interview SUGA T  (February 2009) | Interview By: Javon Adams

   Years ago Queen Latifah shouted she was a proud woman with her song ĎLadies Firstí and the history of Hip Hop is filled with strong women that fight to survive in a male dominated industry. Suga-T is one of those strong women. You know her from songs like ĎSprinkle Meí, ĎCaptain Save-A-Hoeí and ĎHurricaneí and Javon recently hooked up with the beautiful rhyme spitter/entrepreneur to talk about her new project, The Game Needs Me.

No great story can be told with out failure and triumph and Suga T has overcome abusive relationships, failed marriages and alcoholism.

he stands as an example of what we are capable of when we are driven and focused on achieving our goals. Like the rest of her family, this self proclaimed Hip Hop Mom has many business ventures. She tells us how you can soak up some of the valuable game she has to offer. Make sure to hit her up on www.suga-t.net and take a few minutes to get familiar with Suga T.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to
Javon Adams.

Interview was done in October 2008

Questions Asked By: Javon Adams

Suga T Interview Audio: Listen Here

Dubcnn: Suga T welcome to Dubcnn.com. How are you?

I am great.

Dubcnn: Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day. I wanted to get right into it because there are so many things you have done in and outside of the industry. One of the things I wanted to talk about was that you seem to be a perfect example of perseverance. You overcame being on welfare, a couple of failed marriages and alcoholism to name a few. Youíre involved in programs that empower youth and young families. How important is it to you to Ďpay it forwardí by helping out your community?

We go through most things for a purpose and the more that you go through makes you stronger. Experience, work and patience leaves you with a whole lot of game at the end of the day. To whom much is given much is required so if there is any way that I can help someone with what theyíre going through is great. Or if I can help them to not have to go through itÖI think thatís our responsibility on earth. What is life without being able to do that so I feel it is part of my purpose.

Dubcnn: In addition to being an accomplished artist you have added lecturer to your resume. How long have you been doing that and what made you pursue public speaking? It seems like a natural transition from being an emcee standing in front of all sorts of crowds but what was the catalyst?

You know itís really weirdÖmy experience wasnít only on stage. I was fortunate to have the best of both worlds. Being a parent, a wife at times and a business woman I always have one foot in and one foot out. Stage wasnít always my man focus because there were times when real life came to play. So when life is in your face making you kick in thatís what helped me to develop and get all this information. So you sit around and you know so much and realize how important it is for the African-American and Hip Hop community to make sure that we arenít missing the truth where other avenues of success are concerned. We canít just focus one way to do things, get stuck and miss out on the fruit of life which is bigger than what is shown on TV.

With that in mind and being a mother I decided to teach because as a parent you teach. You teach every step of the way by correcting them, looking for the flaws to find out what can make them better. As an aunt and a big sister type Iíve always been looked up to as having information to share. I guess people looked at my life and the things that I have overcome and figured that I had the answers. So the transition to that was like, ĎMaybe I do need to teach.í At the end of the day I always talked a whole lot *laughs* So my talking always got me in a situation where a normal person may not have been able to benefit off of so I found that sharpening that into keynote speaking just became natural.

Dubcnn: I definitely want to get into the new album in a second but wanted to touch on you being a mom. On your bio itís subtitled Suga T: A Hip Hop Mom. What is it like raising children on Hip Hop in a culture where kids are often bombarded with negative images of women or materialism. How do you approach that as a mom and an artist in this day and time?

I feel that Iím a triple threat because I sing, I rap, I write, I produce and Iím a parent with a whole domestic set up and Iím teaching. So at the end of the day being a hip hop mother means combining all of that. Thereís a big difference between being a mother and raising children while you are in the hip hop game versus being a female artist or a male artist. The males can go back home to the wife and the she has the kids most of the time. She ends up doing the things that mothers do and the father just provides the income and some direction from time to time.

I knew that no matter what they would have to see me as a mother. At the end of the day me being a mother was helpful to them because they knew that no matter what hip hop is a limitation to what we might be seeing. And I donít really look at hip hop as being a bad thing at all. I think itís a wonderful thing as long as there is some balance to the life. I always made them balanced. They were able to see me be a business woman and a mom. They saw me plan and prioritize me life. I write down my goals daily and work to accomplish them. I make sure that I produce daily and reevaluate my priorities to make sure that I am not wasting time, money or energy.

Iíve made a lot of mistakes along the way but trial and error is a great way to learn for me. They saw that you canít win all the time but they see me trying and it helps them develop their work ethic. I believe by walking by example is the best way. Some people say, ĎDonít do as I do, do as I say.í But I believe that you really have to be a walking example. Of course when you are young you donít realize it. Iíve cut the rug in front of them *laughs* and they have seen me in different situations but at the end of the day there were certain things that I would not do. Youíll never run a train on me or do things in front of my kids that they didnít need to see. I knew that I may have been wrong for doing certain things but I didnít want them to see me doing them. I tried to maintain discipline as a mother. As a hip hop mother I didnít want to be gone (travelling) throughout the week because I wanted to make sure I was at the PTA meetings. I took my kids to the doctor and cooked for them and enjoyed doing it. I wanted to make sure that I showed them some family balance with a man in the house because I think that men are valuable in this society. I felt that having a male figure around would help bring positive things.

At the end of the day that balance it what was needed then and is still needed today. I went on field trips and did all of these crazy things with the kids and I also got on stage and performed. They see me in the kitchen cooking, cleaning and washing. In addition to that they see me being submissive and aggressive all at once. I never just let them watch TV and focus solely on the videos. They have to get some Discovery Channel and Animal Channel and History Channel as well. I believe that at the end of the day hip hop is a culture but it can only get you so far if you arenít focusing on the rest of your life and what it has to offer. When it comes to the foundation you have to understand that we were put here by God and He has a plan for each of our lives. Itís up to us to walk into the understanding.

Dubcnn: I know the new album is called The Game Needs Me. Tell us a little about the album. When I saw the title of it it begs the question: What have you seen in the game the last couple of years that concerns you? What was missing? I know it was missing you but what can we expect from the album?

Suga T: *laughs* Thatís beautiful. (raps) The games been missing me / Iím goní take you out your misery / I canít leave rap alone like you bet not nap alone / Hip Hop mom, female Don / and still an Icon. So itís kinda funny that you said that. Everything to me cannot be sex, money, alcohol and drugs. I feel that we are so much more as a peopleÖand me as a woman. I can still get raw and dirty and rip a mic all day long. Itís nothiní, you know what Iím sayiní? I will continue to do that and will always do that. What Iíve done in the past with the 20 million plus albums soldÖthe publicity that was out there whether good bad or ugly.

I have a song that is being heard everyday on the radio nationally and that is nothing compared to what I have right now. Right now if you hit www.suga-t.net you will hear some banginí stuff. People are going to have to step up their game. I moved out the way to handle some other things which was basically to build my corporation with my fragrance line, the Be About It Project to make change in the worldÖbut at the end of the day the music is slamminí. What Iím bringing to the table is more than just shakiní my booty. Iím still cute, sexy and fine. Iím still hard and at the end of the day Iím writiní some banging tracks. The talent will speak for itself but the difference is that this Hip Hop side of me nobody has ever seen. When they see it they are going to lose their minds. The basis of whatís been out there the last few yearsÖIím not going to say itís garbage but I damn near gotta dumb down just to compete with the masses thinking thatís the way to be. Iím creating the balance where Iím bringing the masses or the youth what they want to hear and in time bringing that upgraded venture to where the Generals stand which is for those that follow my era and understand.

Dubcnn: I hear where youíre coming from. Your family is full of entrepreneurs and you are not different. You mentioned your fragrance line and building up your company. You have a self help book and upcoming TV and movie projects. Tell the people where they can get your album and where they can go to learn more about your fragrance line and the other ventures that you are involved in.

Definitely. They can go to Suga T Fragrances and they can see all the fragrances that I have such as the Sprinkle Me and Bling collections. Bling stand for Bringing Life Encouragement Nourishment and Growth. The Sprinkle Me Collection is endorsed by me and my brother. Weíre pushing the Suga Water Collection too which is a sweet smell for the strong woman. That is our signature fragrance. We have another line called Show Stealer and that is a high fragrance. At the end of the day the Sprinkle Me smell is the one that we are pushing. Itís a line of incense oil spray and candles.

We also do parties. We do Sprinkle Me Buzz Parties and Suga Water Intimate Parties. I actually come to the Sprinkle Me parties. I get booked and I come through. I teach the people how to build their own businesses and empower themselves for business both in and outside of the line. We also have the fragrances available in some of the boutiques. We allow the line to operate like a mini franchise but more from a distribution standpoint. Itís a great opportunity for everybody to be a part of. They can go online and purchase the products.

The other business is the Youth and Family Services which is the Be About It Project. Iím available to speak to the masses and I speak on Music Empowerment and some other topics geared towards young women and young men. They can go on my site at www.suga-t.net. Go to the Be About It Project and you can see some of the lectures that I do. There are a few that people will find beneficial. I will also continue to do the Hip Hop Mom productions. It is a production company and Iím positioning this album, which is available now. You can find it in all the major digital outlets like Virgin Mobile, iTunes, Rhapsody, Target Digital, Walmart Digital or they can go to www.suga-t.net. They can pick up my inspirational project and a never released album that is heat from top to bottom.

At the end of the day look for me in some television projects through the Hip Hop Mom Production company. There is a TV show that I canít really name that I will be on. Probably a reality show on VH1. Iím hoping to do some other reality shows and I will also have a movie coming out based on my life soon. It will start off as a book and weíll eventually make it into a movie.

Dubcnn: Well thank you once again for taking a few minutes of your time. Any last words before we let you get back to your afternoon?

I wanted to add this as well. I made sure to let everybody know what time it is with my skills in that portion of the interview but I also wanted to position the other side as well. I realize that the timing of the album couldnít be better. There arenít any females on the charts and I felt that no new female talent was being developed and that a voice was desperately needed in Hip Hop.

Due to my past successes with Hurricane, Sprinkle Me and Captain Save-A-Hoe I thought it was my time to put out a new project. I want to be an advocate and a positive voice in Hip Hop. So I think positive change is needed in terms of how people in the business look at women. Young aspiring artists need role models and Generals like me to guide and teach them how to behave and treat each other with love and respect. So with the new Be About It Project and mothering, educating and keeping peace and unity in the community is staying strong with me. Iím pulling people in with me like (Lady of) Rage and Ms. Toi, which are my counterpoints in this. We welcome like minds to join and to collaborate with us. We are a triple threat together and that is how we come as a team throughout the project. We are titled Triple Threat. We have (DJ) Spinderella, the big sister of the crew. Then there is me in the middle and I can go both ways. We have Ms. Toi from Ice Cube and Militia and she brings that youth. Sheís our little sister. We all share life experiences and came together to bring visibility to the Be About It Project by showcasing our album. We also come together because of our personalities and what we are trying to get accomplished in life.

Dubcnn: Cool. Thank you very much and good luck with that. Keep us posted.

Sure and I also want to make sure that you are aware that I am available to speak at conferences, schools and different organizations. The information can either compliment what has already been said to the audience or it can enhance it. Itís all for the purpose of helping to transition and help upgrade lives. We saw Obama and Hillary and we can see the change happening. By being a triple threat I feel the game needs me.

I also want to say thank you to dubcnn for all you do. You guys are a part of the Be About It project and without you guys we canít push our projects. From the Sic Wid It camp, E-40, my familyÖyouíll hear me on his new album as wellÖwe all give you big ups. If anyone wants to contact me they can contact me via email.



Suga T Interview Audio: Listen Here

Enter Your Email Address
To Receive Our
Free Newsletter!