“Somebody cut her mic off ’cause she’s got nothing to say,” Mama Dollaz said referring to Erica on the Love and Hip Hop reunion part one. Mama Dollaz may have been the only person Erica refrained from jumping bad with all season because as MD will remind you, she’s “not the one.” Before the reunion we chatted with Rich and his mom in their dressing room. Rich was all business as usual. Through all their ups and downs, Rich didn’t have anything negative to say about his ex. But Mama Dollaz bites her tongue for no one.
VH1: How did you get started in this business?
Rich Dollaz: I interned at Bad Boy Records, and then my boss at Bad Boy, Shawn Prez, took me from interning in promo to doing it in the radio department. From there I met Ryan Leslie, Cheri Dennis [and] Cassie. We started doing a bunch of stuff independently and that’s kind of how Rich Dollaz was born. Ryan was signed to Universal at the time. We put out the Cassie record in ‘05, the “Me & U” record. That was like my first independent record and that was during the MySpace era. Social network[ing] was kind of flipping over and Ryan was at Universal. He was kind of on the shelf, so after we did what we did with Cassie, the next step was getting Ryan up and running. We put out a record called “Diamond Girl” for Ryan. I was working with Ed Woods and Tommy Mottola on that. And then Cheri Dennis was at Bad Boy since ’99 and we had given her a record that Ryan wrote and produced called “I Love You.” We ended up putting that out [about] ‘06. That was the beginning of Rich Dollaz. I started out as an intern at Bad Boy, went into the radio department under Shawn Prez and then all those separate records started happening for me. That was kind of my independent introduction.
VH1: What was your original goal when you got in the music and entertainment industry?
Rich: The funny part is, when I first went to Bad Boy, my frat brother Emit Dennis called me. He and Jameel Spence — Jameel runs Rocawear now and Emit is working for the Democratic national party as a marketing person — but there was a company called Blue Flame. I was in Tennessee at the time and they called me up and said that Puff was looking for an assistant. Jameel and Emit brought me back to New York and actually Fonzworth was leaving to go do his own personal stuff. I interviewed for that and I spoke to Prez and Harper and they said, “Is this something you really want to do? Its kind of crazy and I don’t know if there’s really longevity in the game for an assistant. Maybe you should evaluate and maybe you should look at doing something else.” That’s when they linked me with Prez and I became the radio promo guy.
VH1: How does somebody college-educated, in a frat, end up on a reality TV show?
RD: It didn’t start off like this for me. It started off like a support system for Liv when we first started doing this. Obviously, Mona knew Liv from Violator when she was with G-Unit. The late Chris Lighty managed them and Olivia. So when Mona was talking about doing this Love and Hip Hop thing, we were taking meetings with her. The original cast was Liv, Misa [Hylton], Chrissy, Jim, Mashonda, and for whatever reason that never really materialized, and I guess they brought in Emily B.
RD: Well, Yandy was on the road with Missy that first year, so she wasn’t on the show at all. That whole first year she was overseas with Missy. They brought Somaya in late. Just being a support system for O, I was on the show as manager, just kind of popping up every once in a while. Then, for the second season, it became a little bit more, and third season, here we are. I guess it’s just an evolution.
VH1: Let’s talk about mixing business with pleasure. You and Liv are best friends but you work with her, which is a totally different situation than what happened with you and Erica. Do you think mixing business and pleasure works?
RD: It can. I mean, I’ve seen people who have been affiliated or associated with their significant others’ careers and it worked [well]. It just depends on what one wants from it. I believe in power couples. I don’t know if you think [of] Jay-Z and Beyoncé, [that] their marriage isn’t personally intertwined through business as well. I don’t know how you could think that when Jay is clearly her manager as a person who’s signed to Roc Nation/LiveNation, so with that being said, it all depends on what you want from the situation. If it’s a give-and-take, if you’re truly in love, it becomes a power couple, which is what I always aspired to have. That was kind of my dream. I’ve been working with women and people in the industry for quite a long time and I’ve always wanted my person to blow up and be able to reap some of the benefits of being my significant other. In trying to find that, Erica came along. I love her spirit, can’t knock her hustle. She gets busy, does what’s necessary to succeed. I guess it’s just got to be a give-and-take, got to be a mutual respect.