By Dontaira Terrell
With empowering, female-centric rhymes that have ushered in a new wave of hip-hop dominance, Kash Doll has established herself as a pioneering force in the industry. Born and raised in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Detroit, the rapper speaks candidly in her music about the personal struggles she's faced. On "KD Diary," the opening track of her album, Stacked, she tells: "Pops died on my b-day before I knew how to speak / I'm the oldest of six and they're counting on me / Had to get in these streets just to eat for a week." But it's not her struggles that set her apart from her peers; it's that she's turned them into triumphs. These victories serve as a constant reminder to never count Kash Doll out.
After years of hard work, dedication, and a few setbacks, the charismatic storyteller's highly anticipated debut album dropped on October 18. A year in the making, Stacked tracks the 27-year-old's progress on her fearless pursuit from independent presence to mainstream phenom. Birthing a project of this magnitude is no easy feat, and with this album — which boasts guest features from Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Teyana Taylor, and more — Kash hopes to cement her status in the industry while gifting her loyal day ones, affectionately known as "Kash Bratz," with music that showcases her versatility.
Since 2014, the rapper (born Arkeisha Knight) has been keeping social media abuzz with the release of several critically acclaimed mixtapes and streams in the 30-million range. MTV News spoke with the "Ice Me Out" rapper about her legacy, sharing the same stage with heavy hitters like Drake, Rick Ross, and Meek Mill, and what she hopes fans will feel when they give her debut album a listen.
MTV News: Can you give some insight behind the album's title, Stacked?
Kash Doll: It's various layers [of] who I am as a person. What I've been through and what I've overcome. There are so many layers to the flows, the songs, and the vibes. Because of this, I didn't want to name the album just one thing.
MTV News: If your entire life was a song title, what title would best fit for this album?
Kash Doll: Definitely "KD Diary" because it's an autobiography of my whole story. It's my entire life journey that gives you everything.
MTV News: What statement are you aiming to make with this album?
Kash Doll: I want people to understand that I'm a rapper. I am a lyricist and I want people to listen to what I'm actually saying. I want them to understand my versatility and that I'm an overall dope artist. Don't put me in one box.
MTV News: How was it working with Big Sean for "Ready Set?"
Kash Doll: So amazing. That's the hometown hero so I fuck with him the long way. Big Sean is such an amazingly passionate human being. He's a sweetheart and I learned a lot by working alongside him and being in his presence.
MTV News: How do you feel your role as a successful Black woman from Detroit will empower the next generation of fearless young women from the Detroit area?
Kash Doll: Exactly how Aaliyah inspired me. She gave me hope that if she could do it, then I could, too. Being from one of the worst areas in Detroit, I want young girls to know that they can succeed just as I have. I believe showing them — rather than just talking about it or telling them — has more of a lasting effect. I didn't blow up overnight. They've watched me grind and [have] seen every step in the process. But most importantly, they've witnessed that anything is possible.
MTV News: I've been following your journey for quite a while, and I think that also speaks to your authenticity and connection with your loyal Kash Bratz.
Kash Doll: Yes! I have a very solid fan base and I love the fuck out of them [laughs]. I love them because, regardless of what happens, they never leave my side. For them, Kash Doll is it, and I love that shit.
MTV News: What would you consider to be the life-changing moment that solidified your stamp on the industry?
Kash Doll: There have been quite a few, but I would have to say the release of my debut album is my life-changing moment. Stacked is my body of work that has solidified my place in the industry. Although, major artists and A-listers such as Drake and Remy Ma brought me onstage with them, Rick Ross did a song with me, and I opened with DJ Khaled for Jay-Z and Beyoncé's On the Run II Tour — those were definitely defining moments as well. But releasing my very own body of work lets people know exactly what time it is.
MTV News: If you had the chance to start your career over again, would you do anything differently?
Kash Doll: Absolutely not because everything I did got me to where I am today. I'm glad my success didn't come sooner because I learned something each step of the way. This is why I am who I am today. I am wise, I've been through a lot, and I've learned a lot.
MTV News: What is Kash Doll's legacy 10 years from now?
Kash Doll: I want people to remember me as being a beautiful Black girl from Detroit, Michigan that grinded her way to the top. I really want people to know and understand that I walked out on faith and made it happen. I spoke everything into existence, and I did it all with dignity.