Destinee From Miami's THC Crew Talks Hip-Hop, The Music Business, and Rockin Shows

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image via Destinee
"If you plan to be successful in ANYTHING you do, be prepared to live for it, breathe it, and die for it, if need be."
Destinee aka Maiden Dade aka Rita N. is a Dade County Hip Hop impresario, performer, recording artist and member of the THC Crew.

Crossfade recently spoke to her by email about culture, technology and the music business. All you entrepreneurs out there take note. Destinee is a focused business woman who is in the game to win it. Here's what she had to say.
 
"My name is Destinee and I'm from Miami-Dade County. I pretty much grew up between Southwest (Cutler Ridge, Kendall, Pinecrest) and Hialeah. Lived in Bogota, Colombia, for a couple of years as a teen, but Florida has been my home for most of my childhood and adult life."


I first fell in love with music when I was about 4 or 5. I remember listening to Atlantic Starrs' "Always" and Kool and the Gang's "Cherish" and thinking, "This gives me such a great feeling!". When I met music, it was almost like "I FOUND  A NEW FEELING", you understand where I'm coming from? I daydreamed every time my favorite songs played on the radio (And I had alot of them! lol!). We went on alot of family trips to Orlando and such so we had a lot of time to listen to the radio and tapes that my mother would record of her favorite music for the ride up. I also grew up in a very Cuban family, and THEY COULD PARTY! So, listening to salsa and merengue all night long had a serious impact on me as well! Being that I'm so musically inclined, I've had the blessings to have performed all over the world. I've performed everywhere from Canada to Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, to Panama and New York, Texas to Cali. Back in 2004 on one of my performances in the Bahamas I had the pleasure of co-hosting a G-Unit concert alongside "MTV- The Basement's", Big Tigga. That's where I met Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, and Red Rat. It was a ton of fun.

"As operations manager of Urban Union Recording and Printing Solutions I pretty much oversee all the day to day activities, such as ensuring that the printing, marketing, and promotions department are running smoothly. I also try my hardest to keep the recording studio booked as solid as possible.

I'm also the Operations Manager over at www.305HipHop.com. I basically delegate responsibilities and ensure that events are covered, interviews are scheduled accordingly, and handle alot of the advertising for the website as well. A lot of times I will help with event coordination as well.

As far as the importance of live performance to Hip-Hop, honestly, I dont feel that Hip-Hop would exist were it not for live performance. I mean, put yourself in the late 70's, early 80's when Hip-Hop first started to really become popular (in my opinion, Hip-Hop's been around since the 50's, but that's another story). What "sparked" our beautiful culture was blacks and latinos standing out on storefronts and the front of apartment complexes spittin' their asses off (excuse my french), you know, battling, performing.

I mean, that's how the creation on Rap music came about. You can just write Rap, but then you'd be considered a poet. You can record it, but then you'd be just a "recording artist". Being able to enjoy and become enveloped by the "ENTIRE" essence of Rap music (writing, recording, perspeakforming) is incredible. Like, who the hell would want to eat Oreo's without a glass of milk, you feel me? lol. You cannot have one without the other.
THE VEN'M PROJECT 2.5

I sometimes feel like new technology is taking away from the live element of Rap/ Hip-Hop, especially when you get these ABC rappers and DJ wanna-be's trying to do it, JUST TO DO IT. Using these tools because its the cool thing to be right now. Half of them have NO CLUE what the hell they're doing. You see that alot lately. I guess I have mixed emotions about it because you really do have artists that partake in the development and/or usage of these different forms of new technology because they really love Hip-Hop and want to contribute something new to the game. I mean, everything evolves, right? Everyone is crying about how Hip-Hop is dead. I honestly don't feel that way. I just feel that it's evolved and some people can't handle it, they can't "keep up", so they use that excuse. Yes, I can agree that alot of what's out there now a days is sheer "garbage", but it's been that way since the beginning of Hip-Hop Culture. Not everyone has the God-given talent to do this. Like my favorite rapper said once, "If everyone could emcee, who would the fans be?" There's "crap" in every genre of music, in every sport, in every "everything". lol.

Right now I'm in a very transitional phase in my career. I mean, I continue to do collabo's and freestyles for tapes and such alongside my THC family, but I am also focusing on an album. I have some serious business in the works with "Big Records", so things are going to get REAL CRAZY, REAL SOON! For now, you can listen in at www.myspace.com/MaidenDade or log on to www.305HipHop.com as well. We also have music playing on Mega 94.9 and La Kalle 98.3. Shouts out to Yanesita, DJ CUBI, DJ Laz, Demis Martinez, Enrique Santos, Joe Ferrero, Mikey Machete and family for showing us so much love! Los quiero!

Being a female rapper is bitter-sweet. It has its good and bad. The good part of being a female rapper is that there arent too many females doing what I'm doing and how I'm doing it (I truly love my craft). I get alot of street love. I'm blessed. I love it when people email me or myspace me letting me know that they love my work and reminding me that they support me and commend me for sticking to my grind despite the adversity. I've gotten comments like, "Destinee raps better that 90% of the males I know". That's pretty cool. The bad part about being a female rapper is that this industry is predominantly run by males, so I also get alot of the, "Well, females shouldnt be rappers" or, "Oh you don't look like a rapper." What does a "Rapper" look like? lol. Alot of those comments come from male rappers themselves. I just think they're scared. lol. It intimidates them to see a woman in the industry that's really about her work and thats willing to roll with the punches and take anything that comes her way in order to succeed and STAY successful in Hip-Hop. The singing part I dont get alot of crap about. I guess it's just so "cliche", so no one sees THAT as a problem, right? lol.

One lesson I wish I knew when I started was that #1: YOU CANNOT GET RICH OFF OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY OVERNIGHT, ladies and gentlemen! It DOES NOT HAPPEN! #2: Female rappers have to work WAY HARDER to gain the respect of their peers. #3: If you plan to be successful in ANYTHING you do, be prepared to live for it, breathe it, and die for it, if need be.

Other ways to be involved in music are promotions, marketing, entertainment law, artist development, music production, photography, the list goes on and on and on. There are so many ways to contribute to the music industry. You'd be surprised.

I've been singing since I was 5. I've been writing songs since I was 9. Making music professionally? Since I was 14. When I first started I was working with Julian Booth (Slip N Slide Records), who was working as the A&R of Luke Records then. I was a jitter bug then. :). Been rapping for about 6 years now. Ten years from now, I'd like to be making music still. Possibly some artist development. I worked with an R&B girl group called U4ea (Euphoria). One of the girls was Pat Riley's (Miami Heat Coach) daughter and the other two I really grew a tight bond with (shouts out to Vicky!), and that was an awesome experience. I did some writing, coaching, and development with them and it was just so rewarding to see how they just blossomed as artists!

As far as the industry being the same in the future, like I said, everything evolves. I dont believe it will be the same. Who knows? Example: we went from 8 tracks, to tapes, to records, to cd's, to downloads.

It's very hard to find a tight knit group of people who share the same dreams and aspirations and can maintain focus til the goal has been accomplished. I've been blessed to find a bit less than a handful, but that's all I need. Some people live their entire lives trying to find that one person that believes and supports them and never do.

I want to give a shout out to my best friend and partner, UB (the Apex) for always supporting EVERYTHING I DO! Te quiero. www.305HipHop.com, Fillup Banks, I love you cuzzo!
My Big Records family, Rico & Carlos- Thank you for EVERYTHING. Your support in priceless. Here's to a beautiful new beginning! Let's get it! Headz Up Barber Shop- Juice and the boys: Thanks for always supporting me. Hugs. DJ's R&R, Mega Mix, As One, Heron & Kane, DJ Laz- You guys are the best!"
 
Want more Destinee? Log on to www.myspace.com/MaidenDade


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