Tiffany Lane, better known as Charli Baltimore, is a Grammy-nominated American rapper–songwriter. Her stage name is taken from Geena Davis’s character in the film The Long Kiss Goodnight. Lane was born in born on August 16, 1974 to a German father and a Black American mother. She was primarily raised by her elder half-sister, Yolanda. She graduated from Peirce College and became a certified paralegal. Lane has two daughters, India and Siaani. She gave birth to her eldest daughter when she was 14 years old.
From the very beginning, Charli Baltimore was something of an enigma. She made her first appearance in a Notorious B.I.G. video and had people asking, “Who is that?” Rumors started flying that she was Biggie’s girlfriend, or that she was the female rapper for The Commission, a new trio B.I.G. was forming with himself and Jay Z. Later, word was out that she was signed to Untertainment Records, the new label headed by Lance “Un” Rivera. Still, mystery swirled around her. Just Who Is Charli Baltimore?
Then, her infectious single, “Money,” from the Woo Soundtrack, stormed the charts. With her accompanying video, folks got a real look at her smoldering beauty and also at the two small reasons her stage name is so appropriate. Tiffany Lane, a certified paralegal in West Philadelphia, and mother of two young daughters, had completed the transformation into Charli Baltimore, hip-hop’s new femme fatale. (In the Geena Davis film, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Charli Baltimore is the code name for a spy who lives a double life as a working mom.)
But Charli Baltimore is much more than a pretty face, something she’s out to prove with the summer release of her debut album, Ice. The album promises to convince even hard rocks that a girl can look like a supermodel and still go mic-to-mic with the best of them. There’s Charli sounding gritty on one track and playing coy on the next. And samples from Led Zeppelin to Donna Summer. “We tried to make the album really global,” explains Charli. “I really like hardcore, and Un wanted the album to have a broad appeal. So we compromised.”
One of Charli’s favorite tracks, “30 Miles Outta Baltimore,” is an epic 72 bars long, and unfolds like the story that is Tiffany Lane/Charli Baltimore. “The whole song is dramatic,” she says. “It’s the story of my own transformation.”
“Kashmire,” which samples the Zeppelin tune by the same name, is rock ‘n’ roll/hip hop fusion at it’s purest. “Everyone was trying to figure out how I was going to rap to that beat, because it’s just off. I had to find a way to make my rhyme fit. It forced me to change my flow.”
Charli really lost her mind when she heard the Beastie Boys’ “Brass Monkey” track, off Licensed To Ill. She knew she had to write a rhyme for it. “I had written the first verse but then got stuck. Un was fuming, he was saying ‘You mean to tell me you can’t come up with two more verses?’ He got mad and then I got mad that he got mad,” Charli says laughing. “Then he went out of town, and I went into the studio and just ripped it.”
And there’s much more: unexpected samples, hot producers, special guest appearances. As for the specifics, once again, Charli is leaving us in a swirl of mystery. Just enough to create a stir. And it’s working. This summer, be prepared for an Ice storm!