An affinity for the finer things in life earned 22-year-old Brittany Nicole Carpenter the moniker Diamond, but it's been her durability since her acrimonious 2007 departure from Crime Mob—the platinum-selling quintet known for hit singles like "Knuck If You Buck," "Rock Yo Hips," and "Stilettos (Pumps)"—that's cemented her resemblance to the indestructible stone. In the three years since going for dolo as a solo artist, Miss 32 Flavaz has become a grown-ass woman—literally, figuratively and, most importantly, lyrically. The Atlanta native's three-volume mixtape series, Bitch Muzik and P.M.S (Pardon My Swag), easily confirms that her 16s have become honed on a, uh, diamond edge.
Having recently hopped on Ludacris' "My Chick Bad (Remix)," the sultry MC is prepping a takeover with an as-yet-untitled debut album that boasts production from Three 6 Mafia, Jim Jonsin, and Fat Boi, with guest spots from Keri Hilson, B.o.B, and Lloyd. Complex caught up with Diamond on tour to talk about her post-breakup career and why she's known as the 32nd flavor...
Interview By Maurice Bobb
Complex: How are things with Crime Mob?
Diamond: At first there was no communication, or there was a lack of communication—didn't nobody really see each other—but now we're talking. We're having conversations and thinking about future things together.
Complex: If you're talking, why not get back together and put out an album?
Diamond: I worked so hard after the separation of the group to prove myself as a solo artist, that's what people want to see. I would confuse them by going right back with the group. I mean, at first, I was still trying to see what would happen with Crime Mob and when I realized nothing was gonna happen, it was about survival...and then as it turned into a solo thing, I was like, "I like this, it's fun." I don't have to divide my money five ways. I can talk about what I wanna talk about without having to run it by others. I wanna just focus on this now and get an A+ on this and then go to the group and get an A+ on that. I'll just go back and forth and go to other ventures.
Complex: How did you get on Ludacris' "My Chick Bad (Remix)"?
Diamond: Ludacris and Lil Scrappy are on the same label and I think I was at Scrappy's video shoot and Ludacris came up to me and said, "I got this record and it's crazy. I got this album Battle of the Sexes that's coming out. Right now I got Eve and Trina on there. I just wanna see what you can bring to the table." So the first time I did it, I was hoarse. I'd just gotten over the flu, so I didn't like it and I told him I wanted to do it over and he allowed me to do it over. I re-recorded my verse and I'm happy with it. Everybody likes it and I'm just glad to be a part of it, representing the youth, reppin' the A. It was perfect.
Complex: That guest spot really put you back out front in the mainstream.
Diamond: I wasn't really about to come out now, but it sped up the process of my arrival. Sometimes it happens sooner than you expected. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow in order to keep the momentum, and that's what we did.
Complex: What other collabos do you have lined up?
Diamond: I did a song called, "Shawty What's Up" with Dondria. I think that's her second single. She's on Jermaine Dupri's label. I did something with T-Boz for her new album. She's rapping on the song. And I did some collabs with a few other people that I really can't mention right now. But for myself, I have a song called, "Smash the Homies," that we're about to do a video for. Everybody should be on the lookout for that in the summertime. Dr. Teeth is my manager, so he's over all my visuals, and it's more than likely he'll be shooting all my videos.
Complex: You've gained quite a following with your Bitch Muzik mixtapes.
Diamond: Yeah. Right now I'm on Bitch Muzik Vol. 3. I started it back in 2008. I took the word "bitch" and I made it playful. You hear the word "bitch" a lot and women get offended by bitch, bitch, bitch, but I took the word and I applied it to women for us to flip it around in a fun kind of way and say this is music for the ladies. But it's bitchy music, too, as in catty, because sometimes people be like, "Oh, you trying to be a bitch." But the music is real girl power-ish or dominant, talking about going to the mall in a Maserati. Any chick, even if she don't have a Maserati or isn't going to the mall, she gon' feel it, she gon' relate to it. So throughout the chapters, it shows my growth and me getting better as a lyricist and developing my voice. I'm talking about relationships, being mad at a dude, falling out with friends, anything that a women would think of.
Complex: With Nicki Minaj going strong, how do you see yourself laying claim as a female MC?
Diamond: Actually I like that the "Girl Power" thing is going on because I was kinda getting bored. For a minute nobody was out there doing anything and I feel like with anything it should be variety. It's like when you go in a closet and pick out a shirt, you got different colors to choose from. When you got just one thing, it's not interesting to me. You have different styles in hip-hop. You're not just forced to like a Jay-Z or a Kanye or a Lil Jon. You have the option to choose, so for me, it's fun. It's interesting to have the Girl Power movement. And I've been out for a while. I started when I was 14. So I don't need to lay a claim. I'm already here.
Complex: What can we expect from your new album?
Diamond: People know me for the sassiness and being real loud and my "Girl Power"-like style. I'm dominant and I'm gonna do that with this album because I don't wanna lose the old fans. But people in the mainstream, they want to hear something different, so I'm gonna show the sensitive side: me being in a relationship, being hurt, or not necessarily talking about me, but a friend. I'm gonna give New York a song for the people that really get into the lyrics, that's real lyrical. So I'm gonna show different genres, but keep my style in there and take it to the next level
Complex: Do you have a title for the album yet?
Diamond: I don't want to say the title because I don't want anyone to take it. They take a lot of stuff from me. You need to look around and you'll see a lot of people are biting from me. They've been doing a lot of biting lately. You know who you are.
Complex: What label are you releasing the album on?
Diamond: Right now I'm talking with several major labels for a solo deal. I can't say who they are right now.
Complex: Are you and Scrappy still together?
Diamond: Yes, I'm still with Scrappy. That's my best friend. He'll tell me if he hears something that doesn't sound like me and say, "That's not you. I think you should write it over, you can do better." Or he might think of a subject or a title of a song or a concept and I'll flow off of that. And the same thing with him. I might be like, "I think you should come at this approach and I think you should come around and hit 'em with this." Right now, I feel like he should stay in his lane as far as being real. He's known as a person that talks about the struggle, not drugs but having life hard, family members on drugs, etc. That and catering to women are his thing. Real gon' outlast all the fake dope boys. Just talk about real life.
Complex: You're working on something called The Package with BET. Can you tell us about it?
Diamond: You know how you have awards shows and they show snippets to draw in the audience? That's what The Package is. The whole theme of it is the movie The Hangover. It's a special prize that this boy is given to make sure he takes the necessary steps to get to the actual BET awards. And he gets mixed up with different artists from different cities like Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta and it's really funny. As you're watching it, you see pieces of the puzzle, but you don't know the gimmick of it until the end like the movie. I play a role in it, it's like a short movie. It's gonna be real fun.
Complex: So did doing The Package spark the acting bug?
Diamond: Acting was actually my first passion. I wanna get into the whole L'Oreal endorsement thing or a fashion line. I wanna be a jack of all trades when it's all said and done. I wanna say I tried and I had my foot in everything.
Complex: How did you come up with the name Miss 32 Flavaz?
Diamond: What if Baskin Robbins added another flavor? You know they have 31 flavors. But the 32nd flavor wouldn't necessarily have to be ice cream. It could be candy, cake, something sweet, something tasty, or something that's all dessert combined in one. If you combine that with a human being, that's me.