Residing in Harlem but transplanted from Oakland, rapper Gita (pronounced Gee-tuh) is somewhat of an enigma. She migrated to New York 4 years ago and chose to remain despite an adverse welcome. She declines to detail this experience, coyly saying, “That’s a cover story,” but this coyness is momentary.
“I grew up on a street in Oakland where three of my childhood friends died from crack because their parents left it on the table,” she soberly reveals. Gleefully donning oversized overalls and sporting hot pink hair during our interview, Gita looks like a big kid. In fact, her current style is a continuation of habits cultivated during her childhood. “I always had the different crazy hairstyles and clothes. I used to wear princess outfits to school,” she boasts. Nevertheless, despite her childlike appearance, Gita is not stuck in some naively nostalgic understanding of the past. She personally knows that her cherished 90s were both times of joy and times of pain.
Her upcoming EP is titled Escaping the Dream World, but it’s not about ushering in a wave of stark realism, definitively choosing the pain of the past over its joys. Quite contrarily, Escaping the Dream World is about making the joys, the dreams, more real.
Gita’s current dream – being a rapper – is already quite real. Despite having so few songs out that she has a video for every song that she’s released (4, counting “Lights Out,” her first big video, filmed on the same day she quit her job to become a full-time rapper), Gita has quite a buzz, one so loud that it once got her booked in China! How is that possible?
Gita herself has an answer: “There’s not a lot of females. I think there’s a huge hunger right now for females to be on the stage and on the scene. I get people from all around the world who hit me up and love me and want to come to my shows when they happen and want to buy merch and want to buy music.” Gita humbly frames her buzz as a product of supply and demand, but there’s more to the story.
As implied by her ability to comfortably rock overalls and pink hair, Gita is characterized by a level of confidence that fosters rather than hinders her artistry. This confidence allows her to “play with her image” without causing anxiety. Her playfulness is on full display in her videos, which typically feature her in a range of costumes, each more spectacular than the last. For instance, in the video for her song “Hood Rich,” she effortlessly oscillates between harajuku wear and street clothes.
In a world and a genre plagued by rampant misogyny, such confidence doesn’t come easy. Gita’s willingness to comfortably tinker with her image has multiple origins, notably her grandmother, who she calls “the radical Black girl.” Gita’s grandmother grew up “in both segregation and a time where women had to wear skirts, you couldn’t cut your hair shirt, you couldn’t smoke cigarettes, you couldn’t sit at the bar, you couldn’t talk up if your husband was beating on you or cheating on you.” Pressingly, her grandmother had a husband that she would iron and wash clothes for, “knowing that he was going to see another woman.” “I don’t like that. I don’t like that,” Gita emphasizes, visibly disgusted.
What Gita does like is “girl power.” “When women really come together and cut the cattiness and the bullshit, I think we can really be on some next level shit and we can make tsunamis, not waves,” she says with hope.
While that tsunami of solidarity slowly(?) approaches shore, Gita is focused on further developing her music, which she believes is still in an “embryonic stage.” But as indicated by her goofy demeanor and retro fashion, she’s in no rush to grow up. Despite an appearance on Loosies, last year’s compilation album by Fools Gold Records, Gita is voluntarily unsigned, seeking to make big moves strategically rather than reflexively.
Plus, she’s got plenty of songs in the vault. She and DJ Two Stacks, the producer of literally half of her released songs (and Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci”), have got a few songs queued up for a future mixtape; Gita assures us that these songs are “darker and deeper” than anything she’s released so far. It remains to be seen (or heard) what exactly that means, but Escaping the Dream World is coming soon, so perhaps we’ll have a clue.
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