Hear what cast members had to say about the upcoming season, premiering on WE TV this Thursday, August 29, 2019.
Some of hip hop’s finest gathered together in New York City on Monday evening to celebrate the forthcoming new season of Growing Up Hip Hop. At the season premiere screening, we saw the likes of record executive and Murder Inc. mogul, Irv Gotti, and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy and Flavor of Love, each joined by their songsmith children—all of whom will feature on this year’s New York City edition of GUHH.
As last season’s star Angela Simmons dazzled on the carpet in a sheer tulle gown, The Knockturnal had a chance to interview some of this season’s big names. We also got the scoop on Angie Martinez’s new series, Untold Stories of Hip Hop, which will be premiering on WE TV following GUHH, right from the radio DJ legend herself. Keep reading below to catch what these hip hop legends had to say.
The Knockturnal: Fans were really excited when we heard GUHH was coming here next. What about this season makes it quintessentially New York?
Lil Mama: I gotta see it first! I actually haven’t yet. I feel like a lot of times when I shoot with this show, one thing is happening, and then something else looks like it’s happening when you watch it. I know what I think of my city, I know how I see the city, so I’m as curious as you to find out what they do. But if there’s some cheesy shit going on, I’m definitely gonna post about it—just keeping it real! [Laughs].
The Knockturnal: Your role in the show is a little different. We have a lot of mentors who are parents, but you’re an older sister to Arnstar. What does this sibling relationship mean to you on and off the screen?
Lil Mama: I love it. He does everything I do, I taught him everything he knows! [Laughs]. Nah, I have a great relationship with all seven of my siblings, just as well with my Dad. The father-daughter relationship is a lot more of taking direction, spilling out experiences for advice, and hearing his perspective. Whereas with my brothers, it’s a lot more like I’m talking to a peer and understanding them in that way. Same level, you know?
I think my brother [Arnstar] is a very caring, understanding person. Although he’s younger, he takes on the responsibility of being a big brother—like, let me watch after my sister, let me protect her. He’s dope, I love him, and he’s super talented.
The Knockturnal: When you were “growing up hip hop,” the genre had a totally different energy. What do you think characterizes the NYC hip hop experience your kids are having today?
Flavor Flav: Ummmm…[Laughs] Look, one thing that I can say is that today’s music, it is what it is. We had that thing called a changing of the guards—when we was out doing our music back then, the music was a certain way, and a certain style. Then when people came after us, they took that style, learned from it, and turned it into their own.
Irv Gotti: Yeah, some of the recent successful New York artists would be someone like A Boogie, and I gotta say, 6ix9ine. So…
The Knockturnal: There’s been a crazy shift.
Irv Gotti: [Laughs] Yeah. But you know, that’s hip hop. It’s all good. It is what it is. Like, how we was in my generation is exactly how they’re doing their own thing in their generation. So I like this new era—I like the fact that it has its own style and flavor.
My kids are doing their own thing, too; they have their own vibe, their own energy with artists that they like. It’s different from mine. But I still listen to them and what they listen to. They’re just in tune with everything—with the newest of the new, not just the new rappers that are getting commercialized, but underground, upcoming artists. They’re SoundCloud kids. And you know what, that’s dope.
Flavor Flav: Our kids, man. They know what time it is, you know what I’m saying? I’m glad that God gave me the power to be able to influence my kids to do what they’re doing right now. God is good.
The Knockturnal: Lots of people interested in a show like GUHH might start watching because they want to see your kids learn from your success. Do you think you learn from them?
Irv Gotti: I always learn from my kids. When I shot Tales, my sons were producers. It’s not fake, it’s real, because I ask them: What do you think? What’s the new hot record? Who should I get as an actor, or actress that they like? I definitely listen and learn from them all the time.
The Knockturnal: What was the inception of Untold Stories of Hip Hop for you?
Angie Martinez: When that project came about, I had just finished my memoir [My Voice] which was received so well. It was one thing to write the memoir, but it’s another thing for it to go out into the world and see what people come back to you with. It seems like all the things that I took for granted, just because I lived it all, were things that people really resonated with—personal stories, first-hand accounts.
It wasn’t too much longer after that that the conversation started happening about doing a show like this with WE TV. It just made sense—I have so much history with so many of these artists in hip hop, but also I have a lot of interest with some of the new artists. Like, I find Cardi B’s story fascinating, how fast and how unexpected that whole thing was.
So to hear their stories about some of the things these artists went through behind the scenes; it’s super interesting. To be able to do it on a network like WE TV and come on after Growing Up Hip Hop? It’s a perfect fit.
The Knockturnal: Why do you think hip hop attracts special interest for reality TV, like Growing Up Hip Hop, and in-depth interviews like the ones we’ll see on your show?
Angie Martinez: It’s absolutely the genre of our time—and it has been for some time. Maybe it’s just recently getting the credit, but people don’t always recognize it as being our main cultural movement. I think it’s our history. Sometimes the little nuances and nuggets that get missed in a typical interview—where the artist has released a single or they’re promoting an album—these are important for us to see now. Especially, too, for aspiring artists and people who just love the culture. It’s our job to document that.
Growing Up Hip Hop: New York premieres August 29, 2019 at 9PM EST and Untold Stories of Hip Hop premieres September 26, 2019 at 10PM EST on WE TV.