Aina Brei’Yon’s purpose is loud and clear in her music. While her endeavors include everything from rapping to songwriting to producing and engineering, the rising independent artist makes it her goal to change the narrative of hip-hop, one listener at a time. Read more…
Hailing from the hood in the South Side of Chicago, Roseland to be exact, real name Marquita Brooks saw everything you’d expect in the streets, from gang violence to drug deals to fatherless homes. 4 years ago, she took a leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of music and leaving an imprint on this earth.
Her mantra? There’s a beautiful life on the other side of what we’ve been through. Aina reminds us we do have control and we can heal, as long as we find our purpose and go for what we love.
For those who don’t know, who is Aina Brei’Yon?
I am a creator, an artist of life period. I do music first, that’s my first passion. I’m just me! I don’t really know how to break it down. I’m an artist.
What sets you apart from other female rappers?
I’m authentic. I really don’t follow a lot of trends, I do whatever feels right at the time and wherever I’m at in my life. That separates me from a lot of female artists. I don’t really do the wave just to get acknowledged. I do me all the time.
How does being from the hood in Chicago motivated your career?
I knew I wanted to do something different. Me at a young age, I knew something wasn’t right about everything I was surrounded by. I didn’t really see too many people stepping into their purpose and doing anything they were passionate about. They were following a path that was set for generations and generations. Not really finding their true purpose in life. Me seeing and feeling that — I didn’t know what it was at the time — made me want to step out and see what that’s about.
How did you get into music?
Well communication in my household was non-existent. Intimacy, expressing yourself, expressing your emotions… I found writing as my first form of communication to let things out that were being suppressed because I didn’t have any outlets. I actually started off doing poetry, then it transitioned into music.
At what point did you want to do this for the rest of your life?
I was 13. I was 9 when I started writing, but 13 when I was introduced to the level of going to the studio. Just feeling that, it gave me life. Who don’t want life?
You moved to LA 4 years ago. Favorite part of the West Coast?
Me being here. [laughs] The weather, I’ll give it that. Tropical people. I live in Hollywood, I get to see it all.
What’s the inspiration behind your artist name?
I was originally called Temper, I felt that kind of boxes you in. As soon as somebody hears Temper, they box you into somebody who’s angry or not really approachable. So I changed it to Aina, I got it from Cocaina. I took off the end ‘cause I’m in my purest form right now. I can be my authentic self with no flaw in it.
You released I Missed The Summer this year. What was the creative process & how long did it take you?
Whew. I had to do a lot of reliving certain things from my past that damages a lot of people. That was my way of releasing that and stepping into my healing process. A lot of people think they’re alone in their story, so I actually chose to do it on that type of platform so people could understand “you are not alone.” In any situation that damaged you, that shaped you into this world, we living in fear. It took me 2 months, I separated from the world. Social media, everything. Isolated myself, revisited those moments and let it out.
How hard was it to revisit?
When you really think about it, you already went through it. The fact I’m not standing in it… if you can’t look back at certain things you’ve been through, and either laugh about it or just talk about it in a way that doesn’t hurt you, that means you haven’t healed. Me revisiting let me know where I really stood.
You say you’re on a mission to change the narrative of the state of hip-hop. What does that entail?
As a hip-hop artist, a lot of people want to give you this image, box you in and say “this is all you have to represent.” But we as humans go through so many different emotions. I want to talk about everything. I don’t want to be boxed in. “Oh, I’m a gangsta!” Or I’m nice one minute and won’t slap you the next. [laughs] Because life is about that. I want to show that we do go through different emotions and we can express it differently. You don’t have to box yourself in.
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I want to plant my seeds before I die. I don’t really think of it “as an artist, I just want to do this.” I think about it as my entire existence here, I want to plant seeds and it’s up to you to water them.
Talk about the independent grind.
You lack resources, of course. When people can’t take advantage of you, they don’t really want to help you. [chuckles] But I love it because I have full creative control. I’m not gonna say I wouldn’t change it. If somewhere feels like home for me, I’d definitely do it. But right now. I love being independent.
“2nd To Youngest Child” is being inspired by J. Cole’s “Middle Child.”
He was talking about being in between 2 different generations. I was speaking from a place of my position in my family household. I’m into numerology, still learning about it. I’m the 9th child out of my mother’s 10. My soul here on earth, this my completion. This is my last go around on this planet for my soul.
Who’s in your Top 5?
Of course, J Cole. Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, me. [laughs] I’ma take Lil Kim. I have to take her.
What did Nipsey mean to you?
I connected with his spirit. I recently got put on to everything Nipsey was doing. I felt like that was lacking, then when somebody gave me that information, I began to dig in. I’m really connected with his spirit, I can’t even explain it. Something about him that connects with me.
How important is social media for your career?
Unfortunately, it has to be extremely important. [chuckles] Due to the fact that social media drives everything. Social media can make or break you right now.
How much time do you spend on it?
Mmm. [laughs] I try and protect my energy as much as I can. I can’t let social media harvest my energy, I just can’t. I do what I can. I can’t tell you how frequently I do it, but I try to stay connected with the people who choose to support my work.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on IG?
Cardi B! She’s the closest to authentic in the industry. She expresses herself. She’s a Libra, but I love the balance there. She’s passionate. She’ll tell you “my feelings are hurt,” but she’s hard at the same time. It’s the perfect balance to me, I love Cardi.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Sitting at home mastering my craft and mastering myself. A lot of people might think that’s boring, but I’m actually kind of lit. [chuckles] You have to be around me to know it, but I stay in the house for the most part. Master everything about me. I don’t want the world to get me down, ‘cause they will own you if you don’t own yourself.
3 things you need in the studio?
Low lights, a vape pen, and nudity. I gotta be naked in low lights. [laughs]
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Cooking. I still cook now. I’m working on that as well, it’s just music is at the forefront. But yes, I cook.
What’s your favorite thing to cook?
I actually don’t have a favorite dish. I cook in the same manner in which I make my music. It’s based off how I’m feeling and what feeds my soul.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
I have so many. I have this song called “Temper Room” from when they used to call me Temper. For some reason, my supporters won’t let that song go and retire it. It brings so much energy, everybody sings along with me. It’s the best.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
Them actually knowing my lyrics word for word. That’s the best encounter I ever had. They make that eye connection, they say it with you, it lets me know that they connect with me and everything I’m saying — not just what I’m saying.
Bruno Mars! I always say him. I don’t know what it is about Bruno. I love Bruno.