Missy Elliott, Remy Ma, and Lil' Kim
In celebration of women's history month, we're spotlighting 31 great female MCs over 31 days. (left to right) Getty Images for BE, WireImage/Getty Images (2)

Day 23: Vita
As petite as she is, Vita can hold her own. It's safe to say that's why the East coast-native was brought in as the first female rapper of Murder Inc. (A co-sign from her manager at the time, legendary director, Hype Williams, didn't hurt either). After a hiatus, Vita is back with new music,  individually and with a group of strong female rappers like herself.

Beginnings
"They were looking for a 16-year old who was feisty for 'Belly.' I auditioned three times and got the roll of DMX's girl on the side. [Laughs] When I got the roll I thought I was [going to be] doing more but when the movie got cut, there was only a bedroom scene and car scene. I went and told my mom that I didn't want people to look down on me  because of the roll and she reassured me that it was just a role. There was a backlash. Some said, 'Why do black women have to get on screen and do certain things? White woman do it too though. People aren't going to love everything you do."

"There was backlash against the movie. They were saying it was more violent than the average movie that was playing at the time. Hype [Williams] spent a lot of his own money on the movie. It wasn't in all movie theaters because of the backlash."

Murder Inc.
"Hype, who was my manager at the time, introduced me to his colleagues which were Irv Gotti and Ja Rule. I met them at a video shoot (Method Man and D'Angelo's "Break Ups 2 Make Ups"). I was supposed to only be featured on the "[Irv Gotti Presents:] The Murderers" album but they wanted me to sign and be a part of Murder Inc. Coming into the situation, I was thinking that Irv Gotti was well respected and known in the game."

"I don't think the we, as a crew, got to go as far as we were supposed to because, mostly, everyone was scared of the game. We couldn't do in-stores cause of the name. There was a lot backlash."

The Making of "Put It On Me"
"Ja Rule came up with the idea and everybody built around it. We recorded it in L.A. Once every one did their verses, Lil Mo came in and she went to church on it. The record was hit."

No First Album
"The album not coming out wasn't because of my mom passing away. There was a lot of stuff going on in Murder Inc. that was out of my control. I couldn't push the button. A lot of things happened within the crew that didn't permit for things to happen or for albums to come out. I was new to the team, so I couldn't dictate. Things were out of my control. I don't think it was cause I wasn't talented or style; If I didn't Hype Williams wouldn't have signed me. I believe it was about timing."

"When everything came crashing down…  If you make a certain type of money, how can you really keep up with the pace that you were on originally? You're in a million dollar videos and then there's no Murder Inc."

Her Mother's Passing
"My mom passed away in 2008 of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease]. She got sick two years before she passed away. She went to the hospital one day cause she wasn't breathing well and two days later she passed away. I remind myself of what she taught me about women and our strength. It was tragic for me. The loss of someone you love is a feeling no one can imagine."

What's Next?
"For the last year, I've been focused on making music. I put out my 'Pre-Cumm' mixtape. The title was for shock value. I'm sitting over 50 songs that I recorded instead of chasing the industry."

I'm working with some female rappers that have been in the game now. Me, Da Brat, Justina, and Babz just did a remix together called 'My Bitches.' It's called 'Shemix' on the clean version. We're doing different records with each other.. There aren't too many females that are coming together and showing love. Guys do it all the time and make money. We should too."

"I'm working on a a sexy and classy lingerie line. I'm also working on a boo, not a tell-all, but it will include some of my experiences. I'm also on a reality show with some other women."

"I recorded a song for Rick Ross. Musiq Soulchild is also on the song. I don't know what's going to happen with that song."

Advice To One's Younger Self
"[I'd] cross my T's and dot my I's. I'd make sure I use the money that I am making to have a lawyer. When you're young, you don't have money. Me sure you have a great lawyer on your team. Learn to be a better business person, even if you have to take some classes."

"I'd also tell myself to be my own person and not put my life in anyone's hands. With my situation, i not only did other people's situations hurt me, but… when management and other parties seem like they don't care it also affects their artist."

NEXT: Diamond and Princess from Crime Mob

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