Far Rockaway Queens Hip-Hop MC Persia (legal name Rachel Murcerino) is known by most folks as one of the folks who wasn’t a straight up joke and actually had respectable skills on the VH1's 2006 reality TV series, Ego Trip's (White) Rapper Show.
We all know that real life isn’t what’s always (if ever) portrayed on television, both the good and the bad.
BlackRadioIsBack.com and the FuseBox Radio Broadcast was able to talk to folks and get some information on what’s been happening with the independent lady MC since the television show.
Persia kept it very straightforward and open on both the good and the bad side of things that have been happening with her life in general from the past to present day.
In this interview, folks talk about everything from her personal experiences in the music industry to a current and very serious instance of legal issues due to an ongoing domestic violence dispute with an estranged ex-boyfriend in which not only herself, but family and friends were in serious danger.
DJ Fusion: Peace Sis, thank you for even being able to take out your time in doing this interview and sharing some of your experience here with the audience of BlackRadioisBack.com and FuseBox Radio Broadcast during this trying time.
In your own words, can you give people some information about your background and why you decided to get involved in entertainment, especially with Hip-Hop?
Persia: I've grown up with Hip-Hop.
I can remember at the age of 7 recording Video Music Box and sitting with a pen and paper going heavy on the pause button just to write all the words down and reciting it over and over 'til I had it down.
I've always had a love for music and writing, it was only brought to my attention when I tried out for the White Rapper Show that I actually possessed some type of talent.
At that time, my Mom told me that this was God's calling for me, this way my ticket off the streets. I owed it to my Mom to at least give it a chance. And here we are.
DJ Fusion: No doubt, no doubt. Female MCs, much less dope ones, are seen as a dime a dozen in Hip-Hop, damned near since the culture and artform began.
Throwing in the mix that even now there has not been a white female MC in the mainstream who has gotten serious props, how have folks responded to your working in the field, especially with your style of how you go about things with the independent biz sense and grind?
Persia: To be completely honest, maybe 1 out of every 10 people bring up the fact that I'm white. It has never really been a topic amongst people I run into.
I've been lucky in that aspect I guess. Not to be considered a "white rapper"...
No offense to anyone, but that does come with a stigma.
I'm a hood chick, and as far as me & my fam are concerned I've been colorless since the day I was born.
DJ Fusion: Word, that's what it is. Now, one of things I'm curious about is from your personal viewpoint, how do you feel about the NYC's Hip-Hop scene?
From my years of being around the New York City and New Jersey scenes, my own observance is that it always been a real love/hate relationship going on at times on multiple levels of the area with how folks interact with each other.
Persia: Everyone wants to be the reason Hip-Hop is what it is today. And truth be told we are, all of us.
Some people just cant seem to share the glory. I myself am guilty of this at times as well.
It's hard to explain.
Hip-Hop has always emulated the streets and this is just a musical version of a turf war.
A West Side story of sorts...
People are too concerned with what the next man is doing, do you....
Jersey can hold down Jersey and the East Coast just as well as NY can.
It's all about respecting the next man's hustle just as you want yours respected.
Music is universal, I think too much time is spent on splitting things up into sub catagories...
DJ Fusion: True indeed. With your experience on VH1's Ego Trip's (White) Rapper Show, do you feel folks take you more or less seriously as an MC and just in general?
How do you feel about the entire experience with the crew on that show?
"Reality" television seems to place people in sort of a weird extreme of fame and recognition...
Persia: Shit, I was good.
Yea, the show was a joke but if you are real about yours and people respect you, they will respect you no matter where you stand.
I feel like I stood out even more so because I was the only one that wasn't a joke. I basically made the best of a bad situation.
I'm not sure if by crew you mean the Ego Trip guys or the cast, so I'll give you both answers.
From the very first minute that I met the other cast members, I knew this wasn't going to be good.
They sat me in a van with 100 Proof who looked to me to be a biker dude with a mohawk and G-Child who, um, was a sweet girl but was not Hip-Hop. So I had to come to terms with the situation I put myself in and just ride it out.
I clicked with Shamrock and Sullee basically because I felt like they was the most real, and had the most understanding of what Hip-Hop was. Too many people think that just because they can write a rhyme that they rappers.
That's a negative ghost writer....* laughs *
I hear a lot of people complaining about the way they were portrayed and granted editing is a mu'fukka but regardless if they showed one or 5 sides of who you are...It is who you are.
A lot of people get "reality" fame confused with Hip-Hop fame.
I might have been one of the only people who understood that I was a reality star, not yet a rapper in the eyes of the world.
It took a lot of grinding for people to let go of Persia from the TV and start to see me as Persia the rapper.
DJ Fusion: I can definitely see and understand that. It's a benefit to you that you've been able to stay focused and truly in the real.
Now, I have to get on a very serious note with you Persia, especially with our ladies from our audience...
There is a situation with you right now that involves an current entanglement the legal system and a situation with domestic violence. If you can, will you elaborate a bit in your own words on what is happening?
Persia: Back in 2006, I found myself involved with a very abusive person.
I slowly tried to break things off because i knew it was going to be bad.
He set my house on fire, threatened my life and the life of my mother.
He stalked everyone I had every introduced him too, threatening that if I didn't meet with him he would kill everyone and set my mom's house on fire.
The legal system doesn't really protect women in these types of situations but to add insult to injury, this guy was an informant for the police so there really was no one I could call.
I had seen him get out of a gun charge with a simple phone call, so I felt like I had no one to turn to. It had gotten to the point that I was parking 10 blocks away from whoever's house I was hiding at and walking to the house so he couldn't drive by and know I was there.
These were the most frightening walks I've ever taken.
My mom got me a gun. I ended up getting caught with the gun and facing illegal possession of a firearms charges.
I came to term with the fact that I was guilty but I felt like I had a good case due to my circumstances.
My lawyer said I had no case and that my best bet was to plead guilty and take the deal. Me, thinking my lawyer had my best interest in mind - I took it.
I plead to attempted possession in the 2nd and was told that if I agreed to accept the 7 months in shock, I would receive probation.
Now that the time for sentencing has come, my lawyer is denying ever saying any of that and I am facing 3.5 years state time.
DJ Fusion: That's crazy as hell what's going down with your case.
Domestic violence issues in my personal opinion have never been taken terribly seriously by our so-called U.S. "Justice" system until things are too late - folks get either seriously hurt or even worse.
From my understanding, the fact that this man is a police informant I am sure makes things very much more complicated legally.
There are going those people who say "why didn't you get away sooner" from this bad case. If it's not too personal for me to ask, can you tell our audience why or how you got into the scenario of needing a gun for protection?
Persia: Funny thing is 2 weeks into dating this person I knew I had to get away.
It took me 2 months to find the right moment to leave and even then, he destroyed my entire apartment. He cut up all my clothes, went to the bodega and bought pigs blood and poured it on everything. Kicked in the TV's, cut up the couches and the beds and then threw all my pictures in the bathtub and set them on fire.
When someone tells you that they are going to kill you, listen....yea, a lot of people talk shit and dont' really do anything but a lot of people snap and kill you.
I wasn't going to let that happen.
Once the life of my mother was threatened, I knew I had to stop hiding and face reality. My mom got the gun and was contemplating killing him herself because she said she had a better chance of beating the case because she was an elderly woman trying to protect her daughter.
But I couldnt let shit go down like that. I couldn't let my mom spend not even a night in bookings. I initially had the gun to protect myself, to be able to walk to my car without being killed.
Once he threatened to set my mom's house on fire while she was asleep that fear turned into anger and I no longer felt the need to hide, I now felt the need to confront him.
DJ Fusion: Wow. That's an extremely intense situation I can't even imagine going through, much less what activites I would engage in afterwards to defend my family, which is my heart, much less myself.
Persia, what would you advise for any lady (or man, since this happens all over) who gets caught up in a domestic violence situation and what they should do to get out of it and/or stop it?
Persia: Unfortunately, I still feel like this was my only choice. The law failed to protect me and now they are going to punish me.
But we as victims make the mistake of being ashamed and not telling anyone.
Tell anyone who will listen. Maybe you dont want to call the cops in fear that he will get upset and it will get worse.
That was my mistake - had I called the cops even if just to file a report, my case would be stronger.
You can go in and file a report without pressing charges. I didn't know this.
Do not hide, face reality with as many people that are willing to stand by your side.
There are so many people that want to help you, you just need to allow them to do so. No one deserves to live in fear.
DJ Fusion: Persia, thanks again so much for your time in talking to myself and our audience. I wish nothing but the best for your and your family in the future. Are there any final words you would like to tell anyone?
Persia: I want to thank all my fans for all their support. It leaves me speechless at the amount of love and support I get from people who dont even know me. this is how the world becomes a better place....
I have signed a deal with PurpleHeart Records and regardless if its in 2 months or 3.5 yrs, the album will be coming out!
This man tried to stop my dream and I just can't let that happen.
Persia is asking her fans and concerned citizens to fax letters or write to the District Attorney's office requesting that her sentence be reduced taking into consideration she is a victim of domestic violence, a single mother of a six-month old daughter with no priors trying to protect herself and her family.
The court case and District Attorney's information is as follows:
Rachel Mucerino vs. Ulster County
D.Holley Carnright, District Attorney
Ulster County Courthouse
275 Wall Street
Kingston, NY 12401
For more information and music on Persia, check out her official MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/persianyc.
For more information about domestic violence, please check out the American Institute On Domestic Violence and Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community websites for starters.
Thanks and much appreciation to Ernest Jackson at MNS Media for arranging this interview.