Loud and Proud: While it’s often the case that female musicians and bands don’t necessarily want to be referred to as “female musicians and bands” because they’re not defined by their gender, it’s also the case that this is a golden period for female rappers.
For a few years now, the most exciting new artists bursting onto the hip-hop scene have generally been female. Not exclusively, but more often than not. From Doja Cat to Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi to Nikki, Lizzo to DreamDoll, the sharpest, most uncompromising and in-your-face fresh rap talent is female.
That fact is solidly reflected in the Rolling Loud lineup this year. Sure, the headliners are all male, but the bill is positively brimming with amazing female talent. From the undeniable buzz of Saweetie and Coi Leray to the dazzling luminescence of Bia, Kamaiyah, Tay Money, Lebra Jolie, Cat & China, Skodi, Rubi Rose, Big Boss Vette and more, it’s clear that old ideas are being levered out and the tides have changed.
Big Boss Vette is making her Rolling Loud debut early on Sunday, and she’s ready. Vette got her start back in 2014, performing covers and posting them online.
“I went viral with an a capella cover of Dej Loaf’s ‘Try Me’,” she says. “My Facebook numbers went crazy. I kept doing covers of songs, and they continually caused me to go viral more and more. Also, people always wanted to know what I was doing. I want to say, in 2020 is when I hit TikTok. I kept going viral and that caused the record deal, and now we’re here.”
As anyone who has tried will tell you, it’s not easy to stand out on YouTube and TikTok, where hundreds of thousands of people are trying to get famous.
“I think it was because I was authentically myself,” Vette says. “I was really cool and fun, and I was relatable. It was like, ‘Oh hey, she’s pretty, she’s cool,’ and I blew up I guess. I don’t know. I posted a little random video and got famous overnight. I got 10,000 followers overnight. They really liked me.”
Vette describes her sound and style as simply fun and different. She says that there’s a bit of country in there because she’s “country as hell,” but that she doesn’t really have any influences – she’s just being herself. That uniqueness and authenticity soon attracted the attention of Republic Records.
“Chloe Bailey [of Chloe X Halle] posted my song on her story, and my phone was in the background of the video playing,” Vette says. “All of a sudden, it went crazy. That caused the label deals and Republic was one of them. I was like, ‘Let’s go with Republic, let’s go.’ This is the best decision that I’ve ever made. I love it here so much. They have grown me as an artist within the last year and a half. It’s crazy.”
Meanwhile, hip-hop duo Cam & China are Inglewood twins who started on this path at the age of 16, with a group called the Pink Dollaz.
“It was a jerkin’ movement at the time, and L.A. was on the rise with the jerkin’ movement, so we started it when we were 16,” says China. “Then about five or six years later, we kinda went our own way, so me and Cam decided to carry on as a twin duo.”
Cam & China no longer categorize themselves as a part of the jerkin’ scene, but say that back then, it was a party.
“It was a group of kids dancing in a circle, showing off their moves, very retro,” says Cam. “Different schools. It was very ‘80s. But it was a movement at the time, and we actually never decided to be jerkin’ artists or make jerkin’ music. It’s just, when we came out and started doing music, it was around the time. At that time, there weren’t a lot of female rappers. We came from Hamilton, which was a lot of the jerk movement. So we trickled down to that label.”
Miami-based Skodi has performed at Rolling Loud across the country on a few occasions and this will be her second time at the L.A. event. Skodi has been rapping since she was 8, and recording since she was 19. Now she’s flying, and experimenting with a variety of rap styles including trap and Florida-esque rage.
“My older brother is a rapper, and my uncle is also a rapper,” Skodi says. “So growing up, we would have rap battles and stuff in the house. That influenced me to want to rap at such a young age. I really liked music in general, so it was like, I think this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Tay Money started rapping five years ago. She describes her sound as “bubble wrap, country twang, kick butt girl music,” which hits the nail on the head.
“I just didn’t really understand how much I loved music until I realized that I could create my own,” she says. “Looking back now, I can see that things made sense – why I would perform in front of my mirror at such a young age. Once I realized that I could make it a career, I didn’t believe in not succeeding. Nothing was in my way, and I was knocking everything over to make that happen. I’m just so happy that I have a job like this because I would do this for free. The fact that I make money doing it is even better.”
Vette says that this is a golden period for female hip-hop, but she also thinks changing attitudes mean that female rappers are finally getting the credit that they always deserved.
“I think females are finally starting to get the recognition that they deserve, but I think it’s that time as well,” she says. “We are so unapologetic where we rap and write music, and we’re up now. They could never put us out. We are finally in the building.”
Cam agrees: “Now things are changing, so many new opportunities for women – we have a Black woman as the vice president,” she says. “Things are changing every day in society. But now, in the rap game, the door is open. First we had Nikki Minaj, who opened the door. Now we have so many other rap artists.”
“It’s too bad because even now with all these new artists, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott, who were our icons and who we looked up to, some of the reasons why we started rapping, they paved the way,” adds China. “Now we’re looking back and it’s like, thank you. They went hard in a male dominated industry. Now, we’re standing on our own, we’re able to shine on our own and express ourselves in many ways, whether you’re gay, straight, white, Black, whatever it is, and I think that’s cool because it’s getting back to the creativity of music. Which really is what it should have always been about. I think it’s a great thing.”
Skodi and Tay Money both believe that there is a wave happening.
It’s like now we’re accepting more female artists and there’s a lot of female artists flooding the industry,” Skodi says. “But at the same time, we have people that have been putting in work for some time. They’re finally getting their recognition. It’s music – the people that are supposed to be here are going to be here. It’s just what it is. But I really think it’s good that now, female artists get a chance instead of it just being brushed off like it used to.”
“This is a very special moment. I’m very honored to be a part of it,” Money adds. “I’m glad that it’s happening right now. I think everyone struggles with getting their credit, but right now is a very special moment for women. We’re knocking down doors, and we’re also blurring the gender lines. We’re here to compete, and we want what’s ours. That’s everything, period.”
Vette recently worked with Coi Leray on a remix of her track “Pretty Girls Walk,” and loved the experience. Every artist she meets, she says, has been super nice. Meanwhile, she’s very excited about this forthcoming Rolling Loud set.
“Hear me out – I’ve always said that I’ve never been to Rolling Loud, but I’ve always been adamant that I won’t go until I’m on the stage because I know I’m going to be on the stage,” she says. “Look at me now – I’m on the stage. This is crazy. We’ve got a lot of great choreography, great dancers, a great DJ and a great performer – Big Boss Vette. We’ve got a lot. It’s gonna be great.”
It’s special for Cam & China, because this is a hometown show.
“We‘re from Inglewood, born and raised,” says Cam. “We were on Insecure, on HBO, across the street at the Forum. We had our trailers and got ready there. Now we’re going to the SoFi Stadium, it’s just like a 360 situation for us. We’re super excited.”
“Not only that, but us being from Inglewood, we watched the SoFi Stadium be built from the ground up literally,” adds China. “We watched the city change, and being a part of the change is good. It used to be a horse track. I’m super excited to get to know the other artists, too.”
Skodi won’t tell us what she has planned for Rolling Loud, while Tay Money says that she just wants to have fun.
“I have tried it both ways – going out and winging it, and then and also plan every single detail,” Money says. “I honestly go out there, and if I’m having fun, that’s what I want to do. I go out there and have fun. That’s the best version of me. I know I’m going to have a couple of homegirls out there with me. I have an awesome DJ – he keeps the energy so high. And I’m just there to put myself in front of new fans, my existing fans, and just make it so you can’t forget Tay Money. We’re gonna have fun doing it. “
Looking ahead, Vette has a big 2023 planned.
“I’m going on tour,” she says. “This is my first tour ever, so I’m excited. I have a lot more festivals – I have a festival in Alaska [screams]. I’ve not even been to Alaska. Everything is going to be bigger and better. Whatever you see coming next, it is bigger and it is better, I promise.”
“The album’s coming out really soon – I’m getting the release date probably today,” says Skodi. “Be on the lookout for that. We’ve got some collab projects coming out, some new music coming out, new videos – I can’t say too much, but it’s about to be a crazy year, I’m not gonna lie.”
Tay Money is working hard in the studio too.
“That’s the most important thing, because without music there’s none of this,” she says. “I want that to come with festivals. Like I said, I’ll be traveling out of the country. Just bigger and better everything, all around.”
Similarly, the year is all about new music and touring for Cam & China.
“Putting projects out, making music, and just carrying it on with the momentum of everything,” says China. “Possibly touring toward the end of the year. Look out for that. All of that information should be here soon. That’s for sure how we plan on closing out the year. Maybe a couple of albums, who knows? The sky’s the limit.”
Loud and Proud: For more Rolling Loud information, go to rollingloud.com/cali2023.
Editor’s note: The disclaimer below refers to advertising posts and does not apply to this or any other editorial stories. LA Weekly editorial does not and will not sell content.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.