On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with Melyssa Ford and Monie Love to talk about their friendship, careers, and experiences in the hip hop industry.
Born in Toronto, Ford rose to fame in the late 1990s as a music video model. She was instrumental in pioneering the video vixen career path at the time and soon became one of the most sought-after models in the hip hop industry. At her height, she made memorable cameos in a list of videos including JAY-Z’s “Big Pimpin,’” Mystikal’s “Shake it Fast,” and Usher’s “Yeah,” among many others. Her curvy physique also gleaned her appearances in magazines such as King, XXL, and Maxim. Later on in her career, she branched out into television, film, and podcasting. In the last few years, she has spent her time focusing on the latter and officially launched her own podcast called “I’m Here for the Food” in 2019.
Love was reared in London and became a rapper when she was a teen. After relocating to the U.S. in the late 1980s, she became affiliated with the New York City collective The Native Tongues, which also featured A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers, and Queen Latifah, in addition to other acts. She teamed up with Latifah in 1989 to drop the single “Ladies First,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot R&B charts. She later released her debut album, Down to Earth, in 1990, which spawned the singles “Monie in the Middle” and “It’s a Shame (My Sister).” Throughout the 1990s, Love continued to release more albums and became a two-time Grammy nominee. Then, in the early 2000s, she crossed over into radio and hosted shows on stations in Philly, Houston, and Atlanta. Today, she hosts afternoons on ATL’s KISS 104.1 WALR FM and also appears alongside N.O.R.E. on Season 16 of the WETV series “Marriage Bootcamp: Reality Stars.”
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Melyssa Ford and Monie Love interview. Take a look at them below.
1. Monie Love on Her Accent
Though Love has stayed busy over the years releasing music and working in radio, appearing on “Marriage Bootcamp” has exposed her to a new generation of fans. While the emcee has always been vocal about her background, she explained during her interview that since appearing on the WeTV show, she’s noticed that some fans have been calling her accent fake on social media. “I just looked at it like you really need to get out more,” she said. “It’s common sense. If I’m born in England from Jamaican parents and moved to the United States for more of my 51 years, It’s normal shit and expected that there’s going to be dialect and shit that I pick up living in the United States. It’s a mashup at this point.”
2. Melyssa Ford on Her No-Nonsense Persona in the Industry
Ford rose to fame at the height of the video vixen era. She explained to N.O.R.E. and EFN that back then, she had to adopt a no-nonsense persona to protect her from predators in the industry. According to Ford, she realized that she had to do this after appearing in Ghostface Killah’s “Cherchez LaGhost” video and explained that the Wu-Tang rapper’s entourage made her feel uncomfortable on set. “That experience just taught me that I have to find a way to create this persona that people don’t ever try what happened in that room where I was afraid that I was about to be raped,” she said.
3. Melyssa Ford on Karinne “Superhead” Steffans
In the early 2000s, Karinne “Superhead” Steffans rose to fame after releasing her tell-all book Confessions of a Video Vixen, which detailed the romantic trysts she had with rappers during her days as a video model. Ford explained on “Drink Champs” that the book’s release made it hard for women in their industry because everyone eventually assumed that all video models were just like Steffans. “That book was the worst thing to happen to the music video industry,” she said. “Especially to women. The book put a mark on every girl that we are all just like her. That was wildly inaccurate. I was like, girl, just because you were paid to be with an artist in their trailer doesn’t mean we were all paid to do the same thing.”
Ford explained that she was invited to be a guest host on Frank Ski’s morning show on Atlanta’s V-103 FM in 2019 and it was there that she developed a friendship with Love, who was also guest-hosting on the show. After their appearance, Ford said they have been close ever since. “It was really interesting because we all gelled so well,” she said. “Chemistry, you can’t manufacture that shit. You either have it or you don’t. We already had a fondness for each other. But we had the opportunity to really sit and understand why the connection was all there. It was just bro-mance. I feel like the true essence of women friendship is admiration without envy and jealousy.”
5. Melyssa Ford on Leaving the “Hollywood Unlocked” Podcast After Her Mother’s Death
Ford was once a host on the “Hollywood Unlocked” podcast with Jason Lee, but officially parted ways with the show last year. She explained that she left shortly after losing her mother to colon cancer and said that she wanted to pursue endeavors that truly made her happy. “Afterwards, when you lose a parent, your whole perspective on life changes,” she said. “You really start to understand the concept of time. You really start to understand that I’m not promised tomorrow. So, I realized every moment is precious and I got to spend it in the way I need to spend it for my contentment.”
6. Melyssa Ford on Dating Drake
Early on in Drake’s career, it was rumored that he dated Ford. When asked about their romantic escapades, Ford shot down rumors the two had sex. But she explained that they did share a special connection. “I cannot lie and say that part of the attraction with him was how smart and cerebral and how Canadian he was,” she said. “We spoke the same language. We’re both half back half white. I really truly fucking adored him.”
7. Monie Love on Miss Jones’ Threesome Story
In July, radio personality Miss Jones appeared on “Drink Champs” and alluded to having a threesome with 2pac and Love in the 1990s. When asked about the alleged encounter, Love said it never happened. “I remember that night ending very differently,” she said. “It was actually TLC’s platinum party. Absolutely Pac came towards us as we were walking together. I do remember him leaning into us but then he leaned over to me and said something separately. It was basically, ‘You always gon be my girl. I don’t care who you’re married to or how many kids you have.’ For me, that’s where I went my separate way.”
8. Melyssa Ford on the Game’s “Wouldn’t Get Far”
Game’s 2006 single “Wouldn’t Get Far” with Kanye West called out many video vixens and Ford was among the women who were name-dropped. When asked about the track, she explained that she was surprised to hear her name mentioned because she never really interacted with the emcee. “I really didn’t know Game from a can of paint,” she said. “He was a G-Unit soldier. That was my only interaction with Game. I had a reputation for being really difficult. He never really propositioned me in the traditional sense of ‘hey, I want to fuck.’ He never came at me. I think that this was his love letter to me. I never had a Honda Accord. It was supposed to be a diss. I was not who he portrayed me to be.”
She said that she later had a conversation with the rapper about the song and he explained that mentioning her name was him utilizing his artistic license. “[He explained that] it was art,” she said. “[He said] your named rhymed and there was no one else [I could say that about]. And I was like, I understand, but the masses didn’t and they tortured me daily because of it.”
9. NO.R.E. on Monie Love’s Rap Battle Performance on “Marriage Bootcamp”
Later on in the interview, N.O.R.E. saluted Love and gave her props for being a hip hop legend. He told the story about how the two had to compete against each other in a rap battle during an episode of Marriage Bootcamp” and said that when it was time for Love to step to the mic, he was reminded of her amazing skills. “I stood there and watched Monie rap,” he said. “And I just see Monie not lose a step. It brought me back to Native Tongues. And I’m just sitting back like how the fuck does anybody forget how dope she is?”