The Untold Truth Of Justina Valentine

Rapper Justina Valentine may have claimed fame as a series regular on MTV's "Wild 'N Out," but she's also a musician and model in her own right. Born on Valentine's Day in 1987, the star became a TV personality after getting her start in music, having previously found success as a YouTube sensation with the release of her first mixtape, "Route 80," in 2012, as noted by The Famous People. Hits like "Hip Hop Joan Jett" and "Bubble Gum" garnered her thousands of views while setting the stage for her transition into reality TV.

After the release of an EP and second mixtape, Valentine went on to release her debut studio album, "Scarlet Letter," in 2016. That same year, she joined "Wild 'N Out's" eighth season and became a standout on the show for her witty lyrical ability and flaming red hair. Keep reading to find out more about the East Coast rapper who wowed the hip hop scene with her unique look and skills.

Justina Valentine is a New Jersey native

As she has made clear over the years, Justina Valentine is proud of being from the Garden State, especially because of its proximity to New York City and the music she loved.

"Growing up, I was definitely in and out of NYC a lot and although Jersey is heavily influenced by New York, we also have our own style and our own flavor," she explained to The Pop Break, adding that her neighborhood in Passaic County was near to the "dopest city in the world" and influenced her outlook on life. "Career-wise, the Northeast is fast-paced and you can run with it or get trampled on," Valentine added. "They say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere and it's the truth."

Valentine also described her county as "very diverse with a lot of different people, culture, religions, etc.," which helped her to discover all different kinds of genres. "I've always liked all kinds of music, from rap to rock to R&B to pop and my dad put me onto the classics," the rapper recalled. Valentine also noted to Stupid Dope that her family was "very musical," adding that "a number of generations" before her were involved in the entertainment industry as singers and performers.

This rapper prides herself on her freestyle ability

As Justina Valentine once told Ignite, she "pretty much began rapping straight from the womb." And in 2018, the rapper became "the first female to complete the '5 Fingers of Death' freestyle on 'Sway In The Morning,'" per Power 105.1. Indeed, as longtime listeners will know, the popular radio program tests rappers through a segment called "5 Fingers of Death," in which radio legend Sway Calloway gives them different beats and topics while they try to freestyle original lyrics from off the top of their heads.

As Valentine joked during her segment, she had been pestering Calloway in the DMs for a long time, asking him to let her appear on his program and show off her skills. He gave in, eventually, making time for Valentine to freestyle — and she tore through the five different beats while referencing her idols, like Lil' Kim and Biggie Smalls. "We got a hyena up in here!" an impressed Sway commented after her attempt.

Valentine later bragged on Instagram that she was one of only "a handful of MCs" to try the "5 Fingers of Death" without pre-written lyrics, as well as the first female rapper to "ever" truly complete it.

Fetty Wap helped Justina Valentine break through

Justina Valentine's first major breakthrough in the music world was the 2015 single, "Candy Land," which featured "Trap Queen" rapper Fetty Wap. As Valentine later told The Pop Break, she managed to score the coveted feature by simply running into Fetty Wap in her home state.

"It came about organically, we are both from the same part of Jersey and record at the same studio," she explained, adding that they were aware of each other and had discussed a collaboration before his fame skyrocketed overnight. "Fetty heard the track, laid his verse and killed it ... like he kills everything else." Valentine also emphasized how Fetty Wap was a source of pride for everybody in the Garden State's rap scene. "He was one of the first people to break through from here in a long time and I was super thankful that he did the record and showed me love like he did," she continued.

Valentine also referred to Fetty Wap as one of her two favorite artists from New Jersey — second only to herself, of course.

Why she calls herself the female equivalent of Eminem

Fetty Wap isn't Justina Valentine's only musical influence, however, and she has been upfront about how often she gets compared to fellow rapper Eminem.

"I take it as such a compliment and a blessing," Valentine insisted in an interview with Ignite, reflecting on her connection to the iconic rapper. "Eminem is one of my biggest influences and favorite rappers, it's such an honor." As Power 105.1 reported, Valentine's 2017 album was actually called "Feminem," by which she was explicitly calling herself a female equivalent of Eminem. At first, the "Wild 'N Out" star was nervous to put such an obvious reference to the real Slim Shady on the cover of her album, but in the end, she decided to embrace the comparison.

Valentine also suggested to Ignite that she gets called the female Eminem because of her lyrical ability. "I think the title 'Feminem' was given to me because I write my own content, most people don't, and because of my off-the-top freestyling," she argued, praising the skills that made Eminem himself famous.  

Justina Valentine has faced sexism as a woman in the rap game

In an interview with Ignite, Justina Valentine opened up about the hurdles she's faced as a female voice in rap. "As women, there's always another obstacle, hurdle, or layer that we have to get above," she explained, recalling how she got her start in the music business. "I really had to cut my teeth and grind for every step of the way. I didn't know anyone in the industry, so it's definitely a game-changer being a woman." Valentine also responded to sexist comments in her 2018 track, "Just Don't Give a F**k," slamming the criticism she had received over her tattoos, looks, and career as a rapper.

In her opinion, however, the world of music is beginning to accept different demographics as time goes by. "For different ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, I think slowly but surely the industry is becoming more inclusive," Valentine observed, before adding that there's still more work to be done. "But it doesn't happen overnight."

She got on Wild 'N Out by rapping about a toaster strudel

Justina Valentine quickly made her mark on the Nick Cannon-led show, "Wild 'N Out," but the way she got on the MTV series was unconventional.

In March 2019, she was filmed reacting to her "Wild 'N Out" audition tape, in which she belted out an impromptu vocal performance about the breakfast food, toaster strudel. "When I started that first note, I didn't know where I was going with it. But I just went. And as you start singing, the story starts to tell itself," the TV personality explained. "I just started going with it and then my brain just starts piecing s**t together," Valentine continued, reflecting on her ability to conjure words out of thin air. "I just thank God my brain works like that and I don't know how it does it. The Holy Spirit hops in my body and then I just move my lips," she added.

It just goes to show: Sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts.

Justina Valentine has blown up on TikTok

Justina Valentine has never been afraid to use social media when it comes to promoting her music. "It's a part of today's climate," she explained to The Pop Break, arguing that the internet allows a wide range of people to hear her songs. "I posted a video recently that got over 600,000 views and that's more people than I could reach by touring for a month." Valentine also revealed why she tries to "let people see [her] do regular everyday things" on her social media accounts, explaining, "Showing them behind-the-scenes stuff lets fans get an understanding of who I am as a person and make a real connection."

The rapper's success on apps like TikTok has helped launch her towards her estimated net worth of $1.5 million, per Wealthy Persons, as of this writing in 2021. "Recently, a list circulated of the top liked female rappers on TikTok and I was #2 under Lizzo," Valentine told Hip Hop Weekly, sharing how her rap career had blown up. "I was doing like little freestyles that are going viral and I'm like ok, let me create an actual record for Tik Tok so that's what I did."

This Wild 'N Out star got her own show on MTV

After Justina Valentine blew up on "Wild 'N Out" in the mid-2010s, she started appearing on other TV shows, becoming a bona fide reality star.

The rapper played for her charity, the Young Women's Leadership Network, on MTV's "The Challenge: Champs Vs. Stars," which put its celebrities through a series of punishing physical tasks. "I've always been a tomboy since I was a kid," Valentine revealed to Allan Aguirre in 2018, saying that she "always played sports growing up." She's also become the undisputed victor when it comes to freestyling during the mechanical bull riding challenge on "Wild 'N Out." She went on to say, "I think when people have high expectations and you don't do as well, people get disappointed." However, since apparently nobody thought she would do well, Valentine added that her success on these shows was a genuine surprise. "It was super cool to finish first overall in the swimming challenge for the girls and to beat a lot of the guys."

Meanwhile, in 2020, she landed her own show on the network, "Justina Makes Over Your Man," in which Valentine helps men improve their looks — all while continuing to show off her vibrant personality and natural onscreen ability.

Justina Valentine's an animal lover

One cause that's very close to Justina Valentine's heart is animal welfare. The rapper even has a dedicated Instagram for her beloved rescue dog, Esco, whom she calls "the most handsome boy in the whole world." Aww.

In 2018, Valentine's love of pups led her to work with @RescueDogsRockNYC, promoting the New York-based rescue shelter in a short YouTube video. She even appeared in a PETA campaign against chaining up dogs — alongside Esco in his star debut. Valentine called the dog her "best friend," describing how it was "love at first sight," and urging viewers to "adopt, don't shop."

"I've seen dogs in different neighborhoods that I've lived in left outside in all different types of weather," Valentine went on to say in the PETA advert, which showed her wearing chains usually used on dogs. "That's not right. That's not the way animals should live. Dogs are pack animals. They want to be with their family. They want to be loved. ... Think of what a life of torture that is!"

The rapper keeps her relationships a secret

Justina Valentine tends to keep her private life hidden, but that hasn't stopped fans from speculating about who might be her next partner — as well as a step-parent to her adorable rescue dog, Esco.

The rapper hasn't confirmed any on-set romances with the cast of "Wild 'N Out," but she and co-star Hitman Holla were once rumored to have been dating, as Creeto reported in 2021. She's also been linked to fellow cast member Conceited (pictured above, left), whom she called her "partner in crime" on Instagram. "I think y'all like each other sorry," one fan commented, while another asked if they were "entangled."

Rumors also sprang up about Valentine and model Sommer Ray after they kissed during a challenge on "Wild 'N Out," in which the team members had to flirt with Ray. Neither woman has made any statement about their sexuality, however, and Ray was reportedly dating rapper Machine Gun Kelly at the time — so it's probably safe to assume that their onscreen kiss was just part of the game.

She's not afraid to go without makeup

One of the ways that Justine Valentine made her mark on "Wild 'N Out" was through a distinctive look: the rapper has become known for her sharp makeup and iconic bright red hair. Valentine has even joked that she would partner with any brand that made red hair dye. "I would definitely say my hair is a major part of my brand, so Revlon holla at me!" she told Hip Hop Weekly. "Manic Panic — all that. A hair brand collab would be cool."

Over the years, fans have demanded to see the TV personality with a more natural look. So in 2014, she uploaded a black-and-white Facebook picture taken at the beach, writing, "You asked for no makeup... Your wish is my command." And when Valentine appeared on MTV's reality show, "The Challenge," she had to go for a less glamorous look due to necessity.

While promoting the show on Twitter, the rapper posted a casual picture of herself. "This me w/no makeup no extensions no nails — you'll see alot of that," she revealed, teasing that fans wouldn't want to miss out on seeing it.

How Justina Valentine kept herself busy after Wild 'N Out

Since "Wild 'N Out" went on hiatus in early 2020, Justina Valentine has stayed busy with a variety of projects. In May 2020, she joined with other members of the "Wild 'N Out" cast to speak out against systemic racism. She and comedian Chico Bean hopped on Instagram Live to host an open discussion around the tragic death of George Floyd and the heightened Black Lives Matter movement it ignited.

That October, Valentine dedicated an Instagram post to the show's host and creator, Nick Cannon, following a public fallout he had with VH1 ("Wild 'N Out's" new network) as a result of anti-Semitic comments he made on his podcast, "Cannon's Class." "The man who changed my life Love you forever ... Many more blessings & trips around the sun @nickcannon," Valentine captioned a photo slide of pics she had taken with Cannon throughout her four years on "Wild 'N Out." Although he was initially dismissed from the show, Deadline announced in February 2021 that the host had been re-hired after making a public apology and working with Jewish leaders to unlearn his harmful statements.

During "Wild 'N Out's" limbo status, Valentine also kept herself busy by getting back into the studio and releasing her second studio album, "Infrared," in December 2020.

Justina Valentine has a song coming out with Lil' Kim

Big things are on the horizon for Justina Valentine, as she hinted during a July 2021 interview with Power 106 Los Angeles. At the time of this writing, the "Wild 'N Out" star's next (and as-of-yet untitled) song will involve a whole ensemble of female rappers, including one of her all-time idols. Coi Leray, Lady London, Vanessa V, Azjah, and none other than Lil' Kim herself will appear on the track, which was written for the soundtrack of "She Ball," an upcoming sports film starring Nick Cannon. 

"It's like the 2021 'Ladies Night,'" Valentine revealed, sharing her excitement about the project. "Legendary." As Complex noted, "Ladies Night" was a 1996 track that featured Lil' Kim rapping over a remixed disco hit from Kool & the Gang — and Lil' Kim herself previously hinted that an update of "Ladies Night" might be in the making back in 2017, shouting out Cardi B and Remy Ma at the "Hip-Hop & Soul" concert. "Maybe y'all might see something in the future. How 'bout that? Another 'Ladies Night.' We might be due for that," the icon teased at the time.

Speaking of Lil' Kim's involvement on the new song, Valentine told Power 106 Los Angeles, "I mean, Lil' Kim is literally a main reason that I rap. ... She's my favorite female rapper of all time. I grew up on her." She continued, "So when I found out she was on the record? ... I can't even tell you how hyped I was."