Remy Ma Talks Family, Freedom & Life After Prison [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
On July 31, Reminisce "Remy Ma" Smith was ready to head home to her three teenage children, husband Papoose and take a warm shower with no flip flops after sitting in prison for six-and-a-half years. But the rapper found herself going to sleep on a twin-sized mattress an hour away from the place her family calls home the night of her early scheduled release. Thanks to an incident that took place 10 days prior, Remy was forced to wait another 24 hours -- a time frame that felt like an eternity -- to walk out of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, the only maximum security prison in New York State, and into the arms of her family.
Weeks later, the former Terror Squad first lady found herself greeted by a swarm of press waiting to speak to her about her life behind bars while she sat in a midtown Manhattan studio in New York City. With a line of people itching to get their face time with Remy, two hours went by before The Boombox was called up to speak with the 34-year-old Bronx native. Before starting the interview, Remy said, "I know you!" As we rehashed the day nearly six hours were spent sitting with her and her family in the Bedford Hills visitor's room, Remy says, "I can still count on one hand how many people came to visit me while I was in prison, and you were one of them."
With an undeniable inkling to catch up on the last few years, Remy opens up about her three children and what life is like raising a family from behind bars. But before the discussion gets too deep, management tells Remy it's time to wrap up. With plenty more to talk about, the New York rapstress says, "I'll just call you tonight," and the conversation continues later that day while her "wonderful husband" was giving her a foot massage.
Not one inclined to keep quiet, Remy Ma opens up to The Boombox about legal issues, family trials and triumphs, wondering if the end would ever come and how she's taking back control of her life. So in the words of the Bronx native, #RemyHome #RemyBack #SheAround!
The Boombox: Long before news of your official release date came in you were fighting for an appeal. You lost the first one, but what happened with the others?
Remy Ma: You get to do three different appeals. I lost my first appeal, and [when] my second one came back I lost that one as well. There’s a third one that you can go for, [but] I was just so fed up with being disappointed... having other people judge my life. The whole process was very draining, and I just said that I didn’t want to do it anymore.
Would you say you just gave up?
Actually, I did at some point. I didn’t want to go for the third time. It would have cost me another $100,000, and the emotional stuff of putting in the papers and waiting to see what they’re gonna say, hoping that they are on your side … it’s just very draining. I have a very supportive family. I have my husband here, my kids love me and I didn’t even wanna put them through that anymore. So I was like, I’m just gonna ride it out. Time doesn’t stop for anyone … and now it’s over.
Watch Remy Na's 'Whateva' Video
Your kids seemed to take the first few years of your incarceration pretty hard. How did you and your family react when you found out you were going home early with no appeal?
[We] kinda knew [around] April that I would be able to go home July 31. We had like a countdown going on. It was kinda more like a [fun] joke thing: three more months, two more months, 16 more days. It was more of a happy thing as opposed to when we had been through so much with other instances of crying when [the kids] had to leave and stuff like that. Plus, they’re older now, [and] you know boys feel like they can’t cry once they get to a certain age. We cried for everything else; it was time to just be happy.
When you and I sat down together in Bedford Hills, you made it clear that you weren't going to let your situation interfere with your motherly duties. Did you continue to call home and help yours kids with homework every night?
For some strange reason, the older they got the less homework they had. It’s really strange. At one point, I would be on the phone with them trying to go over their homework ... but then they got [to be] about 12 or 13 and they were like, “[We] don’t have nothing.” Like, what school do you go to where you never have homework? Ever? [Laughs].
How is it being home with them on daily basis now?
They’re totally different kids. [When] seeing them in the visiting room … our time is limited so they act a certain way, but as soon as I came home I was like, “Why are their boxes in the bathroom on the floor? Somebody come pick this up -- “ [And they would say], “But if [we] were on the trailer you would pick them up.” I was really missing [them] and I didn’t want to do anything that would get [them] upset, but now I’m home and I don’t want boxes in the bathroom on the floor. It’s like I’m getting to know them, and more of their personalities that you don’t see when you’re just around for a couple of hours for two days every six weeks.
Knowing that you've missed out on so much, did you think the end of your sentence would never come?
I’m home, and I still feel like that sometimes. It’s just so unrealistic after being there for so long. It felt like it was never going to happen, then when I was supposed to go home on the [July] 31 they didn’t let me go home until the next day … that whole week was the worst. But that one day that I was supposed to go to sleep knowing that I was supposed to have left that morning was horrible.
Watch Terror Squad's 'Take Me Home' Video
After spending six-and-a-half years in prison, do you feel like a changed person, or just the same ol' Remy?
I definitely feel changed, and it’s not a feeling. I’m smarter, I’m wiser -- I feel like I’m about to sing the Marvin Sapp song [‘Never Would Have Made It’]. I have a different outlook on life. I know how it feels to be deprived of things that you may need or want. So [now], when I’m moving through life on a day-to-day basis, I try to do things like this is the last time I’m gonna be able to do it. Before, I couldn’t even remember [the] last interview I did [something] because it was just so nonchalant; it was just everyday, regular life. I couldn’t tell you what was my last performance before I was incarcerated. I couldn’t tell you what last meal I had, or anything of those things because I didn’t think about it; it wasn’t important to me. I think about it now. I can tell you everything I ate for the past week. I think that alone makes me a better person. I'm more appreciative of everything.
With everything that's happened -- being in prison, dealing with your family, having your career come to a halt -- what is the one regret you have from everything that has gone down?
Not being aware of who I am, and what God gifted me with. I took all my blessings for granted. The fact that God has given me another chance to do what I love to do, and still have my husband and my children and my sanity and good people in my corner, I’m gonna do it right this time and show that I appreciate it. I would say things without even realizing what I was saying like, "My talent is my talent and I was just born like that. I don’t owe it to anybody." But I wasn’t born like that because I was Remy, it’s because I was destined to be like that and I never really took the time to look at it like that. I was just like, "I can rap good because I’m smart and I know how to put words together," but no, that’s not what it was. It was more than that, and I get it now.
Watch Terror Squad's 'Lean Back' Video