Anime, Lyrics, and Ambition: An Interview with The Crimson Alchemist

After hosting her very own show at the El Club I had to interview this budding Detroit rapper The Crimson Alchemist. Always equipped with a huge smile and a light aura her lyrics make you look into yourself and think where your life is going. Her recent ep “The Elite 4” gives you a glimpse at her versatile talent and phenomenal storytelling. She stands amongst Queens as a woman in hip-hop and brings her vulnerability and love to each song she spits on.

What inspired your name The Crimson Alchemist?

For those that don’t know, I love anime. If I’m not working on music or at work, I’m more than likely watching anime (laughs). One of my favorites is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and a favorite character of mine from the show shares the same name. Plus I like to compare the way I put my lyrics together to that of an Alchemist. Also, my favorite color is red.

When did you first know you wanted to become a rapper?

Back in high school, I’d skip class just to go to the lunch room and rap with some of my classmates. Back then it was just a hobby. Once the second semester of the senior year came around, everyone started to get ready for our mock election Grammys. They had a category for “Class Rapper”, and at first I wasn’t going to submit to run, mainly because I didn’t think that I could win. So, of course, my friends pressured me into doing it, and to my surprise, I actually won! After that happened, I thought to myself and said, “Damn, I think I can do this for the rest of my life”. I’ve always written since I was about eight, but it took 9 years for me to finally realize that this was my calling.

How have you changed as an artist from your first song to now?

The first song I ever recorded was to Rihanna’s song “Hard”, and to this day, it’s probably still one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever recorded! However, you can definitely hear how timid I was back then. On top of that, this was before I got introduced to the proper way of recording, and how important it is to mix and master your music. All my homeboy’s and I did back then got a mic, recorded it on Garage Band, and uploaded it to YouTube. Since then I’ve changed tremendously. There’s more confidence behind the lyrics I rap, I’ve developed my own style as far as flow, and I definitely get my songs professionally mixed and mastered now! Back then I was more of a “but what if this doesn’t work” type of person. Now I’m more of a “This will work because I’m doing things the way I want” and “There’s no room for errors, so I’m gonna keep going until it’s right” type of person.

You recently dropped a new project called “The Elite 4”, what was your inspiration behind the project?

The Elite 4” was inspired by my love for cartoons, anime and pop culture. Being a fan of Pokémon video games growing up, I got the title from that: at the end of each game, you have to go up against the four best Pokémon trainers in the league. Each trainer specializes in a different type of Pokémon. So I created four entirely different songs, including a bonus track, and put them all together.

What song on the album are you most proud of?

Damn, now that’s a tough one (laughs). If I had to choose, it’ll have to be “Euphoria” ft. Dalas Armand. I’ve always liked songs that got personal and made you think, “Damn, I can relate to that line so much”. Those are the songs that have that longevity to them. Ten years from now someone can listen to that song, and in a sense, time travel to the first time they heard it, and be reminded of what they were going through back then. Making music that people can relate to is super important to me. I feel obligated to do it because maybe if someone hears the shit that I go through, then it’ll make them feel better about what’s going on in their lives and that it’s possible to turn their negatives into positives.

With female artists like Cardi B, Rhapsody, Rico Nasty, and more doing well in hip hop how do you feel about the state of women in rap?

I like what’s happening in Hip-Hop for female artists. It’s unfortunate that it took as long as it did, but progression takes time. It’s awesome to see more women in Hip-Hop are getting the shine and respect they deserve, and it makes me even more hopeful about my own career. It’s going to get even better as the years go by.

As someone labeled as a masculine woman attracted to women how does that effect your place in rap?

It’s definitely a challenge, to say the least. At times I’ll get overlooked because at first glance, a closed-minded individual would think, “Oh great, here’s another chick that thinks she’s a man tryna rap. She’s probably not even talkin’ about shit”. When ppl would see my name on a flyer and come out to a show, they thought that I was a guy off my name alone (laughs)! There was also a point at the beginning of my career where I didn’t let people know about my sexuality. The reason why is because I didn’t want to accept it myself. Here I am, already considered a conscious black female Hip-Hop artist that’s gonna get overlooked already, and I’m gay too??? Like woah, you’re doing too much, sis! But then I thought if I’m gonna share my personal life with everyone, why be ashamed of who I am and not share all of me?

What do you think about the representation of the LGBTQ community in hip-hop?

In 2018, it’s much different than how things were ten years ago. Now, there are more artists that are open about their sexuality in their music, and you can tell that it’s not just for publicity. Artists like Young M.A., Syd, Princess Nokia and Kehlani are needed right now. They let their listeners know that it’s okay to be different and to have the courage of being themselves, and for those that have a problem with it they can kiss their ass! We still have some ways to go, but to see how far we’ve come is dope as hell.

If there was any artist, dead or alive, you could work with who would it be?

It’ll have to be between Royce Da 5’9” and Big L. It’s inspiring to hear what Royce had to go through to get to the position he’s at now. Instead of glorifying drugs, money, and abusing women, he expresses how he’d rather be there for his kids and being faithful to his wife. You don’t get artists like that these days. That’s the kind of person I’d love to work with any day. On top of the fact that he’s one of the dopest emcees to ever touch a mic AND he’s from Detroit?!? I’d be crazy to not want to work with him! And Big L’s influence continues to live on. Even though he’s super slept on despite his passing, he’s up there with Biggie and Pac as one of the greats no doubt.

Where do you see yourself in a year?

Around this time next year, I plan on continuing working on my debut album, “Unpolished”. I plan on doing more shows out of state and out of the country, and recognized more for my craft throughout the country. My goal is to get out to Nepal and do some shows there because I’ve got a fan base growing out there and shit, why NOT go to Asia??? Next year, I plan on having even more people believe when I tell them that I’m one of the best femcees in this city. Nah, forget that IN THIS COUNTRY!

You can find Crimson’s music on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud

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