Rap­per Gigi is grab­bing the spot­light

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MPILETSO MOTUMI mpiletso.motumi@inl.co.za @mane_mpi

WHEN Gigi LaMayne fi­nally de­cided to be her­self, things started to get much more in­ter­est­ing for her.

“I’m un­apolo­getic now. It was im­por­tant for me to switch it up and start do­ing the things I wanted to do,” said the 22-year-old.

LaMayne, whose real name is Ge­n­e­sis Gabriella Tina Man­ney, is one of the few fe­male rap­pers that have found com­mer­cial suc­cess in the male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try.

“I’ve al­ways loved music and loved writ­ing. My par­ents and teach­ers picked up on it. I could write, but singing wasn’t what I could do,” she said.

By 16 she was com­pet­ing com­mer­cially and on TV, and also started writ­ing her own music.

The Ice Cream hit-maker was raised by her mother, who sup­ported her love for music.

“She paid for my stu­dio ses­sions and showed a lot of com­mit­ment to­wards my dream, but she made sure I put my ed­u­ca­tion first.”

LaMayne holds a BA in an­thro­pol­ogy and me­dia stud­ies. “One day I would like to write aca­demic pieces on hiphop. It’s not some­thing that has been ex­plored.”

Her stud­ies have also come in handy for her brand, hav­ing helped her with knowl­edge on com­mu­ni­ca­tions and work­ing with peo­ple. “I wasn’t com­pletely clue­less in that way, I am a com­mu­ni­ca­tor. I learn from it ev­ery day.”

LaMayne has re­leased three mix tapes: Cir­cus Café at age 16; Colour of Reign at age 20, for which she won ac­co­lades as the youngest fe­male rap­per to win at the SA HipHop Awards; and Ground

Zero, which also won her an SA Hip-Hop award last year. Her new al­bum i-Ge­n­e­sis has been in stores since De­cem­ber.

“It is the be­gin­ning of a new jour­ney for me, Ge­n­e­sis. I’m fresh out of school and want my voice to be heard.”

LaMayne re­cently ramped up her im­age to feel more au­then­tic.

“I’m in­spired by cre­ative peo­ple like Nicki Mi­naj, Ri­hanna, Lady Gaga and Madonna. I am a nat­u­rally the­atri­cal per­son, and peo­ple also find it a lot more in­ter­est­ing in­ter­act­ing with me be­ing my­self,” she said.

Her im­age switch up has also helped her gain more con­fi­dence in the male-dom­i­nated genre of hip-hop.

“Just be­ing my­self and the en­ergy I’m putting out. One day I can be dressed like a lady and the next I can be a tomboy. That should be some­thing we have lib­erty to do in a so­ci­ety that is open-minded.”

LaMayne said she was in­tent on mak­ing sure she car­ried on build­ing her brand and mak­ing a name for women in the game. The young star is also work­ing on de­vel­op­ing her act and pro­duc­tion-adding el­e­ments like dance and po­etry to her stage pres­ence.

“Peo­ple don’t see women in the in­dus­try, and it is so im­por­tant for us to sup­port each other. I think it starts with us un­der­stand­ing that what­ever we bring to the ta­ble will be chal­lenged.”

YOUNG AND SMART: Gigi LaMayne is chal­leng­ing the male-dom­i­nated hip-hop scene with her own brand of show­biz.

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