Several years have past since Hip-Hop’s golden-era and things have changed ? some for the better and some for the worst, but Ladybug Mecca has positively evolved and her star has not dimmed. She’s back with a new album, Trip The Light Fantastic, and a slightly new sound. Singing a lot more and musically transcending Hip-Hop, Ladybug Mecca is someone people can learn a lot from. Now an artist and the owner of her own record label, she elaborates on why being an independent artist is better, and what it’s like balancing life as an artist and an executive.
Hiphopcrack: The new album, Trip the Light Fantastic came out in June and I noticed that you’re singing on a lot of it. Why did you decide to come out with a more R&B influenced album? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do since the Digable Planets days?
Ladybug Mecca: It was just natural. I started singing before I started rhyming.
Hiphopcrack: You didn’t really sing at all with Digable Planets, right?
Ladybug Mecca: No, we didn’t really sing, we did harmonies similar to the Sugar Hill gang, but it wasn’t really true singing.
Hiphopcrack: Your has obviously evolved and it shows your growth, but there are still traces of your Digable Planets influence. What are some of the elements and influences that have factored into the sound of this album?
Ladybug Mecca: I’m a fan of music period. It doesn’t matter what genre it is. I don’t really look at music like genres. I look at music as music, and if it speaks to you and you can dig it, then cool so, that was the inspiration behind the sound. It wasn’t really a concerted effort to make one type of album. It just happened naturally and it just happened to incorporate my Brazilian roots and Afro-Beat roots and Hip-Hop, and whatever else felt natural.
Hiphopcrack: I know you have a video airing on Vh1 Soul but other than that, where have you been performing and promoting your album?
Ladybug Mecca: I’ve been promoting this album throughout Europe and the U.S. All over. People can download the album on itunes or they can get it from my website.
Hiphopcrack: You and your husband started an independent record label. What’s it called and why did you and your husband decide to start your own label?
Ladybug Mecca: The label is called Paradigm Records and I decided to start a label because I didn’t want to enter into an artist deal where you make pennies on the dollar. I’m just too smart to sign that kind of deal. The best way to go about it would be to seek distribution in the independent world and go from there. I think that’s definitely the future of music. Fat Joe is now understanding that game. He signed his deal to Imperial not too long ago, I’m getting ready to drop so, a lot of people in mainstream Hip-Hop weren’t even aware of that avenue where you can actually make money and live.
Hiphopcrack: What’s it like balancing being an artist and running a record label?
Ladybug Mecca: I’m learning new things all the time. I’ve always had the knack for it. Now, I’m just able to exercise it. Even with Digable Planets with our artist deal, we were involved in every aspect of creativity and we gave marketing ideas to market our music so now, we just get to reap the benefits.
Hiphopcrack: Is your label currently working with other artists? Who are they?
Ladybug Mecca: Not any Hip-Hop artists right now but we have one artist. He’s more of a pop-rock artist; singer-songwriter; musician; named Remedy Jones.
Hiphopcrack: What are some lessons you’ve learned while in Digable Planets that you were able to carry over into life as a solo artist?
Ladybug Mecca: I’d say this business is a business, and even your best friends you can’t trust. You have to really know your business and know your worth, and make sure you put it in writing. I’d say that’s the biggest lesson.
Hiphopcrack: As a woman who was around during the more formative years of Hip-Hop, can you reflect on the progression or lack thereof of women in the game today?
Ladybug Mecca: You still really don’t see as many women as you do men in Hip-Hop. I don’t know what it’s like down south or out west but there seems to be more female artists down south. I’m not sure because I don’t live there but I hear a little bit and once and a while I see people creeping through but there’s still not enough representation and in music period there’s not enough representation of the diversity that Hip-Hop has to offer.