This year has been an outstanding year for women in Hip Hop. For the first time in almost a decade, music enthusiast have been given a wide variety of female artist to listen to in the rap genre. With femmec's on the forefront, a number of new artist have emerged onto the scene and lucky for us, the lovely Elle Royal is among them.
Our interview with raps newest 'it girl' was absolutely FAB! Elle Royal has a very bright future in music ahead of her. Check it out below and share with friend.
Elle Royal (formally known as Patwa) is in the midst of rebranding herself as an artist while creating a new sound for female rappers. What sets Elle aside from other artist is the fact that for her, it's all about empowering women while inspiring through music. Elle is definitely leaving her mark on the media circuit and her debut music video for her single "Who You Wit" has over 10,000 views in just one week!
The Fab Femme: Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up, what were your childhood like and what music influenced your growth from childhood to now?
Elle Royal: I grew up in the Wakefield area of the Bronx. Years ago my grandfather migrated to the Bronx from Jamaica, bought three multiple family homes, and then brought all 12 of his children (including my mother) to the U.S.. Because I had such a large family I spent most of my time with cousins, aunts, and uncles who lived on the floors below me and in the homes next door to me. I had a cousin who lived below me who sang and produced for hip-hop artists. I practically lived in the studio he built in his home. Here is where I met one of his hip-hop artist friends who helped me construct my first rhyme when I was 14.
From there, I began writing my own rhymes and recording them in a studio I put together in my room. I always gravitated towards 90s hip-hop because of the delivery and content. I listened to Reasonable Doubt (Jay-Z’s 1st album) almost everyday, and from there I started researching other artists of that era like Mobb Deep, Foxy Brown and AZ who also influenced my style.
TFF: When did you decide you wanted to be a rapper? At what point did you decide to get serious about a career in music?
ER: Although the people around me were generally supportive and encouraged me to keep writing, I never thought about pursuing rap seriously until I went on a date with someone who was in a rap group. They invited me to do a song with their group member. After I recorded my part to the song, their manager asked me to join their group. That was the first time I thought I could make a career out of it.
TFF: Interesting. Tell us about “Patwa” in comparison to Elle Royal.
ER: Patwa was me at a time in my life when I was just rapping for myself and trying to find myself i.e my mixtape title “One Gyal Army”. As I got older my focus in life became less about myself and more about my purpose and how I could use myself for a greater cause. I became heavily involved in female empowerment and that’s when Elle Royal was formed. “Elle” comes from my first name, Danielle, and “Royal” means “having the status of a King or Queen”.
I think all men are Kings and all women are Queens and by associating myself with Queenship I could empower other women to also associate themselves with Queens. Elle Royal unlike Patwa, also comes with a movement entitled P.O.P and its primary focus is in bringing back power to the female; power that I feel over the years we’ve lost.
TFF: You recently released a video for your single “Who You Wit”. Tell us a little about the inspiration for the video and the creative direction.
ER: “Who You Wit” is a call to all of my ladies reminding us that our self worth comes from within. With lyrics like “We all sexy” and “We stand out, We Outstanding” I’m talking about all my ladies in general. I think low self esteem is a big issue with a lot of women including myself and its just a reminder that we are amazing and we hold the power. No-one else has the ability to define us apart from ourselves. I feel like once we all understand that, we have the power to make change and to set the standards of what society expects from us.
TFF: What kind of projects do you have in the works?
ER: Currently I am working on putting out great music and great visuals. I plan to release 3 singles by February before I release a full project in the summer of 2015. I am also working on a P.O.P YouTube series focusing on cultural topics dealing with women as well as working on solo projects coming from other P.O.P members next year.
TFF: What do you bring to the table as a rapper? What sets you apart from the Nicki’s and the Iggy’s and the other female rappers of our time?
ER: Firstly, respect to any and all female rappers. I know first hand how difficult it is to be respected in this industry and I think any female rapper out here trying, deserves props. However, the difference between what I’m doing and what other female rappers are doing is that my music isn’t about me. I bring a movement. My goal is to create a legacy that will live forever and also to watch everyone on my roster blossom into respective role models.
TFF: Do you think it’s possible for women to make it in a male dominated industry without having to be over sexualized?
ER: I definitely think it’s possible. Women over sexualize themselves to compensate for the lack of something else. Good music is good music and most of the time we listen to music without visuals. As long as the music being made sounds and feels good, a female does not have to resort to over sexualizing herself. However, I do believe that the 90s were a different time than now and today in order to be a commercial success, as a woman, you do have to embrace your femininity. Embracing femininity doesn’t mean over sexualizing yourself. It’s just embracing the things about you that make you a woman, such as your curves, your hips, your lips, your breasts, your hair etc.
TFF: Last question. What message do you want to spread through your music? How do you want your fans to remember you?
ER: I think we live in an interesting time. I feel like people are being told what to like and what to think and its almost as if, if you don’t agree with the masses that you become the outcast. Once upon a time people had to earn respect and credibility in Hip-Hop and now anyone can create an image overnight and the powers that be can force this image into our radios and TVs until we finally decide we like it. I want to remind people that it’s ok not to like something or disagree with something. Never shun how you feel because there are at least a million other people who feel the exact way you do, and we need more risk takers in general to go out on limbs and speak out. Don’t allow yourself to be controlled in any part of life and learn to question everything. Never take anything for face value. I want to be remembered as someone who helped pioneer a movement for women, who helped build self-esteem and self-awareness for all women. My goal is to bring the power back to the female. P.O.P!