To become a legend in the world of radio takes a lot of longevity, guts, glory and above all- respect.  Several men have inherited all of that, from Casey Kasem to Ryan Seacrest.  Yet women don’t seem to get the same respect to such a large audience.  Except for one in my eyes- New York’s very own Angie Martinez.

Angie is the reason why I fell in love with hip-hop & R&B when I was a sprout young kid of 10 years old, growing up in Long Island.  The surrounding areas of where I was wasn’t exactly hip-hop’s finest (Pier 1 Imports & Joann Fabrics don’t scream “Let’s Get Crunk”) so my escape was listening to Angie on the way to school and any which way I could to keep myself updated on the latest in that particular world.  She had and has such an extraordinary way of interviewing the biggest in the game yet stays humble throughout her illustrious career, which is something that I respect 10 fold.  Also, she has had quite the success doing her own thing by rapping some huge chart topping hits like “If I Could Go” and one of my personal favorites “Ladies Night” which she is featured in with Lil Kim, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, DaBrat and the best thing that came out of SB49- Missy Elliott.

I had the utmost pleasure to sit down with Angie about all of this, including how she began, her take on the industry now versus then, and her amazing new cookbook that she just put out.  Take a look.

Hi Angie, thanks for taking time to chat with me today!  First off, you have one of the most decorated radio careers in our modern history.  How did it all start?

Hi and thank you for such a grand introduction! It’s great to meet you.  [It all started] with my mom, actually. She worked in radio, as a program director, so I’ve pretty much been around the industry my entire life. But you could say “my” career in radio started when I was 16; I had my first internship at Power 96 in Miami and just fell in love with it immediately. I knew it’s what I wanted to pursue as a career.

You have obviously seen the hip-hop industry grow from its roots to being a primetime player in the overall music landscape today.  What are your thoughts on hip-hop now versus when you started?

You know I’m really proud of where hip-hop is today – musically and culturally. I think one point is that the hip hop community, and you could even say the music industry in general, has really evolved and grown together over time – you see a lot more collaborations today than you used to, whether it be on a single or album or even a tour, and it’s creating this new creative space where artists are able to connect with their fans and other artists in unique ways.

You recently interviewed J. Cole who just hit #1 again with his latest album.  Not a lot of hip-hoppers seem to be doing that lately, so why do you think he is one of the exceptions?

I love J.Cole! He’s so talented. I think fans really connect with him as an artist for the same reason I do – he’s genuine and speaks from the heart. I also loved having Nicki Minaj on recently – she shared a lot of really personal and relatable stories.

You’ve done a myriad of interviews since you started radio years ago.  Who has been the best interview you have ever done and why?

I don’t think I could single out one interview as the best, but I do get that question a lot! Honestly I consider myself extremely lucky to do what I love every day, and work with so many talented artists and entertainers.

Angie Martinez, Manhattan Digest, Healthy Latin Eating
Credit to: Christina Holmes & Healthy Latin Eating

You have also jumped into the culinary world, with a new website and cookbook.  Can you tell our readers a little more about that?

“Healthy Latin Eating” is something I came up with after craving some variety in the figure-friendly-food department – because not only was I sick of eating salads for every meal, I was constantly missing the flavors of my favorite Latin dishes that never fit into my diet. After years of searching for healthier versions of my favorite Latin comfort foods – versions that had all the right flavors but not the added fat or deep frying – they were nowhere to be found, so I decided to start documenting and sharing my own home cooking tips and tricks, and that’s how the Healthy Latin Eating name and website was born. Then I was introduced to Chef Angelo Sosa, chef/owner of Añejo and “Top Chef” alum among many other amazing accolades, and we immediately bonded over our family’s shared love of Latin food and culture. Fast forward to today and we are the proud co-authors of Healthy Latin Eating: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed. And we’re just getting started!

With 2015 just beginning, what are your hopes for this year and beyond?

There’s so much! I don’t think there’s enough space to fit everything I have in mind, so I’ll give you one for now, and honestly my hope for this year, and every year, is for every person, no matter what they do or where they’re from, to always strive to be a little bit better. It doesn’t matter how you get your inspiration or what your goal might be – it’s just important that the drive is there and you’re actively working towards whatever success means to you.

Keep up to date with Angie by checking out her official site and Twitter.