January 6, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Kamaiyah is one of the hardest female rappers out… period. Born and raised in Oakland and a true Baydestrian at heart, the West Coast spitter is here to put on for her city and her people the best way she knows how. Coming from true humble beginnings, the Platinum-certified recording artist gives hope to young females all around the world that they too can make their dreams come true with hard work, dedication, passion, and not taking no for an answer.

Exploding onto the scene with her debut single “How Does It Feel,” Kamaiyah instantly became a fan-favorite as she shut down stages all around the world. It’s her explosive energy, braggadocious bars, standout punchlines, relentless storytelling, and pure authenticity to be herself that audiences can appreciate most. Plus, she had ultimate backing with YG and his 4Hunnid imprint, which includes being featured on 2016’s smash hit “Why You Always Hatin?” alongside Drake and opening for him on his Fuck Donald Trump Tour.

Right at the top of her heat, label and personal issues derailed Kamaiyah from putting out new music out for almost two years, but in 2020 Kamaiyah showed everyone she returned better than ever—with absolutely no patience for the bullshit. As evidenced with her newest project No Explanations, she celebrates her newfound independence releasing through her own record label titled GRND.WRK via EMPIRE. Serving as record third project of the year, following February’s, Got It Made and October’s critically acclaimed Oakland Nights her joint collab with fellow Bay-native, Capolow, the Queen of the West shows no plans of slowing down, consistently dropping bangers and visuals for her growing fanbase.

Flaunt caught up with Kamaiyah via Zoom, who had just returned from Arizona to gift her 12-year-old cousin her present in person. Read below as we discuss the inspiration behind No Explanations, her Southern influence, linking with Jackboy on “Still I Rise,” the independent grind, her hit records, her drip, her favorite records, and more!

Photo by @bransonalmengo

No Explanations out now, what are you most excited for?

I feel weird because it’s the last quarter, everybody’s shutting down. It feels hella weird to be dropping a project right now. It’s hella oversaturated but shit, I put out 3 projects so I have to give myself a pat on the back.

I look at it on the other end, you’re closing out the year on a strong note!

Yeah, it’s just the reception is different in the last quarter than if you drop at the top of the year.

The title is self-explanatory, what do you want fans to get from the project?

I want everyone to know I’m growing as an artist, this is a different type of sound. I’m closing out the year telling you I’m not talking about nothing prior to 2020 in 2021, ever again. That’s what it was and it’s over with, that’s why I named it no explanations. People have all these questions about certain things and what’s occurring in my life, I don’t want to keep answering the same shit.

People still be asking you the same exact questions in interviews?

Yes, that same shit. I don’t want to keep talking about that. Shit happens, we grow past it.

How is music an outlet for you, being able to put it all into the music versus having to talk about it every single time?

That’s what I feel the music is for. We’ve gotten into a time now because everything’s so digital, everybody feels they have to explain themselves on social media. That’s what they try to force you to believe. Personally to me, that’s what the artistry’s for. That’s what it’s created for, these platforms we have for music is diluting the game. All of that social media shit, Twitter and Instagram, a n*gga will go there and explain some shit that they could’ve put in a song. What better way than the music if you’re an artist? That’s how I look at it.


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You say your past two projects were West Coast, this has more of a Southern feel. Did something spark this?

A lot of people from the Bay forget our ancestors are literally from down South. We’re mostly influenced by the Southern region because that’s where our families come from. It was more authentic for me to do that than anything because naturally, that’s what I’m inspired by. Even me calling myself the Hot Girl when I first came into the game, that’s because I wanted to be the first hot girl on Cash Money Records. [laughs] I wanted to do a project that displayed that. Most of my fans don’t really be from the West, they’re from the South. I want to give them something they could ride to and relate to, that’s not a certain vibe.

Love seeing Jackboy on “Still I Rise,” how’d that collab come about? 

I’ve been doing my distribution through EMPIRE. When I’m in the building, damn near every time me and Jackboy are always in the studio together. He’s a workaholic like I’m a workaholic. If I’m working, he’s working. There’s never a day he’s not in the studio, we naturally connected. I fucked with him as a person, that n*gga’s a good dude. I like to collab with people I actually have a connection with, where it’s not forced. I’m not chasing you or doing all that extra shit. It happened naturally and hella quick.

Was that done in the Bay?

I wasn’t even there when he did it. One of the people who works at EMPIRE said “Kamaiyah wants you on the record” and he got on it. We see each other all of the time, he’s family. It’s not like we don’t know each other, I see that n*gga every time I’m in the studio. I’m like damn, he’d sound good on this record. The house mother, that’s what she is at EMPIRE. [laughs] She said “I’m going to get him on here” and she got him on there. He got on it the first day she gave it to him.

What was your reaction when you heard his verse? 

My n*gga was sliding. Jackboy man, he has a promising future. In the last year, he’s built himself to be respected in a different way than he was before. A lot of people weren’t familiar with him but in this past year, he’s been hustling so crazy that now he’s getting acknowledged in a way that he wasn’t being acknowledged before.

How’s the independent grind?

Being independent, I have more liberty to do what I want. Now I’m able to put content and music. The only hurdle we had in the beginning was budgeting, figuring out how to efficiently put up quality shit at a certain number. What does a Kamaiyah project number look like? When you’re on a label, you know those things because they have it set for you. A set budget, you won’t have any choice but to make that. When I got off of my deal, I was doing crazy shit spending crazy money I shouldn’t have been spending. I figured out “this is the ballpark of what we have to stay in to get some shit done,” and it’s working for me.

Best memory from the “Still I Rise” video shoot?

Getting pulled over. People think that the beginning was a part of the video, no I actually got pulled over because our fucking truck looked like a party Uber. The police was like “what the fuck are y’all doing? Do you have a permit? Why are you droning on our bridge? You know this is federal property of the government? We can’t be having drones on the Bay Bridge.” Girl I don’t know none of that, I’m here to rap for y’all that’s it. [laughs] It was crazy.

Off the rip, you say the day ones switched up on you. How tight is your circle now? 

My circle’s hella tight. I keep the same people around me and don’t try to divulge away from that. You know how you try to be different and let new people in? Every time that be the downfall for people because you know how a mutherfucker is, especially in this business now. It’s not the 90’s where people had good vibes and were real n*ggas. It ain’t that, social media will make people so damn weird and finicky. There’s no real friendships being created or curated during this time of music. N*ggas is out to get clout, that’s what it is. If they can’t use you then they don’t want to be around you. I don’t want anyone around me who wants to use me so I’m going to protect my energy at all times.

“Art of War” video looked crazy, how was shooting that?

That’s one of my highlights from this project, I’ve been wanting to do a video like that for a long time now. To get it across was hella fun because it was no pressure. I like to work by myself. I don’t really like features because every time you do a feature, you’re on somebody else’s time and I don’t like that. I like to get in and get out, get the shots done. Make sure they look right for the people who’s going to consume it. We did a dope ass job with fucking “Art of War,” one of the only videos where people will be like “what the fuck” when they see it. We didn’t spend shit to make it look like that. You’d think we spent some crazy shit, but we didn’t.

Ballin’ on a budget!


Favorite records from the project and why?

“Bend da Corner” is hella fun, That’s the type of time I be on, having fun. “Art of War,” I was fed the fuck up. You gon’ hear that, oh she’s mad as fuck. The shit I’m saying, she’s talking her shit. The record with Mozzy [“Momma Said”] was spoken from the heart, one of my favorites. It’s a heartfelt record, something that’s different. I keep forgetting about “Chosen,” that’s some boss bitch shit.

What’s the significance in “Bape Hoodie”?

When I was writing it, it reminded me of being on the 57 bus or some shit. Growing up on the AC Transit. I called it “Bape Hoodie” because when I was going to school back in high school, we’re wearing a lot of Bape back then. I used to have my iPod with my Bape hoodie.

I remember one festival, I ran to make your set. How much do you miss performing? 

That’s the part that makes music weird right now because we’re putting it out, but we can’t really see how the fans are consuming it. It’s a blessing and a curse for me because I’m putting out so much music, by the time I do get to do shows again, it’s going to be a different type of vibe. Alright you put out so much shit, instead of people only knowing A Good Night In The Ghetto, they’ll know this and that. It’s gon’ be an interesting time to go back on tour.

What would you say is the crowd’s favorite songs of yours?

“How Does It Feel” and “Fuck It Up” forsure. “N*ggas” obviously too because when I do “N*ggas.” all the bitches be trippin’!

Do you ever get it sick of performing those hits?

Yeah I did because I was stuck for so long. Imagine being locked in a box, you’re just in a glass box. You can see everything going on around you, everything moving, the world ain’t changed but you can’t move. That’s how I felt for 4 years because I’m tired of performing this. I’m seeing all these people around me growing with these blossoming careers. When I came in, it was me, Cardi, Dreezy, Dej, and Nicki. I had to watch everybody around me rise and I was stuck in this box. Damn y’all are having fun out there and I’m stuck in this goddamn bubble. It was a difficult time for me dealing with that. To be able to move how I’m moving now feels hella different. It feels more fun, I’m more happy.

“Fuck It Up” was so lit. Fondest memories from those days? 

The video. When I went home, it felt like I was on top of the world damn near. You see in videos where Snoop and them go home and the whole city’s behind them. That was my moment when the whole city’s like “she out of here! She gone, Kamaiyah’s the next best thing.” That’s the best part of that era for me. I was stamped and solidified, she ain’t going nowhere.

Who are your favorite artists right now? 

Obviously NBA Youngboy’s one of my top favorite artists, he’s never going to leave my Top 5. I love Jackboy. Roddy my n*gga.  As far as hustling out of the females, I like Flo Milli. She had a phenomenal year. As far as singers, Summer Walker. She’s having a good little run right now.

What’re you most excited for with the new year coming?

To put out more music, to elevate my brand and grow. People are now getting used to me dropping music again, we’re trying to figure out how to tackle the digital side in marketing. That’s the next thing, to curate my fanbase and build it out. I’m tired of being stuck in this box, I want to move how people on the label move. Them other girls’ managers, they have those damn machines. I don’t have the machines so I’m trying to figure out how to work my shit without the machine.

On the fashion tip, how would you describe your drip? 

I’m one of the drippiest bitches on two feet. It’s nobody flyer than me damn near. I fuck with Flaunt, they capture the same shit I’m talking about: the top tier fashion shit. That’s what I’m stepping into next year too, that’s why I’ve been on my workout shit. If I lose 40 or 50 pounds, ain’t nobody going to fuck with me at with this fashion shit. I’m trying to get in that world, keep giving you iconic custom looks in these videos until then.

Anything else you’d like to let us know?

Yeah I put out 3 projects in one year. New music coming 2022, we’re kicking the first quarter off with another project so be prepared. N*ggas is just getting started.

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