The rise of Chicago’s Drill music scene broke with recent customs in Hip Hop. Unlike movements developing in other regions, Drill was not just a "boys only" club. Chitown ladies took center stage right alongside their male counterparts, and a teenager named Katie Got Bandz established herself as the matriarch of the high-energy, trap-influenced Windy City export.
Katie kept the streets flooded with free projects like Coolin Chicago and Zero To 39th, and she especially established herself as Drill music’s reigning female ruler with the hard-hitting Drillary Clinton and its sequel Drillary Clinton 2.
Just months after dropping Zero To 39th, Katie is getting set to release one final Drillary Clinton mixtape. The upcoming collection comes with the definitive subtitle The Last Of The Drill Queen, a signal the 22-year-old is ready to switch up her style and attract a more global audience.
“I’m trying to grab every market. I’m not completely leaving the drill scene alone, but that’s not gonna be my main focus anymore,” Katie tells AllHipHop.com. “With Drill music, your fan base is mainly Black. I’m trying to grab every market. I want fans from all over the world. I don’t just want the Black community.”
Katie’s proclamation of embracing other musical avenues arrives almost exactly four years after the rapstress began making music. It was two days before her 18th birthday when Katie decided to follow her cousin Block On Da Trakk into the rap game. KGB credits the producer with inspiring her to step behind the microphone.
Block and Katie would go on to craft buzzing tracks such as “I Like” featuring fellow Drill star Lil Durk and the Wale assisted “Weak.” The list of her collaborations also includes cuts with her Chicago-bred female peers Tink, Dreezy, and Sasha Go Hard.
Katie joined Sasha on Dreezy’s “Zero.” The song’s video is currently sitting at over 300,000 views on YouTube. According to Katie, the trio is set to reunite for additional work.
“I still have a relationship with Sasha and Dreezy,” Katie states. “We’re working on a project with me, Sasha Go Hard, and Dreezy.”
The three Midwesterners connected for a new track called “Set It Off.” Katie, Sasha, and Dreezy channeled the “girl power” of Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise from the 1996 crime drama of the same name.
Director F. Gary Gray’s Set It Off took place in 1990’s Los Angeles, but the hardship, desperation, and crime depicted in the film could also be reflective of modern-day Chicago. The city is still dealing with war zone level killings on a daily basis.
Capo, a member of Chief Keef’s Glo Gang crew, was gunned down on a South Side street on July 11. The 22-year-old joined an unfortunate list of local rap stars that have lost their lives to the bloodshed.
Keef, Common, Chance The Rapper, Twista, Jo Jo Capone and other Chicago artists have instituted community efforts to counteract the violence overtaking their hometown. But Katie believes it is time for the performers to take a bigger step and change the content of the music in order to convert “Chiraq” back to Chicago.
“You can’t rap about violence then try to promote stop the violence.” Katie says. “If we switch it up and try and get on some positive stuff or let it die down a little bit, then you will see a big change.”
Chicago rap representatives Lil Durk and Lil Herb have already made it clear they no longer want to reside in the city where they were raised. Katie is interested in saying goodbye to Illinois too. Atlanta is one destination on her radar, but a potential move would not solely be the result of the disorder in the Chi.
“I’m not ready to leave because of the violence. I’m still gonna come home,” explains Katie. “I’m leaving because I feel I can grow bigger in another state. Chicago is a hateful city. Everybody don’t got your back.”
Katie experienced someone stabbing her in the back in front of the entire world. In March, a person she has described as “a goofy ass n*gga” leaked a nude photograph of her online. KGB apologized to her fans for the image making its way to the internet but insists she was not aware the picture was taken.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a “revenge porn” bill into law in December 2014 which makes it a felony to upload sexually explicit videos and photos of another person online without his or her permission.
The new legislation did not go into effect until June 1, 2015, so Katie would not have been able to press charges against the individual that allegedly posted her pic. The only other option would be to pursue a civil lawsuit (à la Lastonia Leviston’s litigation against 50 Cent).
KGB addressed the possibility of suing her tormentor, “I thought about it. But no.”
With that media controversy behind her, Katie Got Bandz is now strictly focusing on progressing in the entertainment business. A new location, a new mixtape, and a new sound are all on the horizon, and the Drill Queen does not intend to halt her drive until she has plaques on her wall like her musical idol.
“I plan on working with Nicki Minaj,” says Katie about her career goals. “Also, I plan on having platinum and gold records. I want to sell out arenas. I plan on traveling the world doing what I do.”