Nothing makes me happier than seeing a female hip hop artist who doesn’t need to pose half naked on the world stage in order to get famous for whatever else they do. People’s perception of Hip Hop is seriously misconstrued because of what major labels promote through their leashed rappers who do not in the least bit represent Hip Hop culture. This is why I was happy to stumble across a little known project by the talented Chelsea Reject, titled Radi-8. The project is Hip Hop in its purest form: authentic and creative with the soulfully gritty sound real Hip Hop purists love.
I discovered the young college student emcee through another artist I wanted to review, T’nah Apex, who I believe has equal appetency to create true Hip Hop. Because Apex has not released a full project yet, I looked to see if her partner in crime, Chelsea Reject, did, and I was blessed by the music gods upon coming in contact with such an auditory gem. Radi-8 is a project centered around Chelsea’s life, an emotionally treacherous coming of age story of a female artist coming up in a world that aims to put females in particular in a small box. The journey the project takes listeners on describes concepts like relationship issues, being overlooked, lonely, and generally unnoticed, and rebellion against the status quo set by society. She exhibits lyricism in the process of telling these tales based on real life experiences she endured, making for a beautiful work of musical art.
Radi-8’s fourteen tracks each sound distinct, with different production on every song except “Nostalgia” and “Fin(Outro)” which were both produced by El R. My favorite cut off the project is “Jumpy”, produced by Black Milk. The beat’s pithy snares and gritty bass compliments the piano sample and provide the perfect platform for Chelsea and the song’s feature, Keemie, to demonstrate why real Hip hop will always be in demand. The song comes down on the music industry that alienates underground artists who create timeless art rather than temporary entertainment, like when Chelsea raps, “Lil’ me, stranger to this industry/ Hey mister Def Jam-he wasn’t feelin’ me”. While the song does maintain this concept, it still comes off as a Hip Hop song that encompasses the desire to present great lyricism simply for the sake of letting others know how good of an emcee you are, gripped by an overall confrontational feel.
I reached out to Chelsea to see if she would answer a few questions concerning herself as an artist, and she was much obliged.
- What do you think of the outcome of Radi-8?
Radi-8’s outcome was more than I thought it would be. Though it was slow at first many people began finding out about me through it. I gained a lot of fans and that was a blessing.
- What life occurrences specifically provided the most inspiration for the project?
I recorded Radi-8 in my college dorm at SUNY Purchase. At the time I was going through a lot of life changes and self-doubt and really learning what it’s like to be on your own. I began recording as an outlet and a way to get my feelings out in a positive way. I picked all of the beats and I recorded myself with a makeshift studio my father bought me right before I left for college. Music saved my life and gave me a creative way to speak to people and relate to them.
- What is your favorite track off the project?
My favorite track on the tape is “Good Mourning” because it is probably the most personal thing I’ve ever recorded. I lost my aunt who was very instrumental to my life and growth. For years it ate me up inside. I needed some type of closure. This track gave me that closure. I even cried while writing it. However, the song ends on a hopeful note at the end. I did that because I needed that hope for myself and it helped.
- What is your age?(If you don’t mind me asking)
I’m 21 years old.
- Where are you from?
I’ve lived in Brooklyn my whole life. I went from Park Slope to Flatbush to Crown Heights (where I currently reside). I have a Caribbean-American background (St. Lucian and Jamaican).
- What do you represent as an artist?
I feel like I represent originality and self-acceptance as an artist. Every song I’ve created was derived from real life situations. I really am who I claim to be. I created the name Chelsea Reject when I was a spoken word poet (before the music). At first I called myself a Reject because I wasn’t very popular in school and I was that weird kid who always had headphones on. But as I got older I realized the Reject stands for accepting all your flaws and rejecting what society wants you to be. It’s about being yourself and learning to love and accept you.
- How was the creative process for Radi-8? Was it a smooth or rugged journey?
Radi-8 was a struggle tape. Very difficult. A lot of producers and artists fronted on me because I didn’t have a following as of yet. All of the featured artists were friends of mine who also did music in the under-underground. They encouraged me to keep writing despite my lack of attention to my work. Honestly the entire mixtape was like a therapy session for me.
- What are your future plans for your music career?
You can’t really plan for life. I’ve been learning this more and more each day. My plan is just to keep being myself, creating music that not only others can relate to but that I can relate to. I want to give back to the community, especially the youth. My plan is to inspire and help make a difference.
- Any new music projects coming up in the near future?
I’ve got a new mixtape coming out early 2015. It’s titled CMPLX and it features Pro Era members. I won’t give too much away but this project is different from Radi-8. It’s a lot about my life experiences and growing in music as a whole.
The project is a great listen that rekindles hope in real Hip Hop during a time when most overlook the underground’s creativity, dedication to the craft, and overall greatness. I give Radi-8 an 8.5 out of 10.
You can download it for free here:
Or stream it here:
Let Hip Hop’s rays radiate upon your soul.