She’s back in the industry limelight with a new situation as Vice President of BMB Entertainment, and flanked by an aggressively focused team, backed by the legendary Trick Trick of Detroit. Charli Baltimore is as hungry and lethal lyrically as ever; wiser over the years and more in tune with the business and process of reaching success, be it in the 90s or now. Her Hard to Kill Mixtape will serve as a reintroduction for those who may need to be brought up to speed. I recently sat down with the femcee, where she shared details about her new deal, new project, and new outlook on the entertainment business. The boss that she is, Charli Baltimore is back to shake things up. Parlé with me, as I present BMB Entertainment’s own Charli Baltimore.
Parlé Magazine: You are considered largely as one of the pioneering females in terms of hardcore lyricism, coming of age in what is considered the “golden age of Hip Hop.” Can you talk to us about the memories you have of that time in your career.
Charli Baltimore: I don’t know if I came up in the golden era persay but it was the 90s and it was definitely a great time with B.I.G and Pac just so much great music was made during those years. As a product of that time period, it does reflect in my lyrics; I’ve always been known for that (lyricism) and I take pride in taking my time to make sure that my material is cohesive. My goal has always been to make people listen twice, with that “oh she said that” affect. I learned the importance of that from B.I.G and to this day I can go back into some of his songs and find gems that he hid, finding new meaning to so many of his lines, years later. To me that is what separates me from a lot of other female artists.
Parlé: As you mentioned, B.I.G as well your alliance with Untertainment is well known; take us on up to your situation at Murder Inc and touch on if you will some of the lessons you learned business wise that you apply to your current situation as an artist.
Charli Baltimore: When I started my career as you said I was with Untertainment and through that I learned that this is a business; 85% of it is the business and 15% is the music. It has it’s plus and minuses. As an artist, we just want to create but in order to be successful you must learn the business and involve yourself in it. By the time I got to Murder Inc that was a learning experience in and of itself. When I first met Irv he didn’t think that I wrote my own rhymes, as you know that was still the era where people questioned if a female wrote her own material. For me it was a personal challenge to prove to Irv that I was the one writing all that. He would call me in from time to time to work on different things, and what I was writing was crazy. I called it the Irv Gotti Bootcamp. Funny thing is I was not supposed to be signed to Murder Inc, at the time he had a female artist already. It turned into me ghostwriting for other artists and they wouldn’t even know it was me. Irv had this idea that Murder Inc would consist of artists who were multi-dimensional, and together created a force. I loved that. I got to work with super talented people and as with all my experiences it has played a major role in shaping who I am today, as an artist and as an executive.
Parlé: For fans who wonder where you have been, or what have you been up to in more recent times, please update us on what you have been involved in aside from the music?
Charli: Even when I’m not in front of the camera I am still working. Honestly I prefer to be the one in the background, getting things done. I am always writing, and in recent years I have written for a number of people. I did take time off from recording; my daughter is a very successful model so I devoted time as a parent to being on set with her when she was a minor, starting out. At that time I felt I had to make a choice, my career versus hers and I did what any mother would do, I chose her best interest.
Parlé: One of the things that people have been wondering about and mentioning leading up to this interview, is the expectation and image of who they remember Charli Baltimore being, with the signature red hair and all; however like you said you have grown over the years, and that is to be expected. In listening and following your interviews recently, I can tell that there is an element of resurrection of your career so to say. Can you touch on that, and clarify for the people, who is Charli Baltimore today?
Charli: I am definitely still the same person I was, my mannerisms are the same, I’ve always been humble and grateful, that’s never going to change regardless of what my current situation is, and it is a good one! I’ve grown spiritually and mentally. My job and goal now is to help other artists; as an executive I have an advantage in perspective in comparison to other executives, having been through the ups and downs of an artist in this business. I understand the grind, and that is something I am able to help artists with.
Parlé: Hard to Kill the mixtape is right around the corner, you have the label position as you mentioned with BMB Entertainment. Your first single is titled BMB with the homey Trick Trick. Tell us about how that song came about, and your chemistry with Trick as peers and label mates.
Charli: Trick and I have a great chemistry. When I first got the track I wrote it so fast, hook verses and all. I always said to myself that I needed Trick on there, as a perfect fit. He loves hard beats. When the record was finished I knew it had to be the single. Trick wrote the treatment, co-directed the single and here we are. He’s awesome; I know his legacy may be what it is but I have grown to know and love him as a brother. He’s a great dude and super talented
Parlé: Is there any significance to the title of the mixtape?
Charli: It’s meant to mean that you can’t kill me spiritually, emotionally. The game will knock you down its rough, but as long as you get back up its all good. YOU CAN’T KILL ME.
Parlé: What can fans expect from the project as a whole?
Charli: They’re gonna get the lyrical content of course; thats what my fans have come to expect from me, and I still deliver. I played around with the music and concepts to show versatility on the project as well. For one, I was in the midwest recording so the tape has some midwest influence. That was a challenge in a sense to fit my style to their beats. Overall I think it’s substantial. There is something on there for everyone, and of course I have the personal records; I’ve been delving into that more with my writing lately and it shows on the mixtape.
Parlé: In speaking you have said that you are not so concerned with changing Hip-Hop. That’s not what your campaign is about; BUT I do want to touch on the fact of being a female in Hip-Hop, and the lack of representation of females in Hip-Hop today; ultimately if not to change that misfortune, speak to what will be your impact
Charli: I am approaching this tape and my brand from an artist’s standpoint. I’ve never been one to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of the business and the fame. I am just as content doing interviews behind the scenes in more low key settings, or simply writing. I guess when speaking on my impact, I would want to leave behind a legacy that can serve as an example to younger females, in addition to showing artists how to transition from artist to a boss. I will provide guidance and teach them how to deal with the ups and downs. That’s what my impact will be.
Image by Julius Stukes for Parlé Magazine