The Daily Grind Video
CLOSE

It was September of last year when Mister Cee’s shaky voice took to the airways on Hot 97 “one last time” to address his scandalous arrests for soliciting sex from transsexual prostitutes. For the next few minutes, he would answer all questions, as honestly and truthfully as he knew how at the time, about his addiction to the “other thing.” His Hot 97 family embraced him, Mister Cee returned to the radio, and that was the last we heard of it…until now.

Beloved DJ Mister Cee is as central to the story of rap as the rappers themselves. Biggie Smalls, Jay Z, Big Daddy Kane — Cee came up with all of them, helped launch their careers, and has spent the past two decades spinning their records at Hot 97, the radio station synonymous around the world with hip-hop. But last year, Mister Cee’s own story began to take a bizarre and shocking turn, until finally, while millions of people listened, all his demons came tumbling out.

Cee sat down recently with GQ, and in an exclusive interview in the magazine’s February “Love, Sex & Madness” issue, he comes clean on how it all started, why he lived a lie, why Biggie would understand, and how he’s trying to move forward.

This is the first time Mister Cee has opened up about his scandal to a reporter. Check out some excerpts from the GQ article below.

Mister Cee on how paying for sex started:

He was in strip clubs a lot, he says, at the end of that relationship. “And I started tricking in the strip clubs. I don’t know if you know what tricking is—you’re taking [the girls] out the club”—literally right outside the club—“and you’re having sex with them.” He’d do it in places where he wasn’t liable to be recognized, usually spots around downtown Manhattan “where white guys was going,” he says.

On how the “other thing” started:

It’s hard to say how the “other thing,” as Cee sometimes calls it, got started. But he knows when: “Around 2005, 2006.”

Though it is perhaps hard to believe him, he says it never occurred to him until he started doing it. It wasn’t a long-held fantasy or a desire he’d held at bay for a while and then succumbed to. But soon he found himself on Christopher Street, a couple of blocks from the Hot 97 offices, nearly every weekend, “out there—like, really out there.”

He never really asked himself why he was doing it and still can’t entirely explain why he was drawn to this specific, highly particular thing. This conversation we’re having right now, over shrimp and fried rice, is only the second or third time he’s ever actually tried to put it into words. Certainly it’s the first time he’s told the story to a reporter. “The best way I can explain it is that I was so knee-deep into doing it that it became a part of me,” he says.

“It’s also the rush of: Get horny, A and B—you know, one plus one equals two. You get horny, go out, go get your shit o≠. It became a part of my routine. Even though I was fearful, there was a part of me that felt invincible, too.”

On coping with getting caught: 

He slept a lot after that, he says. Drank so much soda he almost lost his sight. “I would buy two-liter Fanta Orange, two liter Sprite, two-liter root beer—and I live by myself—just guzzling them. That’s how I was getting through my pain, fucking going to sleep and drinking soda. And I’m not even a soda drinker. I drunk so much soda to the point where my diabetes—my sugar level went so high, I started getting blind.”

On living a lie:

“It wasn’t even about losing the job. I was just afraid of what the perception was going to be about me and that people was still going to want to stand behind the Mister Cee brand,” he says. Promoters. People he worked with. And if they didn’t, “how was I going to be able to continue to support and take care of the people that I care about?”

On trying to move forward:

“At this point in my life, I can’t even begin to try to be in a serious relationship with a woman,” Cee says. “That’s the point that I’m at now: What do I want? Where am I at? Now that it’s out in the open—everybody knows, I know—where am I going from here?”

He knows the illegal activity needs to stop—“If I get arrested right now for that same type of activity, I’m doing sixty days in jail, hands down, done”—and that he could lose his job if he gets caught again.

So he’s trying to figure it out, though to hear him talk, he hasn’t figured it out at all, really. When I ask point-blank if he’s gay, he says, “Absolutely not. And it’s nothing—it’s no offense to transgender women, but I only get with transgender women for one thing and one thing only, and that’s for oral sex. Like I said: I never had sex with a man. I never had sex with a transgender woman.”

Mister Cee on J. Cole’s rap lyric about him:

Hot 97 still routinely spins the North Carolina artist J. Cole, who on his latest album rapped: The same reason they call Mister Cee “the Finisher” / Forbidden fruit, watch for the Adam’s apple! (Cee: “J. Cole, if you’re reading this: I have forgiven you for the ‘Forbidden Fruit’ line, and we can move on.”)

On whether or not Notorious B.I.G. would’ve understood: 

In our booth at the restaurant, I ask if Biggie would’ve understood, had this happened twenty years ago. “Oh, I know that,” Cee says instantly. “I know Big stands next to me. I have no question in my mind.” I ask him why he’s so sure, and he says it’s because they were friends, first, but also because hip-hop is such a transparent thing to those who’ve lived it: “You know who’s phony, you know who’s hypocritical, you know who’s real. So not only do I feel like Big has my back,” Cee says, “I feel like every person that I have ridden for in their afterlife—I think they got my back as well.”

Mister Cee went to a deep place to be able to talk about this publicly. We wish him the best of luck on his road to rebuilding healthy habits.

Be sure to check out more from the interview over at GQ.com.

PHOTO CREDIT: Holger Pooten / GQ