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Remy Ma

Remy Ma

Reminisce Mackie (née Smith; May 30, 1980),[1] known professionally as Remy Ma, is an American rapper. She was initially discovered by Big Pun, and came to prominence for her work as a member of Fat Joe’s group, Terror Squad. On February 7, 2006, she released her debut studio album There's Something About Remy: Based on a True Story, which was a modest success, peaking at number 33 on the Billboard 200 chart. She is one of only five female rappers to ever top the Billboard Hot 100 chart (as a member of Terror Squad on "Lean Back"),[2] and one of only three multiple winners of the BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, which she won in 2005 and 2017.[3]

Ma's most successful songs include "Ante Up (Remix)", "Lean Back", "Conceited", and "All the Way Up". Ma is the recipient of two Vibe awards, two Source awards, and has been nominated for three Grammy awards. Since 2015, she has starred on VH1's reality series Love & Hip Hop: New York, alongside her husband Papoose.[4]

Remy Ma
Reminisce Smith

(1980-05-30)May 30, 1980
Castle Hill, The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Other names
  • Remy Martin
  • The BX Savior
  • Shesus Khryst
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
Years active2000–present
Papoose (m. 2008)
Musical career
GenresHip hop
Associated acts
Websiteremymamusic.com [87]


1980–2003: Early life and career beginnings

Ma grew up in Castle Hill Projects in The Bronx, New York, and often saw the consequences and terrors of her family's drug abuse with her own eyes.[5] She was forced to take care of her little brothers and sisters at a young age and retreated from her home issues by writing poetry. Her reputation quickly grew around the Bronx and word eventually got to the late MC Big Pun of her and her work. After one meeting and a freestyle session, Pun immediately became her mentor.[6] Ma made her first appearances in the music industry on Big Pun's album Yeeeah Baby (under the name Remy Martin) on the tracks "Ms. Martin" and "You Was Wrong".[7]

2004–2007: True Story and There's Something About Remy

After the death of Big Pun, rapper Fat Joe signed Smith to his imprint label under SRC and Universal and made her a member of Terror Squad. Following the success of Lean Back, which garnered Ma a Grammy nomination, She released three singles from her debut album There's Something About Remy: Based on a True Story; "Whuteva", "Conceited" and "Feels So Good". The album moved 37,000 units in its opening week and 158,000 units within the first year.

2008–2014: Marriage, BlasRemy, and I'm Around

In 2008, Papoose and his cousin stated that he and Ma were to be married, but due to Ma's impending prison sentence of potentially up to 15–25 years, the couple had changed their plans and intended to marry her in jail instead.[8] The wedding was called off for one day after Papoose allegedly attempted to smuggle a key into the jail on their wedding day in May 2008. After the incident, Ma married Papoose the next day inside the courtroom right before sentencing and he was barred from visiting her for six months. Ma provided updates posted via her official Twitter and MySpace pages.

In 2011, Ma's music was featured and discussed in a documentary, Black Lifestyle in Japan, where she was praised for looking "stylish" and outlined as one of the most frequently listened to hip-hop musicians in Japan, among younger women.[9] She was released from prison in 2014.[10]

2015–present: Love and Hip Hop, subsequent albums

In 2015, Ma joined the cast of VH1's Love & Hip Hop: New York for its 6th season.[4] She returned for the seventh and eighth seasons in 2016 and 2017.[11]

Via Hiphop Wired, Fat Joe revealed that he and Ma would be releasing a joint album.[12] On March 2, 2016, the joint album was officially announced as Plata O Plomo, which translates from Spanish to "money or bullets". The phrase was used by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who would offer government officials and law enforcement the choice of taking a bribe, or having a murder contract placed against them.[13][14] The album's first single, "All the Way Up", was released the same day.[15] "All the Way Up" was a critical and commercial success, receiving platinum certification from the RIAA, and two Grammy Award nominations.[16]

Plata O Plomo debuted at number 44 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 11,158 album-equivalent units.[17] The album received generally favorable reviews from music critics,[18] despite lukewarm commercial success.[19] XXL gave the album a 4 out of 5 stars, noting that the album is a "a triumphant return" for the duo.[20]

Ma is currently recording and promoting her sophomore album 7 Winters and 6 Summers and her third album PunisHer, as well as her next collaboration album as part of the all-female rap supergroup 3Sum, alongside female rappers Shawnna and Jacki-O.[21]

On August 20, 2017, Ma opened a women's clothing store in Raleigh, NC called Conceited. Ma and husband Papoose were live in person for the opening.[22][23]

On November 8, 2017, Ma released the first single from 7 Winters and 6 Summers. It featured fellow New York rapper Lil Kim and a sample from Kim's "Queen Bitch" from the 1996 album Hard Core.[24][25] On January 19, 2018, Ma released the song "Melanin Magic," the second single from 7 Winters and 6 Summers. Featuring vocals by Chris Brown, the track made use of a sample from Mint Condition's "Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)." [26] On April 26, 2018, Ma released the song "Company" featuring fellow Bronx artist A Boogie.[27][28] Shortly thereafter, the music video for the song was released.[29]

On June 12, 2018, Ma released a single, "New Thang" with rapper French Montana which will appear on the soundtrack for the motion picture Drew.[30][31]

Ma is currently a host on the talk show called State of the Culture.[32] The show talks about everything that has to do with black culture.[33] Her co-hosts are Joe Budden, Scottie Beam and Brandon "Jinx" Jenkins[34]

Personal life

Family and relationships

Smith married Shamele Mackie, better known as fellow rapper Papoose, in February 2016. The couple were initially scheduled to be wed while Smith was incarcerated in 2008, but the wedding was called off after police caught Mackie attempting to smuggle a key into prison and banned him from visiting her for six months.[35]

Remy Ma has one child from a previous relationship, as well as three stepchildren with Papoose.[36] She gave birth to the couple's first child together, Reminisce Mackenzie, on December 14, 2018.[37][38]

On July 13, 2007, Smith turned herself in to New York City police in relation to a shooting early that morning outside a Manhattan delicatessen. Police say that while she was with a group of people outside the Pizza Bar, a Manhattan nightspot, a verbal confrontation broke out at 4 a.m. During the entire incident, a gunshot to the torso wounded Makeda Barnes-Joseph, who had been accused of stealing three thousand dollars from Smith.[39] Police sources indicate that Barnes-Joseph later identified Smith as the shooter.[40] Security tapes from inside the club showed no evidence of any altercations or arguments. Smith pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault, and criminal weapon possession.[41] Smith was later charged with witness tampering and assault after an August 2007 incident in which she was accused of causing several male friends to attack a witness's boyfriend.[42]

On March 27, 2008, Smith was convicted of assault, illegal weapon possession and attempted coercion in connection with these charges. She was immediately taken into custody pending sentencing scheduled for May 13. She was acquitted of witness tampering and gang assault.[43] At her sentencing, the judge noted her disregard for the victim following the shooting—commenting that the rapper rifled through the victim's purse looking for the alleged stolen money, as Barnes-Joseph sat seriously wounded in the car. Smith then exited the vehicle, jumped into a waiting car and drove off, leaving Barnes-Joseph bleeding in the front seat. No money was found in Barnes-Joseph's purse.

The shooting caused Barnes-Joseph to undergo several surgeries. In 2007, Barnes-Joseph filed an $80 million civil lawsuit against Smith for damages, along with pain and suffering. According to her lawyers, Smith was serving an eight-year term at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, New York, located in Westchester County and was expected to be released in 2015.

Smith married her fiancée, rapper Papoose, while incarcerated in May 2008.[44][45] During an interview with Hot 97 host Funkmaster Flex in July 2012, Smith announced that in 22 1/2 months she would be released.[46]

In February 2014, her husband Papoose confirmed that Smith should be released during July 2014.[47] On August 1, 2014, Smith was released from prison after serving six years.[48] In October 2018, Smith launched a new clothing line, with proceeds going to the Remy Ma Foundation to help women and their families who have been negatively affected by incarceration.[49]

After recently being investigated by the NYPD for allegedly assaulting Brittney Taylor, one of her Love & Hip Hop co-stars[50], Smith turned herself in to the authorities and is being charged with a misdemeanor assault.[51]

Controversies and feuds

Foxy Brown

A beef between Remy Ma and Foxy Brown originated in August 2004, when an interviewer noted to Remy: "Right now, it’s a lack of female rappers in the game. Foxy don't got anything going on," Remy Ma responded: "How do I feel about them? Stay wherever they at, don't drop a song, don't do nothing, let me be the only one. I'm having so much fun. I hope they never come out [...] Nah, I wish everyone the best of luck. Just don’t drop when I drop. That’s all I got to say. Matter of fact, just don’t drop at all. It’ll even be better."[52] In September 2004, Remy recalled that after a rap battle with Lady Luck at Fight Klub, her refusal to "show some type of seniority or respect" to Brown became one of the building blocks in the feud.[53][54] Remy also recalled that during the incident the two were arguing over a future rap battle, where Brown declined and allegedly stated, "What? A battle? That's for beginners. We sell records in Brooklyn!"[53][54][55][56] Remy dissed the rapper, responding, "When the last time you sold a record? Get the fuck out of here [...] I'd rather be a beginner that's on fire than be a washed-up veteran. Are you fucking serious? Don't try to degrade what I do."[53][54] Remy additionally revealed that a prize of over $200,000 was offered to whoever won the rap battle.[55][56]

Another building block to the feud was Remy's recollection of her and Brown coincidentally being interviewed at the same events either "before or after" each other, where she would catch wind of Brown "subliminally" dissing her by making statements like: "I've been doing this for years. These new chicks, they['re] not on [my level]."[53][54][56] In another event, specifically a Baby Phat after-party, Foxy Brown intentionally tried to bump into Remy.[55][56] The occurrence resulted in strands of Brown's weave getting caught in Remy's bracelet, causing Remy to snatch her wrist back and yank out the strands.[55][56] Remy recalled that Brown in response "kept it moving [despite a scuffle] she had with 'regular' girls in a bathroom [over cutting in line]."[55][56]

In late January 2005, Remy Ma reportedly punched Foxy Brown inside Island Def Jam/Universal offices,[57] roughly a few days after Brown "subliminal" disses Remy during a venue at Jay-Z's Best of Both Worlds Tour and allegedly dissed her during a Hot 97 interview segment with DJ Clue, where Brown disses Remy on a mixtape track ("We Hustlaz") and allegedly ranted: "Who drives 645's? That's wack [...] We sell records [in New York]. We don't just get on the radio station and pop shit."[53][54][58] In February 2006, Remy Ma released a freestyle record ("Most Anticipated") that contained "slick comments" about Brown's hearing problem and stated that she didn't care if it was offensive because "it was just good punchlines".[59] In September 2006, Remy again joked about Brown's hearing, addressing to a radio show: "...now Foxy suddenly got her hearing back, [I] wanted to be the first to inform her that she's wack and old."[60]

In July 2007, during her interview with Sub 0 Magazine, Foxy Brown dissed Remy Ma, stating: "When you lookin' at Fox[y] and Kim and sayin', 'Damn y'all make me wanna rap.' Well shit you disappointing me 'cause you sound horrible. You look horrible, ya sound horrible. If it walk like somethin', talk like somethin', act like somethin', then it is somethin'."[61][62] Brown also dissed Remy's recollection of their disagreement over the rap battle, addressing: "Some of these female rappers have the wrong approach, they wanna be my friend. And instead of approaching me like, 'Hey, how you doing', another chick [Remy], 'Yo, what up with that battle?' And I'm lookin' at her like, 'You bum ass. Naw, I don't do that, I'm a business woman baby.'"[61] In December 2007, Remy spoke more candidly on her dispute with Brown.[63] She confirmed that although she disliked Brown as a person, she admitted she liked Brown's music and added that she was influenced by her and Lil' Kim.[63] Remy later concluded her take on the feud by giving a shout-out to Brown's rival Jacki-O and stating, "If you look at every female that came out after [Foxy Brown] or when she came out with [Lil'] Kim, to Eve, me, Jacki-O, it even got to Latifah, like how do you [get in a fight] with Queen Latifah? Like, are you serious? This chick is a problem."[53][54] In 2017, Foxy released a new single called "Breaks Over", a diss track aimed at Remy.[64]

Nicki Minaj

Disagreements between Nicki Minaj and Ma originated in 2007, when Ma took note of Minaj's freestyle record, nicknamed "Dirty Money", from her mixtape Playtime Is Over (2007).[65] In the record, Minaj recites: "Tell that bitch with the crown to run it like Chris Brown/she won three rounds, I'ma need a hundred thou/like 'Chinatown' — bitches better bow down/oh you ain't know, betcha bitches know now/fuck I got a gun — let her know that I'm the one".[66] Minaj reportedly never confirmed or denied that the song was about Ma;[65] however, Ma remarked in a 2010 interview: "To this day I still feel like [the song] is a stab at me; I'm gonna [diss Minaj] back for that one".[67] Although Ma and Minaj shared words of encouragement,[68] their relationship soon soured, and they began releasing verses and songs with lyrics aimed at each other, including Ma's "Money Showers" with Fat Joe and Minaj's "Make Love" with Gucci Mane.[69]

On February 25, 2017, Ma released "Shether",[70] which contained a number of accusations and allegations regarding Minaj's personal and professional life.[71] She followed this with "Another One".[72]

On the March 3, 2017, edition of The Wendy Williams Show, Ma accused Minaj of "trying to keep [her] off of red carpets" and "trying to make sure awards don't go to [her]".[73] A week later, in an interview hosted by BuzzFeed, Ma stated that she had second thoughts about releasing the diss track and commented on the difficulties of being a woman in the music industry.[74] Minaj subsequently responded with the song "No Frauds",[75] in which she accused Ma of spreading falsehoods.[76]

On June 12, 2017, Ma took the stage at Hot 97's Summer Jam. During her performance, she brought out Queen Latifah, Young M.A, Lil' Kim, MC Lyte, Lady of Rage, and Cardi B to perform "U.N.I.T.Y." After the group left the stage, Ma launched into a performance of "Shether", while photos of Minaj were displayed on the stage screen behind her. During the performance, she repeatedly directed f-bombs at Minaj.[77]


Solo albums
  • There's Something About Remy: Based on a True Story (2006)

Collaborative albums
  • True Story (with Terror Squad) (2004)

  • Plata O Plomo (with Fat Joe) (2017)[78]


2015–2018Love & Hip Hop: New YorkHerselfMain Cast, seasons 6-9
2016Inside the Label(with Terror Squad)Herself1 episode
2017Merry Mackie Holiday: SpecialHerselfMain Cast, 1 special episode
2017 & 2018Hip Hop SquaresHerself, panelistSeason 1, episode 11 "Fat Joe vs French Montana" & Season 2, episode 1 "Blac Chyna vs Jeremy Meeks"
2018Queen of the SouthVeeSeason 3, episode 5 "El Juicio (The Judgement)"
2018 & 2019State of The CultureHost17 episodes
2018Meet The MackiesHerselfMain Cast, 3 episode special
2018Angela Rye's Midterm ElectionSpecial Guestepisode 1 "Our Vote. Our Power"


  • Remy Ma: From the Grind to the Glamour (2006)

  • Shesus Khryst (2007)


Awards and nominations

BET Awards

2005Remy MaBest Female Hip-Hop ArtistWon[79]
Fat Joe & Remy MaBest Duo/GroupNominated

BET Hip Hop Awards

2016"All the Way Up"Best Hip-Hop VideoNominated[82]
Best Collabo, Duo or GroupWon
People's Champ AwardNominated

Soul Train Music Awards

2016"All The Way Up"Rhythm & Bars AwardWon[83]
Best CollaborationWon[83]

Grammy Awards

2005"Lean Back"Best Rap Performance by a Duo or GroupNominated[84]
2016"All the Way Up"Best Rap SongNominated
Best Rap PerformanceNominated


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