Kanye West and Nicki Minaj will be making drill music before 2014 has run its course — at least if Chicago’s rap madame on-the-rise Katie Got Bandz has her way.
With her latest single, “Pop Out,” steadily blowing up, the 20-year-old is fast becoming the new leader of the street-rooted Chicago drill scene, which boasts Chief Keef as its famous face. Drill is a Windy City-centered sub-genre of hip-hop that pairs harsh and stripped-down production with abrasive raps to a curiously visceral and hypnotic effect; it’s music to both punch someone and zone out to.
“Pop Out” was recorded last year in tandem with King Louie, another drill generation Chi-Town ambassador who was featured on Kanye West’s Yeezus. The song has already clocked up more one million YouTube views; Katie sees it as her jump-off moment.
“It caught me off guard but I knew the song was going to do things and go far,” Katie said of “Pop Out,” which was produced by her cousin BlockOnDaTrack and will be included on the rapper’s as-yet-untitled debut album which will drop later this year.
King Louie signed on to the track when he ambled into Carter Co. studios in Chicago during one of Katie’s recording sessions.
“King Louie was hanging around the studio and we decided he should be on the song and he just freestyled his verse,” Katie recalls. “I didn’t plan on putting him on my song for just like the hook or whatever, you know, but it just happened.”
While King Louie’s appearance on “Pop Out” provides a local link to the drill scene, Katie wants to use the song to spread her influence into a broader audience.
“The reaction to the song has been good and it’s got people who wasn’t a fan of me and wasn’t taking me serious before ’Pop Out’ as fans now,” she said. “They respect me because of that song, but this is only the beginning.”
As for where she wants to go in the future, Katie added, “If I could work with anyone soon, it would be Nicki Minaj and Kanye West. I know the vibe of that song with us all on it together would be a hit, like it would be something different especially coming from me. It would be like they’re putting me on that level they are on.”
Despite her expansive collaboration visions, Katie Got Bandz said she plans to keep the vibe of her debut album strictly on the drill music tip. She vowed that most of it will be produced by long-time cohort BlockOnDaTrack (who also masterminded her previous most notable tracks “Ridin’ Around And We Drillin'” and “I’m A Hitta”), along with Billionaire BoyScout, who also provided beats to her Drillary Clinton mixtape last year. (Would Hillary Clinton enjoy her music? Katie said, “Yes, she would, and I really think she’d like ’Pop That,’ of course!”)
And Katie said she’s planning to keep her debut album to what drill music is all about.
“I’m working with producers who know exactly what I can do. When Block or Boyscout sends me a beat, they know exactly what type of sound I like and how my voice works. We have that chemistry there,” she said. “That’s really a big part of what the drill scene is like — we’re all in this together. That’s what makes it work.”