Open Space: Remy Ma

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This should rank high on your Most New York Interviews Ever list, because it probably tops ours.

Right down to Remy Ma declaring that we weren’t going to talk about Big Pun trying to change her rap moniker, then hitting a complete 180-degree turn, and describing in great detail, that time that Big Pun earnestly encouraged the Bronx emcee, who was perfectly content with being “Remy,” to change her name to Punish-HER.

Bless Pun’s spirit, but luckily, Remy stayed her path. One that led her to understand that “Everybody is a queen in her own right.”

On the latest episode of “Open Space,” the elegant Remy Ma takes center stage, waxing poetic on a wide range of topics, from the intent behind her viral show of unity among female emcees at this year’s Summer Jam concert, to more intense memories—including the realization that, despite all her success, she’d spent most of her adult life behind bars.

“The whole beef thing was still lingering around and everybody was like, Yo you gotta go up there and kill shorty,” Remy recalls about her Summer Jam set, during which she brought out several guest performers during a 22-minute set, including Queen Latifah, Eve, Cardi B and MC Lyte, as a show of unity among the women in rap. “It’s easy to tear something down, that’s the easy part. It’s harder to build something. And that’s what I wanted to do. This is the most that female rap has been talked about in years. What can I do, so that it resonates? Not just for right now, but after Summer Jam.”

It wasn’t easy pulling that together. “Everybody told me I couldn’t do it,” she says. “Because women are ‘catty.’ This one doesn’t like this one, this one doesn’t like that one. I used up my whole budget, and I started making phone calls.”

Elsewhere, Remy’s tone turns solemn as she describes a time of her life that’s thankfully behind her—the Seven Winters and Six Summers she spent behind bars.

“I was getting one visit, two phone calls and three showers a week,” she says. “And, that’s true. That was my life for a long period of time. One visit, two calls, three showers. And as a woman, that is horrible. It was very degrading…”

Watch “Open Space” above.