When I arrived, with my hype man Yankee in tow, we were greeted by Sanna, Petter, and Hugo. Juice Mane Hugo. They were the promoters of the event I was scheduled to headline and the host of a very popular podcast in Stockholm called “Vad Blir Det For Rap.” As I sat in the back of Juice Mane’s family’s BMW between Sanna and Petter, I peered through the frosted windows at the frosted, leafless tress, amazed to be there. See, those who know me most would tell you that I’m not a high maintenance girl. All I want to do in life is make good music, travel to see as much of the world as I can, make a little change, and change the world. I don’t have to make money from the good music that I make nor do I have to travel the world in order to change it… but, my dream is to do them all separately or in connection to one another. So, as I sat in that back of that BMW, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I quite possibly was reaching 3, if not all 4 of those goals. I felt like I was doing what I was born to do and that made me feel successful.
Our first stop was breakfast. A damn good breakfast. As Sanna and the boys switched back and forth from English to Swedish to translate our orders for the waitress, I sat next to Yank in silence. You see, Sanna had expressed how much of a fan she was of my music so I was nervous because I too had met some of my favorite artist and, somehow unfortunately, they’ve always ruined my perception of them. Suddenly, they weren’t so great. They weren’t so clever in person. They weren’t so smart. Then, in the mist of my silence, I blurted out, “What’s you favorite hip hop album?” All of a sudden, these three people who seemed so different from me started spewing out titles from some of my favorite American artists. Artists that I too had idolized as a teen. Sanna and I shared a common admiration, or borderline obsession, with Foxy Brown’s “Broken Silence”. Petter, who is also a DJ (He DJ’d and SLAYED my set for the show), was a bit more political with his answer. Citing different albums for different moods. And then there’s Hugo. Juice Mane Hugo, is a Swedish native that can be described as a New Orleanian who’s never been to New Orleans. His house is filled with Cajun Cuisine Cookbooks authored by Louisiana native Frank Davis and New Orleans Saint’s apparel, which he had even purchased in tiny newborn sizes for the kid he’s expecting next year with his beautiful girlfriend. So, naturally it came as no surprise when he named one of Master P’s albums as his favorite. However, it was a surprise learning that he was more of a fan of Master P than Nas or Mr.Tupac Shakur coming up. We were off to a good start. These people were interesting and they made me feel welcomed. They felt relatable.
If many were you, with your recent successes, they would have left New Orleans for a city that appreciates them more and that can help advance their career further. Why haven’t you? You’ve seen people like Soulja Slim murdered by the same people he ‘represented’ for. The same New Orleanians that you represent for.
During my stay, Sanna, my unofficial Swedish tour guide, scheduled TONS of interviews. Interviews with websites, newspapers, radio stations, magazine reporters, and freelance journalists. For hours after breakfast, she had been hype beasting this one journalist. “His name is Mats Nilekars. You have to let him interview you. He’s legendary.” She’d say, “He’s interviewed everyone from Tupac, to Aalyiah, to… to anybody!” I just smiled and said, ‘ok.’ Interviews aren’t hard to come by in America. It seems nowadays everyone has some sort of blog or website that they want to fill with stolen stories or celebrity gossip. So, I just said, “Ok.” In thirty minutes or so, in walks this 40 something year old man with a slick ponytail and glasses. As he entered, I stood up to greet him and he said, “3D Na’Tee! I’ve been wanting to interview since my last visit to New Orleans in 2007.” Again I smiled, thinking,to myself, ‘Sir, in 2007 I was getting arrested on drug charges. I was considered a nobody then. How could you have possibly known me?” Oh was I wrong! You see, as I sat in Hugo’s apartment watching Mats set up his vintage recording equipment, I had no idea how great of a journalist this guy was. In fact, journalist is sort of an understatement because as the interview got underway, for me, he seemed to be more of a psychiatrist that dabbled in a bit of detective work. He asked me things about my career and my life that no one has ever asked me before and I found myself spilling out my thoughts and ideas in a way that felt therapeutic. Instead of the normal, “how does it feel to be a female rapper in a male dominated industry” question that I ALWAYS get asked, Mats said, “So, how does it feel to be a heterosexual female rapper in a male dominated industry coming from a city where the Bounce Music genre, popularized by emerging homosexual male artist, saturates club airways?”
After my intense interview with Mats, I headed to my hotel room. On the way there, Sanna pointed out the venue where I’d be performing. It was called Solidaritet Arena and it was beautiful. I grabbed my iPhone5 and Instagramed the first 15 seconds that I laid my eyes on it and as we approached the hotel, I was exited to know that I had an unobscured view of the entire arena from my room.
Once I arrived, I opened my suitcase and threw my clothes everywhere as I often do in hotel rooms. Its funny, I keep my house really neat. At home, everything has its place but on the road, my hotel rooms usually look like Katrina hit them until the very last day. Usually on that day, I always clean the room myself. I know a few bxtches back home that work as housekeepers in hotels, and they steal. So I never let anyone in my room to clean up. Its just a habit that grew out of caution.
I tried to take a nap, but I failed. I was too excited. Before I knew it, it was time for sound check. My eyes locked on the gigantic arena as Sanna and Hugo lead the way to the entrance. The Solidaritet Arena is a beautiful place that, to me, resembles The New Orleans Arena in size. It’s shape is similar to those Ring Pop candies that me and my friends used to wear as kids back in elementary at New Orleans Free School. Inside the arena, there’s an assortment of shops and restaurants that to an American, would resemble something from home, but the venue itself was something else. Through the doors of an attached restaurant called Enzo’s (who had some good ass pizza by the way) was this beautifully lit space with huge bar areas and equally huge VIP areas enclosed by velvet ropes that protect the modern black leather couches. The dressing room was adorned with the same black sofas and it was filled with the fruits and drinks on my rider. One of those drinks being the energy drink Red Bull, who sponsored the event. As Petter jumped on the turntables, I rehearsed my performance to a frantic staff of people running back and forth preparing for the arena for when the doors opened.
Sound check was as most sound checks are, pretty boring. And after a few interviews from some nice journalist, I was heading back to my hotel room a little sad. My performance was 3 hours and I was so nervous. Every time I have to do a show, there’s this anxiety that almost gets the best of me. I wonder if I’m good enough. Will the people like my show? Will everything go as planned? Will they embrace me? And on top of that, I’m in Sweden. So I was thinking, will they understand me?
On my way to my room, I noticed one woman and a group of her friends staring at me and Yankee as they walked towards us. For the past few hours, I had gotten used to that. From the moment that we boarded the plane to Sweden, I notice that there were not too many black people. There were many beautiful and courteous blonde hair blue eyed and dark hair fair skinned people. There was also a lot of tall olive skinned “immigrants” as I heard one man describe himself. He was sooooo handsome, but, I didn’t see too many black people. So as this woman stared, I thought we were just out of place. Then she let out a low scream. She said “Ohhhhh,” in sort of a shrill tone. By this time they were 5 ft away and her friends said,” Can she take a picture with you?” I was in shock. I asked,”Do you know who I am?” She introduced herself as Sassa and told me, “Yes! I came early because I wanted to be upfront for your show (sidebar: It was still 3 hours before my performance). At that moment, Sassa had help me overcome my performance anxiety. I told myself that even if I am in Sweden, even if no one else understands me, or likes my music, I have to put on a good show for Sassa. And that, I did.
I sat in the green room drinking the sponsored Red Bull with my headphones rapping my songs. My own personal soundcheck. Earlier that day I was told that they were some of the biggest names in Swedish hip hop so I went back and forth from the green room to the side of the stage trying to see it all, but I was too anxious. Before I knew it, my name was called and everything else became a blur. What I did remember was handing my camera to a handsome guy from AKASTKHLM.SE to capture my performance (Yea, I’m looking for a cameraman who can travel so if you bout’ that life, get in touch with me). Unfortunately for me, the storage on the drive was full so the whole performance wasn’t recorded and since we’d just met he didn’t want to erase anything without permission ;( However, it seems like everyone in the audience was recording the show so I was able to get some good clips for the first episode of OUT THE MUD.
The crown was energetic. I went from “Roll My Carpet Out” to introducing “Wild.” I couldn’t believe how just a few minutes ago I was nervous about the way my performance would be received to headlining the show and actually seeing lips in the audience rap my lyrics along with me as the lights danced across the faces in the arena. After “Wild,” I performed a Coronation favorite, “Goal Digger” then I went on to introduce two new unreleased tracks. The first, “All My Life” will most likely be on my next project. The second track is called “Turned To Stone” and it was a surprise to the audience, Yankee, shot, it was even a surprise to me. On my way to Sweden, I had been writing to a track produced by Casa Di but only had a few lines to it. By the time I landed, the song was complete. I was so excited on stage that after “All My Life” I told Petter, “Put this on.” Yankee whispered to me, “Diva, what you doing?” I turned to the audience and said, “I feel so much love up here. Back at the hotel I was writing a new record. No one has really heard it yet. SInce ya’ll are phucking with me so heavy, I feel I can kind of trust your judgement. I’m going to perform it for y’all for the first time. It’s about this guy I used to phuck with. He wasn’t shxt.” They laughed. “If you like it, I’ll record it, If not, I’ll scrap it!!!,” I explained. Then the crowd went crazy. I assume the excitement to take part in deciding the faith of my record made them feel like Simon Cowell. The cameras and phones came out. Needless to say, Yankee stared in shock. By the time the chorus dropped, the audience was screaming and Yankee was smiling. At the end of the record, the audience was yelling “Keep it! Keep it!!!!” and “Record it!” Next, I performed what may be my favorite track off of the Coronation, “Wake Me Up.” After the track stopped, I asked the audience, is Sassa still here? Everyone was silent and looking around. Then I heard that same shrill tone from the hallway right after soundcheck. I explained to the audience but I had met her in the hallway and how she made me feel so accepted by their town. Then I told Sassa that after we met, I went back to my hotel room and grabbed her and all of her friends free copies of The Coronation and a few BMB shirts and hats. It seemed like it made her day. Mine too. After that, I went on to introduce “Role Play.”
Before the beat dropped, I reached into the crowd and grabbed the hand of a guy in the front row. He told me his name was Eric. I rapped the lyrics to him and he danced as the audience sung every word of the record. Shxt, Eric danced so hard that I felt obligate to dance like I really do when I’m in the club. So I did my lil “Uptown Wind” on him, lol! Lets get back to the fact that they were rapping every word though. Never in a million years did I think that that many people in Sweden knew my shxt. Taking that into consideration, as I prepared to perform the last record, “Do It’” I asked the crowd for a little help. As the beat dropped, the rapped along with the chorus. The audience danced and cheered. They approached me for autographs and hugs. I went to Sweden for a show for who I assumed were just promoters. When I met them, I realized they were fans. By the time I left them, I considered them friends. Special Thanks To Vad Blir Det For Rap! Vafan Handz Muthaphukas!!!!
Check Below for Pictures Submitted By The Swedish #BMBgang and To Get Access to Some of The Full Interviews I Did in Stockholm.