During last week’s BET Hip-Hop Award cyphers, fans saw some familiar and unfamiliar faces. Detroit Che, who was the winner of Sprite’s Hot 16 contest, earned her spot in a cypher featuring Troy Ave, Dee-1, Logic and Lil Mama. Obviously, she killed it, so we needed to find out more about her. In The Break, Che reveals why she gave up hooping to pursue hip-hop full time, her goals in hip-hop and more. Don’t sleep.
Name: Detroit Che
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan. Westside of Detroit.
I grew up listening to: I grew up really listening to a lot of Lil Wayne like back in the day. Like Hot Boys. I just dug the whole swag. The big white tee. That little bandana. I wear bandanas a lot. That has a huge influence. Also, Tupac. I liked how he was very involved with the political issues. That’s something that I really take pride in. It’s not just being an artist, but using my fan base to my advantage and bringing light to tragedies and situations that need to be talked about.
Eminem, that’s one person that I really want to work with. Out of everybody I was saying, I was praying he was in the cypher. Oh my god, I love him so much. Eminem was really dope. Those three they had a lot of influence on me.
MC Lyte, “Paper Thin.” The old school female hip-hop, even Missy Elliott. Not only is Missy Elliott a female rapper, but she can also can apply her talent to choreography. She directs videos. Not only her videos, but she has an artist she has now that she’s very evolved with. MC Lyte, Missy Elliott, and Left Eye. Can’t forget about Left Eye.
Most people don’t know I: Probably between two things – the fact that I love singing more than I love rapping. Music was never my intentions. I never really intended to be a rapper. I love rap but I played basketball all the way into my 12th grade year. I just started taking music seriously in 2013. To reach some of these accolades is really a true blessing. Not nothing to be arrogant about, its an humbling experience to know that you have artists who have been grinding for decades to get where I am at. It’s just a true blessing, just starting last year.
I haven’t really dropped with me singing. I was gonna drop something after the Hip-Hop Awards with me singing, but I feel like I wanted t to wait. I don’t wanna just go into the game doing something because I wanted to be heard ASAP. I feel like if I am continuing to build my fan base, then within a few months, drop a song when I am singing to where they already have an idea of who Che is as an artist. It’s not like “OK, she’s rapping. She’s singing. Who is she?” I want to tell my story first and then that’s when I want to experiment with my other talents.
My style’s been compared to: I cannot escape the Kendrick Lamar comparison. It’s really not a bad thing because I met Kendrick last year. I met him at Chene Park. I went to a meet and greet. And I’m like, “Yo, Kendrick. Can I rap for you?” He’s like, “Yeah.” Long story short, I was waiting for him, the security guard had kicked me out the venue. He thought I was lying, saying I was waiting on Kendrick. I was waiting at least 30 minutes to an hour outside in Detroit. It’s cold in the D. So it’s freezing outside and I am waiting for Kendrick. I finally get to meet him. He walks out the back room and I’m like, “Yo, Kendrick, can I spit for you?” So I get on the tour bus and rap for him. I feel like since he’s one of my top influences, I feel like people hear that influence in my work, but I do try to stray away from that because I do want people to know who Che. Sometimes, I hear Eminem, but I’m honored to be compared to both of them.
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: I have a single called “Talk My Shit.” It’s produced by my friend Jaye Prime. She’s also another female artist. Shout out to her. The fact that she engineers, she sings, she writes her own music and she produces. It’s just inspiring. I think “Talk My Shit” is a nice record.
It was 2013 [when] I dropped [this] after the Trayvon Martin [incident] had happened and its called “H.U.D.” It stands for Harming Unarmed Dark. On it, it goes, “Hood on like Trayvon, bought a melon Arizona / Why the hell I got a hoodie on? / When I’m hot as Arizona.” I feel like people right after that tragedy, some Black kids, we were scared to wear Black hoodies. I wanted to make that song and say, “Why do we have to be scared to dress how we want to dress because we will be racially profiled just because something we are wearing? Since when does a hood mean you are a criminal?” So I wanted to step outside the box. It’s a song right now that not a lot of people are paying attention to, but I think its gonna have a strong impact on the younger culture of kids nowadays.
Noah is the first project that I am 100 percent confident with dropping. I didn’t rush it. Everything just worked out perfect with that mixtape. I also worked with Jaye Prime throughout that whole mixtape. She recorded and mixed and mastered everything. I really pushed myself throughout that mixtape, not just as an artist, but what makes me really love that mixtape is because I am grown as a person. When you can grow as an artist and a person, you see that growth. I don’t know even know if you see the growth, your fans see the growth. This is a good feeling. I have to keep this going.
My goal in Hip-Hop is: My overall goal isn’t necessarily about hip-hop itself, I think its to be that mogul who inspires not only the children and teenagers, but inspires everybody to do what you want to do. I turned down several full ride basketball scholarships because I wanted to follow my dreams. I didn’t want to go to school just to have a backup and just to play on a team. Just to say I got a full ride to so and so. I actually wanted to be able to sacrifice [something].
What I want to do in hip-hop, you can do anything and everything as long as you put your mind to it and as long as you keep the lord Jesus Christ first. And that’s it. Whether it is hip-hop, or if it is R&B, if it is rap, whatever you want to do, I want to be that person that motivated you to do whatever you feel like you can do.
I’m gonna be the next: I don’t want to be next anything, I want to be the first, but I don’t know what the first I want to be. We shall see.
Standout: BET Hot 16 Cypher 2014
Also check out: “H.U.D”
And: “Talk My Shit”