The Brooklyn rapper earned millions of YouTube views, turned down Empire, won over Beyoncé, landed a Beats by Dre campaign, and went from viral sensation to rising star.
Young M.A is eating lo mein for breakfast off a plate the size of a steering wheel. She got home around 5 a.m. from an epic night that began with Power 105.1’s annual Powerhouse concert at the Barclays Center, where she performed twice as a part of an A-list lineup that included Usher, Wiz Khalifa, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, and Desiigner. Afterwards, at New York City night spot Lavo, she did another show—and then yet another, at the strip club Lust. That’s where she ended the night with a money carpet—when you drop enough cash to cover the floor—caught on Instagram story for her one million followers.
Only then did she head back to Brooklyn to get some rest before our 11 a.m. spa appointment. Many celebrities would send a “sorry can’t make it” text or willfully sleep in. But Young M.A. shows—on time to the minute, too.
“Shout out to Keys because she made sure I was up,” says the 24-year-old rapper. She’s referring to her best friend and “road dog,” who accompanies her to the interview. The plan was to hang out at Spa Castle in Queens, a place where cell phones are not welcome—because well, nudity—but that doesn’t stop two young female fans in bathrobes from interrupting breakfast for a selfie. The recognition thing happens enough times that day that I stop counting.
Young M.A can no longer go unnoticed. She first blew up in 2014 when her “Brooklyn (Chiraq Freestyle)” went viral, and her gritty, gun-slinging bars on “Brooklyn” caught the attention of countless people on the Internet. Among them was Dr. Boyce Watkins, who took her to task for celebrating gun violence and perpetuating hip hop stereotypes. But the social commentator’s public critique only generated new buzz for the relatively unknown rapper, and even Watkins couldn’t deny her talent. One of his YouTube rants ends with this condescending endorsement: “Her being a woman actually causes me to want her to succeed that much more.”
About the “woman” thing. Conventional labels frustrate Young M.A, who’s tired of being filed under Female Rapper. “A lot of people look at me like, ‘Yo, you’re dope—I don’t even look at you as a female or gay rapper’,” she says. “I just see you as a dope artist in general.'”
Even if you don’t know Young M.A by name, you’ve heard the addictive single she dropped earlier this year. The video for “Ooouuu” has earned over 81 million views on YouTube. Celebrities are obsessed, too: Beyoncé did an “It’s my birthday!” Instagram dance to the song for her 88 million followers; 50 Cent, Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj, The Game, French Montana, and Meek Mill have all freestyled on the track. Serena Williams told Beats 1 Radio that she heard “Ooouuu” for the first time at the Rio Olympics: “I’m like, ‘What’s that? That sounds like that’s right up my alley!’ And it’s kind of fun to say, too. ‘Ooouuu.'”
BY JULIE SCHOTT | SOURCE: ELLE.COM
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