Don't X Me Out
Interview By Roger Hooks
Today we were able to catch up with Hip Hop Godmother Suga-T (Tenina Stevens). She's not just E-40s little sister that accompanies him from time to time on his music anymore. She's her own woman with her own hustle and her own success as a result. For those of you that have slept on her here is a refresher course. For those new to the game in the last few years here's a bit of a history lesson for you.
Suga-T is a native of Vallejo, CA. Growing up with five brothers always kept her full of life and willing to take chances. She teen parented two children and faced many challenges. Teen parenting, domestic violence, violent behavior, gun violence, alcoholism, low self-esteem and later music male chauvinism all took form at one point in her life. Life challenges gave her a chance to become an overcomer motivating her to gain her own independence in the music industry as an executive producer and founder of Hip Hop Mom Productions. She became a well-known and well respected national artist, executive producer, actress, speaker and song writer. After getting enough strength to leave an abusive relationship and unhealthy music brand, she used her creativity to go back to school completing an AA in Business and BA in Psychology. This strong but sweet icon worked her way to become a fragrance production company of Suga T Fragrance while serving as a motivational speaker with a focus on youth and families empowering women and girls to reach their highest potential. This nontraditional fragrance production company is a support to social causes as well as character building opportunities. Suga-T Fragrances highlights the “Sprinkle Me Collection,” named after her and her brother E-40’s Multiplatinum Hit. “Sprinkle Me” is a Guinness Book friendly item as the biggest brother and sister duet ever in history!
Suga-T joined her family's recording label Sick Wid It Records as an executive and artist. During her over twenty years with (brothers E-40, D-Shot and cousin B-Legit) The Click, she showcased her catchy phrases; writing numerous hooks of song and rap which have become urban anthems such as Hurricane, One Love, Sprinkle Me and Ooh, Ooh, Ooh. Initially, the group released a single entitled Captain Save A Hoe, street anthem and Billy Bad which was a social conscious message (addressing black on black crime) to the underground that established a loyal fan base. The group received a national underground following that enabled them to sale over 250,000 units independently. Furthermore, this positioned Suga-T and The Click as highly respected musical figures with an enormous and constant following. The Click collectively sold over 20 million copies during their 7 years with Jive Records on albums, soundtracks, features, and solo projects with music in rotation in media outlets all over the world. In 2011 she received the Legend Award, Humanitarian Award and Best Rapper Award. Suga-T can be considered one of the Godmothers of Hip Hop continuing to build her own inpidual following. After 25 years in the music and entertainment industry, Suga-T is still holding it down and heading Northern California's female hip-hop movement. She calls her style of Hip Hop, responsible Hip Hop and will continue to create Hip Hop, inspirational, gospel, rock, jazz, R&B, neo soul, pop expressing to her fans growth and innovation!
Suga-T’s followers are also familiar with her acting abilities as she co-starred in D-Shots movie Obstacles, MTV's Lyricist Lounge Show and Brian Hooks Maliboodie. After recently releasing two mixed cd’s found on Itunes, The Game Needs Me and Return of Suga, her new album “Woman” On both sides of the Game” will be a classic. She has incorporated her talent as a songwriter, singer, performer and writer all in one. The dramatic presentation will be the talk of the nation. In actuality, the world needs a resilient and compelling voice to challenge today's issues. When referring to "The Game Needs Me," Suga-T means that the hip-hop game needs a voice that doesn’t only sale drugs, alcohol, violence and sex in their music and lifestyle but that isn’t scared to present realness and love to balance it all out! This is why The Game Needs Suga-T, a West Coast pioneer, a female Don, and a true Hip-Hop Mom.
On Film, Suga T has co-starred in movies like MTV Lyricist Lounge Show Sitcom, Obstacles Movie on BET directed by D Shot , Maliboodie by Brian Hooks and other TV features as a personality, interviewee, writer, voiceover, creator and/or producer.
Now that you have been brought up to speed lets talk about what Suga has been up to lately.
TFM: Suga-T here on the West Coast in the Bay Area at Hotel W. Just trying to catch up to see what you have been up to lately.
Suga: [I've Been doing] Pretty much the same thing. Still doing my music. Doing a lot more producing now. I've always produced. I came in [The Game] as a producer. That's what I was raised to be which is part of the reason I'm not always in front of the scenes because I spend most of the time doing things behind the scenes... and so at this point I am producing a new album and continuing to work my enterprise elements which is music, a fragrance line and trying to make change in people's lives using my experience and my education also trying to fill a need and be connected to a social component in the midst of my walk.
Suga: The W.E.A.V.E project. Women Entertainers Against Violence Everywhere. It's a health awareness and violence prevention program that brought into the "Be About it" Movement which is my original youth and family service. This particular component is geared toward weaving women together to make positive change in the community. So we get together and produce different projects. And a part of those projects is currently the 'Throwback Balls'. So the Throwback benefit ball is preserving throwback music. I feel that throwback music is under estimated so there's a lot of us and others that want to hear good happy music that reminds them of the good times as well as good music, good artist and then of course it's a 'Benefit Ball' [for a good cause].
There is also an element of an all female show stage. So it's a presentation of all women entertainers of all different types tha tpresent what we call the Perfume Heels of Flows.
I have the new Album, 'Don't X Me Out" where. Yes! Suga-T sings. It's a singing album so I will be giving the world a little peice of the new project.
TFM: So I hear you have a gift for us.
Suga: [Giggling] Before I mention the gift because I do have gift for you guys... For You... The EP is actually donating proceeds from my EP towards the W.E.A.V.E project. I did want to mention that. I did not want to leave that out. So make sure ya'll purchase. It will be a digital release on iTunes and I will be also releasing it traditionally. So I have a variety of places to put it and I am choosing which ones in more traditional format in stores but currently you'll be able to get it online on iTunes and all the other digital outlets.
Of course you guys can continue to hear me on my brother's music [E-40] I am on his album that he has now.
At the end of the day. It's not about me it's about you guys being able to experience the album, The W.E.A.V.E project, my fragrance line, which leads me to what I brought for you. [Laughing as she pull out a bottle with the word 'Kept' on it], Love motion potion. This is love motion potion. This is one of the original limited edition. It's to relax, revive and stimulate. So our goal is to help you relax. This is from the line 'Kept'. So we originally started calling 'Naturally Kept by God' and we have different products in the line we are bringing in which is 'Love Motion Potion' which comes in a wash and comes in a lotion.
This is for you guys [She reaches over and sets all bottle on the table in front us]
Suga-T is still definitely on the move. She even has a mentoring program called the 'Perfume Sessions' where she conducts a workshop for education in entertainment and empowerment of young women.
You can also check out her new single 'Don't X Me Out' where Suga-T introduces her singing ability to the game. You can check that out right her on TheFlowOnline.com Click here to View the Video. For the full video of the interview check it out below.
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