Australia’s hip hop queen

Earlier this year Tkay Maidza released her debut album, TKAY, four years after making a breakthrough at home in Australia with the seismic single, “Brontosaurus”. It’s a collection of 14 consecutive fire hits that collate influences from M.I.A, Santigold and Azealia Banks, 48 minutes in which Tkay’s rapid-fire rhymes are interrupted just once, for a guest verse from Atlanta legend Killer Mike.

After attending three high schools as a teenager and refusing to repeat the make-friends, break-friends cycle that characterised her time at school, Tkay chose music over shopping malls and cinemas. TKAY is a reflection of those experiences and what has happened since with thoughts on friendship, alienation and isolation backed by beats from a new school of club-ready rap.

The album is named after you, is it all about your personal experiences?

Yeah I guess. It’s meant to be a snapshot of everything that has happened to me up until that project was done. There was a lot of ups and downs and lessons learnt and I had to experiment and try things I’d never done before to make this album…. so I guess its the product of everything I did and could have done in that space of time I had.

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What was your high school experience like?

High school was weird, I went to three of them. I was pretty loud and obnoxious at my first high school, at my last school I was the complete opposite, more introverted. There was a lot of making friends and losing friends because I had to start again quite a lot. I think I developed a sense of independence that way, to the point where I couldn’t be bothered making friends at my last high school because it was annoying. Everyone would end up finding a reason to not like me because I was more focused on developing myself and chasing my dreams.

Can you describe the feeling of sharing a record after working on it for so long? Especially one that touches on personal experiences?

It’s weird, I don’t really like sharing my thoughts with people, and I’m pretty private in that way. So sharing this album was hard because there’s always a feeling that it’s not good enough or that it’s not what people want to hear. I like playing shows and writing music though so I guess you have to release it in order to continue to do the other stuff.

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What’s inspiring you right now?

Illustrations, 90s images, and Yoga. I really like illustrations that are in black and white, they’re really simple but the depth and intention of the lines and the style can really show a lot of emotion. I’ve been making a blog for what I want to do next and I just like the culture and the patterns and textures in throwback photos, the facial expressions of the people in them: you can learn a lot from a photo. And yoga is my new favourite thing. It really clears your mind – I feel smarter and more awake.