Mar 30, 2016

Feature: SheReal (@SheRealTalk); A Niles P. Joint

When you're in the business of recommending emcees to other people, it can be hard to take suggestions from other people. So when my editor Ramsey told me to research and eventually write about Harlem’s SheReal, it took me a minute to convert the assist into points on the board. I did my Googles & found out that she had already earned quite a few stripes, having released four mixtapes, appeared in the press, and even won a few cash prizes for her raps. She was new to me but had already built a following and paid some dues. Musically, she had an ear for diverse beats (shout outs to her frequent collaborator, producer Sloppy Joe) and could change flows on a dime based on the needs of the song. My attention was officially piqued.

Eventually saw her perform at a dope Libre Brand show, The Art of Vibes in Newark.  Suffice to say, her talent blew my fuckin head off. The thing about emcees is this. Recording songs and putting them out is only half of the game. Time and time again I’ve seen rappers have dope & well crafted songs on their website of choice. But when I go to a show they perform with low energy, no stage presence, they can’t hold the microphone correctly, and for the final cardinal sin, they rap over their own vocals. SheReal earned my respect quickly because she realized emcee (MC) means move the crowd. That’s exactly what she did. She engaged the audience with call and response tactics, brought energy and enthusiasm, and trusted her own voice. Whether it was the Latin rhythms of Bodega or the familiar-yet-reworked Diana Ross sample in Party Tonight, SheReal allowed herself to get lost in the moment. Some rappers are too cool for school and don’t really do much when onstage, but she worked the crowd.  

Afterwards, WTM’s resident promotions guy Issah made it a point to introduce us. With someone as talented as her, I would’ve been fine with her being even a little bit cocky, but no. She was as humble as someone that just had their first performance, even when I knew this wasn’t her first rodeo. She was happy to hand out her flyers and take pictures with fans, and showed a knack for connecting with everyone. I was kind of amused how she was “a low talker” (think Seinfeld) despite being so boisterous onstage. The meek shall inherit the Earth and from what I can tell, SheReal is poised to inherit the rap game.

As I previously mentioned, SheReal has released multiple mixtapes & been in a bevy of magazines and blog articles already. Technically I’m actually late to the game, but it’s never too late to discover a great artist. I encourage you to not only check out her music online but also to see her perform if she comes to your area. While she’s frequently in the tristate, she’s traveled as far as Atlanta & Paris to perform so clear your schedule when she's at a venue near you. Ramsey’s assist eventually turned into a 360 dunk and I have a new emcee to keep an eye on from here on out. 


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