Last month, Teedra Moses made a move that took everyone by surprise. A month after debuting her video, "R U 4 Real," signed to Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group and put a hold on her sophmore album, "The Lioness."
In her first interview after signing to Maybach, Moses opens up to Billboard.com's The Juice about the story behind the deal, her mixtape, "Luxurious Undergrind," and Ross' plans for Maybach Music.
The Juice: First and foremost, how did your deal with Maybach Music come about?
Teedra Moses: It was real amazing. I was out for my birthday December of last year. Came in late from drinking with my girls and decided to get on Twitter and check my DMs. I never check my DMs. I saw a message from Rick Ross, and he said, 'hey I'm a big fan of yours, what label are you on?' From there we started contacting each other via Twitter. I told him I wasn't with a label. He sent me his number. We ended up talking. I went out to his house, he asked me for 30 minutes of my time to talk to him. I went out there, Wale was there and Meek Mills.
With me everything is about vibe. If you believe in me and I believe in you, that's a sign, and that's what happened with Rick Ross and me. Maybach music is all about hard work. It's not corporate, 'oh that's not the single, let's try this or let's try that.' With Maybach if you believe you have something you work it. You get out in the streets and work it. Then they can't deny when people take to it. That's an operation I can roll with. I'm not being asked to come outside of who I am.
Did any labels reach out to you before Ross did?
Crazy thing is Naim Ali at Warner Bros came to meet with me. before the switch of the regime. He used to live next door to one of my best friends, so I knew of him. He came to one of my shows the week after, saw me perform and how my fans reacted. He was ready to go but that same day Tom Whalley said he was leaving. God was giving me a sign.
(Editor's Note: Teedra was also approached by Shanachie Entertainment around the same time)
Maybach is mostly hip-hop, were you at all hesitant when Ross approached you?
No. I just need a place to put out my music. I've learned so much being independent. I've learned to connect to the people I wasn't keen on looking for a deal. He saw how I was grinding, he respected that and he came to me. That's the situated I've always wanted. When you hear what i did on the Maybach Music compilation, "Selfmade" (May 24) I put myself in places that I fit. I'm not trying to conform. I'm just adding what I do to what they do, my way though.
Did you tell Ross that this is who you are and you didn't plan to change?
No, I didn't have to. If they have wanted something else they wouldn't have came for me. This is not a situation like most labels. What Rick Ross is trying to do is build a real label not a rap group. He [Rick Ross] went out and got Wale. He's not trying to have Wale do something different. There's an audience that likes Wale. Stalley has an audience who likes him. Ross isn't asking us to change or do something that we don't already do. He's picking artist that people cling to and he works that.
What's projects are you working on?
I'm going to put out a mixtape called "Luxurious Undergrind" (Summer 2011). This is going to be the first mixtape I grab a lot of features for, which I normally don't do. It will also be my first mixtape that will have a stamp from someone that people already respect. The attention that will be on this mixtape will be the same as the attention that would be on a sophomore album [therefore] I'm putting all my efforts to making this like Drake did. He made a mixtape so great that it could have been an album. That's what I want to do. I always said that I wanted to release "The Lioness" the right way, I think this will help me out.
I also just talked to Raheem DeVaughn, we're putting together a tour for August or September. Being on Maybach gives me a few more people that say, 'okay I'll help you now, cause you're not the underdog grinding by herself anymore.' I never was away, I just kept grinding and now that people are paying attention, I'm going to blind them.
Teedra will be live streaming her performance from e3rd Steakhouse & Art Lounge in LA, today (April 20) from 6 - 8pm. She will be answering questions both from the audience and from her fans via Ustream.