Kyah Baby is the newest member of hip-hop’s DIY digital age – a fiercely passionate lyricist who evades being called a diva while simultaneously giving the genre an exciting new spin. Single releases such as “In the Trap” and “Nothing New” find the New York City native offering a sharp contrast to the more cosmetic-shelled female MC’s music fans are likely used to. With folks like DJ Self coming out as a true fan and longtime supporter, Kyah’s homegirl-next-door approach is taking her places she never expected. We spoke to the young talent about her style, dealing with adversity, and her outlook on being a professional rapper.
TLSR: How did “In the Trap” come to life?
Kyah Baby: The beat was presented to me by my manager and I definitely felt like it was a dope sample from the classic “Make it Last Forever” by Keith Sweat especially being that no one has touched that sample in years. I felt now was the time for such a record being that so many songs from top artists are dropping with classic samples on them. I just switched the concept up to something more up to date that any and everyone can relate to. The trap being not necessarily in the streets but what ever it is you feel your trap is. It can be love, work, school, what ever.
You tackled a lot of subject matter on your last mixtape “Freedom of Speech.” Are you having more fun this time around?
I always have fun in what ever music it is I’m doing. Freedom of Speech is mainly me being more open about my life and past experiences for the people to better understand me and get to know me a little more personally. This is the first mixtape I’ve been really open on and decided to do so on nothing but classic beats. Just like my new single “In The Trap”.
It feels like there’s a lot of stereotype toward female rappers. Do you deal with that?
When I first started out I would come across people who would mostly always be males that would tell me I should be more “sexy”. I would find that funny because everyone has their own opinion of sexy. I never cared for their opinion though because I feet if you can’t listen to my music without me having my ass and breast out then you really don’t like my music. It’s sad because only women deal with that. There’s several male artist who are unattractive or heavy set and it’s okay, but not for women.
Because of being a woman in hip hop, the preparation for appearances is obviously more than men, with photo shoots and other attention to detail matters. Have you embraced this side of the business despite the fact that you are there to do what you get paid to do, which is the music?
I’m not big on fashion but I do enjoy having my own style which is why I have stylists I work with such as Tex or my long time friend Jacquelle who runs styled by Jacquelle. Before them, my brother Tykeem who is no longer with us would style me with his clothing line Justice or other ensembles he would put together effortlessly. Although he is no longer here I plan on keeping his Justice legacy with the help of my stylist.
How do you feel about fashion and style? What would you describe as your personal style?
Music and fashion go hand in hand so I always make sure I stick to my own style and my sound. I wouldn’t be in a dress and heels talking some street sh*t I’ve been through because it’s not my style. My style is similar to Aaliyah. Cool, calm and comfortable. I love crop top shirts and I’m definitely a sneaker head.
Has being so young in this industry affected your friendships and/or relationships?
At times it has because putting so much into music takes away from quality time from your loved ones but I have people in my corner who understand and I make sure I make time for them if I can. I’ve distanced myself from some people who just don’t seem to have the same mind frame as me or who are so caught up in things that would either have me back in jail or dead. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
How do you stay away from the negative side and focus on the positive?
I just keep in mind bad things I’ve been through and remind myself that I’m never going to put myself through that again. Temptation is only as hard as you make it and the more you resist the stronger you become. Once I lost everything I had it gave me a different drive, and once my brother passed I realized life is unexpected and I have to go hard forever.
What advice would you tell those women who may be having a hard time embracing their confidence and sexuality in a relationship?
Once you learn to accept yourself so will others. Pretending to be something or someone you’re not is only going to cause you to live in shame of who you really are. Love yourself or nobody will. Trust me people will love you for you authenticity and those who don’t shouldn’t matter.
What’s the message you want to give through your music?
I encourage people to never give up on their dreams. Life is going to throw so many obstacles in your way and there are going to be times you’re going to feel like you’ll never make it. But, that’s just God testing you to see how far you’ll go and how much you’ll push to succeed. Never give up on yourself even when everyone else does.