The world has always been ready for a true female emcee to take over the game, but many were too raunchy, boring or just plain whack. We have had some females represent hip hop in a strong way, but they didn’t get the recognition they deserved. Christina K is setting out to dead the silence the X chromosome has laid on the rap game. With fun songs like, “I Got a Boyfriend” and potent anthems like “Maryland,” you can hear with crystal clear clarity why Christina K is not to be slept on. Still unsigned, Christina K has been able to make a name for herself as an artist as well as a producer and will release a mixtape entitled Moonlight In Oz soon and it will be available any and everywhere online that you can find music. If you need an idea of what this Urban Pop phenom sounds like; imagine Nelly Furtado and Kanye West slowly seducing one another into foreplay and then suddenly sliding into heavy-duty, orgasmic screwing and you’ve got the lovechild—Christina K. This girl will go down in history for being the Rosie the Riveter or hip hop. She will prove that we [women] can do it in the music industry and not only can we do it, but we can do it well.
How did you get your start in music?
When I was really young, growing up, it was crazy. My mom had me really young. I was the only child. A lot of times, I would be alone and I would sit with the radio and zone out. I developed my love for music like that—really early on. I started writing raps when I was 5 or 6 years old, just playing around. I was freestyling when I was really little. There was no one to look up to as far as rapping goes, at that time. Later, I started listening to Salt-N-Pepa and though they were the coolest thing in the whole world. I started telling everyone I was going to be a rapper and they would look at me like I was crazy. They would say it’s not a real career. So I didn’t think it was real and forgot about it a little bit. When I was a teenager, I started hearing Timbaland and his stuff for Ginuwine. I had never heard anything like that before—babies crying and dinosaurs. I wanted to learn how to do it because it was the coolest stuff in the world.
So how did you go from dreaming about it to doing it?
A little later, I was still writing raps from time to time and I met this guy one night I was out and he was a producer from Philly. I went past where he had his setup at and checked it out. He recorded a couple of songs of me rapping and it was the happiest I had ever been. I finally recorded something! Granted, it was a home studio, but that was the first time I had been around real music equipment. So, I started to memorize all the equipment that the guy had and I was looking on the computer for the stuff. When I came back, I had already checked everything out on the computer. I had enough money saved up and went and bought all the equipment I saw that the guy had. So, I was like, “I’m gonna make beats now.” I thought it was going to be easy and I would just start making beats, but it wasn’t. The beats that I made were sucky. I was rapping and recording like 100 songs a day. I was like, “What is different about my songs from songs on the radio?” I would listen in my car and I realized, “oh, these beats are whack.” They were good ideas, but I didn’t know how to put songs together. I took some time to chill out and learn to operate the equipment—the drum machine and stuff. Then, I said I would start putting everything together, once I learned that. I was working day in and day out. I kept making beats until I thought I got pretty good.
Your dream took a while to reach, but once you started making effort, it seemed almost organic.
Yeah, I just think that if something is meant to be, then you really don’t have to force it. That’s my main thing. I work hard, but I just know in my heart it’s what I am supposed to be doing. So, I just let it take care of itself.
Are you still unsigned?
I am. We’re always talking to somebody. I had a production bill I was going to do with DJ Green Lantern last year. Then it became a big mix up about Nas’ “Black President” song. Then, I didn’t want to do the bill with him [Green Lantern] anymore after that. It wasn’t a misunderstanding, I just didn’t like the way something was done. It was an idea that I had given him for something that me and him were doing. He hit me and said Nas wanted the song for his album. I just didn’t like that. It could have been handled differently. I was like, “well if you’re going to run with my ideas now before the lawyers are done with the contract, I think I can figure something else out.”
You do the producing, rapping and writing. You look up to Timbaland when it comes to producing. As far as rapping and writing, who do you look up to?
I’m more of a fan of the pop stars than female rappers at this time in the game. I like the guys, like Jay-Z, Nas, but with girls it’s really not anybody. I would say the last real female hip hop artist I liked was Eve. I think when she started the stuff with Gwen Stefani, that was really hot. A lot of her songs, like “Love is Blind,” touched me. When I was little, listening to Lil’ Kim and Foxy, I really liked them a lot, but it was so vulgar. You had never really heard anything that vulgar before, so it was shocking. Now, I don’t know if I want to hear that anymore. I look up to Nelly Furtado and Fergie because you can’t sit there and say Fergie or Nelly Furtado won’t bust a rap on you. If the sisters were really holding the rap down and those girls were able to come in and make super pop hip hop inspired hits, then I want hits like that. Of course Missy. I think she is really dope because she produces, writes, sings and raps and crazy creative. I like anybody that is super creative.
You were talking about artists like Lil’ Kim and Foxy, who are certainly oversexed when it comes to their music. How do you feel about the current state of femininity in hip hop?
It’s bad. I guess there is nobody to look up to. If you are a young girl and you want to rap, there’s no one to look up to. I feel bad talking about other artists like that because I’m really not a hater, but at the same time, I’m a real person, I gotta tell it. It’s a shame with Trina—like if you were a young girl trying to rap—you’d consider her verses as a joke at the time when Foxy and Lil’ Kim were at the top. The hottest thing Trina said was her verse in “You Don’t Know Nan.” *she laughs* That’s the only hot thing that Trina really ever said, to me.
If you’re into super hip hop, then you have somebody like Jean Grae. She’s super talented. It’s that underground world versus the over-ground world. The average person—unless you’re a hip hop head—probably hasn’t even heard of Jean Grae. I think it’s no one that’s really tying everything together that’s talented and it like, “I’m here. I’m rocking and I am a little of this and a little of that.” Female hip hop is really whack, but I also think the way music is changing now since people are more inspired by a pop sound, the Euro sound. Things are definitely changing. Kanye’s doing his Euro thing. Wayne is going rock now. The sounds are merging. It’s going to change the way music sounds. It’s going to be more poppy hip hop—just real underground hip hop thing is going to fade out soon. Artists today, with the 360 deals and the marketing thing, you’ve got to come correct.
With there being so many different sounds coming out now, surrounding hip hop, what is it about your sound that sets you apart?
I didn’t hear it at first, with me. I was doing what I thought I should be doing. Everybody that wrote about me would say how different and unique my sound is. I was just doing me. It really wasn’t intentional, but I guess it’s like a old school/new school thing I got going on. I felt like I drew from Salt-N-Pepa growing up and some of the new things going on now. I’m coming from a fun place, but still hip hop and I like the poppy sound. I tried so many different elements and sounds that I produced with. It’s not in one box. It’s a combination of everything, but I make it work.
You do stand out visually as well as musically. What do you call your music? Do you have a certain name or genre of your fashion style?
I would call my music style that I came up with is Urban Pop. That’s my genre. It’s going to be a really big genre soon. I made it up, but I’m sure other people will agree with it. Pop is typically looked as white artists. Rihanna is black, but she’s pop, so I think people like her, Ne-Yo, I would consider Urban Pop. They make chart topping pop music, but it’s made by a black person with an urban target and it crosses over smoothly. That’s the type of hip hop that I see myself making.
I don’t have a name for my dressing style. It’s kind of like B-Girl with a Trendy twist. I wanted to come up with something other than hipster because I’m not a deliberate hipster. The people that are like, “I’m going to take these Supers and these tight jeans because I saw Kanye with them and I’m going to put these glasses on and I’m going to be cool.” I don’t do that. I just wake up. A lot of times, the stuff I was already wearing it and will just end up being super cool a couple months later and I have to find something else to start wearing. *she laughs* You’ve got to keep it moving because it’s like, “everybody’s doing it now? Oh man!” I don’t put that much thought into what I wear. I kind of just roll out of bed and it’s just me being creative through my clothes.
Producing in the music industry is such a male dominated profession. How do you handle being one of the few women?
The first time I actually placed a track, it was funny because one of my friends was managing me at the time. It was for this Jive artist named, Dolla. He [my manager] told me that they took my track so it was like, ok cool. We went to the studio with my drum machine and stuff to dump the beat. My manager told me that he told them that the real producer is sick and I was his assistant. He didn’t know how Dolla was going to feel about a girl actually making the beat, so it was whatever. I was just happy that they picked the track. I was sitting in the studio, doing my thing, nodding my head and someone said something about me and Dolla said, “Man, I already know she made the track, but she hot though.” So, that was sweet! But, that’s that. I did some music with MTV, but pretty much after I had did the thing with Dolla, I’ve been making everything for myself. It’s like I started making tracks for myself in the first place because I needed the music. Sometimes I get so caught up in whatever I’m doing that I don’t have time to shop this to this person or that person. It’s a longer process than I think people understand, doing everything myself. It’s a long process, to sit there and make the track, write to the track and then record the track. Some people might get a track that’s already done or someone wrote for them. But to sit there and do all three steps by yourself, it’s like ok. When you hear my stuff, it sounds the way that it sounds because it’s 100% me. Everything is me from the music to the words, so it fits me perfectly.
So you don’t make anymore tracks for artists anymore?
I will if I’m contacted for it, but I don’t go out of my way. If someone reaches out to me to license this or that, then I’ll do it. Primarily, I just like to keep things for myself.
When is the album out?
Right now, I don’t plan on releasing an album independently, but I am letting out a mixtape at the end of the month. It’s not like mixtape of random scrap songs. It’s this really cool idea that hit me one day. It’s kind of like a tribute album, but tied in with a movie theme at the same time. It’s something really different as far as hip hop. A lot of my music is more pop, but I have some stuff that’s really hip hop. I do much stuff that’s like pop rock and I’m like, “ok, this is my radio sound.” This mixtape is definitely more hip hop, but everything I am sampling on it is Pink Floyd. It’s interesting. It will be everywhere, free downloads on any blog or hip hop website. The name of it is Moonlight In Oz.
How did you come up with that title?
People like to tie themes in on their mixtapes and I was thinking of what could be a good theme. The Wizard of Oz because my life is kind of like that. I was in Maryland, my little Kansas and I wanted the big lights. I wanted more. I wanted to go away. I ended up getting to Oz, which is New York, but this place is freaky and weird at the same time. My Oz is like my trials, going through the industry. So, then I was thinking of the music I wanted to use and I started putting other songs I already had together and lined them up for the story. When I was researching more about The Wizard of Oz and I always listened to Pink Floyd and I realized that Pink Floyd has an album that they’re known for—the one with the prism—called Dark Side of the Moon. It’s an urban legend that the album syncs perfectly with the movie. I thought that was cool and that I could kill this! I would do samples of Pink Floyd’s songs in the same order that they had, so every song is the same tracklisting, but I’m just rapping about the same theme of what the song was and incorporate coordinating sounds from the movie too. It’s been taking time to put it together, but I am almost done. Every time I put something like this together, it takes up most of my time. It’s unique because it’s hip hop, but the music that I am taking it from is rock, so I am tying a whole bunch of different things together and it fits. That’s why it’s called Moonlight in Oz because theirs is The Dark Side of the Moon.
I know you were talking heavily about hip hop being infused with other sounds and that sort of defines your song. How do you deal with people saying that you’re trying to be like everyone else?
You’re the first person that I’ve told this idea [Moonlight In Oz] to. I’ve mentioned around it before without spelling it out. The only reason I am comfortable telling you about it is, we’re almost done. I know sometimes my ideas are ahead of the curve. With me, it’s authentic, so I am not deliberately trying to sound like freaky and weird. People that know me, know that I am crazy for real and I can be a whole lot more crazy in my music if I wanted to. But, I’m not trying to sell this whole, “I’m weird and freaked out…” thing. It’s just good music and I am having fun with it. I’m taking their rock sound into hip hop; not to get the hip hop out of my system, but to show people that just because my stuff is poppy, I am more hip hop than a lot of people that are out. I love music and its always been what I’m about. I can rock anything and it would be good music.
Do you think that people have any misconceptions of you as an artist?
I’m sure they do. If you only hear certain songs—like the up-tempo stuff—you make think I’m just one way. If you listen to my song “Maryland,” and it’s coming from a totally different place and the tone of my voice and content; and then listen to “I Got a Boyfriend,” it will create the whole picture. The only misconception I see is if you only heard the up-tempo, fun stuff. But if you want to understand me as an artist and what motivates me, listen to “Maryland.” After listening to that, you have to respect anything I choose to do.
What are you currently working on?
The mixtape, but I’m almost done. After that, we pretty much done with the next single. Right now, working on more singles. I like hot music. I like songs that have potential to be hits—clean, hot stuff. I don’t sit around and just rap all day or write stuff just because I can or I want to. The Moonlight in Oz project is my little hip hop expression of myself—to show who I really am. Everything else I focus on is trying to make those right hits, so by now I am making more hit records with my manager going in on meetings. I am giving her the right material that she needs to keep everything moving forward.
Is there anything outside of music that you’ve been working on?
Honestly, I spend all my time making music, thinking about music and the next move I need to make as far as my music. It consumes my life. There is nothing else that I’m into, other than hanging out, having fun and partying. I try not to do as much as I’m used to because I’m trying to stay focused.
Is it hard to stay focused?
Not at all. I love my friends, but I know how to get away from everybody. I’m at my best when I’m locked in a room by myself. That’s when the magic happens. That’s me; everyone that knows me knows I love to go out and have fun, but then I know how to lock myself away and hide to get my work done. That’s really all I focus on because this is all I’m working on and pushing. This is a movement right now, so I’m 110% involved.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I’m one of those people—of course I see myself at the top of the charts, winning Grammys—but life is about having a good time. I definitely want to do stuff with non-profits and charities and stuff like that. I try to volunteer and speak with kids when I have the time. That’s a big part of what I want to do. What motivates me is not my own vanity; I want to be able to influence other people and not so much with the music itself, but if I can make something out of myself, then I can take that and do positive things with it that will help other people. That’s my main thing.
Are you currently involved with any charities?
There is this one group called Young Ladies of Tomorrow in D.C. I deal with them when I come back to my real home. It’s young girls that have gotten into trouble and the group is try to keep them on the straight and narrow. So, I speak to them and keep in contact with the girls online. They say that I really touched them. I also do Food and Friends. They prepare food for people that sick with AIDS, Cancer and stuff like that [whereas] they can’t get the food and nutrition they need. They prepare the food and I help pack the food and someone else takes it and delivers it to the homes. I’m always looking for stuff like that. I love making music because that’s just me and that’s something I will always do, but my goal is to create something out of myself that I can take and use that brand to do something positive with. Most people don’t want to be preached to, but I look at it like—I can make a whole bunch of music like neo-soul, spirit and get your chakras in line type music and it will just be underground and no one would ever hear it. Or, I can make fun, feel-good music that gets me things like interviews, radio, more shows and stuff like that. I then create my actual person that I can then use to do positive things with it. As long as I get the job done, I will do it on the biggest scale that I can.
Check out Christina K on Myspace, Imeem, iTunes