For an artist, there is nothing more exciting than dropping your first project. Whether it be a mixtape, EP or an album, crafting a body of work that forces you to be vulnerable and introspective for millions to dissect is oddly intoxicating. But what happens after the initial adrenaline rush? In life things rarely ever align perfectly. For MonaLyse, 24 hours after dropping her first EP, DILIGENCE, she received the call of a lifetime. She was selected by Pusha-T to be apart of 1800 seconds. A compilation album sponsored by 1800 Tequila featuring ten artists fighting for their chance to blossom in the rap game.
Born and raised in Detroit, it was preordained for Monalyse to have this true grit, the inconceivable hunger for success because that how Detroit is. Full of hustlers, full of people who turn nothing into something. There was no denying how much her city has impacted her artistry.
“In Detroit culture, hustle is the main thing you have to do,” she says about the culture. Everyone has to hustle from selling clothes, to selling food, or rapping. So in my music, I’m hustling, but at the end of the day, imma get my money. I might be struggling, but I’m going be to alright.”
But what makes MonaLyse special is her poetry. Dubbed by Pusha-T as the poet, she has a delivery, pacing that isn’t standard in Detroit hip hop. When I asked her who has influenced her the most, she confessed that Notorious B.I.G is her favorite rapper.
“I look to Biggie for a lot of flows,” she said. “He was a really good rapper when it comes to cadences and always admire that.”
Emcee Network’s full interview with Monalyse follows below.
How did the entire process take place?
Just by seeing my Instagram and listening to my music, they thought I would be a good prospect. Pusha contacted me and told me that they were interested in putting me in its 1800 seconds campaign. After I was selected, they informed me that I would be going to Beverly Hills for ten days, staying at the Sofitel and recording out of West lake studio.
How was the process of making music?
We had four days of studio time. They gave me 12 hours in total to work on the single and anything else I wanted to work on. So I made about four, five songs in that time. I collaborated with some of the other artists and performed them at an event.
In Beverly Hills?
No, we had a show at the Sony Music Hall in New York. Wayno from Everyday Struggled hosted it. All of the artists performed their singles.
Did you have the final say in choosing the single Me & My?
Pusha selected the song that he thought was the best song for me to choose.
Was there ever a moment of doubt?
I’ve had times of complaints. I’ve been rapping since I was 14, but I didn’t take it seriously until I graduated high school at 18. I’m 23 now, and I just dropped my first EP. That’s five years of what the fuck, I need my stuff to drop. Like where is my clout, where is my following not high enough, where is the love.
During that five-year period, where their lessons learned about the business and your artistry?
I never had doubt as far as the business because I always had a lawyer and a manager who I trust. So never once I doubted that my business was funny. It was more of, will people perceive my art as I do.
How would you describe your style?
I grew up listening to Mo-Town due to my parents. I was two generations ahead of most kids that were my age. My siblings were listening to a lot of 90’s Hip-Hop, a lot of Biggie, Pac, rappers who were from New York. I have a lot of New York Influence. I also have a lot of families up there.
So it’s kind of like the mentality of Detroit, the soul of Mo-Town but at the end of the day, I have that New York edge.
How involved was Pusha-T?
He was very involved. He gave every artist really good advice. He gave us his thoughts on the product. He even got personal and talked about himself. He was a part of it. At the photo shoots, he was there. At the studio, he was there.
What advice did he give you?
He just told me to be ready. When this campaign drops, have things lined up. Cause when I have all this attention, I need to have things ready to show these people. Right now, I’m in Miami shooting a music video. On my social media, I do MonaLyse Mondays where I dropped videos every Monday.
Listen to Monalyse latest EP below as we await what she has in store for us next.