Executives at the station decided to give her a chance, even though she lacked on-air experience. As an actress, Angie received small roles in independent hip hop films such as Blood is Thicker Than Water and Paper Soldiers. She then appeared in Brown Sugar starring Taye Diggs, Queen Latifah and Sanaa Lathan. In 1996, Martinez was encouraged to give rapping a shot by friend KRS-One. She appeared on his track "Heartbeat" from his 1997 album I Got Next. After the song gained a strong fan following, another friend, Lil' Kim, offered her a spot on the "Ladies Night Remix" of her song "Not Tonight" for the Nothing to Lose soundtrack.
Along with Missy Elliott, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and Da Brat, the ladies enjoyed one of the most successful singles of 1997. It peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #2, and reached #1 on the Hip-Hop / R&B charts and the Rap charts respectively. The single sold over 1,000,000 copies and was certified Platinum. The ladies were nominated for two Grammy Awards that year, and were also invited to perform the song live on The MTV Video Music Awards.
A major label battle began to sign Martinez to a recording contract. Her appearance on other rapper's material was in high demand. She recorded songs with Mary J. Blige ("Christmas in the City"), Terror Squad ("Freak Out"), N.O.R.E.
("Oh No Remix"), Beenie Man ("Tell Me Remix") and Funkmaster Flex & Big Kap's compilation album The Tunnel ("Wow"). She also recorded interludes for mixtapes by Kid Capri, DJ Clue and DJ Kayslay. In 2001, she appeared in the music video for Jay-Z and R. Kelly's "Guilty Until Proven Innocent". On April 17, 2001, she finally issued her oft-delayed debut album, Up Close and Personal.
The album included production by DJ Clue, Salaam Remi, Knobody and RocWilder among others, and featured guest appearances by Jay-Z, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, Busta Rhymes and Kool G. Rap. The first single, "Dem Thangzzz" was produced by The Neptunes, and also featured background vocals by Pharrell Williams and Q-Tip.
The track failed to make a strong impression at radio, but the album enjoyed strong first week sales. It debuted at #32 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, and #10 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Charts selling 69,000 its first week. The second single, "Coast 2 Coast" (Suavamente) featuring rapper Wyclef Jean re-sparked interest in the album. She promoted the album with magazine posters, in-store signings, club appearances and television appearances with MTV and BET.
The record received mixed reviews from critics, but like Martinez herself, was strongly accepted in the hip hop community. The album sold a low 325,000 units. Following her first album's release, Angie began work on a second record Animal House. In order to build anticipation for the record, she appeared on BET's Rap City and began a nation-wide radio tour. She recorded a verse for the remix to her Artist Sacario record "Live Big".
It became the number one record in the tri-state area and coincidentally coincided with the release of Martinez's first single from her second album, "If I Could Go" which also featured Sacario and singer Lil' Mo. "If I Could Go" became a huge crossover hit on pop radio, climbing into the top 10 on The Billboard Hot 100 Chart. It became the #1 played on urban radio in 2002. The album, Animal House (named after Martinez's own production company and recording posse), was released on August 21, 2002.
It entered the Billboard Hot 200 Albums Chart at #11, and the Billboard Hot Hip-Hop / R&B Charts selling 92,000 units in its first week. The follow-up single, "Take You Home" featuring R&B singer Kelis didn't receive as much attention, but it did become a minor hit that winter. The album was more strongly received by critics and fans. Following the release of the album, she was featured on a remix for labelmate Lil' Mo's track "Gangster", and Nina Sky's hype single "Time to Go".
Following this she announced she was retiring from the recording industry to concentrate on her other projects. She has a son Niko Ruffin (born June 12, 2003) with Tamir "Nokio" Ruffin of Dru Hill. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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