We connected with Chicago based Christian Hip-Hop artist Aasha Marie for an exclusive interview to discuss her new single “WYWS”, as well as her creative process for song development, how her spirituality and community are reflected in her music and more.
After reading our Q&A with Aasha Marie, be sure to stream “WYWS” on Spotify and share it with everyone you know who loves dope, yet holy and righteous Hip-Hop. Also, be sure to connect with Aasha Marie on IG!
Congratulations on the release of your new song "WYWS". What motivated you to write and record it?
Thank you. My motivation came from observing the gang violence in Chicago and its impact on communities. I grew up in Englewood and in recent years it’s been highlighted for the violence that’s resulted from gang culture. I’m a board member of an organization that works with a gang population and I hear the stories, so many of them are heartbreaking because these are young lives being taken too soon.
I also grew up in the church, the center of my life all of my life and my home church like most churches in the area are in gang neighborhoods. I wanted to highlight both sides being asleep in different ways; the gang member in need of salvation the church member in need of gospel proclamation. Both need to be freed, one from bondage, the other from silence, but ironically both sides are in bondage to doing life as usual but need divine intervention.
Tell us about your creative process when it comes to song development. What do you look for in the beats that you select?
So my creative process is I listen to the instrumental over and over again and try to tap into what I feel. I write around concepts; usually the concept comes to me first then I work on maybe writing the first few bars to tie into that concept, but before I finish the complete 16, I focus completely on the hook. For me once the concept is established and the hook is solidified, I can take off and write the verses.
For beat selection I love beats that are soulful but gritty at the same time. As an artist, it brings out my aggression and passion but I love the softness of soulful, jazzy vibes too. It really depends on if the beat evokes a certain emotion inside of me that I can visualize. If I can’t visualize it first, then I won’t pick that beat.
Can we expect "WYWS" to be a part of an upcoming EP or album? If so, what can you tell us about it?
“WYWS” is the first single off my upcoming EP also entitled “WYWS.” During the process of making this EP, there was a lot of fighting to get here, fighting depression, discouragement, losing close friends, etc. but all of these things were poured into this project and it’s like while you were sleeping…here’s what I’ve been working on.
It’s not meant to be pretentious or anything at all but I’ve been sleeping on my own talent and ability and needed to bring that out to show people and myself that I can honor God with this and it can be beautiful. Nothing else on the EP sounds the first single “WYWS”. Each song has its own unique sound and mood. It’s meant to show the variety of me as an artist and I can’t wait until it drops!
How would you say that your spirituality and surrounding environment are reflected in your music?
Whether I’m talking about depression, work stress or family expectations, I always find a way to infuse my Christian faith and worldview into my lyrics. I’m a firm believer that what you put into yourself will come out so it’s almost second nature to infuse my faith into my music. I would say it’s not overbearing and I think as an artist I can make my music palatable for people who aren’t in the Christian faith and they can find some aspect of it that relates to them.
My Christian faith plays an important role because in my music I love to explore everyday life and its ups and downs but take moments to interject here and there and expose what God has to say about it and/or his presence where people feel he’s absent.
Where do you think Christian Hip-Hop is going in 2019 and how do you as artist fit in?
In 2019 I see Christian Hip-Hop entering more non-traditional spaces. What I mean by that is that I see it finding its way into the mainstream spaces that are unaware or not really sure what it means to be a Christian rapper or a rapper who is Christian due to the undeniable talent that so many artist who have yet to break into the music industry have. What I love about Hip-Hop is that there is room for so many different artists from various backgrounds. As a Christian I’m no different, I see myself bringing a new representation out of Chicago as a female rapper. I’m a Christian woman and proud of that but I am very much an emcee who wants to be heard and has something to say.
I see myself offering a very unique, distinct representation of clean music but good news music that’s good for the soul. I’m very proud to represent my city and represent my faith but also want offer a new view of women in Hip-Hop through my music.
Connect with Aasha Marie: Instagram