Today rap’s musical atmosphere is the most diverse it’s ever been. From mainstream artists to the underground scene, some of Hip-Hop’s emerging rappers are carving their own lane and changing the game one bar at a time. Like other female rappers putting forth an effort to make a name for themselves, Alabama native, Cipherella, is a work in progress — battling joy and pain, perseverance and defeat, fighting between the sunshine and the rain of this rap game.
Embodying the nostalgia of 90s culture, femcee Cipherella’s style is a combination of Hip-Hop, soul, poetry, and blues. Her mission as an artist is to speak on the realities of life and be a vessel to reflect those she intends to influence.
Gearing up for the release of her forthcoming project S3V3N, Cipherella is kicking off the countdown with her single “Petty,” a depiction of the deadly sin envy and an introduction for the theme of her project where each track is inspired by a sin.
I had a chance speak with Cipherella about her journey as an artist and how her new single and project came to be.
How’d you come up with your name?
I was – I am working on my spiritual growth. I dabbled with a few names before this one and it just all of a sudden presented itself to me. Each time I’m asked this question, a new reason is revealed. “Cipher,” in mathematics, represents a circle, completion, 360 degrees. “El” represents the masculine principle of God and “la” is used to represent the feminine principle. Taking all of that into consideration, I came up with Cipherella to be an explorer of complete duality. I just got extra bonus points because I am currently labeled as a rapper out here in a fairytale – a play off of Cinderella.
You lost your home in Alabama to a Tornado and relocated to New York City. What was your mindset like during that transition and how did it affect your music career?
Ha! A career in music wasn’t a viable choice in Alabama. The storm actually peaked my curiosity of strengthening my connection to something greater than my ego. It’s hard to explain but that day I was guided to be the protector of my mother. I moved in ways I didn’t know I needed to move until it was all over and I was left thinking… how did I know to drive 80 miles back to Tuscaloosa? Then when I got there, how did I know to get my mom out the house? As many storms that had come and gone, why this one? How did I know? who was guiding me?
Since that day, I’ve been working to connect with God. God told me I was a healer, a protector and instilled in me the love of art. The love of creating. That’s what lead me back to music. Fearlessly I embraced the power of music, specifically hip-hop, as a means to cleanse myself and connect with others using the universal language.
If you had a choice would you have stayed in Alabama or would your path eventually lead you to New York?
Everything within our control boils down to choices. The real question is, “Would the choice of leaving Alabama for New York have presented itself, had I not faced such an event?” The answer, I honestly don’t think so. I feel like the tornado was a wake-up call with a message that life is too short to be living it without purpose, without dreams and ambitions. I wasn’t living for me. I didn’t even know me. I wasn’t even aware that getting to know me was something to be explored and not ignored. I’d probably still be there.
What’s your biggest accomplishment to date?
Staying alive (laughs). Hmmm I think it’s a tie between being on Sway in the Morning twice and my music video (“Dumb Dumb”) being selected to compete for the best music video at the 2019 SXSW film festival. “Dumb Dumb” was against the likes of Childish Gambino and Anderson Paak. Imagine the damage I will do once my budget isn’t on a budget.
What’s the story behind “Petty?” How did this track come together?
*Prepares the tea* Ultimately, “Petty” came from a few scenarios: the internet’s willingness to be so critical of everyone, people hiding behind computers talking big sh*t, but silent as a mouse should you see them in person, and just my own pettiness (laughs). The song was originally titled “Internet Gangsta” and was more of a blues track (I was singing) but through time, it evolved into what it is today. A friend of mine sent over a list of producers I should check out, so I did. I usually know within 5-10 seconds if I will like a beat and something about this one had me hooked. For three, maybe four weeks, I would just listen to the track with no idea what I was going to do with it. I just liked it and knew something would happen. I don’t remember when it clicked that “Internet Gangsta” should be on this instrumental, but once I put it on there and switched around the words a bit ”Petty” was born.
Tell me about your upcoming project, S3V3N. What’s the significance behind the title?
Ah, S3V3N is my new baby, an EP I’m working on. I really haven’t been this excited about creating in a while and will be happy when I feel she is complete. S3V3N‘s journey begins in a far away space where spirit once rested before being materialized into human existence. The Bible states that we are all born into sin and S3V3N is the soundtrack of those sins in practice.
What can we expect to hear on the project?
That’s a great question. I change my mind so much. I wrote, recorded, re-wrote 21 songs specifically for this project. Only 7 songs will make the cut. Each song will represent one of the S3V3N sins. For example, “Petty” (should it make it to the final EP), will represent “Envy.” This theme continues throughout the project with the remaining songs following suit.
The most beautiful part, for me, is creating with a clear story line in mind. Although the title and background for S3V3N is “heavy,” the songs are far from that. The album will dibble and dabble with all sounds that help tell the story. I have a nice production group (Beatnik & K-Salaam, MadeinQns, DopeBoyzMusic, and WyshMaster) to name a few. Currently, my favorite song off the project is “I, Swear (Wrath)” and it’s a mix between a classical ballad, horror movie, and trap. It’s so catchy, so fun, but so real.
Can we expect any visuals for songs off the project?
You can definitely expect some, but nothing is guaranteed. I do have a few ideas brewing, though. With my previous videos both being international film award recipients, I have to make sure the third one is just right.
Be sure to check out Cipherella’s catalog below and be on the look out for her new single, “Petty,” dropping next Monday.
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