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Angie Martinez 

WAKS Kissmass, with Angie Martinez, Nick Carter, and Nivea. Saturday, December 7, at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium.

"I'm like the only Latin woman in hip-hop," declares radio personality/rapper Angie Martinez. Hmmm, what about fellow Puerto Rican rapper Ivy Queen? "Maybe this will make it easier for her," Martinez concedes. "Her time hasn't come yet."

Martinez believes in the importance of role models, so maybe that's why she takes a bite from Lisa Lisa ("I Wonder if I Take You Home") on her single, "Take You Home." The New Yorker confesses that, as a teenager, she kept on her wall a framed autograph she had scored from the '80s Puerto Rican diva. "I straight up wanted to be [her] when I was 14," she laughs.

But where Lisa Lisa's lyrics showed hesitation at the thought of taking home a potential lover, Angie Martinez makes no bones about taking what she wants. "It's a different time now. Women are a little more assertive. They know what's good for them."

What Martinez really wanted from Animal House, the follow-up to her debut Up Close and Personal (2001), was a chance to improve on the often awkward flow of her first effort and to dispel the rumors that Martinez owes her career as a rapper to her clout as an NYC disc jockey.

"People think it's easier being on the radio, but it's harder," she huffs. "If I wasn't on the radio, I would have been able to hit the road. To really promote the album."

As it is, Martinez says, she's exhausted. "Very rarely do I get to hang out," she laments. "We shot a video for 23 hours in a row. Right after the video, I went to the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Then I went to the after-party. They had to rush me to the hospital. Your body can only do so much." Apparently, so can your day job.

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