-- MTV News staff report
Like many children of the '80s, Lady May grew up listening to Duran Duran, the Police, and Elton John.
Then she caught the sounds coming from her older brother's room.
"He started playing Public Enemy and Salt-N-Pepa. When I heard 'Push It,' that was it for me. I was like 'I wanna be a rapper!' "
Straight out of the 'burbs, Long Island's own Lady May is poised for a breakthrough, but she's had a lot of minds to change since her hip-hop awakening.
"They used to say I sound like I was 300 lbs. when I rhymed behind the mic, because I was trying so hard to be hard," she recalled. "If you grew up in the suburbs, people automatically assume that your life was good and you were comfortable. It was a different geography, but pain is everywhere."
But overcoming geographical stigmas proved to be the smallest of the aspiring rapper's hurdles.
"I was no female Nas, you know," she recalls. "I kinda sucked."
Fortunately, multi-platinum producer Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie (who has crafted megahits for Notorious B.I.G. and P. Diddy) saw potential in the struggling MC.
"She was a savage, and I teach savage mode," Angelettie explained. "I come from a camp of savages, like Puffy."
"One rhyme I spit for him was like 'Ashes to ashes/dust to dust/who can you trust/in this world full of lust' and he's looking at me like I'm nuts in the studio," the rapper said. "You gotta simplify it a little bit, make it a little fun and entertaining."
The result of that feedback is May Day, the Lady May's upcoming debut which balances substance with party tracks that might draw comparisons to other sultry lyricists.
"I do not knock anyone for using sex to sell because sex does sell," May explained. "I will be using the sex part. I will be using the grimy part. I'll be using the educated part ... everything ... my beauty and my brains completely."
Can all that add up to make Lady May the right choice introduce a new hip-hop label, Angelettie's Crazy Cat Catalogue?
"Everybody was like, 'Yo, Dot, you gotta come out with a male first,' " Angelettie admitted.
"And it was just like, 'You can't be serious. You're telling me that I can't come out?' " May said.
Angelettie has no problems letting Lady May lead the Crazy Cat pack, and the rapper is already making a name for herself on the Rob Jackson track "Boom Boom Boom."
"Everyone has their time. Now's my time," May said.
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