Hustling mix-tapes, promoting live performances, and free styling at the drop of a dime; are all common characteristics I have seen in many people, over the years, who are trying to make it in the music industry. So, I have been a little hesitant to interview musicians because like so many they come and go, they literally give up on their dream without a fight but when I saw Queen Kyi perform her heart out, at the Above the Runway Fashion Show, I was struck by her presence. She rapped like it was all she knew how to do, she rapped like her life depended on it, and she rapped like she already had the record label waiting after the performance.
I had the chance to finally catch up with her this week, thanks to a connection with #NightsofDC, and there is so much substance to this young woman, below is our complete interview. Enjoy!
Astu: “Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! I am super excited to learn more about you, let’s start with a little information about yourself. “
Queen: “I am 24 years old and I’m from PG Country, Maryland. I have been rapping since I was 13 years old and I believe that this is my future – there is no other option.”
Astu: “You mentioned you started rapping at 13, why rap and did you consider yourself a rapper then as well?”
Queen: “I didn’t own up to the title of a rapper until I was 18 or 19, it took me a while haha. I love music in general, and I have my mom to thank for that. Rhyming has always been something I was able to do and of course it all began as poetry. ”
Astu:”So I listened to the mix-tape and the tracks are dope. Tell me where did the stories come from? Also what continues to push you to pursue this?
Queen: “A lot of the songs are from personal experiences. But don’t get me wrong a couple of the tracks are not things I have gone through, they are just observations of things our generation goes through. I would have to say that after I got back from serving overseas in Iraq, which was a about a year ago, I knew making music was it for me. My outlook on life was forever changed and I was not going to waste my talent.”
Astu: “Tell me, do you get nervous when you perform? And of course I have to ask do you ever feel intimated being a woman in a heavily male dominated profession?”
Queen:”Haha it’s weird but I like being the only girl at competitions or performances. I go in; I dominate, and remain humble. When I am performing I don’t really think about anything in particular, I just feed of the crowds energy and it’s almost like I go into this alter ego and I’m just bossing.”
Astu:”The very last track ‘Check Her Out’ you mention Nipsey Hussle as your inspiration. Why him?”
Queen: “There are many people who inspire me but Nipsey’s work ethic is what I admire about him the most. He came from nothing and is really out here doing it for him-self. He strives for ownership and that is what I want – I do not want to just sign to any record label and not have my say in anything, I want to be able to control my business. He sold his CD for 100 dollars, mind you it came with a lot of extra items i.e CD, tickets, shirts, but his fans are loyal and people bought it. All in all, I can respect his business mindset.”
Queen Kyi was nothing short of amazing. She is humble, goal-orientated, and business savvy and she is here to stay. Download the mix-tape and her top three, cause I forced her to choose just three to recommend, are ‘Came Up, ‘Saks 5th’, and ‘Lover Friend’.
Check out her mix-tape and download it here: http://www.spinrilla.com/mixtapes/queen-kyi-trilluminati
Connect with Queen Kyi
Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up