Tkay Maidza’s earliest music memories include her uncle and dad. Born in Zimbabwe, her weekend activities included watching them play during her formative years at family gatherings or small festivals in the town.
Those moments allowed her to absorb the high-tempo energy and summer feeling she got each time she heard the music they played, sparking something within her creative muscle.
In the early 2000s, she moved to Australia with her parents. During that period, her fondest memory was watching MTV. “Rihanna, Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas would be on, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t see people like this anywhere in my town,” she told GU.
Seeing those artists allowed her creative juices to flow, and the 27-year-old opened her mind to the possibility of following the same path. As she got older, she began studying the lyricism of Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar and writing her own verses to beats online.
Intertwining her love for hip-hop, R&B, and house music granted her the space to be as creative as she wanted in her sound and diving into alternative rap. Now, she’s gearing up to release her newest project, Sweet Justice on November 3, 2023. GU caught up with the raptress to chat all things album, visuals, and forming a creative, safe space.
Girls United: How did you figure out how to curate your sound during your artistic journey?
Tkay Maidza: In the last five years, I’ve been making mood boards, and this mood board asked ‘How do you see yourself 10 years from now?’ When I was going to sessions at that point, I would always have a checklist: Does this sound smooth? Does it sound like it’s from the 2000s? If I’m rapping, what am I going for? I always try and impress myself. It really helped me pinpoint that I wanted to have those soulful undertones in my sound.
What was the inspiration behind Sweet Justice and where were you mentally when you put this project together?
I started working on it two years ago, and it felt like a daunting task, but I felt ready for it compared to when I did my debut album. I wanted it to be a succession of the last three pieces I’ve done just to further cement that my music isn’t going to be as random as the earlier parts of my career.
I had just moved to LA, and I was going through that transition of everyone that I’d been friends with before I moved here was probably not my actual circle anymore. So there was a lot of heartbreak. I had to let go of a lot of people, and my perspective of the songwriting was very Why is this happening to me?
What was the inspiration behind the title Sweet Justice?
The justice card in tarot is about karma and reaching judgment, but if you maintain your morals, you should be fine. So it was based on the justice tarot card. I kept getting psychic readings, and they kept pulling out the justice cards. They were like, ‘You’re gonna be fine, what’s meant to happen will happen, and who’s meant to get what they deserve will get what they deserve.’
With the album dropping in November, how are you mentally preparing to relive some of those moments?
I’m just really excited to work on music videos, I just filmed another music video a week ago, actually. I feel like bringing out the visual aspects will bring the whole project to life and it’ll create its own universe. I feel like when you look at the album cover, there are so many easter eggs and small things. They’re like symbolism, and I think finding a way to do that uniquely with every video will be really sick.
Where does the visual inspiration stem from?
It’s about paying attention to your surroundings. I feel like there’s a lot of messages and what you see every day. Whether you realize it or not, we all are a byproduct of what we consume. So I’ll document the colors that I really like right now, how I’m feeling and that adds to the mood board for going forward.
How do you feel like you’ve elevated your production for this new album?
I pay more attention to detail. I feel like I’m more comfortable with my voice and I’ll always have some level of anxiety, but there’s a level of knowing that I’m good enough to execute something and how far and how far to push it. I had impostor syndrome, and I just felt too new to do my first album but this time around, I can set intentions, and most of the time I can I can execute it.
What are you most excited about as the fans gear up to hear this new project?
I think having two years of not touring and then coming back, it feels like I’m not dancing in my bedroom alone anymore. I’m realizing how similar artists are to their fans. It feels like they could be my best friend in some capacities. I’m excited about the human connection and the communal connection.
About Kenyatta: Clark Atlanta University and Medill School alumna Kenyatta Victoria is the Girls United writer covering everything from news, pop culture, lifestyle, and investigative stories. When not reporting, she’s diving deep into her curated playlists or binging her favorite comfort shows.