By: Shirley Ju @shirju)
Siya is one of the dopest female MCs in the game, period. Doing everything independent and not switching up for nobody, the Brooklyn native comes with multiple talents, entertaining her fanbase through rapping, singing, acting, and most importantly staying unapologetically true to herself.
You may recognize real name Michele Sherman from her role on reality TV show Sisterhood of Hip Hop, but what stands out the most is the realness in her rhymes. AllHipHop caught up with Siya following the release of her standout single “Slide,” as she preps for her forthcoming EP.
AllHipHop: For those who don’t know, who is Siya?
Siya: Siya is a pioneer, one of the female emcees that has been in the game over 20 years. A reality TV star, actress, and overall all-around Brooklyn s##t.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
Siya: My whole life. I’ve been rapping since I was 7, got in the game when I was 12. I don’t know nothing else. Now I’m an actress so that’s an additive, but at the end of the day I’m a rapper. I’m an emcee first.
AllHipHop: What sets you apart from these other female rappers?
Siya: Honestly, I don’t ever think about that type of stuff. I just create music for myself and for my fanbase. Just because I love the art. Every female that’s in the game has their own lane and own niche, so kudos to them and kudos to me.
AllHipHop: Tokyo Jetz said something about not needing to rap about p##sy. What is your stance on the backlash female rappers get sometimes?
Siya: I mean, I get it. We don’t have to. Personally, I don’t rap about my p##sy. [laughs] I rap about getting p##sy, but to each its own. If that’s what they feel they need to create for their fanbase and to help further their career, then that’s for them. That’s not for me though.
AllHipHop: “Slide” is a vibe. Talk about your mind state creating this one.
Siya: I created in Chicago, mid-winter. Cold as s##t, below zero. The studio I went to record at didn’t have no heaters. I went out there to do the radio station with Tone Capone. I setup a session and found out the studio had no heaters. They did have those little cordless joints but them s##ts wasn’t doing nothing. Creating “Slide,” I was very frozen. I was very over it, felt like I was getting sick. I was sober as s##t. I was going through beats for my boy Audio Dope, found a beat for “Slide.” I just caught a vibe out of nowhere.
AllHipHop: Is money really the only thing you like?
Siya: Money is not the only thing I like. [chuckles] I like it for what it does for my career and to be able to provide for myself and my family. But if I had to choose money over certain things in my life, I’d definitely choose money because like I said, it feeds who I need to feed.
AllHipHop: What would your people do if someone really did cross you?
Siya: Ooo, exactly what the song says! Listen, I’m from Roosevelt projects Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Anybody who knows, knows. When you come to New York, you better have a pass when you cross that bridge. That’s not a fake statement, that’s some real s##t. I’ma just keep it G, my n##gas are solid. Period.
AllHipHop: Who’s in your Top 5?
Siya: J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Biggie Smalls, Jay Z, Big L.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from you music-wise?
Siya: I’m working on a new EP right now. “Slide” of course is gonna be on there. I got another record, I was calling it “Drip” but I’m tryna figure out an official name for it. It’s a new record that’s going to be a follow-up single. s##t’s super dope, produced by the same producer Audio Dope. Probably 5 or 6 songs. Got 3 more movies about to come out this summer.
AllHipHop: Talk about your acting ventures (The Purge, Street Dreams).
Siya: Acting is fun. It’s something I fell into thanks to Larenz Tate. After I did Deuces, I just kept getting phone calls. Eventually, I started working with this guy named James Jolly, who’s now my acting manager. Auditions out the ass. I’m landing gigs left and right, it’s a blessing.
AllHipHop: Did you have to go to acting school?
Siya: I’ve actually never been to acting school and never had an acting coach. It’s just natural vibes.
AllHipHop: Can you talk about The Purge?
Siya: It was one of the most fun movies I ever did. We did that in Buffalo, up in New York. We did that in the winter too, so it was cold as s##t. Mind you, we had to act like it was spring. That’s why all of our clothes look like spring clothes. It was so bad. Outside at night, below zero. The worst. Overall, it was amazing filming The Purge. It was the top selling compared to all of them.
AllHipHop: Is music still your #1?
Siya: Music will forever be my number one. As an artist, we have to learn how to balance everything in life, period.
AllHipHop: What’s been the hardest part about being independent?
Siya: Funding myself. If I had a big engine behind me, things would be different. Honestly, I’m blessed and secure right now with my career and the way things are going. Although a lot of people who know me and who have known me for years feel like I should be way further ahead than I am now, it’s the saying “timing is everything.” I’m just living life. What’s meant for me will be for me.
AllHipHop: What’s the best part of shooting Sisterhood of Hip Hop?
Siya: Just being around the girls honestly. Being around like-minded women, like-minded female MCs. Doing something powerful and empowering women. I definitely think we either set the tone or played a big part in reality TV especially back then, so I’m grateful.
AllHipHop: I loved that you posted Kehlani’s song “Nights Like This.” Who are some female artists you really f##k with?
Siya: I absolutely adore Kehlani for sure. I met Kehlani years ago at this Nick Cannon event and we remained tight. I did some records with her through DJ Carisma, for some of the Queen Remixes. That was dope. I like Melii, she’s adorable. I’m obsessed with H.E.R. Absolutely obsessed.
AllHipHop: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Siya: Sneakers and ginger shots. [laughs] I secretly fiend for ginger shots.