NEW YORK — On Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, Lil Mama got the chance to perform at her hometown's biggest arena.
"That was my first time ever doing the Garden," she said the following afternoon. "I had my whole family with me. It was crazy! It was a totally different feeling than doing other cities; I was hanging out a little bit. So I came from the 'hood straight to the stage! Literally straight from home to the big arena."
In December, Mama was slated to rock the Garden as part of the Chris Brown and Bow Wow tour but she had to take time off to mourn the loss of her mother, who succumbed to cancer.
"We're good," she said when asked how her family has been holding up. "We're still movin'. We gotta make sure the crib is good and we're making sure we keep that apartment she had uptown. That's a certain kind of love right there. My brothers are holding it down."
Mama has been back to work the past few weeks and she recently finished another video. The track is called "Shawty Get Loose" and features T-Pain and Chris Brown.
" 'Shawty Get Loose' is basically just about dancing," she said. " 'Baby, do what you do/ Let me see you let down your hair.' I wear long hair in the video to give it that. It's beautiful. On the verses, I'm just spittin' — setting the record straight, nobody's seeing me, talking a lot of smack. You know how I do!"
Some have compared the clip to Michael Jackson's "Scream" video, in which the pop star appears with his sister Janet Jackson in a sterilized, futuristic environment. Mama doesn't mind the comparisons one bit.
"I feel honored, because that was one of the initial goals, and I feel that it was executed well," she said, adding that the emulation was intentional and that Brown was the only logical choice to step into MJ's role. "It's like, who else can you do it with right now? There's a few people, but they're not on the scene, and if they were, they wouldn't have done it better than me."
But unlike the original, there were no wires strapped to Mama or Brown. Everything you'll see in the clip was executed in real life, on the set.
"Everything we did, we did ourselves," she said. "[Chris is] very open to people with ideas, and that reminds me of myself ... and so with that said, Chris Brown, he definitely opened up. ... That boy takes the cake right now. He had his style of dancing, and I had my style of dancing. He's exposed to something else right now. That boy is — possessed or something."
Although the three Jive recording artists didn't actually get a chance to record the song together, they did have some bonding time during the filming of the video.
"It's gonna be crazy when it comes out," she beamed. "People are gonna be like, 'That's Lil Mama?!' We play characters in the video, me, Chris and T-Pain. It's a futuristic video. When the treatment was written, it was supposed to be the year 2030; I think it's even further than that. It looks like 3000! We shot it in the studio — I don't have my dancers in the video, Chris doesn't have his dancers in the video. We have some clean, long shots."
"[Chris] is the best [dancer]," she continued. "We turned it up! Every time we see each other the energy goes through the roof."
Mama, Brown and the rest of their tourmates (such as Soulja Boy Tell'em, Bow Wow and recurring guests Omarion and Hurricane Chris) have become real cool during her recently finished stint on the tour.
"We're just having mad fun, running around," she said. "When you get off [the stage], you have fun, relax, enjoy the other performances. I be with [the guys on the tour] or the dancers. If not, then I'm with my family."
Mama's debut album, Voice of the Young People, is slated for an April release.
[This story was originally published at 7:51 am E.T. on 1.23.2008]