Baltimore-based rapper Rye Rye had her breakout hit at 16; but, due to the usual hold-ups, it took almost three years for her debut album to be released. She kept busy though, performing with with M.I.A. and the Neptunes and recording the theme to the new "21 Jump Street."
Still baby-voiced and now even brassier-mouthed, Rye Rye is on tour promoting the long-awaited album, "GO! POP! BANG!" -- which is as danceable as it sounds. "It's very upbeat," she tells us. "It's grimy, it's hard and it's fun. It's like ghetto house music."
Unlike many young artists, you weren't discovered; you actually promoted yourself -- by leaving a rap on Blaqstarr's answering machine. How did you work up the nerve?
I used to write sometimes, poetry or R&B songs. And I randomly wrote a rap song one day. So Blaqstarr was friends with my sister, and he asked me if I knew how to rap. I said no, because I didn't know if I did or not. But it inspired me to write a whole rap song, so I finished it. I kind of wanted to try it, so I was like, "I'll call his phone." And I was hoping that he didn't answer, so that it would go to the answering machine. Because if he would have answered, I probably would have hung up. I don't think I would have done it.
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So what happened next?
I went to the club later on that night, and I ran into him. And he was like, "I really liked the first verse to your song, can you spit it for us right here?" And I was like, "No way! I'm hot, I'm sweaty, I just got done dancing." I was basically just being shy, and I left. ... But eventually we started working in the studio together.
In your recordings with Robyn and M.I.A., two really strong female performers, you never outshine or overpower each other. What was it like working with them?
It was cool working with M.I.A., because she's very humble and we can relate. We both weren't afraid to be different artists and to be ourselves. She had a real spirit. I looked at her as a homegirl, like someone that I've been friends with for a long time -- that's the vibe she gave me; she was really down-to-earth. On the other hand, with Robyn, when we recorded a track we didn't record in the studio together. But I met her after. ... She had so much good advice, and she was very sweet.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
I would love to work with Missy Elliott. That's one female I'm dying to work with.
Are you excited to finish out the tour in New York?
Of course. I'm glad that we're ending in the East Coast, because that's where I'm from. It's always a blast to be able to connect with people that you're close with, from the same area. And of course, it's New York, right? -- I love New York. So it's going to be dope.