In an interview with Angie Martinez for her IRL podcast published last Wednesday, Leray made some explosive revelations about the challenges her family faced in the wake of her parent’s divorce. “It was hard to eat. My mom was cooking up nickels and dimes,” she said, saying she would see her father—who once co-owned the Source magazine—living a completely different lifestyle.
“At the same time, I’m like this: ‘How you get to live this life and we over here struggling?’” she added, before revealing that she slept in cars and sold drugs before she became famous.
Benzino did not take kindly to the accusations and fired off across multiple social media posts since the interview was published.
“This has to be the most ridiculous 💩 I’ve heard in my entire life on this earth,” he wrote on Instagram. “How tf can be envious towards someone I RAISED, [NURTURED], PROVIDED FOR, INFLUENCED AND LOVE VERY DEARLY??? This industry and the internet have completely messed up the minds of this young generation.”
The former Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta star doubled down on his comments as seen in a video shared on Instagram. “Coi never slept in no fucking cars that I knew about,” he said, adding that she was in his care for five months out of the year in Atlanta between the ages of nine and 16. “I was a single dad and I was taking care of my kids—all my kids—and her two older brothers by two other men that wasn’t mines.”
He continued, “She looked like she’s almost brainwashed. She ain’t never slept in no car and sold drugs and all this. I don’t know why she’s running with this narrative...I’ve never seen no shit like this. But the labels perpetuating it, the people who run the label, they all perpetuating it. And then the sad thing is, like, the people who interview her, they’re all down with it too.”
Leray responded to her estranged father on Instagram Live on Tuesday night, saying, “It is unfortunate that I have to do this at the most important time of my career when I should be celebrating my success. But the last thing I ever wanna do is look like a liar to my fans. I would never wanna be that, do that—it’s not my character.”
The “Players” rapper clarified that the interview with Martinez was recorded in June and that it’s “unfortunate” that it was released now. She also revealed that, since the recording, there was an attempt made between both parties to mend the relationship, seemingly to no avail.
Leray said on Instagram Live, “Instead of reaching out to me direct, or hitting me direct and congratulating me on my nominations, and you know, being nominated for the EMAs...being nominated for the Grammys.… You don’t call, you don’t write, but you take everything to the internet and… try to downplay me and try to... play victim, try to make it seem like I’m attacking you, trying to make it seem like my intentions is to hurt you and that’s never the case here.”
She continued, “I deserve to be able to speak my truth, and that’s just a fact. I don’t have to get on here and lie about struggle. I don’t think anybody wants to do that. That’s corny.”
The rapper also mentioned that she has a mugshot and felt the need to speak out on Instagram Live to reclaim her narrative from blogs and other publications, which have chosen to write about the falling out with her father but not her recent Grammy nominations.
Later on in the clip, Leray reveals that she does not intend to speak on the matter anymore and adds that her father never wants to speak to her again.
“Respectfully, I just wish that we could kind of keep everything offline moving forward. If you have anything to say, you can call Grandpa Tito, you can call my mom. Just how you called me last week asking for what you ask for, you could’ve just hit me direct. I rather you just do that on a respectful level of just me being your daughter at the end of the day. We don’t gotta have a relationship, but I’m still your kid. It is what it is, so just respect the fact that what you’re doing is not cool.”
Leray says that her family members have been affected by Benzino’s commentary to the point where her grandfather needs to get on a breathing machine “because he gets so worked up” by seeing the media mogul “go online and just create craziness for no reason.”
“It just has to stop, and if you notice it has been a pattern for some time now… a pattern since he went on Clubhouse and did the whole ‘Blick Blick’ situation, and leaked the fact that I had the record with Nicki [Minaj], and tried to downplay my album sales on Trendsetter,” said Leray towards the end of the live-stream.
“It just seems like every single time, instead of you congratulating me and being happy for me, you want to go online and try to use me to prove yourself to these people in this industry on why you feel like you didn’t get the respect, or whatever it is, that you deserve. I don’t want to be a clout kid.”