Rah Digga and Chocolate Thai                                                                          By Rashmi Shastri

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NYC's feisty freestyling expert, Chocolate Thai, has teamed up with Flipmode's first lady, Rah Digga, to bring us an explosive hip hop mixtape. The ladies tell us more in this in depth interview.

Rah Digga and Chocolate ThaiChocolate Thai is best known for her superior free styling skills and appearing at MC competitions on and off television. We know and love Rah Digga for being Flipmode’s first lady, and most recently saw her feature in the video for Busta Rhymes’ ‘Touch It (Remix)’.

‘The Price Just Went Up’ is a well-suited title to the new mixtape created by New York City’s Chocolate Thai – an album that can be downloaded for free on the internet, no strings attached. Getting together with Rah Digga, the pair came up with some explosive hip hop anthems for this project, a mixtape which also features MC Lyte on the intro and outro, and is hosted by Babs Bunny of ‘Making The Band’ fame.

Rah and Thai show that there is still unity between females inside and outside of music and when they do finally work together, they come up with the goods. It’s girl power all the way. The Situation got on the phone with the duo to find out more about their new release…

You’re all busy ladies, how did you all get together to create this project?
Chocolate Thai: I came up with the idea for the mixtape. I was touring Europe earlier this year and I know that Rah has a lot of love in the hip hop game, so I asked her if she wanted to get involved.
Rah Digga: Initially when Thai reached out to me, we realised that the market is open to our ideas. The appreciation and love for hip hop abroad is more genuine than opposed to in the States. I was all for it. I know some people are wondering what the hell is going on since I haven’t released anything for a while.

What’s the idea behind the name ‘The Price Just Went Up.’?
RD: I came up with the title. Artists are always more successful when they have a physical project out. If you don’t have anything out you don’t really have much leverage. When we put the mixtape out, we thought this is going to be something that circulates and some of the songs will be some underground classics. I figured once this came out we could up the speed and be like, ‘Now we have a project out so the rates have to increase.’ That’s the story behind the madness of the title.

What kind of example do you hope to set for other female rappers through this mixtape?
CT: The mixtape is being well received right now and we’re speaking to many promoters about it, so hopefully things will pop off and it will show what we can do. A lot of people think that females can’t work together; that they don’t support hip hop, but that’s not true.

What was it like to be in the studio together?
CT: We had a ball!
RD: We each had our own batches of songs ready made before we started the mixtape so we only came together to do the collaborations. That was a fun night! There was a lot of smoke in the air and some good vibes.
CT: One of the things I loved is that I’ve worked with females before and they sometimes are skeptical of each other and it takes a while to get comfortable with each other.
RD: We were friends already so we didn’t have to worry about letting our guard down and being ourselves. It’s been love from day one. We talked about world politics and it took about 10 hours to start recording. At about 4am we’d be like ‘Okay, let’s start writing!’

You’ve been using MySpace to promote the mixtape. How important do you think it is to connect with listeners on a personal level?
CT: I’m managed by MySpace and I love it. I think that Tom [MySpace technical expert] is the greatest. It enabled me to get in touch with the world. I think that it’s a great advertising tool; I’ve made so many contacts from all over the world. The mixtape is already doing well and it’s not even available in the stores or on the streets.
RD: I’m thinking what the hell can I sell online?! I love MySpace too. I have my own website as well www.rahdiggamusic.com, where I’m selling all the songs that I haven’t released. I get like 4,000 requests a week and I used to have an intern running it, but it got even too much for her, so I try and answer the mail myself now. I don’t think the world is clear on who manages Rah Digga; I’m always put under the Busta Rhymes umbrella but people don’t realise I have my own management and team outside Flipmode and Violator. Tom is a genius. I’ve tried to talk to him personally but he keeps sending me to the technical site.

Thai, you’ve been rapping for a long time now, but we haven’t seen you in the spotlight. Why did you choose now to be your time?
CT: I haven’t heard anything that I wanna hear from labels, so as an independent artist I toured Europe without having an album. I knew that the project would work. Even if a label had this project it wouldn’t have been out this soon due to politics. If we’re paid with the right money we’ll make a full fledged album together.

Why do you think the scene is lacking in the female touch?
RD: Being on a major label scale they aren’t really interested in investing in the females like they used to. After doing the maths they don’t think it’s worth it and that’s a realistic conclusion. It costs more to promote females. There hasn’t been a female to go platinum in years, or even gold. Remy [Ma] didn’t, Trina didn’t. [Lil’] Kim didn’t go gold and she had the hottest record of the summer [‘Put Your Lighters Up’]! She went all the way to jail instead. I don’t know if it’s the state of the economy, but you can love an artist and never buy their record. The internet has taken over.
CT: CDs are gonna be obsolete soon. What’s the point of spending all this money on artwork and packaging when they’re just sitting on the shelves?
RD: Tower Records, which is the biggest CD franchise ever, has gone out of business. It’s like the Taj Mahal of CDs. If you ain’t Jay-Z or Puff you’ve got a hard road ahead of you. You can definitely get a hard copy of the mixtape at one of our shows, but other than that, you have to go to the internet. Time will tell if this is the way to go but I believe it is. It’s not popping heavy in the stores for anybody right now.

Have you made plans for ‘Volume II’ already?
RD: We really want to test the waters with ‘Volume I’. We have discussed ‘Volume II’. The target audience is definitely people overseas. We want to give it a chance to circulate over there and get a mini tour going. As we travel from place to place we’ll have more to talk about and record it along the way. We got a lot of stuff on ‘Volume I’!
CT: Everybody’s talking about ‘Volume II’ when the first one has only been out for a week. If you want a full album from Rah and me you need to pay for it!
RD: Just for the record, Thai and I are free agents.

Why is your audience in Europe and overseas important?
RD: I like Europe because I know it’s a more authentic crowd. I’ve been signed to Flipmode for almost 10 years now and I’ve been to every State but I haven’t had a chance to travel Europe properly. I’ve done shows in London and Germany but it’s always been a come and go thing. I’m getting older, the game is still fun but it’s more like work for me at this point. I would love to be somewhere that will remind me of how fun it used to be.
CT: I was so gonna say that. Europe was fun for me. If it’s hot out there, the States will follow. It used to be the other way round for a long time.
RD: We’re not appreciated in the States anymore, so it’s different when we go somewhere else.
CT: We can go to France and get love. I did a couple of collaborations out there with some artists. I think people are waiting for one chick to bring the game back. It’s going to take a whole bunch of talented and positive people to work together. I’m a fan of Rah and hip hop.

What do you think of the state of hip hop right now?
CT: Hip hop doesn’t have the movement that it used to have. People know a song more than they know the artist. I like to know the person I’m supporting and go and see them live. The game isn’t like that anymore, it’s about the videos and smoke and mirrors. It’s the music of the urban people so it’s not going anywhere but we need to do more.
RD: It’s entertainment and there are all kinds of artists. I like the ones who can pour their heart and soul into songs, but when I’m in a club I want to shake my ass. I don’t want to be partying and then I hear Talib Kweli. This is a dog eat dog business and people have families to feed. If you have to play the role and give people what they want, then that’s what you have to do. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be yourself and the world doesn’t want to see your real self. You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.
CT: Some people have no integrity, but we’re not talking about those people. You have to follow your heart. You gotta put on those smoke and mirrors sometimes!

For more information on ‘The Price Just Went Up’, check out: www.myspace.com/RahDigga1, www.myspace.com/ChocolateThaiNY, www.myspace.com/firstladybabsbunny.

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