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Diamonique Doesn't Lose Sight of West Coast Queen's Throne
9/17/06 - exclusive interview by Dante


rapper Diamonique picture

Eve, Lil Kim, Lauryn, Rah Digga: it seems that most women in the Hip Hop game hail from out East, but coming straight from the Left Coast is an artist that has slowly built up a respectable fan base. Diamonique has developed a strong buzz since dropping her album "Diamond In Da' Ruff" and has long participated in worldwide tours. Nique has shared stages with the likes of Pitbull, Lil' Jon, Ciara, Baby Bash, D-12 and many others. The Inland Empire Latina with the sexy, sultry voice has proved herself not only as an MC but as an accomplished singer as well.

Diamonique, a former featured artist on LR, spoke with us about her upcoming projects as well as making it as a Latina in the Hip Hop game in this exclusive interview. Are you working on any new albums?

I just finished up a mixtape, the second single I have off there - I'm not sure if you remember the Raza song with Kid Frost? Me, Kid Frost, Lil Rob and Scoop Deville - Kid Frost's Son - we flipped it, its on the radio. Right now I have that mixtape, its called Coup D'etat. Doing features here and there. Snoop Dogg hit me up to jump on the "Vato" remix.


They're working on the original one, hopefully it starts getting some play. I'm working on an album, but right now there's no situation as far as major labels. I don't even want to really go with a major, I want to stay independent. In February, March we're releasing my album, I'm just putting out mixtapes now to ride the year out.

So are you on an independent label?

I'm not on no independent, I haven't been signed. We're just doing this movement, this Homeless Nation and Streetlife music, the production company. I'm pretty sure you've heard of Fingazz, he produced Lil Rob, Capone-E.

So how did you hook up with Snoop for the Vato remix?

Just different people, mutual friends. One of his people hit up [my manager] Terrance, said they'd be interested in me and what I could come up with for a remix. Sent me a track, I sent them the vocals back. He hit me up, he was real cool, man. He was like "What's good with ya, queen," just giving me props, telling me that he'd try to put that west coast stamp on it.

So you're repping Inland Empire on the West Coast, right?

Inland Empire, we're about 45 minutes East of L.A..

We think of how the Bay Area has a music vibe, does Inland Empire have its own vibe?

We do, there's a lot of really talented artists out there. Everyone doesn't sound like each other, definitely a lot of talent. We've been trying to get our stuff cracking for a while. Now people are actually looking over in this direction, its pretty good.

The last full length album you did was a couple of years ago, right?

Diamond in Da Ruff, that was like 3 years ago, 2003.

So any reason for the long hiatus?

Because of the whole situation with the majors. I figured that's how 50 Cent blew up, a lot of new York artists did mixtapes to build a name. Why put product out there if it doesn't have the right setup for an album. I don't want it to fade away. When I get into a situation that's cool, I'll put it out.


But I did the 1-2 Step remix, the Holla Back remix with Gwen Stefani. That helped too, keep my name in the game. People were tripping because I didn't have an album out but was able to keep my name in the game. Easy and cheap (laughs).

I get emails all the time about you doing shows, you staying pretty busy?

Yeah, I try to pop up here and there. Not saturate myself and play it out, but I try to pop up and do a show, so people still come. My fanbase is still growing, it works out

You ever been on the Lowrider tours?

I have, I've been on a lot of Lowrider shows. I've done the San Diego one, Vegas. This one coming up October 8, if I'm not mistaken. I've done them, I'm pretty sure I'll be doing more in the near feature. I'm trying to do this Supershow coming up in Vegas.

Its Mostly men on those tours. As far as you being a woman in hip hop, and Latin, do you feel it presents roadblocks for you doing shows?

Definitely. When they see me, they're gonna be like "who's this chick", but when they see me perform and hear the music, its more accepted. But when they're first passing me... It's a mans world, obviously its harder for a woman period. Me being Latin, before it seemed like doors were closed on me at a time. Now its helping me big time, I'm kind of in a good position being female and Latina.

Does anyone ever pigeonhole you as doing Chicano rap?

I don't think they really pigeonhole me as that, my music is more universal for everybody.

In your photos, you're often in button down shirts and hats, I'm not seeing you really do the trademark bikini pictures that some women use to convey a certain image.

Sell their sex, you know (laughs). It's cool, that's how it works for them. I just feel like me, when I do pictures and stuff, I'll switch it up. Its a photo shoot, I'm an artist, but a lot of times when I perform, there's no way I can be in a skirt and heels on stage. I'm kind of everywhere, it wouldn't look right if I was up there in a skirt. I just be comfortable, I be me, I'm able to rock the show like that. I'm pretty sure the crowd feels it, they're not tripping off that, they just want to see a good show.

Do promoters ever lean on you about your clothes or sex appeal?

Oh yeah! That's been one of the biggest battles of my career. That's one of the reason I never went there with a major label. Most times they take an artist and want to do what they want to do with them, "You're gonna dress like this, this is your image." I'm really stubborn, I want to do what I want to do. I'm good, I'm happy with the buzz I have, I want to grow, but I can stay underground and independent if they don't want to let me in. I feel good to be myself, and I think people appreciate that because I'm real with them.

Da Brat used to catch a lot of flack for the tomboy look.

That's the whole thing right there, they want the girl to sell the sex, its gonna help sell the CD if the girl looks really hot.

Are you managing any artists right now?

Right now, I'm mainly focused on my stuff, I'm trying to pave the way more. I can't take no artist under me at this point, I need to be more established until I know I can put them out there and not just have them sitting there waiting to come out. Lot of times, new artists don't understand. There's a lot of things, a lot of steps you gotta take. Eventually I do want to do that, I'm producing for Street Life under Fingazz, he's been teaching me. I'll have a label one day, right now I'm trying to build a name as big as I can get.

You make a reference on Diamond in Da Ruff about people trying to turn you into Pink because you could sing.

'Cause at that time I was doing the album, I was going on meetings with labels. This one company - I wont say no names - they liked the music a lot but they wanted to change my image. "She sounds like Pink." These people have no clue (laughs), 'cause that's not who I am. That's Pink, why am I going to go out there doing what she does. They have no clue sometimes, man.

Any thoughts for women MCs that want to get into the game?

Don't let anybody tell you different, you can do it. Doesn't matter if you're a woman or Latina. The game's a marathon, you gotta pace yourself. You can't just start lacing everybody, and try to win real quick, you have to pace yourself or you'll run out of breath. Stay balanced, research the game. If someone offers you a deal, don't get excited and just sign, research it, because I got myself into a lot of things doing that.

Anything you want to add?

Look out for the mixtapes, cause I have Coup D'etat, all the Homeless Nation which is my click that I've been riding with six years. All of us on there, its hot, rapping over a lot of classic beats. Another mixtape, just going to flood them.


Working on the Homeless Nation album, you might just be hearing that album before I drop mine, around February, March. Look out for the Snoop Dogg remix with Vato, hit the radio station and request it. The raza remix. I'm just trying to build my name and give the people what they want to hear, real s**t.

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