Hailing from Alabama, CHIKA is a rapper who isn't afraid of making a political statement, and is using her platform to push for change. Speaking to Uproxx, she says she's someone that's "an artistic kid who didn’t really have a place until I found music, and I got lucky. And now, here I am. That’s the long and short of it really". It's clear to see that she's found her place in music, and is setting herself up for sustained success.
CHIKA reached a mainstream audience off the back of her Kanye West diss last year, which saw her reach out to Kanye while rapping over the beat to his hit song Jesus Walks. Speaking to Time about the diss, CHIKA says, "I felt like Kanye, as someone who’s been in the industry for so long and someone who’s so respected by so many, to directly spit in the face of the people who built him up, was kind of triggering. It made me annoyed. I feel like he wasn’t taking his position seriously enough to realize that what he was saying could directly hurt the very people who built him up to have the platform to say what he’s saying."
A letter to Kanye Omari West. Over his own beat. pic.twitter.com/5xdxKJ7d4l
— CHIKA (@oranicuhh) April 26, 2018
It was another one of CHIKA's remixes, spitting over Cardi B's Money beat, that got the attention of Cardi herself. She took to Instagram to share a clip of the freestyle, with Missy Elliot also sharing her love for it.
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) October 27, 2018
Following the success of the Kanye West diss, CHIKA got to work. The following 12 months have been a whirlwind, culminating in the upcoming release of her debut EP, as well as a pair of singles, No Squares and High Rises. It was important to her that she continues to stay true to why she was making music, even in the face of the success she was experiencing.
No Squares carries a sense of realisation from CHIKA , a renewed sense of ferocity. She's always been someone determined to write what they feel, and convey a message, and given the platform that she has, she's going to use it. Speaking to hiphopdx about the track, CHIKA said, “The song was written from a place of finally seeing that I had something to offer. I found my power in my voice and needed to let it be known that I’m going as far as I can in this. That’s why it starts with ‘tell ’em cut my muthafuckin’ mic up.’ It’s a declaration.”
High Rises, her latest single and second taste of her debut EP tells the story of how she's overcome obstacles in her life, as well as constantly exceeded expectations. It's a culmination of the work that she's put in trying to capitalise on the platform she's built to be a positive force for change, as well as a damn good track to listen to. The music video was shot in a community centre in Alabama, and is a glimpse of where CHIKA has come from, as well as where she's planning to go, and who she wants to take along for the ride with her.
Speaking to Time about what she wants people to get from her music, she has a clear goal in mind. CHIKA said, "I want to change the way that people process emotions. I want to bring back what’s real and let people be more in touch with themselves. Not all rap, of course, but some of it is so fabricated and narcissistic because we build this wall up around ourselves so that no one can hurt us as rappers and musicians.
"I want to strip that away and show that you can still make bangers that have a message and it doesn’t have to be corny and contrived; it can just be positive and it can be real. I just think that’s something that’s missing in the industry right now and I definitely want to do my best to resurrect that. I don’t feel that I chose rap, it chose me and I have to do it justice."
It's clear to see that CHIKA is making music with a message, and we can't wait to see where she takes her sound, and her lyrics, in the future. Her debut EP is expected to come out in the very near future, so make sure you're keeping an eye out for it.