Infamous Internet hooker-rapper Memphis Blac explains "Got Dat Work" video

For the past couple of weeks, Dallas-based rappers Memphis Blac (AKA Arapaho) and her niece Smokahontas Jones have been blazing up the viral-video circuit with their magnum opus, "Got Dat Work." It's an unabashed streetwalker's anthem, in which the two women wear jewelry fashioned from Magnum condom wrappers and attempt to empower women of the oldest profession. And the chorus is, well, unforgettable: "I got that work/I'ma push it like a dope bitch/Cross-country/Slangin' pussy like I move bricks."

It's a cross-country, unifying effort as well. The video was shot in Miami-Dade — including Hialeah and South Beach — over this past Memorial Day weekend. Local guy Matthew Hoyos of Circle Tree Multimedia directed the video, which, as of this writing, is up to more than 91,000 views on YouTube alone — not bad for two otherwise unknown independent artists. (The pair owes most of its Internet notoriety, however, to WorldStarHipHop, which first posted the clip June 10.)

Memphis Blac isn't new to the music game, though. She's been rapping since 1994 and claims affiliations and recording history with J Prince of Rap-a-Lot Records, Texas legend Pimp C, Devin the Dude, and other Southern greats. "J Prince from Rap-a-Lot told me I was a soldier," she recalls. "He knew the talent, but at the time I was still running wild, just going too hard on the streets to concentrate on a rap career."

Yes, those are Magnum wrappers around her neck.
Courtesy Matthew Hoyos
Yes, those are Magnum wrappers around her neck.

"Got Dat Work" has spurred plenty of Internet criticism for its apparent condoning of prostitution. Ironically, the most hateful comments are found on the same hip-hop blogs where songs about the drug trade, gang life, and indiscriminate violence are often celebrated.

Herein lies the Catch-22 that has kept men from investing in Blac as an artist. In an industry founded on "keepin' it real," Blac is considered too real. "They tell me I'm too damn hard," she says. "What the fuck I'm 'posed to be, a piece of cotton?"

She says she was born in 1965 in Tennessee, where she lived with no running water and no bed. Childhood sexual abuse led to decades spent as a sex worker before Blac finally quit turning tricks to open a legitimate business called Precious Treats. It's an ice-cream and hamburger shop, named for her dead sister, in the Dallas projects.

But even when she was prostituting and living the dope-fiend street life recounted in her music, she was using the proceeds to help friends and neighbors, and especially their kids. "Bitch, consider me akin to Mother Teresa. I have took care of families and families off working this pussy," she says. "I hustle for these kids, or else they end up in the pen, or dead, or wrapped up in this bullshit."

She says her music is an attempt to raise awareness about condom use, the dangers of sex work, and to expose the reality and ubiquity of prostitution in America. Blac also adds that money raised through her music will go to her urban outreach programs for at-risk youth — though currently there is no product for sale.

Precious Entertainment, Blac's recording concern, is putting up the money to jump-start a career that she says male CEOs were afraid to touch. "Somebody have to have the balls; these niggas not gonna do it," she says. "We just two made bitches comin' in on they own bankroll."

"Consider me akin to Mother Teresa."

 
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