“And you got a couple of beans and you don’t have a clue?
You situation is bleek, I’mma keep it real cause
Fuckin’ with me, you gotta drop a mill
Cause if you gonna cop somethin’ you gotta cop for real” — Jay Z, “The Ruler’s Back”
Before Jay said that, when was the last time anyone thought about Amil? Anyone? Right.
Once an integral piece to the Roc’s early rise, Amil was the co-defendant on early Jay chart-toppers “Can I Get A…” and “Jigga What.” She had her own solo project (All Money Is Legal, 2000) and held her own with the boys on tracks like “4 Da Fam.”
Then, she was gone. No true explanation, no reasoning. She just stopped showing up anywhere the rest of the Roc was. As Amil now explains to Billboard, her absence was needed for her sanity.
“I wasn’t there mentally. I was in my own world. Was I prepared? No. Did I realize what was happening right before my eyes? No.”
“I started to rebel. I rebelled against the industry because it’s not what I wanted. I hated traveling. I wasn’t at after parties or the club. Also, at the time my son’s asthma, [who was] 5 [or] 6-years-old at the time, was getting worse and no one was there for him. I had to be there for him.”
“I didn’t think about the legalities of a lot of things. I never cared about the contracts. I could have been signing my life away… I was not a business woman at that time. I didn’t have a manager or the things that most artists have. I didn’t put my all into it. I didn’t give 100% of myself. I felt like it just wasn’t for me. That’s when I started rebelling. I started rebelling because I wanted out. It was easier for me to slip away. I faded myself. No one faded me. And, that’s when everything seemed to go left.”
“There was never a conversation. He (Jay Z) knew that that’s not where I wanted to be. I told him that I couldn’t do it for another year. I think he understood, overall. He thought that as time went on I’d be ready, but later realized I wasn’t. I know he knew, ‘She don’t give a fuck about this shit.’”
In 2014, Amil’s ready for everyone to see hear her again, first on the new song “Remember.” Ironically enough, she utilizes Jay’s “Where I’m From” instrumental, paired with Faith’s hook from “You Used To Love Me,” her punchlines are hit (“I do this for the streets, yeah, but only do it like every three leap years”) and miss but she knows most fans are just glad to hear her grace a mic again. She says it best: “I think you missed this bitch tho’, Nastiest voice, most ridiculous flow…” Indeed we did, Amil.
Amil’s finishing up her newest mixtape, A Moment In Life. Read her full profile at Billboard for the ongoing Ladies First: 31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop series.