AS: Well, Rich Girl is a metaphor, like Black Diamond is a metaphor. A lot of people didn’t know what “Black Diamond” was, but my daughter’s name is Diamond. And when I did the album Black Diamond, she was black and she was a diamond to me. When I did Mahogany Soul, it was blood, sweat and tears that I had gone through with a relationship and going into my own divine journey and coming up with: “You know what, my butt is burgundy, but it’s big and it’s off the chain!” Now with Rich Girl, it means through trials and triumphs, I’ve learned that money does not make us rich. It’s joy, the love of God, the spirit, the love of the gift and everything else that we can offer of ourselves that is rich. So Rich Girl would be the opening of what my book is. A lot of people don’t know one of my books that I want to write is Life in the Shadows of a Sex Symbol, and no it doesn’t mean verbatim, you guys know what it is. But at the end of the day a lot of how these songs arrive is how I think ahead of the game. I think of titles [because] when you have to write a title album, you gonna write thoroughly. And for me it structures what I am doing. Rich Girl, it’s off the chain. It’s 17 songs that reminisce my journey through my heart and soul, where I am today and where I’m going tomorrow.
U: Your bio says that you felt you were losing yourself when collaborating with others, yet the first track off the album, “Do What You Gotta Do,” was written by Y’anna Crawley, winner of BET’s “Sunday Best.” Tell us about the decision to record her song and how it relates to the rest of the album.
AS: The album is entitled Rich Girl, which is [the title of] another song Y’anna did. Y’anna is the season two “Sunday Best” winner. She wrote “Do What You Gotta Do” with my energy. In other words, she had in mind who she wanted to write like, and it was Angie Stone. So I realized that this is a person who learns from me. What better to have a source of a person that really learns from what you do and say? So when she brought the song to me I knew right away this was for me.
A lot of the people that I worked with prior to her were people that had written songs for SWV, for different people that were in a whole other hip-hop market place that even though I was familiar with because I was one of the first female hip-hop rappers — a lot of people don’t know that! I came from the group The Sequence. I was the first Sugar Hill Girl. We did a song “Funk You Up,” which keeps your head spinnin’. Dr. Dre did it, that was my song and a lot of people didn’t know that my face was hip-hop. I came in 1979 with two young ladies Cheryl The Pearl and Blondie, and I was Angie B from South Carolina. We made four or five albums. We made the Guinness Book of World Records. We made Catch Box, which is something that doesn’t happen any more for Billboard. We were the first female hip-hop group to do a twelve-piece record. Nobody realized that Salt-n-Pepa happened to step off after The Sequence. And now if you go through history, when I see Dougie Fresh and Grand Master Flash, when I see all these people they pay homage. They love Angie B because they know we were in our humble beginnings. However, I say that because I knew one day I would grow up and I would outgrow rap music. Sylvia Robinson allowed me that and I am grateful, so as a result I was able to do both.
But to make a long story short, I’m at this place right where I have the best of both worlds. I have hip hop under my belt, I have R&B under my belt so when I work with the Beyonces and the Marys and the Keys, and everybody else that comes along, I’m 13 to 14 years in the game before they get there. So to still be a part of that relevance right now is — you know when T.I. is giving me much love — it’s that type of thing. Like I said, “What goes around comes around,” and we’re in a space where real music is coming back and it’s coming back in a big way.