Interviews

Published on August 1st, 2016 | by Jerry Doby

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Audra The Rapper brings new flair to season 3 of Sisterhood of Hip Hop

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Tonight is Episode 3 of Season 3 of Sisterhood of Hip Hop  and to square our circle Audra The Rapper (@AudraTheRapper) is our 3rd interview from the cast, one of the two new faces of the Oxygen reality series, Executive Produced by rapper/entrepreneur T.I. Serious about her music and representing for Hip-Hop, Audra has this cool side that’s keeps her human to fans and friends and I can’t think of a better intro!

Video courtesy of Oxygen

Audra the Rapper’s path to hip hop was an unlikely one. Born in Washington D.C., and raised in Richmond, Virginia to a single mother and grandmother, Audra was forbidden to listen to rap music because of its often-violent nature. Instead, her childhood home was filled with the sounds of jazz, soul, and R&B, leading her to take a more musical approach to rap. Studying the styles of Tupac, Missy Elliott, and Lauryn Hill, Audra began writing poetry that later became the narrative to her raps.

After rap-battling classmates during lunch and football games, she began taking the game more seriously. At 16-years-old, she released her first offering “Sweet and Sour,” that was sold at local car washes and neighborhood malls. Since that introductory mixtape, Audra has released three other EPs, most recently, “Retrospectrum.” She is currently gearing up to release her fifth project, a conceptual body of work titled “Anti Love Songs,” at the end of summer 2016. Audra’s goal is to remain honest and outspoken in her music, as well as fearless in content, touching on topics that are seemingly taboo for female artists. Described as “Ratchet Soul,” Audra the Rapper’s sound is raw, unapologetic and often emotional.

Audra’s new single “Sometimes” is delivered in a cool calm and collected manner as only a vet can…smooth is the best I can say it!!! 4/5 from me… sonically fulfilling and lyrically on point. Great arrangement overall.

Over the years you’ve worked with industry heavyweights and this year at Essence you performed with MC Lyte. How do you manage to mesh what you bring to the table with the styles of this caliber of talent?

I just try to stay true to the sound that Virginia bred me with. I tend to switch flows a few times in a verse and working with Lyte, I knew that would mesh perfectly because she is the master of her steady in the pocket flow. And we both have perfected the art of the raspy voice, ha. So it works.

Timbaland chided you once about being “Too hard on a soft track,” how did that help you as you continued to develop YOUR sound?

I think more than anything, Timbaland’s advice helped me recognize the direction of my sound. I used his words to just zone in on trying to perfect that contrast.

Listening to your voice, you do seem to have mastered the use of timbre, similar to Adele, you drive us through your story with sonic changes. Did you add some formal voice training?

I haven’t had vocal training yet, but I want to. I did study music in college and I grew up in the church choir. In choir, If the altos had a part of the song I wanted to sing- I learned to adjust my tone to fit in and sing with them. Sopranos- vice verse. I just try to do what’s best vocally for each individual song.

Joining the cast of Sisterhood of Hip-Hop, you have quite a bit of added pressure on your career, what do you hope to come out of this experience for you, aside from a possible deal?

I actually am not looking for a deal. I just finalized a distribution deal with SONY R.E.D and that allows me to be the master of my own business and creativity so that’s what I’m most focused on. I don’t feel any added pressure stemming from being on the show at all. I think when you work for something so long and you plan towards success- certain things just become part of the territory to achieving those goals. The main thing I want to come out of this experience is after watching me on “Sisterhood of Hip Hop” people circle back to the music that I’ve been making the past 10 years and can make the connection that everything has been real. I’ve always been sharing my reality- before reality TV.

Media coverage and outside opinions aside, from the outside looking in, how do YOU see the artist Audra The Rapper?

Audra The Rapper is an artist who is trying to break free of the “female rap” format. Audra The Rapper is an artist who finds comfort in embracing and speaking on the taboo from the female perspective.

What do you feel we can learn from your point of view musically?

The main reason I chose rap as my medium is because it’s the best way I know how to articulate myself, feelings, and views. To me, the main purpose of rap and hip hop is to help your listener see things in a way they normally wouldn’t see them. Why would I rap about my body- when you can see that? Why would I rap about what I bought- when you can see that? My point of view is to see things from all sides- if I can encourage others to do the same after listening to my music… I’m straight.

What’s the most fun about being Audra The Rapper right now?

I would say that nothing I do feels like work. I do everything with friends…including making music…

We are in the midst of a digital revolution, what are your must have technology pieces, professionally and personally?

I’m behind when it comes to technology. I’m still working off a 2013 MacBook pro and an iPhone 5s and iPhone 4 and I’m content. I have an apple watch and I don’t use it. I’m the person still playing Crash Bandicoot on PlayStation 1. I’m super tech savvy though- just need to upgrade my life lol.

Last but not least, The Hype Magazine wants to know what’s your craziest “Where they do that at moment?!” thus far in your career?

Can’t think of anything too crazy right now. One time this woman asked to take a picture with me after a show. After we took the picture, she licked my face and walked away that was kind of cray. Yeah and nasty too!!! ~ JD

Lead Image for DevoutfashionAudra the Rapper Photographer: Chandler Easley Make Up: Adaliz Tabar Hair: Nima Alston BGKI


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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.


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