Do you feel any pressure as a female MC to adhere to the image that some of the more mainstream artists present?
No, I feel like that pressure is only there when someone at a label wants to back you up and they start putting money on the table and tell you “sex sells”. I’m in complete control of my image and that’s not the type of person I am. I grew up kind of conservative so it’s not something I’m really going to have to worry about. I mean, I’m not super conservative; obviously I’m rapping and cursing and going down a road that most people wouldn’t have assumed I’d go down. I feel like maybe the image thing would be an issue down the road, but I know how I grew up and what type of person I am. I’m pretty stubborn, so if I don’t want to do it I’m not going to.
So who’s career do you admire in the industry?
Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim; those are some obvious ones I look up to, but I also look up to Drake and J Cole. Actually, J Cole is the biggest influence on how I rap, as much as you may not hear it. When I discovered him back in 2008, that’s all I listened too.
In high school, I only listened to indie music; I didn’t really listen to a lot of hip-hop growing up. I grew up on classic rock like Queen, Supertramp, ACDC; that’s what my dad was bumpin’ in the house. Then I’d hear the Whitney Houstens and Destiny’s Childs and whatever else was popular when I was in school.
My parents hated rap music so I never really got to hear it; if it was on TV they were like “turn that shit off” [laughs]. It was in high school that I really got into it. I was aware of it in junior high obviously, but I didn’t really take it all in. The first hip-hop group I really got into was The Cool Kids. I just thought it didn’t sound like hip-hop you usually hear and it really spoke to me. It just started with that and moved onto other acts, like Don Kennedy and Pac Div, but J Cole is the one that really influenced me. At one point I was exclusively listening to him. I just love how he interacts with the crowd. He really inspired me with my [stage presence] and how I interact with people, because I’ve been to some shows and they’re so boring.
Where do you hope this all goes for you?
I’m looking forward to the day I can quit my day job so much [laughs], but ultimately I know its not going to be any time soon unless something amazing happens and I get discovered. I’m just going to take it day-by-day, show-by-show, project-by-project, and see where it takes me. Right now though I need a day job because [rap] is not really paying my bills right now [laughs]. I’d like to say a year, but you never know. Life is unpredictable.