'Love & Hip-Hop's' Momma Dee on Pimping, Buying Cocaine & Escaping That Life
The new reality TV star holds nothing back about her past
Hip-hop’s most popular mothers tend to have extremely colorful personalities, and Momma Dee is no different.
Momma Dee, who was originally known in the Atlanta area as a notorious pimp, hustler, and now rapper Lil’ Scrappy’s mom, has allowed VH1’s cameras into her world for the wildly popular reality show “Love & Hip-Hop Altanta.”
In part one of our interview we chat with her about her dark past and how her son got her away from the streets. Read Part II here.
Loop 21: A lot of people know that you were a pimp. How did you end up going down that road?
I was raised in a middle class family by my mom and stepfather. Due to a lot of physical abuse by my stepfather, me and my brother left home at an early age. I went to Georgia State School of Nursing and got my Bachelors’ degree in science. I raised two small kids alone. I'm divorced now but the day after I got married, a 17-year-old boy hit my head, crushed my left patella and my left articular. I couldn’t walk for three years, I was on crutches. When I was a nurse, one of my patients had confided in me that she ran a call girl service. I didn’t have the money to start one, but it didn’t take much for me to watch the local pimps in Atlanta and watch how they manipulated. I snatched up two girls at one time and they started working for me on the streets. I ended up with 15 women prostituting for me and opened up dope traps on Cleveland and Southridge in Atlanta. I was in that for 10 years. It was very lucrative. I had bought keys of cocaine from Big Meech himself.
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Loop 21: What made you stop living that life?
When Scrappy made it and his hit “You Don’t Want No Problems” came out, I was still in the street hustling. He came to me one day and said, 'Ma, the Feds are trying to bust the house in. How much would you make in a day? Because I need you to stop. Please, Mama, stop. Sooner or later, they’re gonna snatch you up and you’re not walking out. Mama, I’ll take care of you if you would leave the streets alone.' I gave the girls and the dope traps one month until closing and that’s what I did.
Loop 21: So Scrappy knew of your lifestyle?
Scrappy didn’t let me know until he got grown that he was getting head from some of my girls and I was like, 'You messing up my money! How you gonna tease on my paper like that?' But it is what it is. Both my kids saw a lot of drug trafficking and prostitution. At one point, the police officers got mad at me because I wouldn’t share my girls. At that time prostitution was under a city ordinance where the girls could use an anonymous name, so I told them to get their trick name and number and then I set them up in a brothel in a private room in a loft. I took them off the street and it was by appointment-only. And when I tell you I serviced senators, IBM executives and a lot of political dignitaries in Atlanta... As far as secrets, I can go there but I won't.
Loop 21: Did your girls trust you more because you’re a female?
I studied the pimps on Cleveland Avenue and Stewart [Avenue] very well. It was a male-dominated situation but they took me under their arms, were very kind and sympathetic, but very hard on me like, 'Look, you want this game? Well, this is what it entails so bring your ass up here in the strip joint and let us show you how it’s handled. You got two girls, work the hell out of ’em.' And excuse my expression for lack of a better word but they said, 'You make them sell pussy all night out of both pants legs and you don’t take no shit! You don’t believe anything a hoe say when she been out there and only come back with five or six hundred dollars. You know better than that. Either she’s hiding money or she’s breaking herself off to another pimp and you cannot put up with that because if you’re not strong they will walk off with another pimp.'
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So I made a name for myself. I was known to be a real working pimp and the women knew they could trust me and depend on their safety. When my girls went out they all wore the same colors every night so people would see, 'Those Momma Dee’s girls, they got white on' or 'Them blue girls belong to her, so watch out because she will go ham, she will jump out one of these cars.' I never got robbed, but there were rumors that they wanted me dead because I was getting too much money. I had been moving the keys of cocaine and having all the women. Some of these male pimps felt turned off like I was stepping on their feet. I’ve gotten shot and I've shot two people. I had a reputation out there. Trust me.
Loop 21: What are you working on now?
I thank God when I wake up for the extra day he gives me. I had a previous heart problem that was due to a lot of alcohol years ago, so I’m on medication for that and I’m doing fine. I try to give back to communities that I took from. And coming out of abuse from childhood, it’s my goal to reach back out. And also, coming out of a 17-year marriage with verbal and mental abuse—no man has ever hit me, trust that, I would be in jail and their momma would be crying for real—but I wanted to reach back and tell women that they don’t deserve anything that’s negative. Every day should be positive, every day a woman should wake up to look pretty because that’s what I do. I look forward to stepping out of my bed and making a difference in life and touch somebody’s hand and make today a better grace.