VEGA’s interview/ inner view was a lot of fun and dope process in getting to know her craft and artistic influences. If anything, this conversation made it more apparent the importance of highlighting, uplifting and archiving women in Hip Hop/Rap. Later on in the interview we both are at a loss when trying to identify OG lady rappers from Atlanta, although there has to be some they just weren’t/aren’t as highlighted and archived like their male counterparts (& if you’re reading this and you know let me know.) When I initially created CROWNTHEM it was to not only highlight women in Hip Hop but to put them at the center. Here’s to making sure Our stories are told and told correctly. Thank you VEGA for you time, top-tier photoshoot (s/o Eastside Bizz,) and words of ambition that will create many beautiful things.
First off, who are you, where you from and where your people from?
VEGA: Okay, so my name is VEGA, my real name is Daija. Some people call me Daij, some people call me VEGA. I was born in Tennessee, raised in Michigan, I moved to Atlanta when I was about 12 or 13. It was my elementary school break we moved from Michigan to the South just me and my mom. I finished out my 5th grade school year in Tennessee with my dad as my mom kinda got acclimated in Georgia. After she was ready for me to move in with her and had her apartment and stuff like that I moved to Atlanta and I've been here ever since. That was in 2009, so it has been 12/13 years. Atlanta is all I know.
But you got family up here in Tennessee?
VEGA: Yes, my dad lives there. My little brother is from Memphis. Yeah, so I'm always in Tennessee well for the most part. I used to spend all of my summers in Tennessee with my dad, you know, jumpin' on the trampoline and I have 3 other siblings. I have a little sister and 2 brothers but I'm my mom's only child.
Damn, you all over the place.
VEGA: Yes, yes, people always ask, "were you in the military?" And actually, my granddad was but when he got out (the military) he worked for General Motors the plant the factory up North, you know Detroit is a big motor city town so that's kinda how we ended up up there.
I ain't even know you were in Memphis 'til Eastside said it. I was like wait, "she in Memphis?" and he was like, "I thought she was gonna be here" and I was like, "wow I didn't even know I should've caught a flight."
Well shit, I ain't know you had connects up here. That would've been dope af because we could've done a whole shoot out here! I just moved out here like 7 months ago, I was in Atlanta.
VEGA: Okay, you like it so far? Nothing like Atlanta huh.
No, it's not like Atlanta and before Atlanta I was out in Oakland and the South is a lot different than the West Coast. The South is just different from what I know and I liked Atlanta. Memphis is a lot different. It feels like a big ass country town more than a city.
VEGA: Yeah, for sure. It does. When I was a flight attendant we had flown in and I had an overnighter in Memphis one time. I went out with the crew and we went to eat or do whatever. I had my little brother come kidnap me like, "come pick me up," because I was like, "I don't know what to do here. Y'all have good food but I’m kinda bored." So, he came and we drove to Nashville for the night and I had to catch a 5am flight back to where I was based at.
Oh damn, I think it's all a matter of finding the right people though. But you know, I came out here to Memphis to really get this magazine going. And for me, Atlanta can be a hard place to stay focused too. So much shit going on.
VEGA: Yeah, yes, that is so true. That is one of the reasons why I chose to go to college on the outskirts of Atlanta. Everyone says, "why don't you go to Georgia State or anything like that?" I went to West Georgia which is in Carrolton, it's like 45 minutes away. And I was just like, everything is too accessible in the city; I know too many people, I can be outside whenever I want, I know I’m not going to do well with this. I just know me, I knew me then and I'm like no. You know, I played sports and stuff in high school so by the time I graduated high school I'm ready to be out, out. I'm like nah, I can't do that - I'm jus trying to go to college, get my degree and leave and that's exactly what I did.
What did you end up getting your degree in?
VEGA: I got a dual degree in Marketing and Management and an Advertising certificate. To occupy my time I was part of 15-17 organizations while I was in college.
You really trying to get to it.
VEGA: Right, yeah I've always stayed busy even in high school. My mom used to say, "idle time is the devil's time." You know, there's always so much you can do if you're too bored. So, I was never really the girl that would have a fake I.D. or get into the clubs. I had track practice or I have basketball practice or I was learning/I learned piano in high school and I played saxophone in middle school. The recorder in elementary school. I was always being occupied and I always said I have Only Child Syndrome, I definitely know how to keep myself entertained.
I feel that, I definitely like to be a Jack of All Trades.
VEGA: Exactly, you could never know. I feel like if you get to that point where you're so versatile in so many things it won't be hard for you to have a conversation with anybody.
Nah, or accomplish anything. So, you cut out for this independent artistry.
VEGA: I would like to say so.
Would you like to stay independent?
VEGA: *sighs* I wanna stay independent as far as my creative expression. I’m willing to get a distribution deal or a publishing deal and stuff like that but I feel like I'm doing a good job at learning the business of music at the same time. If I come into a deal or a contract and it's worded correctly. I feel like that's kinda where a lot of artists go wrong - you start looking at percentages, some people only thinking about the money but it's like at the time a lot of those artists are signed for a song that sounds like "xyz" but truly their true sound sounds like "abc." So, it's like as long as that part is still being honored I wouldn't mind signing but if it's not right, I'm not signing nothing.
That's real. Have you had any offers yet?
VEGA: I have not, I have not. I've had a couple people give me like a start-up label thing but I haven't had any offers, yet. I feel it coming.
Yeah, I feel it too. We'll catch up again in a lil bit and I'll ask you again and you'll be like, "oh yeah."
VEGA: Right, I'll be like, "girl, come on to the studio." Part 2 at the studio.
Facts, speak it into existence. What's your name mean to you? How'd you come up with VEGA?
VEGA: My favorite question. So, there was a show on Nickelodeon called "Victorious" and one of the characters on there was Tori Vega or something like that. And I thought Vega would be a cool last name. I looked into and noticed the origin was like hispanic or latino or something. For a long time my Twitter handle name used to be "daijavega" and I kinda changed it but Vega always stuck. Then, I had this weird moment where I deleted all my social media and then I came back on Instagram with a new name and I was like, I gotta go back to 'daijvega' so I went back. I realized as I was coming into my music I was like, okay, I need to find an artist name. Everybody was like, "just use Vega, " and I'm like, "no, I don't wanna use Vega." So, I was like lemme just look into it. Looked it up and realized it was a street fighter character and then I was like, "wait, ya gotta be VEGA." *cackles*
That's dope af, wait, Vega is a street fighter?
VEGA: Yes! His hands are like knives, he wears a white mask with a sideways V on it and then he has a long blonde braid. So, I ordered that same mask then I have the claws coming from Etsy. So, I'll keep developing that as far as I go but I gotta keep putting that story in people's minds.
You do because wasn't it in the music video, "SWTG" that you just released?
VEGA: Yes, it was.
Okay, I'm not trippin' but also there was a shot where you had an aesthetic of… it reminded me of Mortal Kombat.
Aight, bet. I feel it I see it. The symbolism.
VEGA: Yes, exactly a little subliminal messaging going on there. That's where VEGA came from.
That's cool, I like that. So, when did this music thing start for you VEGA?
VEGA: I've always wrote poems. I first started writing poems when I was probably 9 and I had one of those password journals and it opened up off of voice command.. I would say whatever my password was to the password journal and I had all these poems, it had invisible ink in there, glow in the dark pens and I just had all these poems. Growing up, I was raised by a single mom so I feel like I always grew up a little early but it wasn't like I was grown. I just grew up, I had to know things before a typical 9 year old probably wouldn't know. Fast forward to me becoming a flight attendant and I was sitting in the jump seat one day and I was kinda like, "this job is fun but this can't be it," I'm still technically reporting to somebody and that was my biggest thing. I didn't want to keep feeling like I was working for somebody. We weren't supposed to be on our phones in the jump seat but I was that day and I used to hide my phone behind the brochure pamphlet, the welcome card pamphlet like, "hi welcome to American Airlines flight…" I was typing a song the whole time and finally we landed and I texted my best friend named Fred and I was like, "I think I can rap this song." I recorded it on my phone as a voice note and when I sent it he was like, "okay, so you gotta get in the studio." This was in 2019, 2 years ago.
Oh, hella recent! Wow.
VEGA: Yeah, very recent. Literally on my one year anniversary I quit being a flight attendant, flew into Memphis. My little brother works with cars so I was able to get a car with him at Gossett Motors (if you know where that is,) and drove back to Atlanta to a day party. The day after my birthday day party I recorded my first song and then I put it on SoundCloud. I think now that song has over 800 or 900 plays. It was a cover to Gunna's "Order" by TM88 and I did a cover to Lil Gotit, "Hood Baby," I did like a remix. I didn’t release music until the year after, so like 2020. I was kinda stashing music that whole time.
Yo, that's crazy… so this is really a fresh endeavor?
VEGA: Yes, for sure. The artistry has been there, I was a DJ in college so I knew I always wanted to do something with music. I was like, "how can I do something with music and still be passionate," you know, how it can still be my passion and not feel like a job. But, I was like, I'mma just keep walking in this and I don't know where it's gonna go. I quit DJing and I was like, "wait, you can rap, I'm like what!" But, I would probably say that there was a time before that where I knew I wanted to do music I was just really really nervous to admit it. My granddad is a preacher so I grew up in choir. There was this one time my mom had this old tape recorder she used to take to her classes for college and I recorded me singing "Weak" by SWV on there and she found it! I was so embarrassed, I was like, "oh my gosh, you found it!" and she was like, "you don't sound that bad." I feel like that was the only other time that I knew that I wanted to do music. I just didn't know how to present it.
So, what made you be like, "let me try to rap this shit" instead of just sing it?
VEGA: For one, I smoke so I have to really condition my voice to get back into the singing. I can do like a melodic rap but actually on that Ariana Grande, Beyonce type level, "I'm like nah, I'mma have to go back to vocal lessons for that." I’m just like I'll get y'all featured on the song and y'all can do what I think I can do and we're gonna call it a day. But, I can definitely do a lot of melodic tunes, I can hold a note. But not as far as doing a full out ballad, I knew like I'mma have to find a way where it's still appeasing to the ear but it's not something where it's so far outta my element that I sound crazy.
Yeah, you have a really interesting sound in the best way possible, interesting. It feels very… you take your time with it and you're very precise. I was watching the Genius CoSign episode you did and that nigga was like, "oh, her raps seem childish" or some shit like that.
VEGA: Elementary school bars, yeah.
And, I was like - there's simplicity but people don't realize how complex simplicity can be.
VEGA: Right, and a lot of people have already told me as a woman you can't really say too much about ANYthing it seems because we are already a lot to digest and I'm like, "F that, F that," y'all can say whatever but we can’t. But, I agree, that was a great way to put it - there is so much complexity in simplicity.
It is and it's harder than what people think especially because you said you were a page poet too. That's the whole point of poetry (to me,) to be the most economical with your language. But yeah, it's cool how you're able to space out your raps and switch flows a lot and with that said - who are your influences?
VEGA: I have a few, I have a lot. As far as rappers go… okay, well first, I have a very broad music pallet. Very, very broad. As far as influences when I hear people drag out their words that's what I was tuning into. So, Nicki, I love her aura, her confidence, the way she presents herself, like, she's just that bitch. Period.
She is, facts.
VEGA: And Beyoncé does a great job obviously, overall musically she is the total package. I would say I love the way Travis Scott breaks down his music too. Really, I just encompass a lot. I don't know if you've heard of Cashmere Cat? He's like a producer and he has a song with Miguel and the way he does his beats and stuff I wanna hear all of that. I wanna listen to every instrument in the song and think, "what specific sound in the song can I attach myself to?" and attach these lyrics to for it to make sense. You know, sometimes it is that random high hat that nobody hears or it's that random 808 that's like, "wait, I didn’t even hear that in the beat." But then you hear the melody on top of it and be like, "wow, she really brought that instrument out." So, I think that's kinda where my head Is with the way that I bounce off of words and stuff.
Okay, so the VEGA EP that you put out how would you describe that sound?
VEGA: Umm, I would say, "girly trap." It's kinda like if I could be a female version of Thug or a female version of Gunna, a Future, Baby type thing and not to too hard - I feel like as girls if you just talk about guns and stuff too much people gonna be like, "okay, what are you talking about?" So, every now and again you can put it in there and splash it for emphasis. I'd say girly trap, for sure.
I hear what you're saying but it does sound more grown than "girlie."
VEGA: Okay, man I gotta think of a word to really classify because it's not just straight trap. And, "girlie" does sound a little childish. I gotta find my own genre to call it.
It'll come. It's hard for you to label it because like you said you have influences across the board, so it's a combination of so many things. What kind of music did you grow up on?
VEGA: A lot of gospel music. A lot of gospel music on my mom's side - very very Christian, very religious family, Christian household. When I was younger my mom was a model so I lived with my grandparents for awhile. And like I said my granddad was a preacher so it was Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, you know, it was pretty much everybody, the mass choirs that we went down to conferences in Knoxville for. Church conferences and stuff like that.
Then on my dad's side it was DMX, more slow jams like, "I wanna know, I wanna know" *VEGA starts singing "I Wanna Know" by Joe. And stuff like that, I always felt like I was living a double life. Like I said, I spent time with my family in Tennessee in the summers - so, when I went there what my grandparents would call it was "worldly," you were in the world, you were "worldly" basically you was outside. But I always felt like when I came back to Michigan there was this whole other side and as I've grown up I've had to learn that it's okay to mesh the two. My granddad know them songs just as well as my dad does. So I would definitely say a lot of old school at the same time but very very Christian household. It wasn't probably until I moved to Georgia that I really started - my mom had a boyfriend at the time and he would download all this music to our computer. I would always come across: OJ tha Juiceman, Shawty Lo, Gucci Mane, AlleyBoy like all these artists and I was like, "who are these people?" I would just listen to it and after a certain point the old iTunes said we had 70 days worth of music in our library. Like straight just over 13,000 hours or whatever that is of music. So you can imagine how much music I had downloaded by the time I was really getting completely emerged in music. I would say my influences when I came here definitely would be like Shawty Lo, I listen to a lot of Shawty Lo, OJ tha Juiceman, Gucci Mane, then Rich Kidz when all of them came out Bandit Gang, Lady Rich Kidz, Jose Guapo like all those types. It's a lot of influence.
VEGA: Yeah, definitely. I grew up on the westside of Atlanta. When we moved here she literally moved us right into the middle of Cascade.
So, who are your Atlanta legends? Not just rap, but across the board.
VEGA: OutKast, oh man this is hard.
There's so many of y'all. Who are the OG lady rappers from Atlanta? Because Da Brat isn't from there although she spent a lot of time there.
VEGA: Right, I don't think there are any old head lady rappers.
There has to be.
VEGA: Somebody made a list and it was floating around on Twitter and I hadn't seen any of the names before. All I can think of is the Kandis and…
The singers, yeah. That's crazy. You're in an interesting position VEGA.
VEGA: Very interesting, I can't wait to create history. I think about that a lot because I feel like I'm doing something that, I'm trying to work towards something that I don't think a lot of people are really working towards. Like there's no Nicki Minaj of Atlanta.
And you know, you're making history right now with paving a path, truly, opening the door, letting people look through the window. I don't think there is anyone making - a lot of people in Atlanta make luxurious raps but yours is on a different realm.
VEGA: Everyday it doesn't feel like a challenge but definitely feels like I'm breaking a lot of barriers. When I was talking to Joc (BigJocATL), "everyday I think about how we can position you, to market you 'cause you're just so versatile - there are so many ways we can push you." And I think that's the hardest part is really zoning in how. So, we've been really trying to work on that but as I'm talking through it with you it makes me think, "wow, we really doing something that hasn't been done."
Yeah, and especially in the way that you're doing it.
VEGA: Right, because I know I have a very unique sound, I know it's pretty unorthodox. I hear that all the time but the shit is still gonna knock in the club. It can be heard in the back of Insecure, on the soundtrack. It can be in a movie. I can see it in all that.
Yeah, P-Valley. You got people out here so you should try, you know it's based off Memphis.
VEGA: Oh yeah, you right. I need to make some calls. I feel like in the next 6 months life is going to be so different.
It is it is. When you were creating VEGA EP what was your creative process?
VEGA: Those songs I had had for a minute and I knew that they all meshed. It kinda got narrowed down, started with like 10 and it kinda went down from there and I was like, “well these are more sing-songy so I’m gonna put these on the next project,” and we kinda went through it like that. Once we had all the songs that I knew I wanted I started reaching out to all the engineers. When I first started I didn’t realize that I needed to save my sessions to a hard drive. I was just recording music and having them send it to me and I only had the MP3s the WAVs, I didn’t have the Stems none of that. So, by the time I tried to circle back and get all of my music, one engineer had three of my songs and his whole harddrive crashed. It was gonna be 3 bands to get it fixed. The lady producer, Nancy that I work with for “YAMI” and “SWTG”
Ohh, she’s fire!
VEGA: Yes, yes! Her hard drive got stolen outta of her car so I couldn’t get those Stems back. Then the other music was like it was evaporating in thin air. Some songs I had to re-record or clean up what we could - I think there was only one song I had to re-record and everything else we pretty much just had to clean up as best as we could. I would say that I linked up with the the mix/master Veezy, he helped me clean up the project and it probably took us about 2-3 weeks. Then it was an additional 2-3 weeks of us getting the cover art and stuff like that then we went from there. He would pull up at my crib and he would set up his studio and we would both go through it having on headphones and I’d be like, “no, do this, do that, make this sound like this.” We probably put in about 4-6 hours a week just cleaning up the music. It was definitely a process that I now know that I just need to keep up on all my sessions and we won’t have that problem.
When you have a session - do you go in with something you already wrote or how does that work for you?
VEGA: I always joke around and say I’m not really a huge freestyler because I’m not but I can. If I get high, I’m a great freestyler, like in the car playing beats I’mma spaz. But, usually I get my beats beforehand and I’ll record, I’ll write to them so when I go to the studio I know how it’s gonna sound, what I’m gonna say to make the session flow a little more easier. I’m the kind of person that can go to the studio in the middle of the day for 4 hours and I’m great that means I still have my whole night to still do other things. I usually go in with already knowing what I’m gonna say.
You got other things going on like Culture Vulture, you’re part of Creatives After Dark - what else do you have going on and tell me a little bit about those.
VEGA: Definitely like to stay busy like I said. Culture Vulture is my accessories brand, I started that in college and it was under a different name. I kind of had this idea of - I always liked how the words sounded together, “culture vultures,” and obviously just being a black woman, being a black person in general, we lead the way for so many things. A lot of times we get jacked for the braids straight to the back and stuff like that. But it’s like, y’all can put that on Lucy on the Versace runway and put clips in her hair and say, “she’s completely changed the hair world.” That is not fair, we’ve been doing this for years. So, that’s kinda where the name came from.
Like a reverse play on it. VEGA: Yeah, exactly. You know, you wanna be a culture vulture so bad, c’mon. And Creatives After Dark is where I work with Joc and that’s pretty much his music group/label, however you wanna classify it. We probably started working with each other last summer. My first goal with him I was like, “look I gotta put a project out. I had been teasing music, there’s music everywhere in so many random places, we gotta do this.”
I grew up poor to middle-class, you know, single mom, she had multiple jobs and it was hard. A lot of the times she couldn’t come to my basketball games because she was also a referee for basketball and so she couldn’t come and then during the day she worked at the hospital - so there was never really any time. So, I always say I want to break the generational curse and financial burdens are a big thing on my family. That has been in my prayers for so long to just create a way for my family so that it’s not always something so money driven. I’m definitely looking into things. I’m definitely getting into the vending machines business and if Georgia ever agrees going legal with marijuana I’m going to find somewhere for a dispensary, sit and chill type thing. I have a lot of ideas in mind. Those for now, my music and Culture Vulture are like my two biggest priorities. I’m incorporating my past marketing experience - I was in corporate for 2-3 years; I worked for Comcast and I worked for a conglomerate email marketing company (the people that own Ponce City Market, I worked for them, they call it Jamestown.) I was on with them as a project manager.
Don’t ask me how I got that job, I was the youngest person in there with that title so I definitely had to be on my Ps & Qs. I know what I need to do to get my brand to propel to the level it needs to be, it’s just putting everything together. So, with Culture Vulture I’m using all of my previous marketing experience and throwing it into that.
Very much a process but the fun is in the process, to me.
VEGA: Very much so and I know. It’s kinda like, if you had everything set up already - what would you be doing? It takes you a minute to get to the part where you need a team and where you have to have different hands on deck and stuff like that. So, I’m definitely enjoying the growing pains and the growing phases of all of this, for sure. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What are your goals when it comes to fashion?
VEGA: That’s funny that you said that. It’s the second time somebody asked me that this week. I don’t know, I really never thought of fashion. I love fashion, obviously. I don’t know where it’s gonna go. One of my biggest goals used to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel, at least one time. I just wanna get some wings. That’s like a wishful thinking type of goal. I don’t know if it’s going to be the Aleali May type of thing or Rihanna type of presentation. You know, where you’re known for fashion and as it keeps growing I eventually develop something but I don’t have any immediate plans for fashion. I know it’s going to be something tho. I’m a big Pinterest user, my monthly average viewers on pinterest I can get over 20k views. I didn’t realize it was an untapped market.
Are you marketing your music that way?
VEGA: No, they don’t know anything about my music on Pinterest.
You could do that - I think it’s important for artists to have every avenue of social media. Especially, when it comes to Pinterest and Tumblr. Like you said, you’re getting 20k views on your Pinterest.
VEGA: Technically, I’m a Pin-fluencer. How they have Instagram influencers I’m a Pinterest influencer. I don’t do any paid promo on there it’s just fun for me. I didn’t realize I was getting that until I looked and saw that my impressions for the last 90 days were over 200k then I really started looking into my analytics. They’ve given me early access to Pinterest Stories and ad credit and everything. So, I started putting that into my marketing plan for CultureVulture and I’m trying to drive traffic back to my website and I’ll create a landing page for my music. One page with my YouTube, my Spotify, Audiomack, Tidal, Apple and it will be within CultureVultures so that they don’t even have to leave my site.
Brilliant, that’s dope. What kind of aesthetic do you run on your Pinterest?
VEGA: I’m damn near OCD. So, if you go on there it’s super organized. I have white and gold aesthetics board, black aesthetics board, the one that gets the most views is my hair board. I change my hair, a lot and so if you click on the hair board theres: it’s braids, it’s locs, it’s twists, it’s everything and I did that for everything. So, clothing, orange clothes, blue clothes - but I get down to the very specifics of what the outfit is. I think that’s what really draws people in is that it’s easy to find stuff on there. I’ve made friends on Pinterest but I’ve never met any of them but there’s collaborative boards so they ask me to join and they ask to join mine (I say, “no, you can’t join this one”) because they know that board gets a lot of traffic and they want to attach themselves. Not many people are skilled in Pinterest so it’s hard to find a coach so I just read all the articles as I can and keep trying to polish it.
Yeah, that’s real but at the same time it’s just the natural way of doing it. You say it’s really just fun for you then that’s just really what it is. People feel that energy at the same time. Do you use Tumblr too?
VEGA: I do, I still have a Tumblr. I just posted a picture on my story the other day where I had a Jordan up trying to be a Pinterest girl, 9 years ago. But yeah, I do love Tumblr. I feel like Tumblr was before it’s time. You know, sometimes you’d go on there and you’d see a girl’s boob, you’d see tattoos and I was like, “omgosh, my mom cannot see this site.” I love Tumblr for that, I feel like they were the gateway to a lot of creative freedom. I remember Justine Skye and Glenn Brown and all them were very Tumblr famous at one point - I definitely remember that whole era.
Tumblr is my favorite as of late just because I don’t want to put everything out on Twitter or Instagram or whatever. You can’t really put shit out on Instagram like that, it feels so limited.
VEGA: Yeah, feels limited and they’ll flag you like, “oh, this goes against our community guidelines.” And I was like how’d you even know this was zaza?
‘Cause even just thinking about how Instagram works… it feels so boring sometimes and it’s so limited in the way you can interact with things.
VEGA: It’s very regulated. Like I said, on Tumblr you can scroll passed and see some gas and they’ll put a GIF on it or something but on Instagram you can’t even show underboob.
And you can’t even put a GIF.
VEGA: Right, right and Instagram used to be a lot free-er when Rihanna had her middle finger as her profile picture but now it’s not the same. I love Instagram, you kinda just do what you need to do for business purposes and call it a day.
Yeah, it’s a tool. I’m not too much of a fan of social media. I’m really just here to use it as a tool.
VEGA: Right, make your post and get offline. I feel like I’m getting to the point where my followers are getting spoiled. So, I notice if I post things that are other than me they do not engage with it. And I’m jus like, c’mon, you gotta give heat everytime.
That shit trip me out about social media all the time but at the same time it’s all about your Click-Thru Rate (CTR) anyways.
VEGA: Mhm, CTR is crazy and that’s what I need to start focusing on is driving people to the links in my bio. You can put that in your captions so much and people still won’t go to it.
I know, but they’ll like the shit and they’ll comment on it. And it’s like I don’t want that fake - I rather have you ignore the post and click on the link.
VEGA: Right, and you know comments don’t count unless it’s 5 words or more. So the emojis don’t count. You have to say, “I love this picture so much” - that will count but the emojis don’t count.
Oh shit, I didn’t know that. Wow, I had no idea. What’s your proudest moment so far?
VEGA: I would say: putting out a video and it got over 100 views (I know that’s not a lot but I’m excited,) and then putting out the EP and just feeling like walking in this. There’s so many times I could’ve been discouraged or easily persuaded to be like, “yo, you ain’t it bro, this ain’ t.” I could’ve let those comments on the Genius thing really get to me and been like fuck this shit, I’m done with music. But nah, I was like, “okay, what’s next.” I’m excited that I’m still walking in this and I’m glad that my mom is supportive about it, she’s embracing it. My dad, he loves the project as well. My little brother, I love him so much, he’s like, “you gonna put me on a track? Can I be in your video?” I’m very appreciative and super super thankful that the people that are embracing it. When Nicki Minaj came out as a rapper they were not fucking with it.
They still dog her.
VEGA: Thank you. Uzi tweeted, “if they don’t hate it at first it ain’t gonna be great,” something like that. And I’m like, that makes so much sense now. I completely understand where you’re coming from.
And they don’t even matter to be honest - those comments and those people.
VEGA: Thank you, I really look past that stuff and I think that’s one of the things with us growing up in the social media era. Growing up in social media, we were built tough. If you didn’t grow up on black Twitter between the years of 2011-2013 you ain’t got thick skin. They was gonna dog you out for anything. So, seeing stuff like that and coming onto YouTube - I naturally filter out negative things because I don’t want that negativity in my positive space. In my head I’m like, “oh, that was funny,” and I’mma just keep scrolling.
And sometimes when there’s an influx of negative energy that only means that - everything in the Universe has to be balanced in some sort of way. So, if that influx is there then there’s an influx in the other way as well.
VEGA: It all can’t be Yin and it all can’t be Yang.
So, bring on all the negativity that you want but I just know I’ll be blessed with positivity eventually.
VEGA: Like those little 5 negative comments will bring 10 bands of positive energy.
10 bands and 10 bands of positive energy, both.
VEGA: Literally and figuratively.
Who do you identify as your Hip Hop community?
VEGA: A lot of my close friends have the ability to talk music just as well as I do. Some of them are budding A&Rs or a lot of them are upcoming artists. I have noticed it is more males - I can’t talk music with very many women. I do meet the occasional person I can talk to music with, that's a woman. For the most part if I want to have an actual music, like a sonic conversation about instrumentation or anything I have my homeboys - 1 of them is named Fredo1k and he raps, J Supreme and he makes music too, my engineers, pretty much all my friends that are musically inclined.
What are the most important aspects of marketing your music for you?
VEGA: It’s getting it out there, the visibility part of it. Now that I’m starting to realize what is it I have. I was just having a conversation with somebody today and they were like, “you kinda came out to the world that you’re a rapper, like hardcore,” and I’m like, no, I have so many other sounds. And he said he knew that personally because he has heard the music I haven’t dropped but as you come out more you’re gonna have to start embracing more who you are as an artist and person. Some people warm up to it and some may not. So, it’s really just getting me out there and building that foundational fan base so regardless of where I go or how I move you’re gonna always have that group of loyal people.
Do you feel like you’ve found a foundation?
VEGA: I definitely feel like I’m still looking for that but I do notice that there are some very solid people. Like I said, I work at a club, so there will be times where I’m out serving a drink or something and next thing I know you hear that, “catch me out” (SWTG reference.) And I’m like who went up there and said somethin’? Then next thing you know everyone is like “ayyye,” and they start dancing. Stuff like that really encourages me whether they know it or not. It’s very empowering to see that side of things.
What's your favorite song or lyric of yours?
VEGA: A song that’s out? Yeah, let’s do a song that’s out. I would say favorite lyric as far as, because I’m big on manifesting right now and talking things into existence it would probably be “Starve With The Gang.”
“I got dreams of counting bands like them stars up in the ceiling/ I start poppin’ rubber bands, like a wave I’m just drippin,” like when I said “started poppin’ rubberbands” line it instantly takes me to the strip club. You in there throwing money, you having fun, dancing around. But at the same time I said, “I got dreams of counting bands,” it’s like I got dreams of counting them and then, oop, I’m there. Here we are, we’re throwing the bands on the dancers type thing.
And you give that vibe in the music video too.
VEGA: Yes, I was definitely trying to channel that feeling for sure. The money going up.