In an industry where females are overly sexualized and exploited, Audra the Rapper sets the example by being herself and putting the focus back into what matters most, the music.

You may have seen her on this season of Oxygen’s, “Sisterhood of Hip-Hop,” or maybe you heard about her through Rick Ross, whatever the case may be, one thing is definitely certain, Audra the Rapper is here to make her mark and she’s going to do it by going against the grain.
That’s part of the reason why we were eager to get in touch with Audra, because we feel that she truly embodies what a  Taste Creator is.

“A Taste Creator is somebody that goes against the grain. Somebody that doesn’t try to fit the format of whats been done to reach those same end results. Somebody thats curating their own journey.” – Audra

Not only has Audra been on a consistent grind with her music, but she’s also an activist and brand ambassador who’s efforts have made an impact in many lives. She founded “The AMG Music For A Cause Foundation” in 2007, at age 17 which focuses on youth HIV/AIDS awareness/prevention, youth violence prevention and teen pregnancy prevention. Audra’s work with her foundation lead to her being nominated in two categories as Community Activist of the Year and Role Model of the Year for Music For A Cause (MFAC) along with David Banner and even Bill Gates to name a few.
Her first season on Sisterhood of Hip-Hop has all eyes on Audra and her 5th solo project “Anti Love Songs” just dropped, but in the midst of everything, Audra remains the same humble individual from Richmond, VA.

Check out the official video for “Sometimes”

The Birth of An MC

Growing up in humble beginnings, raised by her mother and grandmother, Audra was heavily involved in the church choir and grew up in a household filled with the sounds of jazz, soul, and R&B.

“When I was younger, hip-hop was just something I was fascinated by. I would try to have access to it even though I wasn’t supposed to [laughs]. I would sneak and try to watch MTV videos when my grandma was asleep or my mom went to the store, so I always gravitated towards it.”

Audra eventually started writing poetry and ended up giving hip-hop a chance at the young age of 13 when she got inspired by rap battles and hip-hop shows like BET’s 106th and Park.

“Radio was a huge part of that where I’m from in Richmond. They used to do battles at 6 o’ clock everyday on the radio. Sitting home everyday listening to those battles inspired me to write. I still have those books where I would just write. That’s what really ignited me to start rapping.”

She recorded her first song by herself on her home computer.

“I downloaded this program called wave-pad which was just the standard audio recorder program that you can get online and I learned it inside and out and I recorded my first record myself.”

Her first project, Sweet and Sour Volume 1 dropped at the young age of sixteen. It was at this time that Audra was doing some serious movin & shakin in Richmond, which lead her to the radio station where she originally ran into Rick Ross.

#TasteCreators: How did you go from recording that song to running into Rick Ross at the radio station? What was your strategy in the beginning? How did you even get to that radio station? lol

“Relationship building and just genuinely connecting with people. In Richmond I was doing every show I was going every stage I was doing every festival – I was doing everything in Richmond. So I knew the radio hosts, I knew the DJs. I was in the club performing when I was 15 when the club was 21 and up. So that specific day at the radio station occurred because I was cool with the radio host. I was meeting the radio host to go to a show but I got in there a little earlier and caught the end of the [Rick Ross] interview. “

Since then, Audra released two other projects. Her second project “The Miseducation of Audra” dropped in 2010 – inspired by her idol, Lauryn Hill – followed by “No Such Thing Does Exist” in 2011.

Not All Fun and Games

But the music industry definitely isn’t all fun and games. Being a female in this industry is already a tough feat, so when you’re also categorized as a “female rapper” (a term often misconceived), the obstacles are that much greater. Because of the way female rappers are perceived (for example, on certain reality shows such as Love and Hip-Hop), the term “female rapper” has become another word for  “petty,” showing females in a negative light.
When we asked her about the obstacles she faces, Audra told us a story that happened when she reached out to a potential booking agent earlier that day.

“Actually, we can talk about today. My team was in touch with a booking agent that we were trying to get in touch with for a while. And to be blatantly honest, the booking agent hit back and said, “I don’t really have faith in female rappers,” and that was that.

Sisterhood of Hip-Hop

We’ve been keeping up with Audra weekly on Sisterhood of Hip Hop, and there’s a few things that we saw on the show that we were excited to speak with her about. One thing being a conversation that she had with her manager about a photo shoot for her album cover. Her management wanted her to embrace her sex appeal and show a little skin, while Audra stood firm on keeping the focus on the music. In that same episode, Irv Gotti told Audra that basicaly sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get that initial audience and then you can do what you want – which basically meant sometimes you may have to show a little skin or do something you don’t necessarily want to do to get to the top. While we completely understand both sides, we’re totally with Audra on this one.
We caught up with Audra on this topic.

“Sometimes people don’t know what they want, even myself. A lot of the times we don’t know whats out there for us to like we like until we’ve been shown it. So when your constantly given the same image of a woman in hip-hop, you see something different come along and you don’t like it or you don’t know how to feel about it or it’s weird, because that’s not what your used to. So I’m not even overthinking it man. I’m just givin em’ ME the best that I can.”

Ratchet Soul

Audra describes her music as ratchet soul which in her words “is just honest music with a good feel.” When she premiered her last project, RETROCPECTRUM, on Complex in 2015, she mentioned that her song “What If” reflected the definition of ratchet soul the most.

anti love songs
Audra the Rapper – Anti Love Songs

Anti Love Songs

Audra just dropped her 5th project entitled “Anti Love Songs” and we had a chance to talk to her about it.
#TasteCreators: What can we expect from that project? Why did you decide to call it “Anti Love Songs?

“I just feel like it’s not your normal depiction of a love song. The feel of this music and the vibe of this project is a lot of what you get when you think of love songs but the message it isn’t that. I’m not sitting here beating your head over and over with ‘oh I love you I love you I love you’  but it feels good like love songs. I don’t think there’s a better feeling from music than love songs, and that’s the feeling of my music.”

#TasteCreators: So who’s in your CD player? [laughs] we’re keepin it old school. And who would you like to collab with aside from Lauryn Hill?

“Right now I’m listening to this new Vince Staples that he dropped. Frank Ocean is on repeat. He dropped so much in one day you can’t even be mad that it took so long to drop. and Torey Lanez. I mainly listen to indie artists, Spazzy Rocket, Alina Baraz. Masego. And as far as collabs go, Jill Scott. Jilly from Philly is definitely on top of my list [laughs].”

Advice for Indie Artists

One of the main goals of our interviews is to inspire. We’re indie artist advocates and we love to spread knowledge however we can, so whenever we speak to someone like Audra whose really making waves, we always like to get some sort of feedback and tips from them for indies.
#TasteCreators: What would be your best advice for an indie artist that’s on the come up right now?

“Just do you from the beginning. Nothing too over-thought. That’s what keeps the indie scene thriving – people going against the grain. And the way they’re doing that is by just doing whats innate and natural to them. So just dont overthink and just do what’s natural for you and that’s what’s gonna separate you from everything.”

#TasteCreators: So as far as building a buzz, do you suggest just genuinely talking to people?

“The key to building a buzz is never think you’re above anything. Never feel you’re above any show or any person any opportunity – it’s placed in your midst for a reason. It can be a show with three people but one of those people is gonna be the person to book you for the next show with 300 or a show with 3000. So never place yourself above anything.

One thing that we thought was interesting about Audra is that she said her overall goal for being on Sisterhood of Hip-Hop is actually not to get a record deal. So we had to ask her, why do do not want a record deal?

“I just think I figured it out. The key is to market that to the best that I can. I feel like majors right now are just tapping into what the indies are already doing and exploiting it. It’s the rise of the independent artists. We have all the resources we need.”

Audra, we’re so with you on that.
We would like to thank Audra for taking the time out of her grind to speak with us. She informed us that she has some more new visuals in store for the near future. She also mentioned that she enjoyed doing unplugged acoustic versions of her records so hopefully we can expect that soon too.

Stream Audra’s Latest Album, “Anti Love Songs” below and be sure to grab it on Apple Music.

Connect with Audra:
Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Soundcloud