Amongst her female rapper counterparts Melisa Young a.k.a Kid Sister has carved out a niche for herself where genuine talent meets a realness and identifiability that has hoards of fans paying attention and waiting to see and hear what she does next.
With her first single Pro Nails featuring Kanye West, the bar was set pretty high for the budding rapper. She continued to reach it with world tours and a slew of heavy hitters looking to collaborate, but all was achieved with a down to earth personality and girl next door sensibility that makes Melisa lovable from the moment you see her.
Hailing from Chicago and having hit the music career jackpot later in the game, Melisa seems to have her head on straight. Grateful and optimistic she speaks frankly about the current music scene and how lucky she is to have been able to do something she loves.
We met Melisa at Malo, one of the rappers’ favorite eats in the middle of Silver Lake, L.A. “This place is the best, I just live down the street, I’m here all the time.” We ordered drinks and dove in, chatted about the Tupac hologram, the recording of her new album and of course nails.
Milk Made: What have you been up to these days?
Melisa Young: I just got back from a mini tour of Malaysia and Australia. It was so beautiful and hot! I definitely learned what real heat is. Crazy humid, crazy sweaty.
MM: Do you have any shows coming up here in the states?
MY: I’m in the studio at the moment recording material for my second album in Miami with producer Jack Splash. I guess he’s pretty big deal and I’m like whatever…do do do. Things just generally seem to fall into my lap which is really lucky. You like to keep it like that, to really let things fall into place the way they’re meant to be.
MM: Can we look forward to any collaborations on this album?
MY: Well, you know, I can’t reveal all the secrets but I’ll be working with the Neptunes on some music and also Felix Da HouseCat. Super excited about Felix, he’s from my same neighborhood in Chicago. We literally live in the same neighborhood and the same little town in the south suburbs of Chicago.
MM: Your brother is in the music industry as well (one half of the Dj duo Flosstradamus).
Do you two work together often?
MY: I always ask his advice, he is a DJ first and foremost. So I trust his opinion. We are going to do a mixtape together this year. We’ve been talking about doing this for a really long time. So now that I have some time we are getting to do it. It will be really fun.
MM: You didn’t come onto the scene till you were 28. Have you always been into music, what started it all?
MY: I was a kid, I was a baby when I started. At age six I took a music class and decided I wanted to be in the choir at church. I started singing these notes that were a bit higher than the notes that I was reading in the music, and I was like “what is this?” it sounds so pretty and really it was just basic harmonizing. So it was at that moment when I realized that music can sound so pretty and good, even with the simplest singing like I was doing when I was six. I realized I want to do this for a long time. I want to keep doing this, when I hate it I’ll stop.
MM: Where did your name come from?
MY: My brother picked it. It’s from the doll, remember that kid sister doll? Yeah we were going to do a skit, a whole da do do da do thing (laughs). He was a DJ so he was going to put it in his DJ routine. We never did but just kept the name.
MM: You still should do the skit, for the mixtape!
MY: Yesss! There we go, that’s it…done.
MM: You said before that things just started happening and you were really lucky. What were the steps of how it all began?
MY: Really it all started with this one song I did where I rapped over another song. It was over like a Diplo song, a remix of gold digger. Me and my ex boyfriend, A-Track, were both with the same publicist and we met at this Pitchfork Festival in like 07 or 06, a long time ago. We wrote Pro Nails, he showed it to Kanye and that’s when he got on it and things really started happening. So pretty much ever since then it’s been a whirlwind experience and now I’m starting to do some other things non music things and it’s all pretty much built off this path that happened and .
MM: What are you influenced by, what inspires you?
MY: I’m influenced by the person I was in high school. Mainly because that is when I was my happiest. It’s when I knew fashion, I knew how I wanted to dress, I knew who my friends were, I knew what was what. In the 90s, the late 90s is when all the music was ILL, sorry it just WAS. You had Biggie and Tupac puttin out records, it was just so good. And R&B, I love R&B but I only love 90s R&B because I feel like that is when it was at its peak of what it really is.
MM: It’s interesting being influenced by your high school self. I like how true that can be.
MY: Yeah you know it was just a simple time, it’s that nostalgia, and I think it’s something that a lot of people share. Let’s just all hang out and remember the 90s.
MM: So Pro Nails is what started it all, is your affinity for nails a real thing and something that you’ve always been into?
MY: Yeah definitely. Probably ever since Junior High School when I got them for my graduation from 8th grade. I looked like a hooker. I was like mom how could you allow me to have these nails. But my parents were hippies so they were like whatever it’s fine.
MM: How often do you do your nails?
MY: The design changes every 3-4 days maybe even more frequently than that.
I fill them every 2 weeks, and buff and shine in between to keep em lookin’ shiny!
MM: Thanks for talking with us and showing us there is such a thing as fried ground beef and pickle tacos! And good luck with recording the album, when do you think it will launch?
MY: Thanks boo! Mixtape coming soon xo!
Photos by: Tyler Nevitt