Charli Baltimore – Hard2Kill
Words and Interview by: Trea Davenport and Tyrone Davis
Charli Baltimore is a Grammy nominated lyricist and songwriter. She has worked most notably with the Notorious B.I.G, Irv Gotti, Ja Rule, Ashanti, The Game, Trey Songz and countless others. Despite being out of the main steam the spotlight for a while, Baltimore has maintained relevance and continues to sharpen her skills through collaborations, writing, and film projects. Now signed to BMB records, the trendsetting beauty is showing the world that she is more than just a pretty face with fire lyrics; she is HARD 2 KILL.
You took some time off for a while and have been putting out material here and there over the last few years. Recently, we’ve seen a stronger push from you. What has changed over the last year?
I co-own my own label with Trick Trick, who is an artist from Detroit. The fact that we own our own label pursues you to want to put your own music out through your label. You have more creative control.
How did you link up with Trick Trick and how has the experience been working with him thus far?
We met in Detroit. I met up with him and we started playing our music for each other. There was a natural transition to work together. We were fans of each other’s music. We wanted to steer our own ship and we are both intense lyricists who want to talk about real life topics. In regards to the artists on our label, we want them to be able to steer their own creative minds/music. We want to nurture our artists, not make them into something they’re not.
What type of feedback have you gotten from Detroit being that you are probably more active there now?
Great feedback. It was a culture shock coming from the East Coast, but Detroit showed nothing but love. The city already has love for Trick Trick. I’m from Philly; Philly and Detroit are similar due to beliefs/morals and the people.
What is the name of your new label and who are some of the new artists you have?
The name of the label is BMB Entertainment. On the label we have, L Streetz, who is from Chicago. Then there are 4 other artists that are from Detroit: Marley, Cash Paid, Boone and Diezel. We are still looking for talent. Trick Trick and I are artists on the label as well.
Rewinding a bit. You were affiliated with Game and Black Wall Street as well as being signed with Murder Inc. at different points of their issues with 50 Cent and G-Unit, even releasing a few disses towards them on your own. Did you ever have any real issues with 50 or was it more of a loyalty thing to both camps?
It was a loyalty thing, I never even met 50 and he took shots at me that were unwarranted. I had no knowledge of his music. I am big on loyalty and respect. I don’t think you should take your anger out on people you never met before.
Although those situations didn’t work out, which label did you have the best/worst experience with? Murder Inc. was a powerhouse at one point, with a lot of talent over there.
It had to be Murder Inc. because it gave me a grasp on my skills. Irv is super dope on what he does in developing talent. Ja, Ashanti, and the whole music capacity there brought the best out of me. Even though it didn’t work out, it was a great experience and I would never take it back.
Speaking of Murder Inc., you were one of a few women on the label. It is not too common to see more than one female on a label and they all be seen and heard. Although your album didn’t drop over there, fans were actually aware of everyone’s presence. How was your relationship with the rest of the girls (Ashanti, Vita, etc.)?
I had a great relationship with both of them. People tried to make it into something else, but we never had any beef and I’m still in touch with Vita and cool with Ashanti. When Vita left that had nothing to do with me. Vita and I are still cool today.
Very little has changed about you in reference to your look and you haven’t aged much. One of the biggest things that stood out to me was your hair and I thought of you whenever I saw anyone else with that color. Will we ever see the red hair on you again?
I doubt it. I had red hair for 10 years and when you make drastic changes in your life, spirituality and growth wise, drastic things comes with change. My red hair was a great part of my past and a staple when people recognized me. I did think that by changing my hair color people wouldn’t recognize me but it didn’t have that effect. People still know who Charli Baltimore is. But I never say never, so you never know.
Today (Sept. 13, 2013) marks the 17thAnniversary of 2Pac’s death. Did you ever meet 2Pac and if so, what were your thoughts about him?
I never met 2Pac.
In an interview with the Breakfast Club, you mentioned not watching the film, “Notorious”, due to the film not being accurate with the way things actually happened. Can you break it down for us, the “Car Accident”, specifically and the effects of it?
Big, Lil Cease, and I were all in the car. Lil Cease was driving and lost control over the car. He over calculated a turn he did while coming to a toll and we flipped over on to the other side of the highway with oncoming traffic. I had the worst injuries from a medical perspective. I fractured my neck and my ankle, Big had a broken leg, and Lil Cease lost his teeth. It could have been worse. Big decided to make his album a double album because of the accident. He had to learn how to walk again and it was inspiration for him to make his album. Even though it was a horrific event, greatness came out of it. Big loved his fans and he did it for his fans.
What type of impact did Biggie have on your life as a whole whether personal or business wise? Do you see him like many of his fans do, or is it a little different being that you were actually there and knew him personally?
I see him from both standpoints; I am a true fan of hip hop and was a fan of his before I knew him. We were friends first for a while before it evolved into something else. I saw a side of him many people didn’t see. Of course he had an effect on my life; He was the one who inspired me and pushed me to take rapping seriously. I made a huge transformation from a paralegal to a rapper and without him I wouldn’t be where I am today.
You, Lil Kim, and Faith Evans were all tied to Biggie within the same time period and I’m sure there might have been some friction at some point. Being that all of you are older now, have you been able to get on the same page or at least exist in the same place with no issues?
I don’t have any issues. I don’t think about that at all and it was a situation when we were a lot younger. In those types of situations the fault lies with the man and not with the women. For the most part, it was a lot of miscommunication amongst the women because of the man. Usually, it’s always because of the man. As an adult I don’t hold any grudges against any women and I don’t ever fault women in situations like that. I feel that it comes from the man. I have no issues.
How do you feel about Hip Hop today, being that you were a part of Hip Hop’s “Golden Era”?
I think hip hop is in a great place there has been a resurgence of emcees and lyricists. You have hype trap music and flat out entertainers. Hip hop runs the game and it’s a melting pot. There was a day where we had to piggyback off of others music and style but now we have genres inside of genres because of the variety of music hip hop has to offer. Hip hop is its own wing. It is in a great place right now.
Women in Hip Hop: Do you think there will ever be another run of multiple female MC’s existing at one time?
Yes I do. I was having a great convo with Da Brat the other day and she was nice enough to bless my album. I think anticipating catfights and believing that women are not able to exist in the hip hop industry is whack. I think we can all work together and combine our music.
What can we expect from your new project and who are some features you have on it?
It’s a mixtape but plays like an album. I approached it as a mixtape but it’s really like a mini album. I think fans will love that I am lyrical. I have Trick Trick and all the artists on the label on the mixtape. I kept it family oriented because we want B to blow up. I didn’t step out of the circle; I kept it in the family.
You pride yourself on your writing over rapping. Describe your writing process.
It’s all over the place and I’m inspired by the beat. I may drive long distances and listen to music that ranges from hip hop to City of Angels. I make sure I have a black pen; that’s my good luck charm. I can write anywhere rather it’s in the car or driving. There is not a specific thing I do. It just comes to me and I am blessed to have the lyrical and writing capability to do that.
You’ve been in a few films. What are they and how is acting compared to music?
I love acting. It’s a great release from music because you step out of yourself and into someone else. I’ve been in 7 films including “Bamboozled” by Spike Lee. I have a project coming up with a legendary horror film director. I love all genres of films, but horror is my favorite. I love horror films.
Your oldest daughter is a model. How is her career going and how has it been for you helping her out?
Her career is going awesome. She has been modeling since the age of 14 and I have been hands on because a parent must be present at all times until the age of 18. I have seen a different beast in the modeling industry and it is just as gory as the entertainment industry. She is with 3 agencies and she has been all over the world. She moved from New York to California. She recently just toured Paris and has commercials everywhere.
What is the most misunderstood thing about you?
My personality. People don’t know what to expect and when they meet me they say that “I’m so cool.” I’m a humble and grounded person; that comes from being a teen mom and the struggles that I went through. People forget to be grateful for every blessing that you receive. You can’t take that for granted.
How can your fans or people looking to find out more about you get in contact with you?
Twitter: @charlibaltimore IG: @charlibaltimore Facebook: @charlibaltimore
Any last words?
Hard2kill out Tuesday September 17! BMB!
For press inquiries and interviews contact Sr. Publicist, Trea Davenport, Trea Day Management & Publicity at email@example.com.