Nia Kay is a 14-year-old rapper with the mind of a seasoned artist. She is currently one of the seven artists featured on Jermaine Dupri’s Lifetime show “The Rap Game” Nia’s spirit is infectious and she is focused on her dreams and making a statement in the rap genre. We caught up with Kay at Complex Studios in Chicago to discuss her goals, “The Rap Game” and her ultimate mission.
Tell everyone who you are and what you do.
My name is Nia Kay and I’m a 14-year-old lyricist. I make music.
Talk about “The Rap Game,” what is the show about?
“The Rap Game” is a 10-week boot camp, It’s produced by Jermaine Dupri and Queen Latifah. Jermaine is basically training us to be better artists. At the end of the 10 weeks, Jermaine Dupri picks a winner to be signed to his label, So So Def and wear the So So Def chain.
So are you finished filming now?
Well, the show is prerecorded and as we speak we are on the third episode.
So can you tell us who won?
No, you have to keep watching. We have a few more weeks left, so tune in every Friday on Lifetime at 9 p.m. central.
What is it about rap music that made you want to get involved with it?
There are so many ways to express yourself with rap music. We are able to send so many messages to the youth and that’s why I love rap. I can inspire others and make people get up off their butts and do something.
What is your creative process like?
I usually get ideas based off of what other people are going through, what I’m going through or what I think people can relate to. I turn on the beat and get the melody of the beat, then I turn it off to write. I don’t actually write to the beat. I write in silence. That’s the best way for me.
What would you say is one of your most personal songs? Which one has touched you the most?
I have two songs that fit in the story lane. The first one is called “Intro” it basically explains me as an artist, how I became an artist and what separates me from others. The other song is called “From the Jump”. It’s basically a love song to the ladies explaining to them to keep pushing even if the person beside you isn’t really rocking with you. “Intro” touches more on my age, how I’m better than other rappers and me shouting-out artists who have helped me.
If you had the opportunity to mirror someone’s career, not saying you would want to be them, but kind of follow in their footsteps, who would that be?
I would have to say Lady Leshurr or Queen Latifah. I met Queen Latifah because of “The Rap Game” and just being in her presence was such a humbling experience. It was mind blowing to sit down and talk to her. I can’t even put it into words. I like lady Leshurr because she created her world and she is positive. She has messages in all of her songs and there is no cursing.
Who is an artist that you consider to be old school but you think is still hot.
I would have to say Da Brat. I’ve met her as well and she talked to us about how she started and many of the struggles she had to go through. You’ll be able to see that on one of the episodes of “The Rap Game” She explained to us that we have to make it so that our career is everlasting, not just poppin for one second and then you are done. Da Brat is still poppin right now. You can ask anybody who the Brat is and they know. Her name is still relevant.
What would you say is the ultimate mission of your music?
The ultimate mission of my music is to touch others and get it out there to others. I don’t want to talk about the violence and all of that going on in Chicago. I want to help change people’s mindsets. I want us all to come together and have peace.
What have you learned from Jermaine Dupri?
What I’ve learned from Jermaine is that you have to be strong in this business. There are no handouts. You really have to work for what you want. It really is a tough industry. That’s basically what he taught all of us. We know when we leave that house that we will be tough. It really is a boot camp, because when we leave we know we will have our minds right.
What words of encouragement do you have for young ladies who are out here following their dreams?
I would say keep dreaming. Don’t focus on the streets, or the boys. Focus on your dreams. A lot of people feel like if it’s not given to them that their dream won’t turn into reality. In order for it to turn into reality you have to work for it. Remember to keep dreaming and know that someone is always by your side. You are never alone.