Nya Lee wants to become the female Diddy, and she’s well on her way. The Bronx, New York native is the true definition of a hustler, going from making 10 to 20 bands on the stripper pole to becoming a full-blown recording artist in her own right. Taking on the moniker OG Nya Lee is a permanent reminder that she’s been that bitch, whole exuding positive energy and spreading her light in all facets of her life.
Being one of the illest females out, Nya knows she’s slept-on — but her time is coming. She explains, “I’ve been out for a little minute, and I don’t feel like I got my full flowers yet. They’ve probably only given me a rose or 2, and I want the whole bouquet. Me not getting my flowers yet and me having to go take them, shits that’s the process I’m in right now. I’ve been patient and I keep working.”
Nya is proud to own her own label titled Our Cutt ENT, inspired by a deep scar on her neck from an incident where she was stabbed and jumped back home in NYC. For Nya, resilience is everything, and she proves not dream is too far-fetched. Most recently, she released her spicy music video for “Pony,” fulfilling Nya’s Sagittarius desire of wanting to shoot with horses while putting on a show with full-blown choreography.
Settling in Los Angeles to further her music career, Nya moved her entire family to Calabasas, including her 4-year-old daughter named Winner. Flaunt caught up with Nya at the Kandypens house in the hills to discuss her roots in the Bronx, the inspiration behind her label, shooting “Pony” with the horses, writing her own book Why Nya, the Baddest Bitch challenge, and more!
Being from the Bronx, where did your hip-hop influences come from?
Coming from the Bronx, my father and them were already into hip-hop. I saw hip-hop in my house before I saw any female artists. First female artist I ever seen was my aunt Munchkin, she’s a rapper. I have so many uncles and only 2 aunts, one of them raps. I snuck down to my grandmother’s basement, we had a studio. I heard my aunt in there rapping crazy, I’m 9 years old thinking “girls can talk like that?” Crazy. Another time was when I saw Lil Kim’s Hard Core cover, I said “I want to look like that. I want to talk like my aunt, that looks like a good job.”
At what point did you realize you could do music as a career?
My idols are Jay-Z, Puffy, Russell Simmons. Not even the female rap aspect, I really want to be the first female Diddy. That’s why I have Our Cutt ENT, my record label. I’m gearing towards the business side. As an artist, you can eat and win too, but you need to really know your shit. You need to have a business.
What do you like about Diddy?
He could come on a record, show up his face, he could sit in the back. He has versatility. Sometimes I want to be outside, sometimes I want to sit in the background. That’s a perfect position for me. He has a really great eye for talent, and I do as well. We have Jay Hoodie signed to my label, he’s really really dope. He’s along the lines of if J. Cole, Fabolous, and Drake had a kid. We have another artist, Steel Sev. Now, I’m looking for another female I can help to mold.
What’s the premise of Our Cutt ENT?
The logo is actually my scar, you could see here. [points to neck] I got jumped by 9 girls when I was 20 and I got cut. 2 centimeters deeper, I would’ve been dead. I’m really really resilient. I wanted to put my cut on the logo because I want people to understand y’all could not break me. It’s our cut because it’s our work, we just want our cut. I’m not asking for anything I didn’t work for, but I want my cut. When you get your cut, it’s usually what you deserve. I piggyback off DJ Khaled’s We The Best. I put my scar on there to put it in people’s face, ya’ll ain’t stop shit.
How is it running a label and being your own artist?
It’s hard, but it’s good because I don’t owe anyone. That’s really important to me from the beginning. I know the legacy, I see my end. As long as I stay tunnel vision, it’s hard at times but it’s fun because I know the reward. With no risks, there’s no reward. I’m risking because I’m always self-investing. I don’t have outside people investing. I used to be a dancer, stripping in Sin City, Drama, all that. I danced for about 5 years, I was the top dancer in NYC.
Talk about all your businesses you have.
I’m a hustler girl. I got a clothing line, Nya Lee Waisted. I have a fitness line, Wake Up Fit. I have a women empowerment brand called Wake Up Sis. I’m in Total Life Changes, in network marketing as well. Anywhere there’s a coin, sis is there. Definitely the music’s starting to pay off now, but it took years to get to this point.
How’s the independent grind?
The independent grind is a lot of risk because you’re self-investing. I don’t have big labels and big companies coming to support and paying for my music videos. It’s all me, my hustle, the relationships I build. It’s hard but it is what it is. It’s what I want.
How busy are you?
Super busy, I have a bad thing of micromanaging. I’m double checking my stylist, double checking the makeup artist, double checking the videographer, I’m like that. I need to fall back a little bit, but it’s hard. This is my baby, this my brand.
“Pony” video out now! How you feeling?
I love it. “Pony” showed people that outside of me being a super dope rapper, because I can really spit — being from New York, that’s really important to us to be able to spit — it showed them I can be a little soft and have a girly side. I love the looks we did. I’m a Sagittarius so the horses in the video are a really great representation of my Zodiac. It felt good on set.
What was your vision with the visual?
The way the video came together was so seamless. I wasn’t ready to do any more music until 2021. I dropped my project right before the pandemic, then broke up with my baby daddy. I moved to California, was in the middle of resettling and getting my life on track. The pandemic happened, had to take a break with music. This photographer hit me up and said “hey I want to shoot you.” Photographers hit me up left and right but for some reason, I wanted to work with this guy.
He told me and my stylist about a super dope location he had. When I say we got that location close for nothing, as an independent artist you jump on opportunities. That video was thrown in my lap. The girls in the music video were there shooting photos with him. They watched me do 2 or 3 scenes, asked “hey, can we please be in your video?” Yeah girl, come on! They all had on silver already. The video looks super planned but me, my stylist, and my homegirl pulled up to that video not knowing what’s going to happen. That’s what y’all got.
It’s such a vibe too.
The video was so good. For me, it’s not saying women empowerment but truly being that. The girls asked me because they felt my vibe, I was very inviting. Aesthetically, I knew it’d look good. I invited them in, we went off. The energy was good the whole day. The photographer was good, I never worked with the videographer before and energy was good. That day, I had no help.
How were the horses?!
The horses were cool. I was an hour outside of LA at Deana’s farm. She’s beautiful, she’s a great host. If y’all need a great location with some horses, hit my girl Deana. She’s very accommodating, her energy was amazing. She brought some of the horses like “come over here.” That video shoot took a village.
Was Ginuwine’s “Pony” the inspo for the track?
The song, definitely. I love Ginuwine, I love that song “Pony.” Who doesn’t love Ginuwine? We all had a Ginuwine moment. When the photographer told us he had a ranch, oh we’re shooting “Pony.” I love horses.
How does it feel to be writing your own book, Why Nya?
It’s very therapeutic because you get to relive things. You get to take accountability for some things you may have not taken accountability for. I called a person or 2. I write a lot of my feelings. When we react outside looking in, it can look crazy. If you’re writing, you could go back and edit your raw feelings. I like to write when I get angry, certain things pop up. It’s like rapping, but a longer version. A longer song. For me, it’s letting go of everything that didn’t work with no malice and no anger. I don’t want my life to come out and people to think I hate people. I want the book to come out and they’re like “oh, this is what happened.” Whatever didnt work, fuck it. This is where I’m at.
One thing you want fans to get from your project, So Special?
I’m a very versatile artist. There’s a bop on there for everybody, every mood. There’s breakup songs, there’s bitch I gotta get back in my bag songs, there’s honest transparency songs of things I’ve been through in my life. I want women to listen to that album and know not to give up. I’ve been in the music business for a while, some know and some don’t know. My resilience is everything. The reason I keep going is there’s women out there who know me from day one when I was 20 years old, they’ve been following me. I have a real big responsibility outside of myself to keep going for them, because I have the strength to do it and not everybody does.
You’re giving me chills!
I’m a motivational speaker too. Wake Up Sis is the motivational speaking part of my life. There’s days I don’t feel like fucking showing up, like damn I’ve been doing this shit. If I don’t, there’s somebody else that won’t — and I can’t because I know there’s certain women I looked up to because they didn’t stop. I’m not going to stop, I have that responsibility.
You’re one of the realist people I’ve met in a long time.
Thank you. My biggest reason to keep going is there’s a little girl, a woman, a man even who’s like “yo Nya doesn’t stop.” And she won’t, I won’t because I have that responsibility. When you acknowledge your power rather than run away from it, my power is I really can’t stop. I don’t even know how to sit in shit for too long because I don’t like the way it smells. I get uncomfortable fast and I’m out, I keep going. Not everyone’s like that, some people can stay around shit and don’t even know how it smells. I have to be that example.
How old’s your daughter now?
She’s 4. She’s checked my ego so much. I named her Winner because even when bitches are hating, her name’s Winner. I built up my daughter’s confidence like how my mom did me. I see my end, I don’t see not selling out right now. I don’t see not having a single on the radio. I see me receiving awards for putting people in positions, that’s my goal. It’s not even about me. If it’s about me, there’s only so far I could go. I have goals I’ve already hit, I don’t have to go anymore. My responsibility is to make sure other people eat.
Pros and cons of Love & Hip Hop: New York?
Do I have any pros? It’s not fun. I regret being on LNHH more than I do being a dancer. LNHH is put out the stigma of me being a bitch, I’ve been fighting that stigma for fucking 8 years. Me and Rich Dollaz are cool now but the scene I had with him, he came into a video shoot. Remember I’m an independent artist, I’ve been stripping and paying for my videos. Hustling, you can’t tell a bitch that’s paying for shit how to really run nothing. He came in a bit arrogant, we clashed. I’m a fucking alpha female. The world said “you need Rich Dollaz.” 8 seasons later, who needs who? I’m okay over here. They really took that narrative of Nya being this horrible fucking person.
You didn’t have any say in it?
The only pro was when I did return, they let me come back to rewrite the story. That’s because of me and my self-development, my personal growth. Had I never been on there, that would’ve never been a thing. It’s still a thing to some degree, people think I’m horrible. When people meet me, they say “you’re so nice!” Bitch on my Instagram, I’m a motivational speaker. How mean am I online? You’re talking about some scene from 10 years ago. My page is very uplifting.
How did your fans respond to “Pony”?
They loved it. “Yes bitch, get back to the music!” Because I took a break from the music. my visuals are always super dope because Missy Elliot is one of my GOATS. I love Missy. I can’t wait till I get the Missy budget. [laughs] I love visuals. I love creative, I love that shit.
Talk about the Baddest Bitch challenge with Trina, $100K is a lot!
Total Life Changes (TLC) is a health and wellness company I work with. We have these liquid multivitamins, all these different health products. My coach Stormy Wellington and Trina came together, we want you girls to transform your body. Who’s going to look fire? We’re going to give you some money, fly out to Miami, get you a photoshoot with Trina. Get your 3 products: Nutraburst, tea, and NRG. For 30 days, you have to workout. The top 30 transformations get to fly out to Miami and get a picture with Stormy and Trina.
Genius, did you come up with that?
No, Stormy came up with that. Anything she does or say, we cosign. Stormy honey is an amazing black woman, I’m so happy she’s one of my mentors and my big sister. Her and Trina used to dance together, but now my coach makes 2 million a month. TLC baby, that coin keeps these lights on. It keeps my body right. I had surgery years ago but recently when I moved here, I lost 20 pounds. All from the products, no surgery. I work out 3 to 4 times a week: running, walking, lifting weights.
Why’s your name OG Nya Lee?
Even though I’m not old, I’ve been outside for a really long time. I did a lot of things going on right now, been did it. That’s what the song “Been Had” came from: “new Chanel bag, I been had it!” Kash Doll too, we been had it. That’s the flex. You gotta respect me, I got some wisdom. Rather than being intimidated by me, try to learn something.
What can we expect next?
I want to do a project on the top of 2021, my book’s coming out in December. My documentary’s coming out top of the year to piggyback off the book. 2021 is the first year I’m going to have a million dollars to the side, 2021’s my millionaire year.