Watch Kamaiyah’s 2017 XXL Freshman Freestyle and Interview
Representing not only the West Coast but the ladies of hip-hop, Oakland native Kamaiyah is the only female rapper in this year's 2017 XXL Freshman Class.
Kamaiyah dabbled in battle rap as a teen and entered local talent shows. In 2015, one of her loosies, "How Does It Feel" made its way into the hands of the right people and soon, she moved to L.A. to get serious about rap. Kamaiyah says that although the decision to leave her home turf is a path not many Bay Area artists take, she knew it would lead to bigger things.
"There's like a mental trap in The Bay because the hustle is so independent that you can sell 100,000 out your truck," explains the 25-year-old. "So you begin to depend upon that factor verses becoming national and worldwide. So there's like an double-edged sword of how to make it out The Bay."
Yaya came out the gate swinging when she dropped her first mixtape, A Good Night in the Ghetto, in March of 2016. The 16-track project houses Yaya's female-empowerment lyrics against a backdrop of ripe, bumpin' Bay Area beats. Not only are her songs slappers, they exhibit a little something different The Bay has never really had before. Songs like "I'm On," "Freakie Freaks" and "Fuck It Up" featuring YG caught the attention of listeners online and the project earned rave reviews. Kamaiyah was promptly signed to Interscope Records and on tour with YG, Logic and G-Eazy.
In a time when a lot of female MCs try to fit into a certain sexed-up character, Kamaiyah stands out from the crowd with her throwback style, her bars and most importantly, an undying allegiance to her city.
"My biggest thing when I start recording is for me to sound regionally as normal as possible verses me not sounding like I'm not from where I'm from," she says "That's what makes me stand out."
To learn more about Kamaiyah peep her profile video above. Listen to Yaya's fire freestyle and see behind-the-scenes photos below.
And if you missed any of the freestyles and interviews featuring this year’s XXL Freshman class, check out their individual pages here: A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, PnB Rock, Playboi Carti, Ugly God, Madeintyo, Kyle and Kap G.
See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Kamaiyah at 2017 XXL Freshman Shoot