You wouldn't guess at first glance how aggressive a rapper Allyssa Chic is. After all, she looks like a fashion industry executive.
But the Miramar-born, hip-hop lady grew up memorizing Wu Tang albums. she's a serious lyricist, and straddling the line between polish and grime is her specialty.
We caught up with the British-Jamaican rhymer fresh off a European tour to talk about her upcoming #CocoComplex mixtape. Here's what she had to say about loving Miramar, substantive lyrics, and how she got her name.
New Times: Tell us about where you're from.
Allyssa Chic: Love me some M Zone. East Miramar, stand up. Miramar is such a tiny little city. It's literally only one street long. We're the last city in Broward County right before you get to Dade County so we're bordered by Miami Gardens.
We have so much culture though, and so much influence. Shout out to all my Haitians, my Jamaicans, my Cubanos. I loved growing up in Miramar. It was so diverse, and it kept me from being closed-minded and everything, so I loved growing up there I wouldn't have chose to grow up anywhere else
What do lyrics mean to you?
Lyrics mean everything to me. Substance mean everything to me, cause I'm a golden era baby. I grew up in the era of the Big Daddy Kanes and the Wu Tang. One of the first albums I ever tried to remember every single word to was Only Built For Cuban Links. Everybody remembers that purple tape, and I used to sit there and literally try to memorize "Incarcerated Scarfaces," and that is never gonna leave me. That was around the time I started writing music. So lyrics and substance, and all of those things, it's never gonna change that they're so important and significant to me.
Where were you just at?
I just got off a European tour which consisted of stopping at New School Rules which is a conference in Holland, Rotterdam, shout-out to Henka and Greg for puttin' that on. That was a three-day conference, and then we took it to Paris after that, and performed at Chez Papillon, which is a great club out there. Shout-out to Sara and Eva for puttin' that together. After that, we took it to Brixton, Camden, London, and it was really really dope.
How'd you get your name?
Allyssa is actually my middle name. My sisters were obsessed with Who's The Boss when they were little, so they begged my mother to name me after Allyssa Milano and that is where my name Allyssa came from. Chic basically means well put together. It means polished. Even though it's a term mostly used to describe fashion, I like to say that I describe my music as that. Polished, well put together. Aggressive chic.
How have you managed to develop such a strong following for yourself.
You gotta get out from behind that internet. You cannot rely on social media alone. I'm not afraid to get out there and meet the people that are listening to me and to promote myself. And I don't really rely on anyone else to do that for me.
Who are some of your inspirations?
Freddie Mercury from Queen is one of my bigger inspirations as far as a performer. I really love Kanye West a lot as far as an all around artist and musical genius. I also admire people like Slick Rick, Queen Latifah for the path that her career has taken, and then I also really love Amy Winehouse and Coco Chanel, because I admire her way of being so innovative.
When can we expect the mixtape?