FACT Rated is our series digging into the sounds and stories of the most vital breaking artists around right now. This week, Claire Lobenfeld talks to the Sailing Team’s first lady Kodie Shane about her plans to take over the world, one tour date at a time.
Name: Kodie Shane
From: Atlanta, Georgia
Must-hear: Zero Gravity, Back From the Future
For Fans Of: Lil Yachty, Dej Loaf, Kari Faux
Kodie Shane doesn’t care about Eminem’s POTUS-punting freestyle that left the internet agog after he dropped it on October’s BET Hip-Hop Awards. “All I have to say is, Fuck Trump,” the 19-year-old rapper and singer tells FACT over the phone from New York. Anyway, she was excited about getting to do a cypher herself: “That was really dope. I used to always watch [the awards show]. Everybody used to watch it, so I was really nervous about it. But it was really good.” If it sounds like Shane is being casual about performing on a critically-beloved music awards show, it’s because she is. She is easygoing about a lot and it’s part of what makes her music feel so effortlessly breezy and cool, even when she’s singing about heartbreak, like on 2016’s ‘Sad’.
The track features Lil Yachty whose Sailing Team crew calls Shane its first lady. She has the same lackadaisical flow as the Sailing Team boss, but makes his laid-back style sound all the more natural. You can hear this best on ‘Drip in My Walk’ from her 2016 Zero Gravity EP. Nothing about her performance feels anything other than carefree and confident. It foretells her natural stage presence which is likely only bolstered by having a musical family, including a mom who has her own studio in their house.
Shane, whose birth name is Kodie Williams, has been around the limelight since she was much younger. Her sister Brandi was a member of the girl group Blaque whose tracks ‘808’ and ‘Bring it All to Me’ both broke into the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999 and 2000, respectively, and landed them supporting roles as part of Gabrielle Union’s cheer squad in the teen classic Bring It On. Their success also meant opening slots on tours for major artists like ’N Sync (who featured on ‘Bring it All to Me’) and TLC. It was on TLC’s FanMail Tour where Shane realized she wanted to perform in arenas, too. “It definitely always made me want to be an entertainer,” she says.
With the success of Zero Gravity, an EP released earlier this year called Big Trouble Little Jupiter and her latest, Back From the Future which features some of her best material, including ‘Level Up’, she has a lot to give the audiences she’s been performing in front of in the past two years. She’ll cap off 2017 opening for Jhené Aiko’s Trip tour, a duty putting her in the ranks of Willow Smith, the DJ Kitty Cash, and duo St. Beauty (who are signed to Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland). Shane will also perform at the hip-hop mega festival Rolling Loud SoCal this December. These opportunities give her a chance to reach an array of listeners beyond the audience she reaches now.
When asked if Yachty’s generationally divisive comments on classic hip-hop are reflective of how she feels, she is relaxed and democratic. “I want to be able to make music that reaches all generations. I have a few that do,” she says, but notes that her music speaks to her youthful experience and is relatable on deeper level: “I’m not just making music for the youth but I am speaking to them.” Still, she doesn’t feel any pressure to be prolific or impress anyone but herself. “I just try to stay on top of the world and make the music I like. When I feel like I need to drop new music, I will,” she says. “I’m making what I like. I’m going to do what I like.”
Hear Kodie Shane’s latest track ‘Sirens’ below.
Claire Lobenfeld is FACT’s news editor. Find her on Twitter.