Toni Monroe may claim to be the "Biggest Bitch in the Game," but she's not what we'd classify as a bitch at all. She is a woman on a mission, and that mission is to go hard. Releasing Big Girl Cookies: First Batch on January 5, this West Coast native's mixtape features DJ Crazy Toones, Kurupt, and showcases that no matter what you look like, you can still lay it down. You can catch this powerful lady at the Key Club this New Years Eve with DJ Quik serving up a performance that is sure to start 2012 off with a bang!
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): You're a more curvaceous woman and I like that you own it. You seem comfortable in your own skin.
Toni Monroe: Yeah well I've been watching it the last couple months because I feel like this is the heaviest I've ever been. So I'm like, you better slow down! I know you're the biggest bitch and you claim it, but you really have to be the biggest bitch! You'll still be the biggest bitch if you're down 50!
Do you ever get nervous before hitting the stage?
You know I don't. I think I am beforehand but once I get on stage, the feelings go away and it feels like home. I feel like if I didn't get nervous or if I didn't feel the butterflies, that's when I should start worrying! If it seems like it's too normal then it's a problem, you know? Once I get on stage, it's like a whole other beast that comes out. I don't even know that person is! [Laughs.]
I think younger woman will look up to you because you prove that you can be sexy and do the damn thing no matter what size you are.
Yes, the whole thing with me being big is, it just works into who Toni Monroe is. I'm big but me being big doesn't define me. I also feel like weight with women, what we go through and that struggle is like an everyday thing. I feel like there's a lot of women that can relate to me because they can say I'm out here doing what I'm doing, and my weight is not an issue. I mean, do you know how many times I told myself I'm not going to trip until I lose 50 pounds? Then I'm gonna to Jamaica! [Laughs.] But fuck that, if I waited to lose weight I'd be sitting home. It's a struggle that everyone goes through. Am I comfortable in my own skin? Yes. I'm confident in who I am and my weight doesn't define me. I'm out there for women and that's why I think it's working because people see that.
Well you're doing the most and I think it's great. Props!
Well thank you very much! I'm all about empowering other women and supporting, we go through a lot of shit. I love woman doing shit. I mean, us women get the job done! Behind every great man is a great women!
Right? Sadly, they just don't see that sometimes! Oh men! So how did this career in rap come about? Who gave you your "big break?"
How I came into rap or did I get a big break? Those are two different questions! As far as music went, I had a boyfriend named Tony and he had a studio at the house we used to live in. He had this girl come over one day and she rapped on one of his songs. When she left I was like, are you gonna keep her on there? He was like, "Yeah she was dope!" I was thinking, no she wasn't! It was not the business! I was such a hater! He said, "You're talking all that shit, why don't you do it?" I knew I could be better than that, I knew it would not be a challenge! For me I felt like I could burp my ABC's. Do re mi homie! [Laughs.] He put on the beat and I wrote my first 16. She got kicked off and I made it on the song.
So that's when you realized this was the career for you?
The translation between the microphone and hearing it back, when I heard my voice I immediately knew I was turned on. I was turned out! I ended up staying in that relationship just so I could do music. I was so much in love with doing what I loved that even though we were going through what we were going through, I stayed there.
So your ex's name is Tony? Coincidence?
His name was Tony and his friends used to call me "Baby Tony," but my rap name was Monroe. When I left the relationship I did like Tina Turner, like, fuck you! You can have everything but your name's coming with me! I ended up taking his name and that is how Toni Monroe was born. It was from a bad relationship. It wasn't disrespectful that it took his name, it felt still respectful because he was the first one to put me on the microphone.
That's deep! You're from Cali and you've been working with tons of West Coast legends, how great is that been? I mean, you said you don't get nervous but what about these people?
No! [Laughs.] The only one I'm excited to meet is God! Unless you're planning on changing my life and my family's life, I'd get excited over that! I definitely have respect for everybody who's laid down the foundation of hip-hop. I've seen it at its best, and I've seen it at its worst. I think hip-hop's at its worst right now. I do feel like it's coming back though. It's just one of those things where, I just look at people as people. I'm not that star struck, I don't get that way. I'm not a dick rider. I'm always like, if you like me, come holla! You know where I'll be, I'm in the kitchen! [Laughs.] You want some of these cookies? Come get em'!
You're lucky. I get nervous talking to people on the phone. I'm so stupid. Who's been your favorite person to work with at this point?
Aww no, that's sweet! There are some people that you work with and you're connected to them, you know, musically and talent wise. This project that I'm dropping now, "Big Girl Cookies: First Batch," I had Compton's Most Wanted's, Tha Chill. He's just super talented! He plays a lot of instruments and stuff, he's just awesome and super dope! You would think because he's so gangsta it'd be all hard shit. It turns out he's so diverse and he loves all music. We just connected because I'm a songwriter, so it was just so cool being with someone who's so creative and was able to take my vision around with it. He was able to create on the spot, he's just so talented. So, he's so far been my favorite!
Is there someone you look forward to collaborating with in the future?
Production wise I would definitely want to hook up with the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. As far as reaching out and doing something with someone, there are so many people I would love to do stuff with! I love Adele, I've been on an Adele kick. She so dope, I would love to do something with her. Something along those lines.
You're going to be at the Key Club on New Year's Eve with DJ Quik, and your mix tape comes out January 5th. What a great way to start the new year! How would you sum up the sound of your work?
It's hot! Straight out the kitchen! I'm not just your standard artist, I'm a songwriter and a producer as well and I have my own label called Dotted Line. I have Melissa Mishelle who does acoustic R&B and is dropping a single the same day as me, January 5th. It's like, whether you want me or not, you don't have a choice! I'm coming! [Laughs.] So, it's dope and it definitely gives you a different vibe and a different element of who Toni Monroe is. I couldn't give it all away for free but, I got them in the oven there! If I've touched just one girl, I've done my job. There's just no voice for women, it's obsolete right now.
You're so right, there's Nicki Minaj but she's like a cartoon character...
Yeah I mean, I personally can't relate to it. I have real issues and I can relate to other women are saying and we're gonna be okay in whatever the situation is! I think that's what I strive for because at the end of the day, what are you saying? Who are you touching? Who are you talking to? Are you talking about the red bottoms on your shoes? I mean, I don't give a fuck about them! I can't afford them!
Haha, go to Payless and get a bottle of nail polish...
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[Laughs.] OK? I'll spray those sons of bitches! It's just, my mind is not on all that stuff. I'm excited and curious to see how people respond to with what I feed them.
I think it's gonna work out great and then you'll let me interview you again when you hit it big!
Oh yeah, you've got my number. Just no breathing heavy after midnight!
You can get more videos and event info on what Toni Monroe is cooking up on her website www.tonimonroe.com. Get her mixtape January 5th and get tickets now before it sells out to catch Toni at the Key Club on New Years Eve with DJ Quik!