Queens rapper Guyana wants you to know that there are plenty of great female MCs to go around. In this mostly mannish medium, the pretty but rugged American-Guyanese lady has found a way to command the attention of onlookers with her singing/rapping style. One of those onlookers happens to be an NFL player with a love for Hip-Hop who discovered her talents and took her under his fold.
AllHipHop.com spent some time with newcomer Guyana recently to see what sets her apart from the field, and find out why we should look for her upcoming DJ Drama-hosted mixtape:
AllHipHop.com: Hi, Guyana. Thanks for taking a few moments to introduce yourself to the AllHipHop.com readers who don’t know you yet.
Guyana: Hi, Seandra! Thanks!
AllHipHop.com: So, your name – Guyana – says to me that you have a West Indian background – where are you from and how did you come about your unique sound?
Guyana: I mean, I’m originally from New York originally. I was born in Queens, and my entire family is Guyanese actually, so I’m considered to be American-Guyanese. I lived [in Guyana] for three years, from 10 to 13, and so yeah, the culture has definitely influenced me – enough for me to name myself after the country, for sure! [laughter]
AllHipHop.com: Well, one thing I noticed, especially out of New York – there are a lot of New York rappers who have that West Indian/Caribbean background, either in their family or somewhere in their music. Why do you think that the West Indian sound and rap go so well hand-in-hand?
Guyana: I mean, it’s just…wow, I don’t know how to answer that one for you. It’s good music, and reggae and soca are like forms of rapping, you know? And they have the accents, so it gives their flow a little extra spice. It’s like, it’s like rapping with a few extra things – just a good vibe to bring something fresh to Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: I definitely would say the beats – beats are just as important in reggae and soca…
Guyana: Definitely! We gotta make you move! Make you feel something.
AllHipHop.com: Exactly. So, I wanted to ask you about your affiliation with B Major Music Group headed up by Bryan McKinnie, but who the audience may know as a player for the Baltimore Ravens. Tell me how you got affiliated with him.
Guyana: You know, I actually knew Bryan from past experiences, and at the time, he had a few other artists – Freddy P and Jordan Hollywood – and I would come by and do some vocals for them, some hooks and stuff like that. And, working in the studio with them is when he realized I do more than singing, ‘cause I was in Pretty Money so he was kind of aware of some things.
He was interested in whatever I could bring to the table, and he asked me to be the First Lady of B Major Music, so of course I joined on immediately. Good look, you know? He’s a very good boss. Most people or companies pick you, and they try to mold you into something that they want to make. But here at B Major, you get to be you and do you, you know what I’m saying? I’m blessed.
AllHipHop.com: Do you see any of the work ethic and the discipline that he has in sports sort of trickle over into how he deals with his artists?
Guyana: Definitely. We, as artists, see how hard he works out, being on the field, and then he’s so dedicated to us. It makes us motivated to be on ourselves even better, because he handles everything so well. He’s dedicated to football, but then he’s dedicated to the music. It’s like, when do you sleep? [laughter] And now, actually, we don’t sleep, you know? That’s what it is.
AllHipHop.com: So, I know as far as females in the industry, a lot of people act like there are two, maybe three female rappers that exist. But, as we know, there are a lot more out there.
Guyana: There’s way more!
AllHipHop.com: Yeah! And I know you’ve gotten some co-signs and have also had some good things to say about some of the other female rappers out there. Tell me your thoughts on Lil Kim, Trina…
Guyana: Kim? Wow, I love Kim! Just watching her growing up, she’s one of the people who inspired me to do what I’m doing right now. My family didn’t really approve of rap music and the way they speak and what they’re talking about; it wasn’t really accepted in my family. So I used to go in the bathroom with the hairbrush, and pretend to be her. [laughter]
And to meet her, she’s such a beautiful person on the inside and out. And then she blessed me on one of my tracks called “Money Hungry” we got together coming out soon. I love her so much. And Trina, you know, Trina is a BEAST in the studio! She’s beautiful and fly and all these things, but she’s takes the studio seriously. It’s about the relentless grind; she’s in there for as long as she’s gotta be in there for it to be tight.
I’m blessed to be around people and see these females who work hard and strive and grind.
AllHipHop.com: And that’s good to see you building good relationships with some of the legends. And what do you think about this beef that has been going on between some of the ladies in the past few years?
Guyana: I really don’t like jumping in people’s sh*t, you know? It ain’t mine to do that, but I wish it wasn’t like that. As females, it’s already hard being out here dealing with the men, so it’s dumb for us to be finding amongst ourselves. It’s just like, ‘Why?’ If we could join together and just be positive and be a force, we’d bulldoze over everything, you know what I’m saying? So it’s sad to see, but it’s just the reality of the situation.
AllHipHop.com: Right.. So tell me about this new mixtape of yours. I heard that DJ Drama hosted it, so that’s pretty big.
Guyana: Yes! How lucky am I for that? [laughter] I’m still thinking of a title right now, but I think I’m going with I Am Guyana: Vol. 1. I have my first mixtape out – it’s called Princess Guyana, and that was moreso me introducing myself like, ‘Hey, I’m a rapper; let me in the game, I does this, too. You know what I’m saying?
On this mixtape, you’re gonna get it all from me, my singing, my rapping, my flavor, and you know, the streets of course. So you get a lot more of me in this mixtape – should be by the end of January or by the middle of February.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, and I know you’re one of those double threats we keep seeing in the industry – both the singer and the rapper. But which one did you start doing first and you feel that it’s your real skill?
Guyana: Ummm, I’d say my real skill out of everything is my writing. Before anything, there was that. That’s how I express myself, through my writing, and then I started with the singing. I think both, you know? I just love music so much, and I wanna say even my reggae, I want to say all of it. My favorite out of all would probably be my singing.
AllHipHop.com: OK, so I remember I listened to a few tracks of yours, and then I actually looked at a picture of you. It was kind of interesting because the picture didn’t really match what I heard at first. You have a sexy vibe going, but then it’s kinda hardcore, too. How do you match what we see with what we hear?
Guyana: You know when I match it? I match it when you see me in a show. It all comes together. You know, that hard side of me, that street side of me is there. It’s New York, it’s my roots. You can’t get rid of that. [laughter] My sexy, I guess it depends on who’s looking at me to determine if I’m sexy or not [laughter], but it pretty much comes together when you see the show. You see it all together, and it sums it all up.
AllHipHop.com: So, last question…as a relative newcomer, why are you the MC people need to watch out for this year?
Guyana: They need to watch out for me because I have a lot to say. You know, I have a lot of style. I’m here to relate to the people, to say what the people want to say who don’t have a chance to. And, I’m bringing versatility, you know what I’m saying? Something fresh to their ears – that’s why they need to check me out.
AllHipHop.com: Well, if they want to check out more, you want to shout out a Twitter handle or webpage?
AllHipHop.com: Thanks for taking a few minutes with us, Guyana. Best of luck ‘cause I want to see some women do big things this year!
Guyana: Thank you, Seandra! I want to see that, too!