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VIBE.COM

All About The Message ZOY BRITTON

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lad in jeans, a gray varsity sweater and a simple bun, one might think the current queen of The Source “Sweet and Sour Cypher” is just an ordinary cat, until glimpses of Audra the Rapper’s lime green talons are caught at gesticulating intervals; her silver septum piercing flashing as she, welcomingly, beckons me into what appears to be a warehouse. Several flights and a huge-ass step later, we emerge into an open space with white flowing curtains, a small stage and a red-lit studio complete with an exhausted fellow artist, Siya, napping on what looks to be a pretty uncomfortable couch. The smell of artists on the come-up runs rife through this unassuming space, fitting for the humble rapper just recently signed to Maybach Music Group. Despite such accomplishments, Audra’s story began with a cheap mic and a dream. Audra’s journey began at 13 years old when she recorded the track “Got Your Weave” using a free software music program and a standard computer mic circa 2002. Three years later the track got local radio play in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia and began the buzz that eventually catapulted her to MMG and, eventually, NYC. What started with a ratchet theme song has evolved into the lyrical flow of a polished rapstress with collabs with everyone from Rakim to Mickey Factz under her belt. To give an idea of how far Audra has come, consider that just a year ago she was navigating the college gamut and doing free shows on campus. Audra’ s perseverance paid off and her local buzz ignited a flame that led to Rick Ross’ door after declining suspect offers from the majors that included being shelved for

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three years without any upfront funds or promo. Surprisingly, declining the chance to get signed-the dream of a lifetime for many artists-birthed a tremendous respect for Lil’ Mama (yes, the stage-crashing, dance showjudging Lil’ Mama). “Believe it or not that’s why I have so much respect for Lil’ Mama because even though niggas say she’s wack, oh she’s this or that, maybe true may not be true but at the end of the day she’s one of the few if not the only female rapper that I can name to date that infiltrated the mainstream level…airplay, 106 & Park, radio with ‘Lip Gloss’ without a co-sign.” Audra realized what a feat Lil’ Mama had accomplished after she was taken aside by one of the folks at the record label-that she declined-and told to get a co-sign, because female rappers “need” a co-sign. But if Lil’ Mama pulled that successful shit, then best believe quasi-feminist Audra can. Audra’s feminist roots lie in her gender-relations education during her brief college stint which taught her that the term “female” implies secondary, hence her aversion to the term “female rapper.” Yet, Audra also recognizes that women must blaze a different trail than male rappers, which truly came to light after one particularly negative experience in which she was told to come to said fellow’s house to “discuss business” despite setting original “professional” plans to meet in this joker’s studio. But being the boss bella that Audra is, she didn’t attempt to retaliate. She took the high road and threw his trill ass the deuces, a move which exemplifies an important piece of advice to women working their way up in the industry: don’t

VIBE Ambition  

As interns and contributors for renowned urban and hip-hop culture magazine, VIBE, we were given the assignment to recreate our own issue. D...

VIBE Ambition  

As interns and contributors for renowned urban and hip-hop culture magazine, VIBE, we were given the assignment to recreate our own issue. D...

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