LiL MC is a bilingual Bay Area-based female hip hop artist and hip hop educator with Hip Hop for Change inc. In addition to rapping, freestyling, singing, and competing in rap battle competitions she also produces beats and is classically trained in Piano. She has had her leading single “OMG” from her EP PunisHER Vol 2. Featured in the NBA 2K21 and 2k22 Video game & NBA Top Shot, and she was featured in New York Weekly and The Atlanta Wire. Her recent project “Riding the Pink Cloud”, a 7 track EP produced by DJ Loot, dropped on July 2, 2021 and was featured on Billboard Hip Hop. series of comic books illustrated by Cassie Levy that she released in conjunction with her recent EP volumes titled PunisHER Volume 1 and 2. She's the founder of Queens of the Underground, a quarterly all-women Hip Hop showcase that gives local artists opportunities to open for and network with more established artists. She co-runs the Women's Empowerment Program with colleague Amani Jade for the Oakland-Based non-profit Hip Hop for Change. Her accolades include international performances in Spain as well as artist education work in El Salvador. She has shared stages for hip hop heavy weights such as E-40, Too Short, Sa-roc, Vel the Wonder, Zion I, Blackalicious,and Andre Nickatina. Her first solo project, Prey for Gods, and her three latest EP’s as well as several singles are available on all streaming platforms including her two latest singles which have hit over 60k streams on spotify.
Please share a story that includes a happy memory as an artist and has made a huge impact on your artistry.
I think one of the more recent memories I had that made me feel incredibly happy was being featured on Billboard Hip Hop for my most recent EP which was called "Riding the Pink Cloud". Being featured on a universally recognized platform like Billboard Hip Hop validates myself as an artist especially because it was one of my more vulnerable and risky albums. I felt like I had accomplished a childhood dream and that left me feeling grounded in my decision to fully commit myself to my artistry even when most people around me doubted me or expressed skepticism in my ability to make a career from my art. How do you choose to lead a Happy Healthy life as an artist?
I've spent most of my life feeling incredibly angry and sad and it wasn't until very recently that I was finally able to release a lot of the guilt I had been holding onto in order to actually accept happiness into my life. I've been an addict for most of life and two years ago I successfully found sobriety from harmful substances I was abusing. Since then I've dedicated a lot of my time to healing because I felt a lot of guilt and shame around the things I did and said while I was intoxicated, especially the people I hurt. I found that I was subconsciously punishing myself which was preventing me from finding happiness. So once I was able to find forgiveness- through more self work- I began to allow myself to feel happy. Who did you learn from to instill those values?
I learned this from myself! I definitely incorporated the information given to me from my therapists, the books I've read, classes in psychology I've taken (I graduated with a BA in Psychology) and of course my own experiences. I listen to the interviews and stories of people I admire and use my own critical thinking skills to filter that information in order to apply it to my situation. Was it hard work to make sure that you focused on your well being and not only your art?
Of course it's always hard work looking inward rather than focusing energy outward because inward is where we hold all of our pain, doubt, and fear. Was there a turning point of how you decided to put yourself first?
When I got sober I think that was the point where I decided I deserved to be happy and I wanted to do the work to give myself the life that I deserved. I really had to envision what my life would look like without alcohol in order to actually become that person- self-actualization isn't easy and I'm still working towards that. How do you like to promote a healthy lifestyle?
I'm all about living healthy and promoting healthy living. What that means to me is living in harmony with every being on this earth, in harmony with the planet and every creature that lives on it. That means reducing the amount of waste I produce, minimizing my consumption, spending that extra money to buy organic food, not eating land meat and reducing the amount of milk products I consume. Being healthy means dedicating time to work on my mental health, connect with nature, read, meditate, love, laugh, cry, scream, exercise daily, be mindful, stay attuned to my bodies and others. In what ways are you connecting with fans to check in on each other?
I definitely make it a point to provide insight into my own healing journey on all my platforms and respond to my fans so that they understand that I value their well-being. Who checks in on YOU when you need it most?
My partner, my close friends, my colleagues and my therapists. I've spent years cultivating a support system that I feel I can trust amidst all the insanity of my music, my career, and all of my other business ventures. I spent most of my life afraid to ask for help or disclose any emotional turmoil but I've learned to allow others to support me and accept help, it's all part of the growth process and I still have so much work to do. Changing habits can be hard. Which was the habit that you had to change and how it's changed your life now?
Well clearly getting sober from alcohol and harmful drugs was a habit that drastically changed my life for the better but I would hardly call that a habit- it was an all consuming addiction that I suffered from for 15 years. I consider a habit to be something more mild, but some of the habits I changed were sleeping habits, eating habits, exercise routines and that was all because I was no longer psychologically imprisoned from my addiction. I will likely always be afflicted by addiction just as someone may always be afflicted by grief but it gets easier with time. Is there a song, book, movie, show or anything that always gives you the motivation you need?
Music is the one modality that always generates energy whether it be motivational or emotional. I love listening to Saint Jhn when I want to drift off into an intoxicating melody, or Sunny by Bobby Hebb if I want something to make me feel good. I'll turn on Nirvana or smashing pumpkins when I want to scream and I'll turn on Odesza when I just want to vibe. What is the mantra of 2022?!
Surrender, forgive and invite happiness and gratitude. Give all the inside scoop of your latest project!
I'm working on releasing a new single in July called "Don't Negotiate My Price" which will also be released with an incredible music video featuring two female turf dancers from Oakland, CA. We want to thank you for joining us here and are so excited about what we see from you next! Leave us with your socials!!