Feloni Lays it Down

on

"I actually wanted to be that rare artist who came ‘out’ first, as a

new artist, because it was challenging," she said."I wanted to see how

far I could get based on word of mouth alone, which is why I never

hired a PR person or manager. I don’t even spend on advertising."

If you’ve heard of her then, it’s for her talent — on her own

album, or her track with Lori Michaels called "Girl Thing." The

producer of "Girl Thing," Bruno, had worked with Kanye West, and Feloni

said she liked the concept of the song, so she "jumped on it."

Feloni recently performed with Michaels live in New York at an L Word Premiere Party in conjunction with the HRC.

"The fact that it was with a sold out crowd of over 2,600 stunning

women definitely had me in sensory overload," Feloni said. "Whenever I

think of New York, I think of banging parties. So, the experience

definitely lived up to my expectation. The L Word has a beautiful following."

It was her first performance in New York, as Feloni has maintained most

of her career in Detroit. Her history lies within a largely straight

male demographic, having worked with groups B-Like Boys and members of

D-12. The recently deceased MC Big Proof, Feloni said, was a friend who

was supportive of her being out.

"It was Proof who first said to me that hip-hop would fight to keep me

out because I’m gay," Feloni said. "He told me no matter what happened,

I had to keep moving and stay focused."

Being from Detroit is a large part of who she is and what she rhymes

about. The city, Feloni said, "is always burgeoning with talented, new

and upcoming artists from all genres. It’s just in our blood."

With a new album coming out sometime this year (Feloni is thinking

spring or summer, but says she might "change her mind … because I’m

the boss"), she’s preparing to reach a larger audience, and not just a

gay one.

"I understand there will always be homophobic people, which means there

will always be people in hip-hop who are uncomfortable with

homosexuality," Feloni said. "I recently gave props to Russell Simmons

for speaking out against homophobia in hip-hop at the 2008 BET Hip-Hop

Awards, which is unprecedented for a show like that. Here you have the

Godfather of hip-hop basically saying, you need some serious

introspection because true growth and success does not entail embracing

hate and discrimination, especially as African-Americans who already

know how it feels to be judged based on difference."

The new album, Love Spent, will be significantly different from A Woman’s Revenge, and not just by name.

Feloni

said she felt like she "sacrified a lot" on her debut album, and she’s

ready to move forward on a more optimistic note. She’s also working on

a music video, and trying to beat out Uh Huh Her for the top spot on

MTV’s Soundtrack homepage, where’s she’s under them at number two.

"I just think it’s cool," Feloni said, "that two out artists occupy the top chart positions on a mainstream music website."

It could be that America is getting less homophobic, or simply that

music lovers are developing better taste. Either way, Feloni’s talent

is not something for lesbians only.

"I’m known by my fans as the Godmother of the out urban, lesbian

hip-hop movement," Feloni said. "There’s no changing that now. In my

eyes, it’s all good. I’m in no rat race, and I’m not competing with

anyone for anything. Eventually, the straight fans I do have will

forget my sexuality."

In the meantime, Feloni said one thing she’d have fun with would be to battlerap the blatantly misogynistic rapper Too Short.

"And I don’t even battle rap," Feloni said, "but I’d rip his ass apart

on general principles … He makes it very clear that he’s

misogynistic, and proud of it. It would be funny."

More you may like