know what I do outside of the classroom, as far as music is concerned, and they love it! I’ve had students who are into music in some way, shape, or form, come to me and ask advice on a variety of things. I’ve also run into some that are amazing artists (producers and lyricists…they know who they are) themselves that I hope to work with in the future. So for me, it’s all good. 🙂
What type of music wouldn’t you want to try?
I’m pretty much open to anything, as long as I can “feel” it. Ya know? I love Spanish music, so I want to work with more Latino artists. I also love reggae, so I wouldn’t mind adding a little HH twist to some reggae music. I might even wanna try dub-step (haha). I do wanna get into the battle leagues, but “people” keep playing games. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. 😉
What should the world prepare for to come next from you?
I’m working on my remix cd called “Beat Jackin” right now. It’s basically me just doing what I do – remixing songs that are already out there. I’m doing remixes of Wiz, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Drake, Kanye, Dipset, Ron Browz, Gucci, and more. I love making remixes. I have some spoofs in mind too – kinda like what Weird Al does. At the same time, I’m also working on my 3rd cd, “La Tortura.”
“Dope Bitch,” was that intended to affect anyone in particular?
No one in particular. The point is that a woman can be like a drug to a man (or another woman, I guess. Haha). There are a few different versions of the song. Pink Elephant only has Part 1 on it. The others have Lady Homi (HomiHood in the building!), Drago Sosa, and Stunna Quad on them as well. It’s funny because when p
eople hear the title, they automatically assume that it’s about a female hustler or something. I actually came up with the concept for the song when I was having a conversation with my boy Emmiauto (make sure you check him out!). He has a song called “Dopeman’s Dopeman.” I was like “Oh! But even the dopeman’s dopeman needs a dope bitch!” That became part of the hook.
Hollyhood, how did that name come to be?
I guess you could say HollyHood represents the multiple aspects of “me” as a person. There’s the Holly side, which is the “good” part, the teacher and the mom, etc. Then there’s the Hood side, which is the alter ego. What’s funny is that SO many people call me Holly when they see me or are sending me a message. It makes me laugh because I have to wonder if they think my first name is really Holly. I mentioned that to my girl Marcielago a while back and she said “No. Amber is gone. Your name IS Holly now!”
As a female hip-hop artist, do you think you have any advantage or disadvantage in the game?
It’s actually both an advantage AND a disadvantage. There are a good number of independent female artists out there, but not nearly as many as the males. This makes female artists stand out a little bit more when they put something out or do a show. In the industry, there aren’t a lot of females either, meaning there is lots of room to add more. However, what can be viewed as advantages can also be disadvantages. First, being a female, lots of times we are not taken seriously. We get overlooked, played, used, everything. Not cool. Also, people tend to have this idea that there can’t be many female artists. Whether it’s in a particular city, or in the industry, there is this idea that there can only be ONE female artist. This fosters the competition mentality that a lot of females already deal with in relation to other females on a daily basis, but then brings it into another arena. If there are so many male artists, why can’t there be so many female artists? Why do people want to make us feel like we need to compete in order to establish who the “best” or the “first lady” is? That’s weak. This is the main reason I came up with the concept for the “I’m a Lady” song. I wanted to show people that female artists CAN actually work together in a positive way, and even be better than the men (haha). Another disadvantage is that obviously people think that for a female to get into the industry, we have to have sexual relationships with “people in the right places.” How many females do you think have had sex with someone who promised to get them a deal that are still sitting at home waiting for that return call? That’s crazy. Men in the industry know this and have used this to their advantage too, I’m very sure. People will even go as far as to perp like they’re in the industry or are someone important just to get a female to do “things.” Wow. Really though? Yes. That’s the reality. It’s sad that so many females actually fall for it. Please do your research and respect yourselves and your craft! If you want others to take you seriously, you have to take YOU seriously first. From the outside looking in, several men I know who make music locally have made comments about how they would already be “on” if they were a female, basically because they think all they would have to do is sleep with somebody. That’s a very strange thought process, in my opinion. I just realized I could go on for days about the disadvantages, but this will be my last one. When people see you and learn that you are a female artist, they develop expectations. The first thing they think is that you are going to make songs like Trina, or Nicki, or Kim. People think that you are going to use your sexuality to “sell” your music. I know that sex sells. And I know that I’m not an ugly chick (lol). However, I would prefer that people listen to my music first and then see who I am so they don’t form an opinion of my work based on what I look like. This is the reason that there are no pictures of me on the Pink Elephant cover. People fail to realize that female artists are just as different as the male artists. We have different flows, different styles, different everything. Pay attention.
On that note, I just wanna give a quick shout out to all the female artists in the Burgh that I have either worked with or have had conversations about music with. Love y’all! We are all so different, but one thing we have in common is that we are passionate about what we do! Shouts to Lady Homi, Marcielago, Rydah, Kizzi, Blue Diamond, Sash Meade, Molly Mawlz, A. Lee, SBZ, Miss Money, Corona Biggs, PK, Miss Storm, Mimi, Mona Songstress, Yah Lioness, Fi-Ya, and Donnis Duchess!!! R.I.P. Nina Ross. I think that’s everybody (sorry if it’s not). Not trying to leave out those that I don’t know. But if I don’t know ya, holla at ya girl!