Wake up, wake up, wake up it's the 1st of the month
To get up, get up, get up so cash your checks and get up
The 1998 song is a classic by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, whose original name was the “Band Air Boys.” I’m glad they made the switch.
I haven’t had a lunch date scheduled with you on the 1st since March 1. I’ve been holding in this Bone reference for this very moment. I might have to make Bone a topic one day.
Vol 30, the Superhead edition, got so much love and attention! It really let me know that folks love a good trip down memory lane. And if you are here, reading this, that is exactly what lunch with me is all about.
Today we are having Honey Nut Cheerios for lunch. Since I have been pregnant, I consume probably 5 bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios per week. It doesn’t matter the time of day; it’s my ultimate snack.
Let’s get into today’s topics.
Things I miss
When Charli hit the major airwaves in 2002 with Down Ass Bitch I was an instant Charli fan. With the flame-red hair, tattoos, and with the last name Baltimore, I was under the assumption she was from my hometown. Of course, I had to love her.
I always associated Charli with Murder Inc, thinking Ja or Irv discovered her, but I was absolutely wrong. It wasn’t until I was the 2009 film Notorious debuted that I really found out how Chuck got her start in the game.
Charli, born Tiffany Lane, is from Philly and has been rapping since she was really young. While working at the mall as a young teenager, she saw Will Smith at Foot Locker. She immediately grabbed him and rapped on the spot. To her surprise, he actually followed through with calling her, asking if she could come rap for some of his friends later that day. Her sister wouldn’t let her out of the house after work because she was hella young at the time. So nothing came about after this famous encounter.
Soon after that, at the age of 15, Charli had her first daughter, pausing her rap dreams because of this new responsibility.
She didn’t pick up rapping back up until she met BIG at a show in Philly in the summer of ’95. She was around 21, just had her second daughter (6mos), and Big was 23. Unbeknownst to the both of them, he had only two years of life left.
She didn’t tell him she rapped for an entire year, he actually found out during a confrontation they had. After going through his phone and voicemails one day, she wrote a rhyme. Using the names of the women in his phone, she wrote an entire rap for him and was like, “listen to this.”
Instead of him being like, “damn ma, you went through my phone,” he was like, “yo, you can really rap.” So I guess you can say he got off the hook. Everyone always says Big was a smooth talker, and this story plays right into it.
So y’all remember when Big was on that episode of Martin?
Big invited Charlie on that trip with him, and after that moment, their relationship was solidified, always together. Either her traveling up to his Jersey home or flying out to see his shows.
Of course, Christopher had money on his mind because of Chuck’s rhyming skills. At the time, he had his own label, Undeas, the home of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Did you know MAFIA stands for Masters At Finding Intelligent Attitudes? 🤯
He had this grand plan to start a group on his label called The Commission with Puff, Jay-Z, Lil Cease, Big, and Charlie as group members. He shouts out The Commission on What’s Beef? But Big didn’t make it to see this idea come to fruition.
During Charli & Big's relationship, the East Coast/West Coast beef was just beginning. During a recent interview with Charli, she shared that Big was completely thrown off when Pac started making dis records. From his perspective, they were friends.
But we all know after Pac got shot in the studio, their relationship would never be the same. While Charli never met Pac, she truly believes Pac knows who shot him, and it wasn’t Big. Yes, Pac repped the West Coast, but he also an East Coast dude.
Born in Manhattan, he went to school in Baltimore. Attending Roland Park Middle school in 8th grade. I never knew this until right now. I also attended Roland Park. When I attended, it was an elementary/middle school combined. Not sure what it was like in the early 80s. He then went to Dunbar High, around the corner from my neighborhood in Baltimore. Then transferring to Baltimore School for the Arts.
Even though he moved to the Bay in 1988 when he first started his rap career (’89), his name was MC New York at the age of 18, damn he only had 7 years of life left after that.
Let me get back on track because now I am going down a Pac rabbit hole that is already saved for another lunch date.
The point I am trying to make is Pac was not oblivious to the street dudes in NY. He frequented NYC years before his death. Big was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up getting the heat for it, in my opinion.
But of course, when “Who Shot Ya” hit the airwaves, all bets were off. Even though the song was allegedly recorded while Pac was in prison, the record label released it after Pac got shot. It’s the timing for me.
Side note, did you know Who Shot Ya was originally being written for Mary J. Blige's “My Life” album?! How sway? How!??
Charli was with Big when he first heard “Hit Em Up.” They were at a video shoot, and Puff came up to them with this somber look on his face and told them they needed to listen to something. The video wasn’t out yet, but I am sure that made things even worse.
During Charli’s interview, she said Big believed that Faith & Pac got together when he first heard the song, but he believed it didn’t happen after a while. In Vol 20, I share my thoughts on this topic.
In Jay-Z’s song Brooklyn’s Finest, off Reasonable Doubt features Big, there is a line that says:
If Fay' had twins, she'd probably have two Pacs (uh)
Get it? Tupac's? (hh, uhh, uhh)
It’s been said that Big is taking shots at Faith & Pac, but Chuck explains this as Big’s personality. She references to understand Big’s behavior and antics, you would have to know him personally. He poked fun at a lot things in his own way.
Here are some things about Charli & Big that I had NO clue about.
I knew Big was in some type of accident because he had that cane. Looking at old footage, it wasn’t a prop; he really needed it.
Big, Lil Cease, and Charli were in a major accident that caused the injury. Cease was driving a loaner van because Big’s car was in the shop. It was raining, Big was in the front, and Charlie was sitting in the back middle row of the van. Cease went a little too fast on a curve after going through a toll. The van flipped over the guardrail into oncoming traffic and slammed up against an embankment.
When Charli opened her eyes, she had no clue what had happened, but she noticed it was blood all over the car. She didn’t see Cease at all, and Big was telling her not to move.
Charli eventually crawled her way out of the car through the front windshield, and Big had to wait for the jaws of life to pry him out.
Cease was thrown from the van during the collision. Hit his mouth on the steering wheel, which knocked out all of his teeth and caused the blood during the projection.
Charli ended up getting several stitches in the back of her head, leaving scars that can still be seen today. She had a concussion and also broke her ankle during the accident.
Big’s leg was completely shattered, and he had to get a metal pole put in and learn how to walk again. He was in the hospital and rehab for months.
The album that became a double album - Life After Death
Life After Death was supposed to be a regular-length album. But because he was laid up in the hospital for a month, Big kept writing, and the legendary final album was born.
Before the accident happened, the album was supposed to be released on Halloween ’96, but the accident happened in Sept. ’96, delaying the whole project. Releasing 16 days after he died.
Charli was with Big during his final trip to LA
The first single from Life After Death was Hypnotize, and Big wanted to shoot the video in Cali. I always assumed the video was filmed in Florida somewhere because the video starts with the caption: Florida Keys 5:47 pm. But now I know it was filmed in Santa Monica, California. Big filmed the video Feb ’97, but he would never make it to see the final product.
While on this trip, Charli & Big had a huge fight which resulted in them getting kicked out of the hotel they were staying at. She found some pictures of him in compromising positions with a few different women.
She got mad and threw a watch Puff bought Big for Christmas and a ring he bought off the balcony and into the hotel's pool. The watch was recovered, but the ring was gone. This def behavior a scorned woman.
This argument was so major that after Big was murdered, homicide detectives showed up at Charli’s home in Philly to question her about his death. Thinking she could have had something to do with it.
Charli left LA the day before Big was murdered. The main reason she left was because they got kicked out of the hotel. She thinks if she had stayed that extra day, she would’ve been in that car when he was shot.
Faith & Big had a baby while he was with Charli
Christopher George Latore Wallace Jr. was born on October 29, 1996. You do the math.
When Big & Charli started their relationship, he told her that he was separated from Faith, but they were still technically married up until his death.
Charli didn’t know he was dipping back and forth with Faith because when he told her Faith was pregnant, things didn’t go well after that. Assuming they had a heated argument and/or fight.
And do you know Big’s son now goes by Christopher Jordan (CJ) Wallace, as an ode to his now stepfather Stevie J!? Like his actor name is CJ Wallace. If you ask me this crazy. Your birth father is hip hop legend, who you were named after. It ain’t like Stevie J his first stepdaddy.
Long Kiss Goodnight is an ode to Charli
Track 23 on Life After Death. Hip Hop heads think this was yet another dis towards Tupac and Death Row records. Yet, this song has a lot to do with Charli.
Charli is a huge Wu-Tang fan, and she begged Big to do a song with someone other than Method Man (everyone was on Meth). So one day, he played a beat for her and was like, guess who made this, The Rza.
On top of that, Long Kiss Goodnight is also a movie released in ’96. The main character’s assassin code name was Charli Baltimore. Her stage name was born.
The Wu beat + referencing the movie that started her rap name is really what the song is about. But there are a few Pac references that make you go…hmmm.
Charli received flowers from Big after he died
To my surprise, I learned that during her and Big’s relationship, Sis kept her job working at the mall. Listen, if I was dating one of the greatest rappers at the time, I ain’t working at no mall. Maybe another job. Nah, probably no job if I am honest.
The week after Big died, she returned to work and there was a huge bouquet waiting for her, and the card was from Big. Her co-worker said they had been there for a few days.
Reliving the moment, Charli said it was surreal to see these flowers from him because midst everything he had going on in Cali and their fight, he still managed to send her flowers. She couldn’t even thank him. 💔
She doesn’t know why she wasn’t in the movie Notorious
Knowing all of this, Charli absolutely deserved a spot in the movie Notorious, if you ask me. She was with him during the final years of his life. In some critical and major moments of his career.
Her words are, “If his two best friends, Cease & D Rock, had anything to do with the movie, the story would have been told the right way.”
I hope you still hanging with me. Charli’s story continues.
Remember, Big had plans for Charli to make her mark in the rap game, but he was gone before anything could come about. His partner Lance “Un” Rivera wanted to carry out Big’s word to her.
He ended up signing Charli & Cam’ron to Untertainment, which was under Epic.
Charli’s first single, “Money,” was written by The Lox and featured on the Woo soundtrack. Y’all remember that movie? Jada was a trip.
Charli was not a fan of how Un handled the business and controlled everything under his label, and Cam had the same feelings. Un actually tried to turn Charli into some pop princess, and that is opposite of who Charli is. Chuck is a street chick, never a pop star.
Similar to how Charli met Big, she met Irv at a show in Philly. Ja had just hit the scene, and she was talking to Irv about how unhappy she was at Untertainment.
Before moving into the Murder Inc story, let’s revisit another incident Charli was mixed up in.
December 2, 1999, Q-Tip had an album release party at the Kit Kat Club for his solo album, Amplified. The story goes, Un had been bootlegging Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter heavy and Hov was HOTT that his album was circulating the streets almost a month before its release date, Dec 28. Heated with emotions, Hov confronted Un, and then next thing you know, Hov stabbed him in his abdomen and shoulder.
Charli showed up to the party moments after this happened and walked into the club as folks were rushing out. She walks in and sees Un laying on the floor bleeding and is like, WTF is going on.
Hov turned himself in the next day. He only got 3 years of probation for the incident.
So Cam decides to do an interview one day saying Jay-Z stabbed Un over Charli, insinuating she was the initial target?! Like what? Later he apologized for these careless remarks. Cam always seemed petty, but I didn’t think he would have gone to this level.
Ok back to Murder Inc.
Most don’t know this, but Murder Inc. was a short-lived supergroup formed by Irv Gotti in ’95. The trio was composed of Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule. They first appeared on a NY-based rapper, Mic Geronimo's song "Time to Build,” and they were even featured on the June ‘99 cover of XXL. The group did not record an album because of Jay-Z and DMX's conflicted relationship.
When Charli came around, Murder Inc already had Vita, so looking for another female rapper was not on their radar, but Charli proved her worth. Irv held her up in a studio for 48 hours straight, giving her track after track to write lyrics to, and she never disappointed.
Next thing you know, Charli and Ja wrote Down Ass Bitch, and the rest was history.
Charli was able to get two major hits off with Murder Inc, Down Ass Bitch, and Down 4 U. But soon, 50 would enter the industry. The situation with the Feds happened, and the reign of Murder Inc ended tragically.
Charli speaks on how she told Irv that he needs to pay attention to what the streets are saying about 50. Irv thought Murder Inc was so untouchable that nothing could stop them. He didn’t think anyone could come and take over. Well, if it wasn’t going to be 50, it damn sure was going to be the Feds.
In January ’03, the Feds raided Murder Inc offices because of the alleged association with Supreme, a major weight mover. Nothing would ever be the same after this.
Before the raid happened, Charli seemed to be the only person who took the beef with 50 into her own hands. She made an entire mixtape with local rappers from Philly dissing 50. She let Irv listen, and he shut it down immediately. He didn’t want anyone on the label to respond to 50. Charli says Ja wanted to go at 50 hard, but Irv told him not to.
Over a decade later, Charli starts a record label, BMB Records, with some dude name Peanut and Trick Trick, moving her to Detroit for two years. The label had some major artists signed at one point, Kash Doll, Bre-Z (jawn from Empire), Ray-J, and of course, Charli recorded an album.
Like everything else in musically Charli’s life, this fell through too. This label was also accused of being a drug cover-up.
It also seems that Charli was romantically involved with label majority owner Bryan “Peanut” Brown because she accused him of violently assaulting her.
"I was brutally beaten by Brown when I walked in on him with another woman," Charli Baltimore stated in a court affidavit obtained by the Detroit News. "He choked me, blacked (sic) my eye, bruised my arm while I was still in a cast.”
A lot of people ask, “What happened to Charli Baltimore?”. The response is unfortunate, but she never got a fair shot. Everything kept crumbling before or right at its peak.
Now Charli is just enjoying being behind the scenes and mom-ager to her two daughters. The oldest is a former model, now in an eclectic type band, and her youngest is a DJ who was also featured on previous seasons of Growing up Hip Hop.
Now tell me, did you know any of this??
We have exactly 61 days left in 2021. What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
What about the holidays? How are you spending them this year?
The end of the year countdown reminds me that I am behind on everything I need to do for the extra person growing in my belly. While I feel like I have plenty of time to get things together, I don’t.
But I am looking forward to the holidays this year. Last year we didn’t get to visit my great-Aunt and Uncle in Birmingham, which has been my usual Thanksgiving destination since the 90s. Then due to an unexpected surgery on Christmas Eve last year, I spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve laid up in the bed.
So this year, I am ready for a little normalcy.
Outside of prepping for the holidays and Panda (baby’s nickname), I have taken up a newish hobby and hope to spend some time scrapbooking. I have pictures for days that are not in any photo album, and I want to arrange them chronologically.
I’ve been spending time going through all my photos and organizing them by date and/or occasion. This has brought me so much joy, especially for someone obsessed with nostalgic moments.
Besides scrapbooking, I’ve spent a lot of time reading again. I’m talking finish one book, and immediately I pick up another book.
Since I’ve been having trouble sleeping due to pregnancy, I’m up super early most mornings. Instead of immersing myself in technology, I either spend time organizing photos or reading.
Check out my latest read in today’s Jems 💎.
Things I miss
Being pregnant is beautiful and miserable at the same damn time. I didn’t start seeing it as beautiful until I felt that very first kick. Before that, I was just miserable, unless I was at doctor’s appointments hearing Panda’s heartbeat or catching a beautiful glimpse of the baby’s face.
Pregnancy is such a miraculous act of mystery that every day I am still in awe all of this is happening inside of me.
I’ve been pregnant for 25 weeks and 1 day, and there are some things I’ve been missing, counting down the days until I can enjoy some of the simple pleasures again.
Good sleep. I’ve mentioned this in the previous topic, but it’s so real. I am a stomach sleeper, and I haven’t been able to do this since 8/9 weeks. I adjusted to sleeping on my back which got comfortable for me, but then you are not supposed to lay on your back past 16 weeks, some say 20 weeks, but your body will let you know when it’s time to stop. My heart will start racing, and I feel like I am short of breath.
Sleeping on my side for this extended period of time is uncomfortable, no matter how many times I switch sides. 😒
Shaving my legs. We have a stand-up shower, with no ledges or seating area available. Trying to save my legs has been such a daunting task as this bump has grown. What has saved me is the Schick Intuition razor with the shaving lotion around the blades. Before using this, trying to apply shaving cream and then drag a razor across my legs was horrific. Now I have reached the point where I have to sit in the tub and shave my legs because I can’t bend down that far without it being very uncomfortable.
Washing my legs. Similar to my challenges with shaving my legs, washing them in the shower has become challenging too. And if you are thinking, “wash your legs,” refer back to Vol 6 when I revisited a glorious Twitter moment when this was a huge debate.
Food restrictions. I love sushi; I can’t have it. Seafood is a love language; I am limited to the number of servings per week. Pizza or any tomato-based pasta gives me horrible heartburn unless I chomp down tums before and after. Green beans don’t sit well with me. I can only handle half a cup of coffee every few days. I can keep going. For someone who loves unrestricted eating and drinking, it’s been a challenge.
Of course, a few other adult unrestricted extra circular activities are also missed, but some of that is to be expected; the above, I never thought about.
I have 14 weeks and 6 days until our beautiful baby enters this world. And this future mama is counting down every moment.
#read - How to do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. A great book about how to take a step back and refocus your energy away from the addictive nature of technology and keeping up.
Truth Be Told (Apple TV+) - Octavia Spencer is phenomenal in this series. Season 1 & 2 are available.
Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Hulu) - probably one of the best shows on Hulu. If you are a Hip-Hop head, this series is undeniably good. 2 Seasons
Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3 (Amazon Prime) - Sis did it AGAIN. The representation of people in this show is beautiful.
Halloween Kills (Peacock) - Michael is back again. If you are a true Halloween fan, Michael Myers movies will never get old. Fun fact, there are a total of 6 people who have played Michael Myers in the horror franchise. One of the six actors, James Jude Courtney, played Myers in the 2018 Halloween and the latest edition to the franchise. Courtney is an alum of the University of South Carolina and still resides in Columbia. I didn’t know I was sharing a city with a notorious serial killer, lol.
#advice - How to Master the Online Dating Game. An article I wrote that shares how to date with a purpose while using dating apps. If dating apps aren’t your thing, there are still some great first date tips included that can apply however you and Bae meet.
Ok friend! Are you full? We had a big lunch today. Can’t wait to chit-chat with you again soon. See you on November 15. Bring a friend with you.
As usual Monday lunch did not disappoint! I really think Baby Panda is a girl! Can’t wait to find out!