6 hours with Atlanta rapper BKtherula, before his set at Rolling Loud

BKtherula never fit a single mold as an artist. Styled in dark, striking looks laced with one-of-a-kind jewelry, bandanas and combat boots, BK has cultivated a devoted fanbase with her inventive aesthetic and live shows. Born in Brooklyn Rodrigues, she emerges with every beat as a supercharged version of herself: the young black superhero persona “the rula”, commanding the freestyle elements of cloud rap and the grit of punk rock to create a sound which is entirely his own.

Two weeks before her 20th birthday, Noisey spent 6 hours in the Atlanta rapper’s orbit before her set at Rolling Loud Miami, where she performed among a lineup of some of rap’s biggest names, including Kendrick Lamar. and Future.

“BKtherula is a fearless ship,” she told Noisey. Sitting outside her Airbnb in Hollywood, Florida before the festival, she was surrounded by a grand piano, essential oils and Victorian Gothic decor — the elegant, spooky backdrop matched her personality well. BK is completely centered, open and aware, yet simultaneously able to completely leave her mind on stage and on a beat.

Before the show, she prepared her setlist with her DJ Hou Dat, and the two created utter chaos for the Rolling Loud crowd. “I give the fans all my energy,” BK said. “If you don’t connect with your fans, you’re going to fall.” The magnetic field surrounding BK is rooted in real connection and the love was palpable in the room as she prepared for her set. Her father was by her side throughout the day, her bodyguard is a friend who has known her since childhood, and she smiled as she thought back to her upbringing in Atlanta. “Just having experiences and growing up in Atlanta definitely made my music a lot less orthodox,” she said.

“BKtherula is a fearless ship.”

As a writer, she has a dark, theatrical sense of humor, and the sounds of the beats she appears to are equally abstract – it creates an expansive emotional range that puts BK alongside artists like BbyAfricka, Hook , Coi Leray and Rico Nasty, with whom she collaborated on “Vaderz” earlier this year. From his 2020 mixtapes Nirvana and I love Santana to his album 2021 BLACK LOVEBK drifts easily from a harder intensity (“SANTANNY”) to the sweet melodies of dreamy alternate tracks like “IDK WHAT TO TELL YOU“, never straying too far from inner coldness and contentment of spirit. “Over the years we evolve, evolve, evolve,” she said. “Which means: I’m going to relay the message better, the frequency is much higher, the music will just evolve.”

While rushing through the relentless Miami traffic, with less than 10 minutes to get to his set, BK took a deep breath and asked, “My God, what are you trying to tell me right now?” Once she arrived at Rolling Loud, just two minutes late, she took to the stage with explosive commitment and precision, rapping with her fans in sunny Miami. “If it wasn’t for me doing this, I wouldn’t have made this set,” she said.

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