Photo courtesy of Fearless Entertainment
YoYo On 'Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood', New Music And The Power Of Womanhood
YoYo has created a new lane for herself. But that should come as no surprise—it's what she's always done. Known best for her hit single "You Can't Play with My Yoyo," the hip-hop pioneer exploded on the scene in the early '90s as Ice Cube's protégé. Carving out a space for strong female voices in a male-dominated industry, the GRAMMY-nominated artist has always been an advocate for women’s empowerment. Now she's back in the spotlight as the newest cast member on Love And Hip Hop: Hollywood, a VH1 show that viewers love to hate (and watch).
Don't fret, though: She's not being malicious or throwing drinks. Instead, YoYo is doling out advice and guidance to her younger castmates navigating Hollywood with cameras in tow. Perhaps being around such fresh, new energy in the music biz sparked the L.A. native to record her new single, "Out Of Control," featuring Brittany B, Tyeler Reign and Patient Picasso. The song, blending the old with the new, is fun female bravado, with a hint of attitude, flair and a strong sense of self. Make room for YoYo…again.
You are a pioneer, one of the most successful West Coast rappers. You have a legacy. Why reality and why now?
Because the time we are living in is real reality. There is nothing on reality TV that I do not see in real life. The fact that I have the advantage of working with these artists, and I am a hip-hop legend, I understand the game, and better than anyone else does. I have set aside my fears and I’m living in my truth. I am happy to be a part of it.
What has been the biggest surprise since you started taping the show?
I am surprised how real it really is. When I watched, I use to wonder, "Is this real?" But you really are meeting who you see on TV.
Who on the show reminds you most of yourself?
Probably Ray J. I love who he is. He’s a West Coast artist and he gets it. He understands life. Nothing takes him by surprise. He is open. I am a fun artist too, and I have been doing it since a kid.
What do you want to walk away with after the show, and what do you want to leave with viewers?
I just really want to reintroduce myself to an industry I helped build. To come back into these boardrooms. When I'm talking about education, trying to get funding for programs or opening community centers, my name needs to be known. The movers and shakers are doing things that allow their names to be in lights. I hope this reintroduction will allow me a bigger platform to do better business.
You have some new music coming. "Out Of Control" sounds like classic YoYo, but can still work in today's climate.
To be totally honest, I have been afraid to do music with this new generation. The process of getting deals done, being independent and finding a production company, is scary. I always tell people to trust the process, trust the journey. And here I am having to do just that. I am hoping to have the video done by the end of the season.
I love it. I want women to always recognize their power. Remember you have a whole community looking up to you, and being inspired by you. Don't stop growing, keep going. Do not forget to give back, and to go back.
You’ve always been an advocate for women empowerment. Do you think we are in a good place as women today?
I'm so excited for the power of a woman. We have the power. This is the year of the woman. I want women to know that we can change the world. Make Way For The Motherlode was my first album, so I know about the power of the woman. But if our contradictions create our character then it’s going to be hard for us to rise. Once we know who we are, and we understand our power, we can do anything. We should start owning basketball and football teams now. I think it’s our turn to say what the hell it is we want to say.
Reinvention can be scary, but it’s also exciting. What is most exciting about reinventing YoYo?
I get to see people again-people I probably overlooked. I get to see a town I’ve seen a hundred times and never acknowledged the architecture. The reinvention of myself allows me to see myself one more time, love myself one more time and forgive myself again. I get to go back and bring my momma with me this time too.