Ok, Bettie Grind. Rep your set for us real quick.
Im from Charlotte, NC. Plaza Road to be exact. I rep the Carolinas. The whole Carolinas is my set.
We here are RapWire feel like you can tell a lot about a person by their name. How did you get the name Bettie Grind?
Its actually a bunch of words mashed up into two. It stands for "I Bet He Grinds". Despite what you hear about me I've been doing my thing in these Charlotte streets for a long time. I can tell you things about the Charlotte music scene a lot of these artists can't. I can name clubs, legendary local rappers, open mics, music spots and all types of stuff that some of these newer local artists never knew exsisted. When I used to put out a lot of flyers and CDs in the streets people would see them everywhere and say "I bet he grinds." Also, I used to stay in the hottest Louie and Gucci and drive the flyest whips so people used to say "I Bet He Grinds" in another type of way too [laughs].
You claim you have made history for Charlotte Hip Hop. To this date you have now had THREE hit singles on the radio. Please explain why having your single "Dammit I’m Fly", which is your THIRD single that has garnered radio spins in steady rotation on the radio, constitutes "History"?
“Dammit I'm Fly” is HISTORY for many reasons. Many people don’t know that “Dammit I'm Fly” was in rotation in over 50 cities across the country INDEPENDENTLY. Some think the record only played locally but the record played in over 15 markets before anyone in the Carolinas even picked it up in mix show before growing as far as Los Angeles, Ca. “Dammit I'm Fly” has become an anthem for not only Charlotte but the whole Carolinas as well as many other states. It will be remembered by people & fans 20 years from now as a classic record in the likes of records made by Run DMC, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, L.L. Cool J, etc. “Dammit I'm Fly” made history by breaking records for independent Carolina artist by surpassing 4000 spins and the single is also the 1st indie record put into major rotation on the biggest radio station in the Carolinas WPEG Power 98 which is also one of the Top 20 stations in the country. I believe that “Dammit I'm Fly” was the first record released by a hip hop artist from Charlotte that made masses believe & want to support their own artist even though the artist wasn't signed with a major label. That's beyond HISTORY, that's God’s doing! “Dammit I'm Fly” made other cities around the country want to be like Charlotte for a change and not us trying to be like other cities.
This summer was your SECOND Summer Fest performance as an independent artist. How important is that to you? Please explain how significant that accomplishment is for Carolina music and artists?
Last year one of the artist’s performing brought me on stage as a surprise guest because he & I had two of the biggest records in the Cak. I wasn't originally a Summer Fest performer, but he and many others felt I should’ve been. But this year is hard to explain with words. It was surreal to be in major rotation and people riding around singing the songs I would be performing: “Dammit I'm Fly and “I'm Floatin” and hearing my name mentioned every hour on the radio for Summer Fest alongside the likes of Bobby Valentino, Ricco Barrino, Lloyd, Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, Mystikal, Rocko, and J. Cole. No Charlotte artist had ever been booked for Summer Fest. No indie rapper had ever been booked from the Carolinas period. That felt amazing and it was such a big step not just for me, but for every artist in Charlotte and the Carolinas. The significance of that is that it has opened the door for more artists to become a star amongst stars on hopefully more concerts to come. I’m trying to help pioneer growth for more Charlotte artists to be able to succeed in this industry. Summer Fest wasn't just big step for me; it was a leap for the Carolinas.
Some of your music touches on several hardships you, your family and friends have faced. Explain a few of your HARDEST times and what motivated you NOT to give up? What did you do to come out those situations? What are you doing now to prevent those times from reoccurring?
My biggest motivation is my kids. I only have one beautiful, smart, ambitious daughter, but my niece looks at me as father and I protect and care for her as if she were mine. My motivation is my past and not wanting my kids, and my friend’s kids, to have to go through the pains and hardships we have been through. My mother raised my sisters and me as a single mother throughout most of my life. I watched her struggle with 2 or 3 jobs while going to school which meant sometimes leaving us kids as young as 4 or 5 years old at home alone. When you grow up watching your mother struggling, not even being able to pay bills, get groceries, buy clothes and missing some Christmases; you don't want those same things to carry on to the next generation. So, my family is my fuel. Music is my way to pave a positive road for my family and friends. This is bigger than me. My success is not measured by money; it is measured by the lives I'm changing for my family, friends and our kids.
You own your entertainment label, "HoodSupaStar", and in your music you rap about many different hustles that you are currently involved in or have HAD to involve yourself in order to provide for yourself and your family but there are rumors that you are far from being self made like you claim to be. Questions are being raised and many people are saying that you come from wealthy parents. Would you care to address these rumors?
I hear the rumors. People tell me about the blogs. I hear about the lies these rappers are spreading. I appreciate you asking that question because most of the writers and bloggers are tip toeing around the rumors spread by misdirected rappers. I don't mind the rumors because people will always talk and that’s something I can't avoid. I'd rather them talk than say nothing at all. That’s free promotion for me and my company. The only thing I don't like is the fact that they are trying to take away from my struggle on my bumpy road to success. My mother and father are rich, but not rich with money they are rich with character wisdom, integrity, pride, and love. Now my father was rich when I was young. He was the first and only person to show me a thousand dollar bill when I was 4 years old. Later I watched a judge sentence him to 10 years in federal prison after being set up by the same informant who set up former Mayor Marion Berry and Rayful Edmonds all in the same year. Most of the time he was gone, my mother, sisters and I saw more struggle during those years than I can even explain in this article. My father is home now and supports me and loves the fact that his son is succeeding in something outside of street life because street life is the one thing that is 1st instinct for me and that I was born and raised in. I hear a lot of rumors that my mother is rich and is my investor. If that was true, would that really be all so bad? Would it really be a bad thing for a mother to want to help her talented son succeed? After all, isn't the main objective to get people and a major label to invest in you? But NO, Momma Jo WANTS to help, but she can't support me financially or my lifestyle. My mother is successful in her profession and is only able to take care of herself. My mother has never been able to give me any money towards my dream even though she wants to. My father hasn't either, but they both own small companies. For the record, my mother is a spa owner and my father a contractor in Ohio. People try to take from my claim to fame, but I know and my team knows the truth. People try to tear you down when you’re up. They say even an ant will kick an elephant when it’s down, but Hater I'm not down and if I do fall I'm cool because I already succeeded. God gave all this to me and if he wants it all back one day... So be it! I'll thank him for letting me have it for this long. But Hood Supastar hustled for all the flyers, posters, commercials, t-shirts, websites, cars, homes, clubs, shoes, clothes, etc. Love you Momma Jo! Love you Pop!
Check out Bettie Grind's Interview with Shelly B & Big Tyme TV
Check out Bettie Grind's official video for "Dammit Im Fly"
Do you believe in the "Carolina Movement"? What have you personally done to contribute towards it?
Yes! I definitely believe in the Carolina Movement. I remember when we Carolina artists couldn't get shows. We couldn't get radio spins anywhere in the Carolinas. I remember when we Carolina artists were laughed at if you said you were rapping. The Carolina movement is now much stronger within hip hop. We are now growing within underground and mainstream hip hop and we are growing fast. I have been a part of this movement from its beginning. Due to the success of my single, "Dammit I'm Fly", I am helping Carolina artists get promoted and paid shows at premier spots. If I'm getting thousands for performances as an Independent artist, hopefully that is creating a lane for more artists to get the same if they create the same buzz for themselves that I have.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rate the progress of the Carolina Movement?
In my opinion, we are at a 2 in my book. I don't its horrible, I just think we have a lot more work to do with creating more awareness of Carolina Hip Hop with consumers who don't realize that Carolina artists even exist. It can't be just one “Bettie Grind” signing autographs, it has to be 100. We are all we have. If I fail, WE fail. The movement is bigger than me. I'm merely playing my position and playing it well if I may say so.
You are extremely reserved and many people find you almost unapproachable. Do you feel those characteristics are hindering or have hindered any relationships or ventures for you?
I'm not unapproachable, but I have heard I seem that way. I have always been very private and that comes from my lifestyle and upbringing. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate from a fan and someone who wants to harm you. Because of that, my team is very protective with me as I am myself. Sometimes you can't tell what a persons true motives are, so you have to be attentive and observant when you are in my position. I will speak to anyone and I love to be approached by good people, but sometimes you get a nut case and to avoid a problem I stay to my team most of the time. When you're on T.V., radio, internet, in thousand dollar shoes, million dollar penthouses, throwing thousands of dollars in v.i.p. and in exotic cars; not everybody is happy for you. Some people want what you have and will do whatever it takes to get it. Another reason I keep to myself because it keeps me out of the mess pool of rumors and twitter beefs. I don't do drama and mingle in different circles because that will keep you in drama. Maybe this hinders me from business ventures, maybe not. I leave my career in God's hands. If I'm supposed to have something or be something, he'll get me there.
What comes Bettie’s mind when the word “money” is mentioned?
My daughter and her future come to mind. I have had it all way before this music, I’ve BEEN good. But now my only focus is making sure I leave a legacy for her and my niece to have everything I didn't or passed up because I didn't have the right guidance. All I want to do is to make sure the next generations of Hood Supastar Ent. can break the generations of curses, drug abuse, drug distribution, pimping, prostitution, lust, single parenting, murder, jail, and lack of education. I want to create a generation of positive wealth!
What makes Bettie Grind "happy"?
Watching my lil mommas enjoy life. Them participation in karate, ballet, girl scouts, etc. and them being able to do things those things with the motherly and fatherly support that my sisters and I didn't always have. Knowing they have never went without hot water, lights, food, clothes, drinking water, Christmas, etc. as my sisters and I went without. Them seeing that "IT" can happen. You CAN want the impossible and obtain it. They see me and see that it can happen if you work hard for it and stay on course. Knowing my mother has me here and I'm successful because I could have been dead or in jail due to my previous lifestyle. There is so much more to life than money, women and clothes. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and none of the materials I have acquired has ever made me feel as complete as knowing that I am securing the future for my kids, my family and my friends’ kids. “Bettie Grind” makes me happy. I was a "nobody rapper" and I have become one of the top emcees in the Carolinas without lying, stealing, or cheating anyone.
The internet has becoming overwhelmingly popular and is now such a major and critical tool for social interaction and promotion; how do you handle the negative internet attention that has come your way? How do you address any "internet beef" that has come your way?
I have no beefs. If a person talks about me on any social network they will NOT get a response. I'm everywhere if anyone ever has a question or concern, but the internet shall get no response. I respond with more progress. I'm only online to stay in touch with my fans who are the people who have helped make me who I am. I owe them that. I'm not there to converse with the bottom feeders.
You are hands down one of the Carolinas TOP artists on the rise, but you've been overlooked several times by a few Carolina based media outlets and award shows. How do you feel about that?
My team and I felt some type of way about some of the awards I haven't won because I have accomplished a lot of things that no other Carolina artists have. I think I may be one of the only Independent Carolina artists getting paid thousands for a show and I have the most spins ever for not just 1, but 2 Indy records out of the Carolinas. I am known well known throughout the Carolinas and across the country. I am in no way trying to take away from any artist grinding, I am just stating my facts and statistics. Either way win or lose, I am the people's champ and the people are all that matter to me. My team made me, the people made me, and the DJs made me, so keep the awards we'd rather have the money anyway! lol j/k
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