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CHIKA: “Now rap is second nature”

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A singer, rapper, poet and activist, CHIKA drew our attention in 2017 with her pro LGBT+ remix of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You. The Alabama artist told us about her new EP Industry Games and body-positivity. 

How and when were your introduced to hip hop? 

I was introduced to hip hop as a kid but I didn’t get super into it until maybe middle school.

How did you start rapping? 

I started writing poetry at around 11 or 12 years old and eventually started incorporating those poems into my songs.

Which artists did you listen to while growing up? 

CeCe Winans, a lot of Disney artists, and plenty of traditional Nigerian music.

Did you receive any musical training? 

No, I was too young for vocal lessons when my mom tried to enroll me. But I taught myself guitar and took musical theater classes.

You just released the EP Industry Games. How would you present this project? 

It’s a narrative of the past year of my life and a statement about the beginning of my journey.

If someone doesn’t know your music and wants to discover it, which track would you advise them to listen to first and why? 

I’d direct them to Songs About You because you hear my humor, my experiences, my ego, and my fear all wrapped up on this banger of a track.

How do you work on your flow? Do you use special techniques or routines? 

I wrote verses for Instagram for nearly four years, which provided me with a lot of practice. I didn’t want the content to get stale so I had to keep advancing. Now it’s second nature.

Since 2016, you’ve been using the socials as a platform to showcase your music. What part does the social media play in the development of your career? 

A huge one clearly. I’d have nothing if I hadn’t built my platform myself.

Do you think rap can be a political tool? How so?  

Rap has always been a political tool. As is a lot of music. It’s honest (for the most part), the most unfiltered genre and the art of poetry and wordplay can be used to paint vivid pictures and get points across.

Why do you think body-positivity is still an important issue today?

I never said it was. That doesn’t mean it isn’t but I don’t feel nearly as passionate about it as people assume I do. It’s more important to tell people not to be assholes towards people who don’t look like them than to tell people who don’t look like supermodels that we should be happy and snap back at the world. Self-love is important, but so is loving each other.

Who are your female role models? 

My mom and maybe Jane Elliott? I don’t have any that stand out that much, honestly. But women are the best. We’re all dope.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how would you define your own feminism? 

Yeah, sure. I think my feminism is summed up in the belief that all people are equal regardless of gender. My feminism is inclusive of all, not just women. Gender non-conforming people need a safe place to land, as well.

What are your upcoming projects? 

Who knows? I just dropped a month ago. The sky’s the limit.

What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?

Keep up the dope work.

Find CHIKA on FacebookYouTubeInstagram and Twitter.

© Leeor Wild

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