Check out the new song from Imani Kairee – Dead Stop
Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
I am from Ansonia, CT also known as “The Valley,” a short distance from New York. I started writing young and recording professionally around 15 years old. I used to hide in my room and rap. I knew at a young age I was in love with this art form, but not that this was what I was going to be following as my life career until I was older. I grew up around members of Zulu Nation (my dad) so I guess I was somewhat influenced, unaware. I started doing underground shows and community events. I usually was the youngest and the only female. They used to smuggle me in to perform and sometimes I had to leave because I was under age.
People kept telling my family I had something. They used to be amused, I would always want to use a beat from Mobb Deep. I wanted people to see me as a girly girl so I changed my style from converse and caps to corsets, lashes, and heels. I incorporated my black and white style for my hair and started rocking braids. I am considered that “gray area” sometimes people cannot figure out what will come next. I am a creative person that is willing to take risks with my music. I have worked with some top music talent, but our creative differences sometimes clashed or they missed the direction that I am going. I am true to my gift and to the people that listen to my music. Music is my life blood an air.
Tell us more about the current song your promoting to everyone.
“Dead Stop” is about my uniqueness and how I will slide my sound under a locked door to get you to listen to what I have to say. Also that I am bold and excited about who I am. I also think I am due that opportunity like others to get out there to share my gift with the universe. People have told me they have “dead stopped” after they heard me.
Tell about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry.
Being a sometimes thick female in this type of music with all the “boobage and booty” be shown. As soon as people ask what I do they eyeballs roll (ah a female rapper, spit something!). People sometimes tell me I have to show more skin to get farther. I don’t knock any females hustle but that’s not me. I am all for girl power. I want to try to relate to all types of fans but keep on my clothes. People still tell me I’m sexy.
What was one the biggest setbacks in your career and how did you bounce back?
I secured a deal with Thelonius Records, founder/jazz drummer T.S Monk at 16, but we parted ways. I still have so much respect and awe for this talented man, but I guess it was just not my time. I stopped doing music for a while but my fans, family, and manager encouraged me to keep it moving.The product of that was the eclectic “Static Electrizity.”
What are some of the things artists need to be careful of?
Get paperwork and read it before signing. Females don’t make bedroom deals, they only backfire on you. If you don’t like something or someone discusses it in private you don’t know who knows who. Have fun but remember this is a business, be professional. Also make every effort to be friendly and on time for meetings, if your not approachable no one will want to work with you. You can still be hard later when it’s needed (lol).
What suggestions do you have for artists like yourself?
Get involved in everything. Get to know all kinds of people in all types of businesses, they may know of an opportunity. Be patient and invest in yourself don’t wait for someone else to do it. Believe in yourself no matter what anyone says. Practice everyday, read trade magazines on what’s going on in the business not just about the artists but the people behind them. And most of all be careful about who you work with. There are people who start out acting like they are trying to help to move you to the spot light but secretly trying to use your opportunity to get to theirs.
What is one your favorite ways to promote yourself and music?
Community and charity events, especially with a lot of kids.
Where can we find you?