Lakeyahthe dream of becoming a rapper started as a teenager, and it’s clear she’s worked hard to make that goal a reality. Artist Quality Control Music is now a 2021 XXL First-year student, earning a coveted place in the classroom alongside 10 other rappers. Her emphasis on sharp rhymes, witty puns, and bossy energy all attributed to her rise in the game. But like any newcomer to rap, she had to work to get here.
The Milwaukee native first discovered her talent at the age of 15 after competing on her high school’s poetry slam team. At the time, the budding artist had the encouragement of friends, who pushed her to take rap seriously. In 2016, Lakeyah, who was still in high school, was motivated to jump on the #SoGoneChallege, inspired by singer Monica’s 2003 hit song of the same name. Her rendition of rap went viral on Facebook and in 2017 she was dropping several freestyles on her social media accounts, gaining new fans every day.
Two years later, Lakeyah took a trip to Atlanta and visited the Trap Museum, where she saw the Quality Control Music exhibit. The label was his dream destination as an artist. Soon she got up and left her Milwaukee home and moved to ATL hoping to sign with QC. Lakeyah continued to release music, posting clips on Instagram, but this time she started tagging QC co-founder Pierre “P” Thomas to get her attention. His strategy worked as expected.
In 2020, Lakeyah took up position rapping to the beat of JT’s “First Day Out” by the City Girls in honor of JT returning from prison. It didn’t take long for P to notice his rhymes. In January 2020, he called Lakeyah, but it wasn’t until July of last year that she signed a deal with Quality Control. His freestyle on Lil Baby’s “We Paid” with 42 Dugg sealed the deal. Baby congratulated her in a tweet, P took note and signed it within a week.
Consistency and dedication has led Lakeyah to drop three mixtapes so far—Time is up, The Keymix II and On time– and popular songs like “Female Goat” with City Girls, “Big FlexHer” with 42 Dugg and “Poppin” with Gucci Mane. Despite being known as QC’s latest rising rapper, this year Lakeyah’s headline is a 2021 XXL First-year student.
If you’ve listened to Lakeyah’s music, you know she brings tough bars to the table. And she XXL Freshman freestyle is no different. Ambition and competitive nature are part of its narrative here. “They told me to stay hungry and stay consistent / I stand on niggas necks, I don’t care about the competition, I did it / Kill these bitches, I’m here for sentencing to perpetuity, “she recalls.
Lakeyah, who cites rappers like Nicki Minaj and Tee Grizzley as influences, explains everything it took to get to where she is today. “Really the definition of going from rags to wealth,” she spits. “I’m a rich, talkative girl I’m the shit / They are impostors, rapping about shit they never did / Sluts really don’t know me and the shit it took to win / Call it my hood trophy, it hit my wrist differently.
Peep Lakeyah 2021 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by BODYARMOR, below.