Rapper, author and Love & Hip Hop: Miami cast member Miami Tip exudes energy like no other cast member on the show. She sits down with Urban Magazine for cocktails and conversation at the Meatpacking District’s Sugar Factory as we speak about the show, her involvement with her label, her single and gives a very harsh reality on the dancing hustle.
Describe Miami in your own words.
Heat. Sun. Sexy ladies. Sexy men. A lot of money. A lot of energy. A lot of sweat. Miami is like a big mixture of culture. A melting pot of people. It’s nothing like it.
What made you fall in love with the music?
You know what? I’ve always been a music lover. I’ve always had that ear, but what made me fall in love with the music industry, per se, is the business. Like learning the business is fun to me. Knowing the “ins and outs” of it. I’m a person that like something to be challenging, so learning about things that I didn’t know in a different way, there’s so much money in music and there are so many different ways to get it, but you have to know.
So what are three things that the business has taught you?
The business has taught me that it isn’t friendly, so don’t go in on some friendly shit. Business is business. Period.
When I first started, it was on some “I help you out, you help me out.” No. Now I’m discovering it’s every man for themselves. As long as they can benefit from you, they’re willing to help you. It’s sad, but you have to gain that same mindset. It turns you into a beast and a savage but I loved it.
Back to when I was first starting out, I was like “I’ma blow overnight. Ain’t nobody else doing it, there’s no other competition. I’ma do it,” and I’m so happy I didn’t because now…I’m “unfuckwitable.” Can’t nothing fly past me. A lot of people got over. I’ve been through a lot of things, so now it’s like I know what’s going on. I feel like a mean ass lawyer right now. You have to be a pit bull in this business. You have to. It turned me into one. Seriously.
You came out with a book called “The Bottom Line,” and I find it really interesting because…I don’t know if you’re familiar with Donald Goines, but he had a novel called Black Girl Lost and that’s what it reminds me of, so tell me a little more about the book.
Well, I really like those type of novels like the Donald Goines books, True to the Game, The Coldest Winter Ever…I’m a reader, so those books are relatable to me, so my book…as far as like, the strip club, people have like a certain perception of strippers in a certain light, but people don’t know that we’re real people, and there are some women that don’t wanna be there but have to be there, and there are some women who don’t have to be there but just love to be there. So my main focus for my book is to show the different types of backgrounds that women come from that make them start getting into dancing. people see the glitz and the glory and the money, but they don’t know what comes with it.
And I really respect you for this because I saw a YouTube interview that you did a while back and you mentioned something about the mental drama that comes with the world of dancing and it’s refreshing to hear because you always hear about the pros but you never hear about the cons.
The stripper game can really eat you alive. It’s not for the weak-minded. Even now, I know I changed the game. I know I set that shit up to another level. When I got in the game, there were some real OGs, very strong women from the “Dope Boy” era. Nowadays it’s like young women 17 or 18-years-olds getting their body done because they see other girls do it and they wanna get in the game and they think that’s it. Like “I got my body done, I’m gonna get all of this money,” but in all actuality, there can be an ugly bitch that can come and take all of that money from a guy because she’s real. She knows the game. It’s not always about your body.
I feel like the strip club, the way it’s perceived now, nobody is telling the story for what it is and I feel like it’s no better than to come from me.
What is the misconception people have about dancers?
That they are hoes and they don’t have any kind of morals, but see, it’s not true. I know some very decent women that are dancers. You just gotta do what you gotta do. I can’t really fault the public for thinking the way that they think because you have women who are practically degrading themselves on social media. I’ve never been an attention seeker because I felt like people were gonna look at me. I did it because I was me. So when people saw the authenticity of it, they were able to fuck with me like that.
So what do you feel is the difference from the strip clubs then and now?
Oh, it’s a big difference! Back then, girls didn’t wanna tell people they were strippers. There were girls making $30K a night. I made $20K a night, not on a consistent basis, but I’ve made it. When I came in the game, girls were making that at least 3 or 4 times a week and still didn’t want anybody to know that they were dancing. There were no social media. People telling their kids they’re a nurse. It was top secret. But now, everybody wants to be a stripper and it messes up the game for real women. I was never proud of that. I don’t rap about it to the point where little girls will think that it’s okay to do it. As a matter of fact, I don’t rap about it period.
And the sad part is that little girls are thinking about it now.
And it’s crazy! I’m not with that. Even though I’m one of the top dancers, I don’t glorify it and I don’t think it’s okay. I wouldn’t want my niece to follow my footsteps and I’m the best to ever do it. I just don’t think it’s okay and it coincides with my music. I was kinda about to quit music. Before I signed with BMB, I was really done because of the strippers oversaturating the game and they’re really confusing the people. I was doing music and dancing before it even became popular, so it was really a grind for me. I was out here passing out CDs, flyers, I was on big tours, I really was grinding. I didn’t use my body on social media to get to where I am. But when I see these dancers come in, twerking and doing shit that I try to stay away from, I don’t wanna compete with that because that’s not me, so I felt like “I don’t wanna do this anymore” because I would have to go far from being who I am in order to make it and I didn’t wanna do that. So it’s a thing, for now, then it’s gonna blow over, then it’s gonna be the last man standing.
You got your start at the King of Diamonds in Miami. How do you feel about it closing?
I feel like they’re so stupid. I feel like I’m part of the reason why KoD got so big as it was. The way that B. Live expanded its brand, that was supposed to be KoD, but the people that owned and was running KoD couldn’t come together. Everybody was greedy, it was every man for himself and it got messed up somewhere along the line.
So I have listed to your super poppin’ single, “Lajan” and is there a concept to the track or you just said, “Fuck it, let’s just do a song?”
You know what? I just heard the beat and I just started rapping. We came up with the idea for it and me and Kevro Hendricks started throwing words around and it just came about. I’m a super hype, energetic person, so when those beats come on, I just go for it. It wasn’t no “this is what we’re gonna do,” they just played the beat and I just got on it and everybody in the room was like, “What’s Lajan?” It’s money. It’s Creole for “money.” See, Miami is full with a bunch of Haitians and I’m working with people from Detroit, so I’m like “Okay, y’all don’t know.” Haitians are really expanding now because even when I first came from New York to Florida, it wasn’t Haitians, it was El Salvadorians. When I came to Miami, I didn’t know what Haitians were. I see they are starting to become popular. In New York or Atlanta…they weren’t always popular like that.
You were on Season 1 of Love & Hip Hop: Miami and now you’re cast as a regular on Season 2. How did you catch Mona Scott’s eye?
I was actually the first person they interviewed for LHH: Miami. They interviewed me three years ago, so for three years we already knew what it was gonna be about, but it was between Miami and Texas. At that time, I was big in Miami in my prime when they hit me up. I guess they were hitting up whoever is popular, but I was the first person that they hit up and we’ve been going at it three years before the 1st season. It was a long time, and I just thought it was unreal. (laughs) I was over it for a minute, like, “You know what? This ain’t gonna happen,” but it did.
What surprises you about your audience?
Well, the show definitely broadened my fanbase. I’ll see older, likable Black ladies come up to me and be like, “Oh, my goodness, you’re from Love & Hip Hop!” and I’m like “How do you know?” I just know the people from within my culture and age group, but LHH is on TV, so working-class women watch it, but that what really surprises me. They type of people and the age is no limit. It’s from little kids to old ladies. It’s so funny.
Well, Love & Hip Hop is a huge franchise and you’re a part of it.
And I didn’t realize how important it was maybe until last season because I don’t walk around with makeup or heels. I walk around with my hair all messed up all day but when I’m out and about doing everyday errands, there are about five people that will wanna take pictures. I ain’t picture ready, but I can’t tell them “no.” So, now, when I go out, I have to be somewhat presentable. That’s I’m like “Okay, this shit is for real!” I gotta get with the program!
So what can we look forward to this season on the show that concerns you?
They do get a little bit more personal with the fact that I am superwoman and I juggle being a mom, a dancer an entrepreneur, and doing music, everything is a bit more personal.