What Ever Happened To Gloria Velez, One of Rap's OG Video Vixens?

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Back in the day, long before Instagram helped turned models into stars, there were rap videos.

While Lila Galore and Thickest on IG have used Instagram to their maximum benefit, it used to be much harder for those who wanted to be an urban model or appear in a rap video. That's why trailblazers like Melyssa Ford, Esther Baxter and Vida Guerra deserve a lot credit.

Arguably, one the most popular models  that era is Gloria Velez, a New York born, Florida raised beauty Puerto Rican descent, who was a rap video fixture in the 90s and early 2000s.

Velez has starred alongside some rap and R&B's biggest names, and she has the resume to prove it. She's been featured in JAY-Z’s “Big Pimpin,” DMX’s “What They Really Want,” Sisqo's “Thong Song,” 112’s “Anywhere,” Jagged Edge's “Where The Party At,” and Ja Rule’s “Holla Holla,” which she called her favorite during an interview due to its exotic Brazilian location.

But before hobnobbing with some rap's most elite artists, Velez started her career as a dancer for 2 Live Crew’s "Uncle Luke" as a teenager in the early '90s. At the peak her career in 2000, Velez went on the road with Sisqo as a dancer, as well as NSYNC on the group's No Strings Attached Tour.

She also proved to be a smart business woman, and capitalized on her large male fan base with DVDs and calendars. But that wasn't all. Velez  scored huge jobs outside hip-hop as well, including an appearance in Playboy's 2005 "Babe the Month" section.

If that's not impressive enough, she appeared on Comedy Central Chappelle's Show and played herself on the VH1 reality series Real Chance Love.

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So how did Velez — who will turn 40 this December — go from being a teen dancer, to touring with Luke, to being in a video with JAY-Z? It was all a matter   chance.

“I was at the right place at the right time,” Velez explained during an episode the now defunct BET show Rap City. “I was asked] to be in JAY-Z’s “Lobster & Shrimp” video. He said he really didn’t like the girls in the video. So I was in sweats, ponytail and a baseball cap, he was like ‘She driving in the car with me.’ Then at the set I met] Irv Gotti with his new artists Ja Rule], and he said] 'In two weeks we going to Brazil, you want to come?' I got my passport and ever since then it was video after video after video.”

In that same interview, Velez said she wanted to move on from videos and get into other forms entertainment, which turned out to be music and rapping. After making her name for herself in the music world, she signed a deal with New York producer’s Tyrone Fyffe’s TyBu Entertainment in 2002. She later signed to Rodney Jerkins' Darkchild label.

Throughout her music career, Velez's gritty flow wound up on mixtapes, one-f songs and compilation projects, including Tony Touch’s The Reggaetony Album. She was also part  the all-female artist collective the Murda Mamis, which included Rah Digga and Remy Ma.

In 2010, Velez dissed Nicki Minaj in her song “Roger That," which raised a few brows.

"The only reason I went in on Nicki Minaj was because I made a little comment on a DVD that was my opinion, and she didn’t like it," she explained. "She started emailing and texting and fake twitter accounts about how something I did with another girl when I was 19-years-old."

Velez also went at her son’s father, Aaron Hall, on the diss song “Eulogy” after he said some disparaging things about her in a 2014 interview. The pair met when Velez was just 16 and Hall was in his 30s. After they split, she accused him physical abuse and other forms mistreatment.

So what has Ms. Velez been up to lately?

As now, there's no signs a major modeling or music project to mention, but just like the models today, she's using social media to communicate with fans.

On her Instagram page, you'll find some new sexy photos— and physically she hasn't lost a step. But besides the titillating pics, there's inspirational messages on her page as well, and Velez has become a motivator sorts.

“If you live f based in a man’s compliments, then you will eventually die when he criticizes,” she wrote on IG “Beauty starts at the moment that you decide to just be yourself,” she wrote in another post.

Since stepping out the limelight, the gorgeous mom has been busy raising her sons, Aaron Hall IV, who's a rapper and Brayden who has health issues. In fact, she halted her career to take care Brayden.

"So the one question I get constantly is why did I stop my career," said Velez in an Instagram video posted in November 2017. "Initially, that was for my son's father, Brayden's father. And then once I had Brayden, he had a lot issues with eating and other things. I couldn't be on the road or have someone else take care him. Plus, I didn't have family to help me as well. So I stopped everything to make sure my son gets better."

Even though Velez isn't a full time entertainer anymore, she should feel extremely accomplished for opening so many doors for today's urban model.

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