Complex's founder and our new cover girl face off in a game of "M.E. Against the World."
This feature appears in Complex's April/May 2014 issue.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU WROTE RAP LYRICS ABOUT?
Marc Ecko: My airbrushing and how I’d make so much money that I’d steal your girl, paint on her body, take a photo, and send it to you—just ’cause I could. It was adolescent, braggadocious, early-’90s white-boy rap. A lot of bad metaphors. When I released Unlabel, I put 50 pages of my original black book, including my handwritten rhymes, out on BitTorrent—in case you want to taunt me.
Jhené Aiko: When I was 7 or 8, I sat down with my mom and wrote a rap—even all the ad-libs: “It’s the J—UH!—the really funky one/I can rap you up in every single way/Can I play? Yes, I can/You can see me, like, every single day/Come on, don’t you want to play?/If you be like me, you a G. UH!” She wrote it out for me neatly and I practiced it all the time. That’s why I remember it so well. I rapped it so much even my brothers and sisters remember it.
WHAT IS THE MOST “TMI” CONVERSATION YOU’VE HAD WITH YOUR PARENTS?
ME: My parents are TMI, generally, but it’s about having an intellectually healthy relationship. Now that they‘re older, my dad talks about his friend pissing blood, getting treatment for his prostate cancer. It’s the kind of TMI conversation that causes vasoconstriction and makes your balls pull into your chest. But he’s just preparing me to make peace with where life is going. We’re all in the same race to be pissing in a bag.
JA: My dad is a doctor. He’s eccentric and has always been open about sexuality. He was examining my throat once and said, “You haven’t been doing any…?”—implying that I was being sexual with my mouth and my throat. “’Cause you know if you go from vaginal to oral that can cause problems.” I was like, “Please. Don’t.”
HOW DID YOU SUFFER YOUR WORST INJURY?
ME: I dislocated my left shoulder throwing a punch during a fight in high school. Afterward, the ligaments that held it in place failed so badly that my arm would just fall out all the time. I could pop it in and out at will and wig people out. You could hear the fluid sloshing around and the sinew pulling like rope. It would just hang there, like a dead arm. It was disgusting.
JA: I was in a car crash last year when a driver made an illegal U-turn in front of us. I was sitting in the back seat with my daughter. The crash totaled my poor Prius. I broke my wrist, busted my chin open—seven stitches—and chipped my tooth. My daughter only had a tiny scratch from the seat belt. It was so traumatic, seeing her screaming, but she’s not even scared to ride in a car now.