Elliott Wilson: Checkin’ In With YN (Pt. 2)

Elliott WilsonElliott Wilson might not be the Editor-In-Chief of XXL anymore, but as he stated in the previous Ballerstatus.com installment, his focus right now is on “Miss Rap Supreme,” the latest project from the mind squad of ego trip.

The reality show pits ten female rappers living in a scummy Los Angeles nook, all competing for $100,000 of stone cold cash. Each episode, one femcee is eliminated until there is only one MC remaining. It sounds similar to “The (White) Rapper Show,” but there are a couple of differences and, perhaps, even more meltdowns.

So in part II of this Ballerstatus.com exclusive, Wilson discusses the aftermath of ego trip’s previous project “The (White) Rapper Show,” superstar lyricist Kevin “K-Fed” Federline and then, tells you why you must watch “Miss Rap Supreme.”

BallerStatus.com: ego trip made quite the splash with “The (White) Rapper Show” and it seemed like the company’s first real chance of doing something big.

Elliott Wilson: Yeah, “The (White) Rapper Show” was really our first chance to do a real series. We had done a couple of specials with VH1, which were one hour things. We did one called “TV’s Most Reality Moments,” and we did a three part series called “Race-O-Rama,” so we got to do programming with them. But “The (White) Rapper Show” was our first opportunity to have a real commitment, like eight episodes, a real series, a real chance to prove we can make real television and have a regular time slot. The team pulled together and we did a great job, I felt, and it was good enough to warrant a season two of a different thing. Ultimately, it was decided that we take the premise of going into a new direction and white rappers have become female rappers. There are a lot of parallels how disenfranchised that sector of hip-hop is right now. Female rappers are in a really sad state overall and here is a show that’s addressing that in the same kind of controversial way we always have. People are gonna say, “You’re making fun of this” or “You’re not making fun of this,” “Is this good for the culture?” “Is this bad for the culture?” At ego trip, we like to push those buttons and have people really wilded up and entertained, and I think if you look at our shows, you recognize it’s just not a dumb reality show. I think there are hidden messages, hidden layers and intelligence to it, plus a lot of humor and different graphics, designs and things you won’t see in any type of program.

BallerStatus.com: I need to ask, why wasn’t K-Fed on “The (White) Rapper Show?”

Elliott Wilson: (Laughs) Well K-Fed didn’t wanna audition, man! Khia auditioned. We don’t bring any ringers in. You have to go through everything, and you got to go on the weblog, tryouts or auditions, wait in line and who knows, maybe K-Fed didn’t wanna go through all that. Maybe thought he should just get the express check out line to the top. So he didn’t try out (laughs).

BallerStatus.com: A lot of people were talking about “The (White) Rapper Show” and not all of it was nice. They considered it a bit of a joke. I know Haystak, in particular, I know he felt it damaged the reputation of white rappers period. What’s your take on that?

Elliott Wilson: I mean, I don’t believe that. It’s funny because I think white rappers could be one of the most sensitive cats out there. I mean, they really all feel like there could only be one white rapper that is legitimately accepted by hip-hop or credible to the black community. I think what’s funny about a lot of the peer groups of the white rappers is they went totally dismissing the show at first to totally recognizing that the show was quality and wishing they could’ve been apart of it. And you know, I think a lot of people had that same reaction. I mean, it’s a reality show. Sometimes, with a reality show, when you’re casting, obviously, you’re going to want characters that have interesting personalities. This isn’t just a straight talent competition because no one will honestly wanna watch a complete hour long white rapper talent competition, or female rapper competition. We’re making a television show and this is entertainment. At the end of the day, a lot of these rappers who are lyrical or all about credibility, aren’t going to allow themselves to be put in a situation where they are completely powerless when they have to go into an environment and have to live with a bunch of strangers, and share one bathroom, and everything you do is filmed ’til you go to sleep and get up in the morning. Is Haystak really gonna put himself through all that sh**? Probably not, so I think is fluctuates.

I think white rappers in general don’t feel like they get a fair cut or get pre-judged, and I think that our show explored that. I think that’s the way it was before our show and I that’s the way it is after the show. It’s not like Haystak would’ve gotten this f***ing eight album deal, but then this white rapper show, maybe an A&R is second guessing himself and didn’t sign him. I mean, let’s be serious. White rappers face the same stigmas they always will face. The initial thing is to think this person isn’t that good or this person has to be extra good to even be respected. But the credibility of it is you even have someone like MC Serch apart of it, so it’s represents that. Serch at this point could still even out rap Haystak or a lot of these other cats as an OG in this game. A lot of times when we are filming these shows, he can go rhyme for rhyme with all these new people, new females, new men, the new guest stars we have. Serch is just legitimate. So even having him attached to it lends a certain level of credibility that Haystak or anyone else can’t really tarnish.

BallerStatus.com: It seems like there haven’t been too many cast members who have made some sort of an impact since the show, maybe only John Brown and Persia. They stayed relevant. Do you feel some of the cast members have made the most of their opportunity and do you feel they’ve moved forward?

Elliott Wilson: I think it’s exactly what you just said. I think in terms of “The (White) Rapper Show,” John Brown and Persia made the most of their opportunity and that’s what this shows been. We giving a way a $100,000 prize. We’re not giving anybody a record deal, we’re not signing them to J Records, taking all their publishing and all that. All we’re doing is giving you an opportunity. It’s like a hazing in some sense. We’re putting you through a lot and if you end up using this outlet, you can express yourself and sell your brand. John Brown was making makeshift f***ing Ghetto Revival T-Shits when he was taping the show and once the show came out, he had real Ghetto Revival T-Shirts and Real Ghetto Revival hoodies, and was selling them sh**s online. So yeah, it’s like anything. You get a great opportunity to promote yourself, a lot of artists say they recognize their own personal brand, so these shows we’re doing really showcases that and how hip-hop has changed. All we’re really doing is giving you a forum to learn about the culture, go through somewhat of a situations where we’re kinda messin’ with you and hazing you a little bit. But at the end of the day, it’s an enriched experience you’re gonna end up coming away with. It’s up to you, during it and after it, to make the most of whatever opportunity is. All we’re doing at the end of the day, is exposure for you and exposure for your brand.

BallerStatus.com: When did production for “Miss Rap Supreme” begin?

Elliott Wilson: We shot it last Fall in October or November in California. I know it was around a six week, seven week shoot. I was there for four weeks. I was out there for the beginning and then, I came at the end, so I missed one or two episodes in the middle of being on actual set. It was a really f***ing seedy part of downtown LA where there is just tons of homeless. It was a really depressing environment. It was really kind of a sh**ole where we built this kind of fantasy house, this Fembassy Hotel we came up with, and that was kind of a cool thing we put together. But it was really in the middle of an f***ed up situation, and it could be really depressing and grueling at times to really film given the circumstances of the situation. But we wanted to do something different. Obviously, the last time we were in the Bronx, so we felt like, “Ok, California, LA, something different,” but we didn’t wanna do something real glorious “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” type of sh**. This was a way to kind of do it and also, keep it a little grimy and the girls really had to go through that. The girls thought they were going to go to some posh Hollywood mansion, but it was poking fun at that a little bit. It was a crazy experience. It was like a road game for the ego trip team. For “The (White) Rapper Show,” we were in the Bronx, and a lot of our production partners had to be outside of their element, live in the Bronx and come to the set. This time, we had to be a little bit out of our element. A little thing called compromise, I guess (laughs).

BallerStatus.com: (Laughs) Wow. So what exactly was your role?

Elliott Wilson: (Laughs) I think my main title is probably more of talent wrangling, trying to get rap superstar to show up. It’s a weird thing because for “The (White) Rapper Show,” we had a certain level of guests we wanted to get, but with female rappers, a lot of them you can’t get access to. It’s not like you can get Queen Latifah to show up or Lauryn Hill to just pop on by. We had to go into a unique different direction to get the guests and I don’t wanna give them all away, but my main job was helping with the talent wrangling a lot. Ultimately, what happens in anything with me doing a show like this, there are constant different decisions and there is a lot of huddling up and [making] every decision, from what these people should do and who is getting eliminated. It’s a lot of huddling and everybody getting together, and voicing their opinions. I was just doing my part in terms of making decisions on what should get down. I’m a little bit decisive at times and quick to be able to make a decision. I was able to voice my opinion and my opinion was heard a lot of times.

BallerStatus.com: Right … so Khia appearing on the show was a bit of a surprise.

Elliott Wilson: (laughs) Yeah. The thing about Khia is she’s wasn’t any kind of ringer. She went through the whole situation just like the rest of them. She auditioned, I think, in the Atlanta audition, she flew out to California with people, auditioned there and we picked her. We thought she was going to end up in the finals because we were kinda impressed at times from other challenges where she rhymed and really came up with original material. But when she did the “Nuns” bit, she did one of her old songs and we didn’t catch it because she was so emotional about it and hugging the nun. We didn’t really get it and saw this side of her personality that was really sweet. So we were like, “Khia is so sweet and she might win this whole thing.” But when we did the elimination and did the whole “Respect Me” thing, and flips out on Ms. Cherry and find out she did one of her songs, we had to kick her out because she violated the rules of the game. We were mad disappointed.

Obviously we knew she was a great character and she really couldn’t take the tension between the girls. Like I said, you can be the most talented person, but can you deal with living with these strangers? I think once Khia got situated in the house, she really didn’t like having to live with these people and she flipped out, and she made the whole elimination about challenging Ms. Cherry, instead of really trying to perform to stay in the house. So she just really blacked out. To be honest, when she did that, it was f***ing insane. She really blacked out (laughs). She just blacked out and that sh** lasted ten minutes. You don’t even understand. I don’t know if the TV does it justice, but you could hear a pin drop. It was a complete insane moment because you already know it’s the first elimination, how is it going to go, are they gonna forget their rhymes, is it gonna make for good television and then, she just brought the intensity to another level. When we kicked her out, we really thought she was going to take a shot at Serch, but she took her sh** and left. I think at that point, she didn’t even wanna be there anymore. She wanted to leave. I think she sabotaged herself and couldn’t take it. Once she got there, she as like didn’t wanna be apart of it. It’s not like we went out and recruited her. She went through the same things the rest of he girls went through.

BallerStatus.com: So what was it like after you found out Khia used her “Respect” rhymes?

Elliott Wilson: It was like, “Yo what are we gonna do?” And we decided we needed to stick by the rules and get her up out of there. So she was eliminated the same night and Lionezz was in a car going to the airport to fly out because when you get eliminated on the show, you just gotta get the f*** out. You pack one bag and they pack the rest of your sh**, throw it in the back of the van, you go to the airport and you’re gone. So we had to bring the car back, make an executive decision to bring Lionezz back and kick Khia out that same night. I mean we stretched it out to two episodes, but it really all went down that same night. Serch already slipped into his civilian clothes and had a hoody on, and we had to call the director back from McDonalds to come back to the set. It was a crazy first night. That was the first f***ing night and it was insane. We had one elimination, we reversed our decision and we’re bringing the other girl back. So when we called the network to tell them that, they were out of their f***ing minds (laughs).

BallerStatus.com: That reminds me, is there any chance you can hook me and D.A.B. in the Salt ‘N Pepa suite?

Elliott Wilson: (Laughs) She lights your fire, man! That’s your girl! I will tell you this, in our exclusive footage that didn’t make the cut, it’s like “Girls Gone Wild” with some of the footage we got. I think all things considered, I think we kept it PG 13 with what we have shown on TV. So DAB, I think she definitely had a different energy with her drug problems being so revealing and you know, even though unfortunately she had to get eliminated so early, I think she engaged a lot of people and brought a different element of it.

I think we got a great cast of girls who are very different, distinctive and have their own little personalities. A tough little chick form Massachusetts and she is a former drug addict, but the whole thing of like, “Is she gonna be intimidated by these black girls?” And she holds her ground. You look at her and Nicky 2 States, and their dynamic, they become really close and good friends. But in the beginning, Nicky was really uncomfortable with her past and drug use, and was very judgmental, so you get to see that and that’s a situation where you see real issues tackle real issues that exist. I thought that was a great moment. Even though she wasn’t on the show for very long, her presence was felt.

BallerStatus.com: Being around hip-hop for so long and being an expert, who surprised you the most during the auditions that made the show?

Elliott Wilson: I don’t know if it was so much the audition … I can’t give away what happens, but I think what’s great about it is, especially after “The (White) Rapper Show,” you get to see people grow, and get better and get their confidence up. You get to see the emotions and see how Ms. Cherry, who seemed from the jump like one of the strongest cats we had and she may win the whole thing, and she is really dope. We do this performance in the second episode where she forgot her words and totally lost it, so she really gets rattled and off her game.

But ultimately, I think it’s more about watching the evolution of how people get better, or stumble and get nervous, and I think that is what is most intriguing: seeing the psychological aspect of it. In the second episode, the final performances aren’t that good and I think that’s because the girls were really nervous about them coming up with original material because Khia got kicked out. Their stuff was more original, so they had a harder time memorizing it and were very nervous. So seeing how people are able to deal with the situation and either seize the moment or fail, and you go through this roller coaster ride where you get invested in one character and feel this person should be the one, and your whole view switches. I think that makes it intriguing. I feel with “The (White) Rapper Show,” we were able to deliver that. You look at somebody like John Brown, you go from thinking this guy is just the biggest f***ing douche bag on the planet and then, you end up respecting him a little bit and end up liking him. He ends up in a lot of the ways being the most enduring character, and outside of it, he is a really smart dude. I like that kid a lot, and he has a lot of energy and hustle to him. He was able to change people’s perception of him throughout the whole show. So you have to watch the whole thing to understand it.

BallerStatus.com: Speaking of John Brown, on “The (White) Rapper Show,” we saw him being the victim of getting slapped in the face with a dildo by Persia.

Elliott Wilson: I don’t think it touched his face. It came pretty damn close though. But it didn’t touch his face. I will say that in my man’s defense (laughs).

BallerStatus.com: (Laughs) Well, I gotta ask, will we see any chicks smacking each other with dildos because that could be pretty cool.

Elliott Wilson: No, actually, I don’t think it made the final cut, but Nicky 2 States has a vibrator that she called Choca, and I don’t know if Choca ends up making the cut. But on VH1.com, if you look at episode extras, you’ll see where Nicky 2 States ends up showing her vibrator Choca. So she did have a little toy and as you saw with the second episode, you saw her having a little bit of fun with the blow up doll we had that had a special body part she found amusing. So there is a lot of use of sex toys, but we try to keep it a little bit of PG 13. But if you dig deep, you can find some good vibrator moments and ego trip will continue delivering great vibrator moments in our reality television (laughs).

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