Filed under: Interviews, Issue 20, Issue 20 Interviews | Tags: Interviews, show review
Who You Calling ‘Kid Sister’?
Melisa Young says she’s the future of hip-hop — A-Trak and Kanye West agree.
Her hip-hop pedigree is virtually unassailable. The 29-year-old Chicago-born emcee also known as Kid Sister is sister to Josh “J2K” Young of DJ duo Flosstradamus, girlfriend to A-Trak and a good friend of Kanye West. In fact, Kanye appeared on her debut, along with Estelle, Cee-Lo and a host of top-shelf producers.
She may just be the hottest young thing in hip-hop, and she’s changing the game as she goes. 20 Watts interviewed her.
20 Watts: First off, congratulations on your debut album Ultraviolet (Nov. 17). How does it feel?
Melisa Young: Really crazy, because it’s been a long time coming. It feels like when I graduated from college – I never thought it would happen, but if finally did.
20W: A-Trak said this album is like a maturing point for your music. Thoughts?
Young: That means my buffness in my music, getting stronger and getting more amped. I’m getting more prepared to kick ass! It was like, “whoa, I made some pretty strong songs. Good for me.”
20W: Do you still feel it’s like club music or is it moving on past that?
Young: It’s moving on past that. Electronic hip-hop, it’s a new genre. There may be haters, imitators and perpetrators … I think that hip-hop is star ting to sag. People get stuck in their old ways – they kind of ride the horse until it dies. And it’s like, what happens after the horse dies? You get the same horse and star t riding that too? No, man! You’ve gotta switch it up.
20W: Are you saying hip-hop is dead?
Young: No, I’m saying hip-hop is like a horse. (She laughs). It’s an old horse that needs to learn plenty of new tricks. Not saying I’m a trick, though!
20W: You started off in clubs, right?
Young: Raves, lofts and people’s apartments after they cleared out the furniture.
20W: I think Lady Gaga got started in clubs.
Young: No, she didn’t. She got started in artsy, rich, Upper East Side parties. I’m talking about dirty, nasty, bring-your-own-cops. I just want to state for the record that I know she didn’t start that way. She’s like, “yeah, New York art scene!” She never played shows like mine, unless she was wearing sweat pants or something. I love her, but I want to make sure there’s a clear differentiation. I come from the underground world, and she comes from a world of privilege. She went to high school with Paris Hilton.
20W: We’re moving into the next decade of music, and you’re part of a new wave of artists that are going to transition us. What lies ahead?
Young: I think it’s going to be a lot more experimentation with different genres and electronic music. I think we’ve already seen that, but I think it will cross over to the really good shit, the real hood shit. It might level off a little, but then we’ll be onto the next thing.
20W: What’s the one thing you want this album to convey about you?
Young: I want to make sure this album says that I’m a regular girl who made it and I didn’t change. Even if you have ungroomed eyebrows, even if you have cottage cheese thighs, even if you work at the mall, whatever – normal people can make it and be champions. The other important thing is to put my face and my name to a tangible piece of evidence. People want something tangible, a face, in this electronic hip-hop movement, and I believe I’m the first one to do that. I think it’s important to establish my place at the forefront of this movement … I’m the only one to put an album out that is [electronic hip-hop].
20W: Do you think that people can sense that in your music?
Young: I hope so! I think my music sounds like me. It doesn’t sound like it was born in a board room. I’m not gonna name names, but I think you know what I’m talking about. There are a lot of artists, especially women, that are completely built. They’re taught what to do and say. I think it’s important to prove women have brains and they can do what they want. There’s gotta be a place for artists who weren’t someone’s idea.
— Interview by Jett Wells