Diamond has seen the highs and lows of hip hop. By the time she was just a teenager, the Atlanta native hit it big with the runaway hit “Knuck If You Buck” with her group Crime Mob. A slew of singles followed, including "Rock Yo Hips” and “Stilettos,” but internal dissension led the rapper to embark out on her own.
She’s collaborated with a who’s who of hip hop, from Ludacris and Trina to Waka Flocka Flame (and even nabbed nominations for “Best Female Hip Hop Artist” at the 2011 and 2012 BET Awards), but it’s her personal life that has taken center stage. High-profile relationships with Scrappy and Soulja Boy have kept Diamond in the spotlight, but she wants to shift attention back onto her career. Nearly a decade after she entered the game, Diamond now preps for her major solo debut.
You know the name. You (think) you know her story. Meet Diamond.
A lot of people know you from the group Crime Mob. When did you actually start rapping?
When I was like, 8 or 9. I was always into poetry. My older sister was in a rap group called SLC (Stay Low Clique) and she was the one who took her time with me [to teach me]. She was like, “Put these poems into raps.” At that time, I wasn’t as patient and I didn’t get it as quick. A couple years later, I met Crime Mob and then revisited it.
By 14, you were in Crime Mob with the hit single “Knuck If You Buck.”
I didn’t expect for it to take off like that. We went from burning CDs for our friends to colleges and radio stations. Radio stations found us. It was weird. In school, people were telling me they heard my song on the radio. Teachers pulled me out of class, asking for my autograph.
Is that when you knew rap was going to be your career?
Honestly, it just took off. I had just made the drill team and I had to make a decision: to do the Crime Mob video [or to cheer]. That was the first big decision for me. If you want to be successful you have to make a lot of sacrifices. From there, we had to do homeschooling. We were on tour for four years just off of one song.
You’re preparing for your solo debut album now. Does this go-around feel new or do you feel like a veteran?
Yeah. It’s weird. It’s a combination of both.
Given your history in the game, you’re one of the most recognizable names on the cast. Did you feel any pressure because of that?
I think the pressure is that I’m a very private person. There’s so much mystique about me. Sometimes you see me. Sometimes you don’t. Now, I’m more of a socialite. After that past situation happened with my ex-- him and his family getting on TV--now I feel like it’s something I gotta prove.
This season, what do you want viewers to see about Diamond?
I want to show people who I really am now. I just want people to learn from my story, too. Some of the mistakes I made. It’s about experience and being able to share that with someone else.
Was there anything you wanted to keep off the show?
Yes. A lot of things, but it is what it is. I didn’t want to show me being mad on camera or me being upset. I’m either extremely calm or I’m not. I guess when you disrespect me. I don’t care what people think because people can think what they want. I’m rah-rah but when I let my guard down, I’m a genuinely nice person.
Because of your high-profile relationships with Scrappy and Soulja Boy, a lot of people have opinions on your personal life. Does that bother you?
Not really. The people that I’ve come across have instantly seen that I’m not like that. In a weird way, even though I’ve been painted in such a bad light, more guys have gravitated towards it. It’s creepy. Why would you even want to take it to that? Guys, do you really want a good girl or do you want a girl to mistreat you? Bad publicity is good publicity.
I heard that you were initially going to do Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta with your ex Scrappy but decided to pull out. Why?
There’s a lot of reasons. The producer, the direction she was trying to go, I wasn’t into what she was. There’s more to me than just my relationship. You wanted to me relive something that was old, from my past. I wasn’t gonna come across as I’m still stuck on my past. I’m not gonna give light to something that was dead. I’m not gonna let you alter me in a light [and] everything that I’ve worked for, can be gone. Just like that.
How did you feel about being on Sisterhood of Hip Hop?
It made me feel good that our labels had to sign off on it. They [the producers] wanted the show to go hand-in-hand with our careers. Yeah, you’ll have your drama and you’ll have your personal life but it’s a combination. With those other people, they wanted to target one area of my life. There’s so much more. I felt I was blessed with this opportunity, so why not take advantage?
Watch an interview with Diamond!