By: Todd Davis
Philly femme fatale, and former Beat Club rap-stress Chevon ‘Ms. Jade’ Young burst onto the music scene in 2002 with her Timbaland helmed solo debut, Girl Interrupted. Thanks to the sets’ raucous premier offering, “Big Head,” the project achieved moderate success. Unfortunately, a pair of additional singles; “Ching Ching” and “Feel The Girl” failed to ignite, and Girl Interrupted fizzled out quickly with Jade basically vanishing into thin air…
Good News! Rap Industry Dot Com found the M.I.A. femcee holed up in the lab prepping her long overdue, still untitled second solo opus…
Where have you been? And, what exactly have you been up to since the release of your debut solo CD, Girl Interrupted ?
I’ve been re-evaluating and going through the process, learning the business, learning about myself musically, and growing up, so to speak.
Although a solid effort, were you happy with the overall commercial outcome of your first CD?
I wasn’t happy with the overall outcome, but the learning experience and knowledge I gained help me for the future. The promo(tions) (and) sales (were) lacking, but (I’m) very grateful to be in that situation and gain some fans in the process.
What caused such a lengthy hiatus? Was it intentional or not?
It was not intentional, No! Everything happens for a reason. Life gets in the way. I am in a better place now, spiritually and musically, and looking forward for future success.
What happened with you being signed to Timbaland’s Beat Club imprint — Were you dropped or did you opt to leave?
I opted to leave, and we went our separate ways. We did not see eye to eye on certain issues.
Are you currently signed at this particular time?
(I’m) independent, (but) starting out our own label, Rareform Music Group. (We’ll) eventually brings other artists on board.
You are finally about to drop your anticipated sophomore opus — Has it been titled yet?
I have a few titles in mind, but we have not selected the final release title at this time.
For someone, like my-self, who hasn’t heard anything from it yet, what would you tell that person can be expected?
I think my album will take back the essence of “Female Hip-Hop.” Not commercial! I will show my growth and try to speak for the females, and daily life, and what women have to go through. Limited cameos, (too,) I don’t want to just add “T-Pain because he is hot right now!”
How do you feel that this new project will measure up to that of your first release?
This album is less Timbaland, and now I have more control of the production of the tracks. Whereas before, I was just happy to be with Timbaland so I just worked with it. This time, I’m working from the ground up and I m grateful for where I’m at right now.
Tell me your whole inception into music…
I was always musically inclined. I would memorize songs, (and) sing TV commercials. As an only child, I would dress up and sing in front of the mirror for my mom. One Christmas my Mom bought me (a) MC Lyte tape, and it was on from there…I was hooked!
Besides Lyte, who else were you a fan of growing up?
Gamble and Huff, Patti LaBelle, Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff, Cool C, Boyz II Men, and EST were a lot of my influences. Because of them, following my dreams seemed more attainable, and seeing them grow up in the same city kept me going.
So, music has just always been in your blood?
I always knew I wanted to pursue music on a professional basis. When I turned 20 is when I started really to take this seriously.
How did you hook up with Tim?
I was in New York with my manager and we got a call to go to studio for a meeting. J Brown showed up in the lobby, I rapped for him in the lobby, and he said we have to go upstairs NOW! I went through several quick lines to several people, and that day I got the call that I had an offer.
How do you classify your sound?
It’s hard to describe because I’m learning so much right now. I am a little bit of everything. People say I have a “gangsta” sound, or “Pop” sound. I’d say, “I’m rough around the edges, with a sprinkle of class, a sprinkle of sass, and just myself!”
Lyrically, what motivates you?
It depends on the day. If it’s a bad day, then I will want to get that out. Personal experiences, and others experiences around me. I can’t talk about stuff I don’t know about. I do me!
What has been the key to your longevity?
God has led to me being around this long, and I’m getting to know myself everyday and studying the craft and the people who came before me. I’ll be around for a minute because this is who I am, and I will always have something to say and things to talk about. Me being myself and me telling the truth will keep me around — Who don’t want to hear the truth?
Do you have any other future plans and/or goals in entertainment?
Eventually I want to be the head of my own label, and sign my own artists. I want to be the President or CEO, and be able to help others in the music industry. I hustle, so where there is opportunity I’m going to try to take it. I want my own sneakers, and sunglasses! *giggles*
What’s wrong with today’s Hip-Hop?
I think that it’s very saturated with clones. Everybody’s doing the same thing.
And, what are your feelings on the state of the music industry in general?
It is what it is right now. Bootleggers have to hustle, too! It’s going to happen, and we can’t get mad anymore. But, I would hope that my fans would support me, and they do. And, I love them because I love what I do and this is my occupation.
Everyone knows Ms. Jade the rapper, but who really is Ms. Chevon Young?
I may come off as a cocky rapper or tough girl, but I think I’m very approachable and just a nice person. If someone says, “Hey, Ms Jade,” I’m not going to front on them.
What do you like to do for fun?
Right now I like to be with friends and family. I’m a jokester, hanging with the squad. Shopping, of course! Watch movies and chill-axing.
What has been your biggest Hip-Hop moment thus far?
Being nominated for two BET Awards, and opening up for Nelly Furtado.
Projecting ahead, what does your future hold?
In 5 or 10 years, I see myself being very comfortable. This is my occupation and I have to provide. Maybe have kid, or own a Ms. Jade’s bar lounge. But right now, I’m very focused on my career.
What’s next on Ms. Jade’s agenda?
I’m planning to go on tour overseas. The release of the album is looking for fall ’09, and I’m going to continue to do mix-tapes and hit the internet crazy.
Any particular mix-tape(s) and/or outside cameo appearances to look out for from you prior to your album release?
I’m on a few mix-tapes now with Oschino from State Property and Meek Mill with T.I. I’m currently working on my second mix-tape called I’m Not Dead. And, (I’m) getting into song-writing.
So, you’re going overseas soon?
What’s a Ms. Jade performance like?
High energy! I think I turn into someone else, and I’m just in my own world with lots of personality when I’m on stage.
On a personal note, when was the last time you spoke with Timbaland? Is there any chance of a future musical collaboration?
I haven’t spoken to Timbaland in a minute. We did not leave on bad terms. I have a lot respect for his accomplishments and how he helped me with my career. Whatever happens in the future happens