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Standout Track: No. 8, “’95 Flow…Kinda,” on which Emperess skillfully rhymes for two solid minutes, about everything from cursive handwriting to rock salt, over the infectiously burbling 1995 Junior M.A.F.I.A. track “Get Money.”
Musical Motivation: When Outside the Box was nearly finished, the 23-year-old Forestville, Md., resident decided the mixtape was just too short and started thinking of ways to flesh it out with her final minutes of studio time. “I was going through my iPod and said I was gonna do something over Slum Village’s ‘Go Ladies’ and Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s ‘Get Money,’” she says. “I couldn’t find ‘Go Ladies,’ but I had the ‘Get Money’ instrumental.” After that, Emperess just sat down and let her pen rip. “Stuff like that, with no hook, no concept, it just comes out so natural and organic,” she says. “I just go.”
Low End Theory: Like another female MC who once rhymed over this very beat, Emperess is very petite and people often don’t believe she’s a rapper. “People will ask me, ‘Oh what do you do?’ and I’ll say, ‘I’m into music.’” Emperess says. “They’ll look at me and say, ‘Oh, you sing?’” Emperess says her confident, braggadocious stage presence further confounds audiences. “Because I’m 4’11” and so small, feeble-looking almost, people don’t expect it.”
Emperess performs Wednesday, July 22, at Jammin Java