Baltimore club music maven Rye Rye descends upon DC tonight on the backs of South African weirdos Die Antwoord at the 930 Club. Armed with a furiously catchy cadence and dances for days, you’d be wise to show up early and see who Diplo, MIA, and B-More’s own Blaqstarr have all co-signed on (you might have heard of them?) Recently signed to NEET along with Sleigh Bells, Rye Rye’s maternal hiatus has flipped into world tour mode with MIA herself and the zef set in support of full length LP Go! Pop! Bang! Lead single Sunshine has MIA on the hook and provides the perfect soundtrack for these Indian summer days. Positively positive, undeniably adorable, and a remix darling, we caught up with her yesterday to talk dancing, philosophy, and the all-star team assembled for the album. (Instructional vids included for those who wanna Shake It To The Ground tonight.)
BYT: Before we get started, Josh Sisk says hi.
Rye Rye: Hah, tell him hey!
BYT: Yea, he’s shooting you tomorrow, so…
BYT: So you’ve been out on the road for a long time, are these shows a precursor to a headlining tour when the album drops?
Rye Rye: I’m hoping! It’s not planned yet.
BYT: In terms of the album, I know you were about to put it out then you had your little girl, are these all new tracks since then or some of the older tracks made the cut?
Rye Rye: Both, yea it’s both. I still have the songs I was working on and then some new ones.
BYT: What producers were you working with?
Rye Rye: Hmm, I worked with MIA of course, Diplo, Arabian Prince, Pharrell, Steve Angello, Blaqstarr.
BYT: Your flow exudes a confidence that sort of belies your age, have you been rapping a long time or did you ever do battle raps? Was it something you just picked up?
Rye Rye: Naaah, I just, I started rapping when I was fifteen. It was just out of the blue, I wasn’t battle rapping nobody (laughing,) I just did it for fun. Blaqstarr, when he wanted to work with me it inspired me to start trying it, so we started recording in the studio but it was still all for fun. We just did it, just tried it out, and it ended up being a success.
BYT: So your press release said “dance rap” but some of your songs, like on the Blaqout mixtape, they weren’t necessarily dance songs. It was more of a mature, old school sound.
Rye Rye: Back then I was on hip hop tracks mainly, when I first started working with him. When Shake It To The Ground track branched out and started becoming popular, then I started going into the dance thing.
BYT: Right, so in the videos, dancing is a big part of them obviously. Is that something you’ve been doing longer than rapping, something you and your girls have always done?
Rye Rye: Yup. That’s another reason why I came into the dance thing, ‘cause I was a dancer so I started wanting to make music that would make people dance, or that would make me dance! I just went that route but when I first met Blaqstarr it was like how you said, I sounded mature and was doing gangster songs but I felt like that wasn’t unique enough. There’s so many other female rappers out here that’s gangster rapping, so I started trying it over top of dance tracks.
BYT: Are people reacting at the MIA or Die Antwoord shows, everyone dancing?
Rye Rye: Yea, I’m getting support at every show!
BYT: Back to the producers – you obviously have some of the best in the world right now. Is it all just inspiring or can they be hard to work with?
Rye Rye: No, they’re not hard at all. I think we just vibe together, so, I’m in a comfort zone with everyone I work with and that’s what I love about it. I know sometimes in the studio that it could be hard.
BYT: You seem to have a completely positive point of view. You’re on Twitter all the time too, giving advice but not preaching, is this just the way you’ve always been?
Rye Rye: Yea! I think it’s because growing up I was responsible, my mama raised me as responsible so I’ve always tried to tell my brother and my sisters, what to do. Once you get into the music industry you’re forced to grow up, then I had a baby, so I started looking at different outlooks on life, what would make me happy? I realized that you just gotta be positive about everything, you can’t let anyone wear you down because it’s your life at the end of the day. Every decision that you make, it’s up to you to make it and you’re obligated to make it and no one else is responsible for making the decisions you make.
BYT: Indeed. So with your show, are you doing the choreography and whatsup with the backup dancers?
Rye Rye: Yea, and I have 3!
BYT: Friends from home?
Rye Rye: Yea.
BYT: Cool, so you got some fam with you.
Rye Rye: Yeeeeaaaaaa, it’s cool, but you have some ups and downs (laughing.)
BYT: (laughing) Hah, OK, so who were your favorite dancers growing up?
Rye Rye: Um, Aaliyah was one of my favorite dancers, and I used to watch Missy Elliot videos a lot. Chris Brown was one of ‘em. Omarion. I just used to watch people off the TV but when I was dancin’ at home it was sort of me picking it up on my own ‘cause we have a different style of dancing. It was just naturally there (laughing.)
BYT: You mean dance styles unique to Baltimore?
Rye Rye: Yea.
BYT: OK cool well we’ll see you at show.
Rye Rye: Thank you, I appreciate it!