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Kodie Shane-ATL Album Release Party

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Kodie Shane hates the word sexy. 

“I just don’t like the way it sounds…you could say foooiiine,” the 20-year-old rapper muses, thoughtfully munching on Airheads candy. “Or you could just say beautiful. Sexy sounds so raunchy.”

In that case, we’re going to describe everything about her debut album, from the hazy cover to the “issa vibe”-like songs, “Young Heartthrob,” just as she would: beautiful.

The creation of the album has been a long time coming—taking notes from her father’s and sister’s respective successes in the music business, eating and sleeping in the studio, linking up with Lil Yachty to join the Sailing Team Crew, and more. But the Atlanta-based performer said she feels like everything in her career has brought her to this very moment.

“I can’t even say it was one particular process creating this album, but my life’s work is in this,” she told CASSIUS. “I really put my heart into it.”

From start to finish, this collection of work is a vibe. From the smoother beats in her single “Sing to Her” to an angsty turn-up single like “Flex on Me,” she showcases how multifaceted her work is. With a range of influence varying from Lil Wayne to Drake to Andre 3000 to Lauryn Hill, it’s clear to see that she’s trying to do more than just put out gimmicky music. Shane is trying to create a legacy with her music.

“I want people to know I’m a real artist, that I really care about the music and the craft,” she said.

Her eyes widen and the corners of her lips turn up into a smirk as she says, “I want to be bigger than the iPhone!”

But in all seriousness, Kodie Shane is making history in the music world without even realizing it. She is a young queer Black woman in hip-hop, a genre that has been historically criticized for its misogyny and hyper-sexualization of women of color. In a time when some of music’s popular voices are queer people of color, such as Frank Ocean, Syd Tha Kyd, Tyler the Creator, and Hayley Kiyoko, she’s unapologetically using she/her pronouns in her music, something she said she never gave much thought to in the first place.

“When I look at music, I don’t really see any rules,” she explained. “I want people who want to do the same thing as me or do different things, in general, to feel free and safe.”

This same type of vulnerability that her music evokes echoes the title of her album; while many would interpret “Young Heartthrob” as a self-important reference to the title artist, Shane elaborates on it, evoking a deep sense of humility.

“It doesn’t just mean that people love and admire you,” she said. “It’s more about being able to build yourself up again with love after people have sucked you dry. It’s about still being able to love again after people haven’t loved you right.”

So while this might be the first time you’re hearing about Kodie Shane, there is one thing to be sure of about the “Young Heartthrob” herself—not only is she on the rise and coming to a city near you on tour in 2019, but at this rate she’s surely here to stay.