After receiving endrosements from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, DJ Ski, and Dres of Black Sheep, up-and-coming North Carolina femcee, Ivy Sole, is in a very comfortable position. She’s just released her second mixtape Exquisite Corpse, which highlights the young emcee’s natural ear for dope beats and a penchant for fresh rhymes.
After experiencing a traumatic impromptu foreclosure of her entire studio building, it’s only due to Ivy’s excellent work ethic and divine intervention from the hip-hop Gods that she even completed the album. And while the 19-year-old still has much to work on, it’s clear that between spitting about the power of the pen and venting on the unforeseen struggles of life in the Ivy League, this southern bred, northern bound MC has much to say. With a pen, pad, and middle finger to the housing market, Ivy Sole is on her grind, trying to make her name a staple on your itunes playlists while simultaneously preparing for her sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania. Luckily, before she returned to school, RESPECT. caught up with Miss Sole to chat about her mixtape, upcoming projects and everything in between.
Take me into the process of making your mixtape, Exquisite Corpse.
It took a period of about four months. I usually get the beats first; I’m a part of an arts collective called Third Eye Optiks, and we have three or four producers. So I usually get the beats first, see what I like, what I don’t like. [Then] I try to come up with a concept for the tape. The concept of this tape is Exquisite Corpse, which means a whole bunch of different ideas put into one body of work. So, that’s how that went. We actually had our own studio that we were running and paying for ourselves, but then the entire building got foreclosed on. So basically, we were like “Oh damn, we don’t have a building right now.” So we bought hella equipment, all the money we were originally putting into the studio, we moved it to my homeboys crib and finished the tape there. So maybe two weeks before the drop date I had to finish two or three songs; everything had to be mixed cause we didn’t have a studio anymore. So yea, it was a three month process, so I usually write, rewrite, then rewrite again, and then go in the studio and then write out the rest, so I don’t really get a final verse until I’m in the actual studio.
On the tape you seem to exclusive work with Xander Chief and IonQuest. Why so picky about your producers?
Yeah I am super picky. But also some dudes want you the pay them three hundred dollars for a beat, and for me not everything is gonna make the tape. I’m an artist so I like getting paid for my art. I’m just not tryna pay for something that’s ultimately not going to be on the final project. Like I always try to support the people in my arts collective, my family. But if I don’t have to, if I can get dope beats from people I know, then why not? Also, I wanted to make sure that I was representing Charlotte, Philly, and Penn. That’s the sphere that I’m in, so I wanted to make sure my Charlotte homie had an avenue where they could be heard on my tape, as well as Philly, because Philly is where I’m living for the next four years. I don’t know, Penn is a really influential on my music, so it got a little bit of hate and a little bit of love on my mix tape.
On “Precipice,” you really went in on Philly and going to school, focusing on being a full-time student and a full-time artist. How does that work for you, balancing both your academic and artistic goals?
It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life because just balancing work and a social life is difficult by itself. In high school everything was so segmented it was a lot easier, so you could be like, “I have school, I have work, I have extracurriculars and that’s all I’m doing with my life.” But in college, now that I’m really getting serious about [my music career], I have 18, 20 hours of class per week. I’m involved on campus,I’m not just sitting around not doing anything. Part of the reason I wanted to come to Penn was because they have this huge network of professionals. We have some dope people at our university, and I definitely want to tap into that element, but I also want to be a hip-hop artist. So balancing it and still tryna keep my GPA kinda dope, it’s difficult. But definitely on “Precipice” I was just frustrated. Like, “Yo, financial Aid is killing me, professors aren’t helping me, and they don’t get the fact that my brain is literally in a different place. Third Eye Optiks, we don’t only do hip-hop, we also do visual arts, and we’re a part of opening a clothing store in Charlotte called Blank Canvas. It’s gonna be a streetwear store, and we’re tryna get this blog popping, we’re tryna get this website popping, so I have so much stuff in my mind that sometimes economics is literally the only thing on my mind, but not the class. I just don’t have time.
Are you in Wharton, are you in the business School?
Yea, I’m in Wharton. So it’s not even like I’m a fine arts major or a music major, or a psych major. But yea, I fucks with it though, it’s giving me some great opportunities.
How do you see yourself combining your business world with your arts world? What’s the end result of this business-music fusion?
I definitely see myself being that pseudo-business-and-music artist. Like I would never expect to be on the same tier as Jay-Z, that man is the pinnacle, him and Diddy. I think that’s something I aspire to, but as far as that, honestly, I just want to become a long standing hip-hop act. I want to be able to perform for the next decade. I would love to be able to retire at thirty, or, if I wanted to, I could go on tour with my family just rapping. Also, I want to see the other people on my team do what they love. Like Myles [IonQuest] not only wants to do music videos, he’s actually a cinematographer. He wants to make documentaries. So not only me, but I would like make these business moves with the rest of these people that I take my inspiration from.
On “#MostIncredible” you say, “I do this cause y’all bitching about Minaj, and I’m different.” Obviously, you’re a female artists, and you seem to have a little contempt for Nicki on your track.
It’s not even contempt. It’s really like sometimes people straight up be bitching about Nicki Minaj. They say, “I can’t stand Nicki, I can’t stand Nicki,” and then when I send them my tape they won’t answer me back when I ask how they felt about it. I don’t spit about my ass, that’s not my goal. For example, Nitty Scott, she’s dope. Rhapsody, she’s dope. These are people I look up to, and none of us, we’re not tryna channel what I call the “Bad Bitch Syndrome.” Nicki Minaj isn’t really doing anything new for rap, to me. Lil Kim did that, Foxy Brown did that and they all had hot bars, so she gotta elevate her stuff. When she first came out I was like “Oh word.” She came out with the cover of Biggie, and I was like “Yea finally we got another femcee.” But then she started doing pop and ass, and I can’t be down with that.
You talk a lot about rapping since you were a kid on the album, you say you’ve been rapping since birth. Do you remember your first lines you wrote as a kid?
Well, As a kid, I would just dub over other people raps. I wouldn’t necessarily call that rap. But when I was 16, I’ll never forget, I said, “My hair stay kinky like nymphos/ my attitude’s laidback like cornrows/ I’m addictive like chocolate & pornos/ was once told no one’s gonna toot my horn so/ beep beep back up.” When I spit it everyone like “Oh shit.” It was just a freestyle and it came to me like that.
When you go on tour, what songs from Exquisite Corpse are you going to showcase?
I gotta do “#MostIncredible”, but If I had one song that I could perform for the rest of my life and that’s the only song I’d do ever, it’s “Apache.” I’d probably do “Precipice” too, just because I feel like a lot of college students will probably be in the audience, and if you can’t dig me venting about college life, I don’t know. I understand J. Cole right now, I know what he was talking about.
You can download Exquisite Corpse now.
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