Published on February 18th, 2020 | by MuzikScribe0
Former Death Row Records Artist SKG Dishes On Nipsey Hussle, Suge Knight, Left Eye And Much More…
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Helecia Choyce?
The love for music developed from my big brother, Trayveon Choyce. He introduced me to music at a very young age; when I was maybe between 5, 6 years old. He taught me the importance of connecting to music from our environment of where we grew up at. Growing up, Tray would play music relating to what we were going through at that time within our household; anything from oldies to Hip Hop. Music is really a connector in regards to your emotional processing.
Now you’re a native of Los Angeles, California — So growing up in the “City of Angels,” who all did/do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
My big brother, Trayveon Choyce, was always one of the most influential musical influences for me. My environment where I grew up on Crenshaw and Slauson was influential for me. Next to that, I was influenced by Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Dr. Dre, Lil Kim, TLC, Biggie, OutKast, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott, DJ Quik and so many others that influenced me, and made my love for music grow even more.
Honestly, I was a rebel growing up, and Suge always said I was the female version of him and that name stuck with me. A lot of people thought I slept with Suge or I was his girlfriend, and neither one is true. I was just a young girl grindin’, and Suge respected the grind.
While on Tha Row, what was the atmosphere over there like at this particular point in time?
You know looking back at my experience now, I know it was label-mates that were very jealous of me. I never really been the type to fit in with a crowd. I can remember hoping everyone liked me. But honestly, they were really f***ed up individuals and for me to be as young as I was more people took advantage of me and hated on me heavy. Suge Knight was really the only one that really treated me nice thinking back. He allowed me to be myself, and accepted me for who I was and guided me more than anyone I can think of in my career.
What exact type of relationship did you and the now incarcerated record mogul actually have?
We had a good relationship. I think back on everything and, you know, Suge warned me about people. He taught me how to read people and how to stand on your word. I think it was hard for me to be around so many fake people that would go to any length to sign, be a part of and kiss somebody a**. I wasn’t like that. I was young, raw, running the streets and wasn’t no a** kisser, and I think that’s why they didn’t like me, but I think that’s what made Suge love me. I was fresh and authentic and was real from the start, and with that me and Suge clicked. But one thing that I didn’t like, being honest, was not getting my credit or publishing for writing on Tupac ‘Until The End Of Time’ album. I feel that was one of the things that didn’t sit right with me. But I have an attorney looking into that now, so hopefully, I can get that situated after all these years.
It is also my understanding that you had a pretty epic falling out with another then label-mate; the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes…
Yes, you know I’m always asked about this and it’s really sad. Growing up, I was the biggest Left Eye fan. Everybody who knows me, knew growing up I always loved Left Eye. But once I was viewed as competition, I didn’t understand the dynamics of the industry. With that being said, we both placed on Tupac ‘Until The End Of Time’ album; “Let ‘Em Have It.” I had the official single, and Left Eye had the remix. From what Suge told me, that didn’t sit right with Left Eye because I was a newbie coming to the scene but landed a main placement. I would see Left Eye at the label a lot and always tried to remain respectful, but it wasn’t reciprocated. Eventually, it spilled over one day when she came up to the label trying to fight Suge, and it caused me and her to get into it. It was crazy because Suge was sleeping with Left Eye and married to Michel’le, and once I seen how Left Eye was getting down I lost all respect for her. I never understood how a woman can sleep with a married man, and be in the presence of that man’s wife with no f***s given.
What are some of your fondest memories from your time spent over at the controversial label?
My fondest memories was studio sessions. Those were the best. Just getting in the studio vibin’ out, and Suge vibin’ out with me to the music.
Success, what does that look like to / for you?
Success for me now is my family; more so my children. Watching them grow into who they’re destined to become in life. Making sure I create generational wealth for them. Still educating myself on who I am, my purpose here on earth and executing that. I’m really focused on living to my full potential, and creating as many successful opportunities as possible.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of the music industry?
You know, I feel now it’s more based on clout than authenticity.
Most favorite / least favorite thing(s) you’ve experienced during your stint in this business?
The least favorite thing I experienced is how fake people in this industry can be. The politics behind everything. The fake love and fake support. More so, how African-Americans have huge platforms in this industry but use it to tear our own kind down more than lifting us up, but begging for equality and fair treatments from other races. I see that a lot in this business. I think the most hurtful thing is when you have to live up to an image, and how people in this industry would talk about me still pursuing my career and how I’m washed up and have four kids. It’s like people tried their best to put me down. I had one person that told me they will make sure I never be s**t in this industry, and it’s people like that that motivates me to prove them wrong.
That said, at some point there were even talks of you having been blackballed — Is there any truth to this?
I feel there were people in this industry that tried to blackball me, or tell people not to work with me. But my work ethic speaks for itself. It mostly be my own people, and I think that’s the most troubling thing for me. You know, I went into promoting parties and I had people steal money from me. I lost a lot of money from promoting parties, and people would jump on board when it was good but once it got bad would leave me hanging. Booking artists for events and parties really showed me how shallow some artists and their teams can be…which taught me to make sure I had a solid team at all times that know the importance of treating people with respect, no matter who it is. But I can say the same people that tried to blackball me ended up getting blackballed themselves now; the irony of that! That’s why I always tell people those that come first will one day come last, and those that come last will one day come first.
Throughout your storied journey in Hip Hop you have made contact with some of music’s biggest entitles; lemme give you a few specific names and then you tell me the first thing(s) that come(s) to mind…
I just think back when Nip first started in the industry, and how I was working at 93.5 KDAY and opened up so many doors to get his music played at our station. I helped Nip form a relationship with FM radio where I worked. I would go around and tell people about Nip, and they always said he was too hardcore; nobody would listen to his music. Those are the same people I see now jumping on the Nip train. I guess he proved them wrong! A lot of people ask me about Nipsey. I remember when he passed away so many people hit me up for interviews, and this one company in particular wanted to interview me about the incident that me and Nipsey had, and was so desperate they offered to pay me a nice amount of money and I refused to do the interview because who he was and he grew to be was at such a positive magnitude that’s the Nipsey I knew and chose to remember. I will say we made up and hugged it out, and that’s what I’m remembering about Nip. Anybody that speak bad on his name, I choose not to associate with or have any business dealings with. That’s just me though, and what I choose. Seeing him get shot like that was very hurtful, and I still think about that and tear up because I know the product and area we come from. I know how hard he worked to achieve and change things, and it’s just sad; the outcome. But the way his team is carrying his legacy is phenomenal, and I know he is looking down really proud of them.
I think at this stage in the game, Nicki is definitely the Queen of Rap. She has contributed so much to this game, and the way people try to discredit her and the way she prove them wrong, I really admire that. While people were trying to jump on the Nicki hate train, she positioned herself and did a world tour. Let that sink in! She is strategic and very business savvy, and on top of that she’s a Sagittarius. We are known to strategize under pressure. I never worked with Nicki directly, but when she first came out and was managed by Blitz and James Cruz I booked her for 50K for a show and she showed up and showed out. I love Nicki, she’s dope!
I booked Blac Chyna for an event in Vegas, and she was really cool, down to earth and very friendly…but her friend, Treasure, I really don’t care for. We almost got into a fight because of her disrespectful mouth. Sometimes it don’t even be the artist that has a horrible attitude, it can be the entourage.
OMG, she blocked me on Instagram for tagging her in my pics for extra likes. That was so embarrassing, but I love the Kardashians. Their whole family is dope.
Jay was the realist person I have ever met in this industry. I met Jay-Z in Vegas years ago when he was releasing ‘The Blueprint.’ At that time, I was hoping to get another deal and I went all the way to Vegas with only 45 dollars to my name. I was able to get to Jay-Z…or shall I say he pulled up on me. He gave me a chance to explain to him who I was, what I did and what my goals were. He took my cell phone, and put his number in my phone and told me to call him so we can get in the studio. Every time someone says Jay-Z name, two words come to mind: Black Excellence.
A lot of this will be addressed in your forthcoming documentary, correct?
Having been titled Thru My Eyez, conceptually what does that name represent both to and for you?
Thru My Eyez represents my life story, my interactions with people, and my trials and tribulations through my perspective.
The accompanying soundtrack will be an SKG solo project, right?
Yes, this project is really personal to me, so I didn’t want any features in regards to the music aspect. I wanted to really do this from the soul.
Your soon-to-be unveiled lead single/video is entitled “BadAzzB***h” — What all can you tell me about this song?
“BadAzzB***h” was a song I made years ago that I re-released. It’s a song letting women know (that) no matter your race, size, career, etcetera, you can be a Bad Azz B***h! Which is a universal song catering to women everywhere. I’m releasing the video on Worldstar in late March of this year.
I believe, too, you are in the process of learning a few different foreign languages so that you will ultimately be able to record and release music in other countries — What prompted this decision?
I really wanted to broaden my horizon. I feel like I been reborn in music. I didn’t realize how universal Hip Hop is, and how you have Russian Hip Hop artists, Chinese Hip Hop artists, African Hip Hop artists, but they rap in their language. I want to be able to connect with them speaking their language, so I’m learning to do music in different languages and it’s really exciting.
You recently partnered up with the streaming service Vuulm — Talk to me about this newly arranged business opportunity…
Yes, I’m very excited about partnering with Vuulm. I felt it was the perfect fit for me. Vuulm is a streaming service, and it’s black owned by a female name Nadine Jerome. Seeing everything she contributed and sacrificed for the platform made me super excited to partner with her and showcase my music and music videos on Vuulm platform.
Then, of course, there’s the reality series you have coming up that also involves B2K alum Raz-B, as well as actress Shar Jackson — Can you please share with me any / all details about this show that’s currently in the works?
Yes, I actually came up with this concept and idea to have a show about females in the entertainment industry that was once a part of a very successful label/company, and through trial and error are on a mission to reclaim their throne. With that, Koncrete Roses was born! Featuring Shar Jackson, Arnee Butler, Martin Oleforo and Danny Victor from Bad Girls Club. I also had a few guest appearances from Raz-B from B2K, which was quite interesting, to say the least. We are in the editing phase, so people will be able to see it soon.
In addition, you still have Hustle Gurl Entertainment — What are your future goals/plans for this venture?
Right now, I’m revamping all of my companies so just introducing new companies and new products in the future.
And last, but certainly not least, you’re also currently working on Juwanna Man: Part 2, a sequel to the 2002 Miguel A. Núñez, Jr., and Vivica A. Fox starring vehicle — What all specific details can you reveal and/or divulge about upcoming said film?
This will be my first film I’m producing, and I’m excited. Right now, we just got the script written and a sizzle (reel) shot but so far everything has been going really good, and I thank Morgan Creek for allowing me to be a part of this journey. Working with Miguel Nunez, Jr., has been truly a great experience and he is so seasoned in the film industry, so I’m soaking up as much knowledge as possible from him and making sure I listen more than I speak. I feel that’s key. Especially with the team we have; writer Delvin Molden, director ‘DC’ Coles and my partners; Martina Oleforo and Shawnna Stewart. Everyone is just excited and looking towards the future of our projects.
To date, what has been your greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?
I think to date my greatest career achievement will have to be featuring on Tupac Shakur album, being signed to one of the greatest labels, Death Row Records, and having a place in history with Nipsey Hussle. I’m aligned with two of the greatest artists in Hip Hop history.
Lastly, what’s next for you, Ma’am?
Well, I’m also in school to become an attorney. My love for film producing has grown, and music will always be a part of who I am. So expect great things from me in the years to come.
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
I just want to thank everyone for taking time out to read my interview, and expect great things from me in the future. Make sure to follow me on Instagram…
Connect w/Helecia “SKG” Choyce Online:Tweet