By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Atlanta's Miss Mulatto, who won Jermaine Dupri's "The Rap Game" on Lifetime last week, said in an interview Tuesday that the biggest lesson she learned from him was humility.
"They didn't show this but none of us knew what that word was!" she said. "We were so lost!"
But Dupri can certainly brag about the success of the show, a competition for best young rapper. It drew 1.3 million overnight viewers for the finale and Lifetime renewed the show for a second season.
Dupri, who discovered Kris Kross and Lil Bow Wow, brought in five kids, ages 12 to 16, for a boot camp of sorts. He ran them through the paces, writing music, freestyling, performing live and doing a video.
Miss Mulatto acknowledged that when Dupri held a screening party last month and she was the only one who showed up, everyone assumed she had won. "Everyone was invited," she said.
She said she was familiar with the other four in varying degrees coming in, including her Atlanta rival Supa Peach. As noted on the show, they had even performed in the same show. "I wasn't really sure of everyone's skill level," she said. "Everyone had me curious."
Ultimately, Dupri liked how well rounded Miss Mulatto was. He liked how she spit rhymes and her writing ability.
During the show, some of the parents clashed, primarily Miss Mulatto's dad and Supa Peach's mom and sister. But the kids appeared to get along swimmingly.
Miss Mulatto agreed. "The managers had their problems," she said. "We were fine." She also defended her dad, saying "they tried to go in on him if you really listen. People called him a hater. Nothing he said wasn't true."
She said her father is not a stage dad in the sense he places his needs and wants over hers. "I'm the one who convinced him to be in the industry," Miss Mulatto said. "He rented cars for videos. He was familiar with the industry, the pros and cons for kids. I still told him I wanted to do it."
Miss Mulatto always perceived Lil Niqo (who was closest in age to her) as her biggest competition. Indeed, he came in second. "He congratulated me the week we found out and on Twitter," she said.
She also felt Dupri placed the rappers in the right order (5. Poopy 4. Supa Peach 3. Young Lyric 2. Lil Niqo 1. Miss Mulatto). "I agree with JD," she said. "I believe he hit it on the T."
In the first episode, Dupri had the kids "intern" at various studios. She had to clean up one and on camera, she didn't appear very happy about it. "They make it seem like I wasn't in it," she said. "We used to own a studio for four years. I was the one who had to clean up when they booked time. It wasn't really new to me."
She won the next round when Dupri took the kids on a tour of his Atlanta roots and were asked to rap about it. Miss Mulatto was the only one who followed the rules.
Her weakest point was freestyling, which she is working on. "I don't freestyle much. I've been writing out my elements. It's hard to break a habit," she said.
Now that she's part of Dupri's So So Def Records, she has already worked on a couple of songs including a single out in iTunes, "No More Talking." She also is planning a tour. "I've only done school tours in Atlanta," she said. "A tour across the country would be super dope."
She has really enjoyed working with Dupri. "I can definitely see why he's known for working with kids. It's not easy. But JD vibes with me really well."
She used to attend Lovejoy High School in Clayton County but has been doing an online private school since she taped the show. She does miss the experiences at school that fuel her raps.
Miss Mulatto said she just puts out songs she likes. "Whether you rock it or not, that's for you to judge," she said.
"The Rap Game: The Reunion," 10 p.m. Fridays, Lifetime