New York Fighting words never sounded so good.
The rowdy song "Girlfight" has launched Brooke Valentine's debut album, "Chain Letter," a confection of crunk, pop, rock and R&B;, to a peak position of No. 16 on the Billboard album charts. The Houston native spoke about scars, boys and fighting to be herself.
Q: So I'm sure you've gotten into a fight or two growing up. Any scars?
A: I do have a couple. (I got) one scar on my knee when me and this girl was spatting on my porch. There were trash bags, I fell down, and glass in the bag went right into my knee. So we up and fighting and it's blood everywhere and everybody's thinkin,' "Ooh, somebody really getting beat up." But my leg was bleeding. People were like, "Yeah she punched her in the face and she's bleeding." I was like, "Ain't nobody's face bleeding. It's not that serious."
Q: So, you probably have one of those knee scars that looks like a bubble?
A: Yeah, it's the weirdest lookin' little scar. My mom actually thinks it's still a little piece of glass in there that never really came out. I look at it like, "Stupid." I do have another one, though. ... I bent down one time, on a pencil, and the lead broke off in my knee. And I still got that little dark spot in my knee.
Q: Wow, two banged up knees? That's a sign of a tomboy isn't it?
A: That's so true. I was a tomboy. I had the collar shirts and adidas; I had all the Jordans. I used to dress like a little basketball player. I started coming into my girly self around 16.
Q: And of course you went boy crazy. You have a song on the album, called "I Want You Dead," about killing your ex. Will you be content to be alone if guys are scared to talk to you after hearing that track?
A: I think there's a guy out there for me that can handle all of this. I think there's a guy that's like, "I ain't scared of her" ... I had a lot of guys tell me that's their favorite song on the album because they understand they get mad like that too. But I have never killed anybody.
Q: I hope not...
A: Right. I'm not a murderer. I don't believe in that. Thou shall not kill.
Q: What's the craziest thing you've done in a relationship that a guy might consider psycho?
A: I'm kind of a private investigator, and not on purpose. I just find stuff. It just falls in my lap. Like, "Look at this?" Like if I think a guy is cheating, I have to have the proof. When I step to (him), I'ma have pictures, my videotape, the whole nine because I'm so tired of hearing, "It wasn't me. That ain't true."
Q: Murder, blood, private investigations -- you're not one to hold your tongue, are you?
A: (My biggest fight) has been my freedom of speech. Fighting myself and letting myself know that it's OK to say what I want to say. People tell you how you're supposed to live and be. And within myself I had to fight and say, "No you don't, you can say that." "Chain Letter," as a whole, is a true story. It's kinda like the album is my diary, and I can write and say what I want to say. And sometimes it's hard to share things with yourself. It's hard to talk about it. It's like therapy, and it helps you to be stronger and talk about it and go, "Yeah, this happened and now I'm better. I won't go through that again, because I learned." It is a fight and struggle to just be yourself. But I think I won the fight.