By K.B. Tindal
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Back in the spring, BET announced a new reality show called “Hip Hop Sisters” that would follow the lives of a few ladies of hip hop. The show is now in production and the cast consists of MC Lyte, Lil’ Mama, Lady of Rage, Monie Love, and MC Smooth. Also a part of the cast is Yo Yo.
During the original emergence of the Los Angeles hip hop scene, Yo Yo rose to prominence as the protege of Ice Cube. Later, Yo Yo became better known for her leadership of the crew IBWC. The IBWC name stands for Intelligent Black Women’s Coalition and she dropped four albums.
Yo Yo became a prominent hip hop artist in the 1990s and even had a recurring role on the sitcom, “Martin.” But, in recent years, Yo Yo has worked more on her music and now is focused on “Hip Hop Sisters.” Hip Hop Vibe caught up with Yo Yo and she spoke on her upcoming role on “Hip Hop Sisters.”
Read the entire interview below:
You are currently taping “Hip Hop Sisters” for BET, correct? Yes.
How do you feel about this show and would you say it is a viable alternative to “Love & Hip Hop?” First of all, I am just glad to see the history of hip hop being documented from a woman’s perspective. There isn’t a single clique that doesn’t have a female in their camp. I’m excited about this show because I know MC Lyte and watched her grow. I am enjoying watching the transition of women who have made transitions in music and life. Monie Love, Lady of Rage, we are mothers and we still have a strong position in an industry dominated by men.
We differ from “Love & Hip Hop” because we’re not about drama. I don’t mean this to disrespect anyone, but “Love & Hip Hop” is way different from what “Hip Hop Sisters” is, starting with us being twenty years deep in the game. This show is about leadership, I always wanted a role model to look up to, I am a sponge for knowledge and I like witnessing others’ situations because they can help others out. If you see someone else’s struggle, you’ll see that you’re not alone in this, so people seeing this play out is beneficial.
What should future viewers of “Hip Hop Sisters” expect to see on screen? Of course, you are going to see our struggle, our workload. You will see us struggling to transition from the girls we were then to the women we are now. Some of us have children and are married and the opportunities presented to us sometime conflicts with these new roles. Being women in the game will definitely highlight us, but people will enjoy watching us struggle, watching us win, watching us grow. Probably the audience will see something in us that we don’t even see.
Are you close to your fellow cast members outside of the show? You know, I’m great friends with Lady of Rage. Good friends with Monie Love and I’m building a relationship with MC Smooth, who is also from the West Coast. Now, I am also building with Lil’ Mama, she is our protege and she has a bright future. I’m enjoying getting to know her.
Recently, Lil’ Mama portrayed Left Eye in VH1’s TLC movie, what did you think of her performance? Outstanding. I mean, she is a better actress than she is a rapper in my opinion. And she is a very talented rapper, but she has a natural talent for acting and she did a remarkably incredible job that I’m very proud of. Lil’ Mama got some new fans from that one and some understanding.
Back in the day, you appeared on a couple of records with Left Eye, were you two extremely close? We weren’t really close. I thought if we ever tried to be real close, we would’ve been great friends. But, it just never happened for us, even though we saw each other and had a mutual respect. One thing I love about MC Lyte is that her confidence didn’t block friendships and sometimes confidence does block friendships from happening.
What type of relationship do you and Lil’ Mama share? Lil’ Mama is like my baby sister. She reminds me of me and I always tell her that. She is much more fearless than I was at that age and we have a big sister/little sister relationship. We are honest with each other, she listens to me, and I look out for her. Lil’ Mama is very respectful, but she does speak her mind (laughs). Don’t get me wrong, she has her own ideas and she is going to try them, which she should. Sometimes, I do just want to sit her down and tell her to not move, but that would probably last ten minutes.
As someone who rose to fame in the middle of the golden era of hip hop, how do you feel about people calling this new phase the second golden era? You know what? I never would’ve imagined hip hop being what it is today. Maybe it is a new golden era, it really has reached a mark and this generation is very fearless trying things that we just didn’t try back in the day. When we were coming up, we had a lot of fear surrounding us. But, these current generation of kids are in a world with no fears, so they are in their golden era, it will never be ours.
One thing that can be said is that there are a lot of programs catering to this market again, should we expect to see you doing cameos like you did back in the day? Yeah, I am working with a girl named Kym Cartel and she has a song with DJ Mustard that I will appear on, plus I’m working on my own project. But, it’s great that you can really blow up off one song. Collaborations are a great outlet and I like that it’s still around. Some of my best work came on collabs. Kym Cartel is hot and I’m jumping on that track to be hot with her.
Where can fans connect with you online to find out more about your projects? They can connect with me @YoYoFearless and that’s all my social media. Twitter is @YoYoWhittaker. My website is www.yoyoschoolofhiphop.com/
Follow K.B. Tindal on Twitter @KBTindal.