“Fuck a Birkin bag, I’m worried ’bout my bankroll. Nothin’ fake ’bout me, bitch, where they make those? I been out the way, I’m gettin’ to the queso,” spits Beanz in her single “Trending Topic.” The 26-year-old MC is here to bring back that raw, authentic 90’s/early 2000’s R&B and hip-hop feel we all know and love.
Hailing from Reading, PA, Beanz exploded into the limelight after her appearance on Netflix’s Rhythm & Flow, rapping in front of Cardi B, Chance The Rapper, and T.I. on national television. Getting to the fifth episode out of 10, audiences all around the world immediately fell in love with not only her character, but her ability to spit bars, tell stories, and keep up with the big dawgs.
While the turn up, twerk records may hit the spot, Beanz puts on for all the aspiring female spitters out there, giving them hope that if she can do it, they can too. In today’s Gen Z where trap and melodic rap have seemingly taken over, Beanz prides herself in being a real lyricist with something to say.
Beyond that, she’s the oldest of 7 siblings, as well as her mother’s best friend. With her stepdad being a DJ growing up, the Puerto Rican artist immediately drew a liking to music—specifically hip-hop to be exact. The first beat she ever rapped on was Nas’ “If I Ruled The World,” quickly falling in love with the likes of J. Cole and Drake as she got older.
Most recently, she released her newest release titled “Basement,” but her favorite record to date remains “Can’t Call It.” On the sixth episode of Shirley’s Temple, Shirley Ju sat down with Beanz at Matrix Studios LA for an intimate conversation. Read below as we discuss her time in Los Angeles, changing her hair, starting out with poetry before rapping, past jobs, getting chosen for Netflix’ Rhythm & Flow, what family means to her, her Top 5, dream collabs, her first ever rap event with Joell Ortiz from Slaughterhouse, and more!
How are you liking it in Los Angeles?
I love being out here. I get so much work done. So much to do. Can have something to do every day, I love that. If you don’t, go hike or some shit.
Did you go to Runyon yet?
No, I haven’t been hiking yet at all. That’s on my list while I’m out here.
What’s been your favorite part of this trip so far?
The work man, the sessions. I haven’t had that many sessions since I’ve been here, but the sessions I did have were fire. Did a fire photoshoot too, came out dope. Got my hair done, got some new light brown color in here. Fresh start. You know with girls: when you get a new hairstyle, you went through something crazy and you want a change.
I just lightened my hair! What crazy shit did you go through?
See, it wasn’t even nothing crazy. In the past… you know you go through phases? In high school, I cut all my hair off.
You were bald?
Not bald, but it was a boy cut for sure. I told the lady, I showed her a picture of Rihanna. I was 15, this is when Rihanna had her short hair. I took the picture to the lady and said “Hey, make me look like this. Give me this hairstyle.” She had me coming out there, I had a mushroom cut. I was sick. I had to wait for my hair to grow back, my hair didn’t grow back for years.
At that point, what can you really do?
For real, you have no choice. Just gotta let it grow in, can’t do nothing.
What did your friends say?
My best friend went with me. I left there in tears. She tried to calm me down, telling me to relax. She said, “It doesn’t look that bad!” Yeah alright. Crazy.
At that point, were you doing music?
So I was writing. At that time, I did poetry. Around that age is when I started really writing to beats. I wasn’t into music that much yet, so it wasn’t that bad.
What poems were you busting out?
Shit, I don’t even know. I got videos I put on Facebook from mad long ago. I be looking at my own videos like what was I talking about? Mad deep, about anything. Love, you don’t know what you talking about. You’re 14, what you talking about?
At 14, you feel like you went through hella shit.
For sure, that’s the age where you transition into what you might be. You might change. I’ve been in the same body since 9th grade, swear to you. I haven’t grown since 9th grade. I think about that all the time. People change, gain weight, lose weight, whatever. Nope, same. Same height, same body.
You can wear all your same clothes?
Yeah, I do got sweaters from school still to this day. Crazy.
When did you start spitting?
I started spitting when I was 11. Well, I started doing my poetry.
Growing up, did you think you’d be out here doing that shit?
Hell no. Never even thought about it. When I was younger, I didn’t even know—you’re a kid. It’s some kids that say “oh mom, when I grow up I want to be a doctor.” And they really do that. But at that age, I wanted to be a cop or some shit. Or a lawyer. I’m good with going back and forth, so a lawyer would have been good. It was some regular shit I wanted to be.
Did you go to school for that?
No, I didn’t go to college. I wanted to, but I didn’t get in. I wanted to go to college for Computer Tech, I’m still mad good with computers. I applied and my SATs was 5 points below, they said “you can’t get in.” Alright so then fuck y’all. [laughs]
Then you came out here (LA)?
I got jobs, I started working when I was 14. I had no lie, 20 jobs. I had mad jobs. I did an electric company. I worked in a battery factory. I worked in a doctor’s office. I worked at a school. I had mad random jobs. I made food at a gas station, all you had to do was fry this shit up.
What was your favorite job?
Probably my last job I had, which was a stove company. Mad random. I was in the office, I’d sleep while I was working. I’d literally act like I’m working. I’ll have my cover on, my heated blanket, I’d act like I’m working but really I’m taking a nap.[laughs] All day. I did my job though, I did my job so fast. They ended up telling me your position is getting eliminated because you don’t do nothing. That’s the last job I worked. That is funny.
We have to touch on Rhythm & Flow real quick. How did you end up there?
They hit me up and asked me to be on there. “Yo, we got this thing that’s happening. We can’t tell you what it is, it’s going to be on Netflix. If Beanz wants to be on there, it’s great for her to be on it.” I said “fuck it, let’s try it.” I forgot all about it, they ended up calling me months later. “It’s about to be lit, come audition here.” That’s how it happened, they hit me up.
How nerve-racking was it to be on stage in front of Cardi, Chance, Tip?
You didn’t really realize it was gonna be on Netflix to be seen by millions of people, because it was just the crew. The camera crew. It was dope to meet them and display the skill, they’re all mad cool. You didn’t really realize that you’re gonna be seen by mad people. It was the camera crew and the people with you, that was it. It was crazy, but it was dope.
Were you nervous?
I don’t feel like I was nervous. I was excited, it was a good feeling. If I was nervous, it was a good nervous.
Best memory from that whole experience?
The battle I guess. The battle is the most famous part of the whole battle. It went crazy.
Did you rewatch that shit after?
I watched the whole thing, I was with the family [motions pressing the remote]. Still to this day, I’ll be on Netflix and see it pop up. [laughs] I’m on that joint. It was a dope experience.
How do your loved ones feel? I know you’re close to your mom.
My mom’s my best friend. And I have a good friend, she’s been my friend since second grade. Long time, it’s crazy because time flies. I’d rather have one good friend than have 10 mediocre ones.
How is this music thing for you? How’re you feeling?
I feel great. I got some real dope shit coming. This year, I’m going to drop an album. I’m maaaad excited about that.
Yeah, for sure. It’s a mixtape, but it’s an album. We’re putting shit together right now, I’m excited about that. I’m excited to put out a project because the last time I put out a project was in 2017, it’s been a minute. The fans want it. People hit me up all the time like “yo Beanz, sup with the album.” It’s coming this year, I’m excited.
What’s the #1 thing your fans love about you?
The fact that I talk however. I say whatever. A lot of people don’t say how they feel or say what’s on their mind, I’m mad blunt. People recognize that in me. They fuck with the authenticity and how I rap.
Can we expect from Spanish bars?
Yeah, I definitely want to put some more Spanish in it. Get some more Spanish going because a lot of people, a lot of my fans are Spanish and they want to hear some music too. I speak Spanish. I don’t really do it all the time, but I definitely do that. That’s definitely going to get done, for sure.
How did you and Ace find each other?
Ace hit me. He reached out to me in the DM. He said “wassup, I do this. I’m trying to do this with you.” I said “alright, shit.” Came out, he flew me and my mom out and showed us a great time. Been working ever since.
Did you have a situation or a team before that?
I had a little thing going, but now I have a team. Everybody does something, it’s so much value. Whatever they do is so valuable.
How does it feel to be the real lyricist that you are?
Oh man, it’s dope to see female rap coming up in the first place. This shit is crazy because female rap was never really respected, whereas now female rap is really running’ the shit. That’s what you hear everywhere, that’s going down. It’s dope to see that, I’m happy about that part.
What female rappers are you bumping?
Always gon’ listen to Nicki, she’s automatic. She still be dropping to this day. Fuck with Doja, I don’t know if you’d consider her a female rapper. Cardi’s dope, Cardi B’s fire. Meg Thee Stallion is dope.
What about MCs in general? Who’s in your Top 5?
Waiting for Cole to drop, waiting on that Drake to drop. Those are two of my favorites. I was in middle school when J. Cole was coming up. Some girl came into school, she said “there’s this new guy that came out. Listen to him, his name’s J. Cole.” I’m like “let me hear him.” It was “Lights Please,” oh man this shit is hard! Ever since, I always listened to him. He’s always been in my Top 6.
Now I want to hear that song.
That’s a classic. I be listening to mad people. I listen to mad music really. I listen to old shit like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin. R&B’s my shit. Ty Dolla’s fire. Russ is hard.
Are you ever going to be singing?
I threw out some shit, a little harmonizing. A little vibe but singing singing? I got to get some shit going with my vocal chords. See the way they set up, they don’t do that.
How much are you smoking in a day?
I really don’t smoke that much. I smoke every day, but at night. It’s a night thing, or if I’m in the studio I’ll smoke. It’s not something I do all day. I don’t wake up and smoke. Could I? Yes. But do I? No. I like to do it at the end of the day, it winds you down. Take a little shower, smoke some weed. I like to eat, then shower, then smoke.
I thought you had to smoke before you shower?
Eat, then shower, then smoke. I smoke after the shower, I like to shower first. I thought if you get in the shower after you smoke, it takes away the high? I thought so.
I just know my showers be kinda lit sometimes.
I get that. I like to take the shower after I smoke. I agree with you too, but it takes it away so I prefer to do it after. Or paint.
What are we painting?
Oh man, I be doing random shit. I be doing linear art, mad abstract lines. I don’t know where it came from, I started it over quarantine and I fucked with it. Oh this is hard, this is nice. I’m sharp with the lines.
How often are you painting?
Whenever I’m chillin’. I gotta get a feel for it, I can’t really plan to paint. I like to do the wine and painting thing, did it with my best friend the other day. Had some red wine, painted a picture. Her shit came out hard, it’s dope.
Art was never my thing. I know you can’t be bad at art but…
Yeah exactly. Some shit I seen looks crazy though. I had an art teacher in tenth grade, he used to constantly push me. I used to say “I hate this dude,” but it turned out all for the better. I remember I drew this picture of a microphone, and now I do rap. I still got it to this day. That’s shit’s crazy because I wasn’t even thinking about it at that time.
How do you feel that music’s your full-time now?
Great, things are looking up. Things are working. When everything works out in your favor, you can’t question it. You gotta keep pushing.
A huge part of this show is mental health. How have you been holding up? 2020 was a wild year for everybody.
Facts. I feel super grateful because I’m still cool. I seen a lot of people lose themselves over this shit, lose people that they love. It’s a whole fucked up situation. I feel blessed. I’m grateful that everybody around me is straight. I came out alright. I worked throughout the whole thing, I kept my mind busy. Did the painting thing, I was writing music. Wrote mad music, did the content for social media. I kept my mind going.
How’s the social media game? It’s a whole job in itself.
It is! It really is because I gotta get on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. I don’t really tweet that much, I gotta get more on it for sure. Now they got TikTok, oh my gosh. You’ll be on TikTok for mad long watching videos.
You on there?
I’m on TikTok. I be on TikTok. Some of the videos they have on there, they be fake. Playing, I don’t like them types. I like the stupid shit. I put up stupid shit on TikTok. There’s so many apps you have to upload to. Once you put something on one… it’s definitely a process. It’s a job to keep up with it for sure.
What’s been the most heartwarming DM?
I love when people DM me and tell me “Beanz, I was going through a tough situation, and you really got me through that.” It’s really dope to hear that. That’s the reason you do it for, so people can relate to you. The other day, I got a DM from some lady. She said “my son’s turning 7, I’d love to get a shoutout from you for my son. Tell him happy birthday, he’ll love it. That’s gonna be his best gift.” Got you, sent her the video. Little kids, it’s dope. That type of shit, them little things that hit you right here.
What are you most excited for this year?
The album, dropping mad singles. Dropping singles every month. I’m excited to drop, videos is fire. Hard.
What about collaborations?
I got to get on those. I don’t really have any collabs right now.
On purpose yeah, but not in a bad way. On purpose because we’ll do things as the times are right. I definitely got some collabs I wanna get done. The list is [long].
Who’s at the top?
Everybody. At the top? Probably Drake. Drake, obviously that’s going to be anybody’s go-to.
Ty Dolla is fire. I always love The Dream, he’s one of my favorites. And Joe Budden, I’ll do that feature. That’s who I’d like to collab with, Joe Budden’s hard.
Were you listening to Slaughterhouse?
Oh yeah! You got Joell, Royce. Royce is hard too. I did my first rap event with Joell Ortiz. It was some cypher shit, everybody was rapping. There was 100 people out there, He picked 5 people out of 100 people to rap in his cypher. To rap for him, and he picked me.
How did that feel?
It was dope. Oh shit, it’s cool. This was my first rap even, I didn’t think nothing of it. I went in there ready to go, but that’s how it started. Crazy. Long time, long grind.
What did you take away from that experience?
Yo, I could do this. There’s mad heads out there, girls and dudes. Mostly dudes. It was 80% dude out there, 20% girls.
And you’re not intimidated?
Fuck that. I know I’m nice. Y’all could be nice too, but I know I’m nice. I’m about to go in here and see wassup, and I did it. He’s like “yo Beanz…” Okay, I’m working with something here.