Fresh from an amazing performance at Logo’s NewNextNow Awards in April, Baltimore club rapper Rye Rye is on fire, and it shows! As the first artist signed to M.I.A.’s label N.E.E.T Records, the 21-year-old ingenue has already cultivated a defining sound and style inspired by her infectious, electro-hop beats. With her album, Go! Pop! Bang! dropping May 15th, and a wickedly cool, Sega-centric music video, Boom Boom, Rye Rye is attacking the music industry with a rush of energy and vibrancy never seen before. We caught up with the street-chic rapper to delve into her Baltimore roots, and find out where she really gets her style from.
B: Your personal style is electrifying! Who or what influences your look?
I don't know...it comes naturally. When I first started touring with M.I.A., her style definitely rubbed off on me at first—she was always dressing me up! But I still have my own signature thing—and I love patterns. I like dressing up to complement my music: vibrant, bright, prints, poppin'!
B: Let's move on to your hair—beyond fierce! You're into color?
Well, at first I rocked three blends of hair color: orange, fuchsia, and pink—and I loved it. It was fitting for me and my music. But I never bleach my original hair, I always use extensions. I liked the rainbow hair look for a while, but now it's everywhere, so I mostly stick to blonde, golden brown, and black. It's fun.
B: Clearly makeup is a huge component of your look—which brands are your tried-and-true?
I always go poppin' with my lips! Usually neon—I could never do nude! A makeup artist introduced me to Milani and I love the brand for foundation. MAC makes great lip colors and eye shadows.
B: We definitely hear that signature "Baltimore club" beat in your album—what's the style like in your hometown?
Honestly, I used to think everything had to match—the shoes to the shirt, etc...—until I finally realized that I don't have to wear the same colors! When I came back to Baltimore at first, people were looking at me like I was crazy—the 'what is she wearing' face. Eventually though, everyone started picking up on it. Now I don't really care, I wear what I like.
Yeah! I love Gerlan's style—the jeans, the jackets—it takes me back to when I was kid. I used to wear a lot of street stuff with my brother, Jordan's and all.
B: Let's talk about your new single and video, Boom Boom. The Vengaboys' sample is sick, and how amazing is the gamer concept! Are you inspired by the '90s club scene?
I'm definitely a big fan of that era. Before we shot, the director sent over a lot of great ideas. The video game theme is on trend, yet old-school, and definitely fits my look. We kept it tomboy-ish, but fun and a little sexy.
Teaming up with Prabal was amazing. His work is classy, and with this, I felt like he got a chance to play around and have fun. He's so down to earth, and I became obsessed with the crackle colors!
B: So you're into nail art?
I've recently been getting more into it. I love it when artists actually paint and draw on my fingertips. They design all this crazy stuff—one time they drew Go! Pop! Bang! on my nails. I like it a lot.