Fake For Real

The English written companion of Fake For Real: reviews, interviews and articles about rap music

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KATIE GOT BANDZ - Bandz and Hittaz

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By 2011, just when his regional musical style started buzzing outside of Chicago, BlockOnDaTrack, a drill music beatmaker, decided it was time to offer a feminine voice to this virile and aggressive hip-hop subgenre. He convinced his cousin Kiara Johnson - a student trying to make a living out of a waitress job at McDonalds, who had never thought she could be a rapper - to record a song with him. This would result into "I Need a Hitta", a success with the local Chicago youth, and it would lead to another one, "Ridin' Around and Drillin'", which caught the attention of King Louie. Subsequently, the drill music veteran asked the young woman to join his own Lawless Inc. imprint, and he participated to her most famous and defining banger : "Pop Out". Thus started the career of Katie Got Bandz, who released afterwards a series of mixtape, and became the undisputed queen of drill.

KATIE GOT BANDZ - Bandz and Hittaz

Lawless Inc. ‎:: 2012 :: download mixtape

BlockOnDaTrack, though, had urged her cousin to start rapping for another reason: she was walking a dangerous path, and he wanted to remove her from the streets. Actually, he didn't manage it: Katie was imprisoned on gun charges, at the very moment "I Need a Hitta" was buzzing. However, upon her release, surprised with how popular her song had become, she ultimately decided to take rap seriously. This translated into her collaboration with King Louie. And in 2012, at the very moment when drill music was turning into a national phenomenon, she released her first project, Bandz and Hittaz. Expectedly produced by her cousin, it was already worth - or even better - her infamous Drillary Clinton mixtape series.

Loyal to her background and to her environment, Katie complied scrupulously to the gospel of drill music, the only variation being her harsh and proud feminine voice. It was the complete formula: short and catchy rhymes, declaimed in a mechanical way; a kind of rap which relied more on the weight and aggressiveness of the lyrics, than on their virtuosity; trap music rhythmic patterns; emphatic, heavy and threatening synthesizer sounds; and here and there, a few gun claps.

The themes were also the same: they smelled of gangs and the hood. With "I Need a Hitta", the rapper was looking for a lover as brutal as she was, and she proclaimed loudly her love for money. With the tough "Yall Niggaz Ain't Hittaz", she pretended she would shoot her rival. With "Middle Fingers to Da Opps", she fucked the police. The rapper, actually, never exposed her feminine side. Sex was a common topic, but it was bestial, and absolutely not about her sex appeal. The only romance there, "Lady Hitta", was actually sung by a man, and his object of desire, Katie herself, was everything but a cute, fragile and sensible woman.

The rapper, on the opposite, copied the thuggish attitudes of her male colleagues. She even postured as a gang leader in the videos of "I Need a Hitta" and "Ridin' Round and We Drillin", surrounded by bands of accomplices of both genders. Thus, she defined what female drill music would look like. She heralded a model that most female rappers in that genre would follow, in the months or years to come.

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