This Taiwanese-American Rapper is Kicking Stereotype Butt
Being a female rapper in a male-dominated music industry has not been easy, and the 33-year-old, who hails from Queens, New York, has worked hard enough to create a name for herself
Miss Ko is known to speak her mind through songs. From domestic violence, to racial discrimination and “horrible” pizza, the Taiwanese-American rapper-songwriter has weaved several real-life experiences in catchy melodies and upbeat work and earned worldwide fan following.
Being a female rapper in a male-dominated music industry has not been easy, and the 33-year-old, who hails from Queens, New York, has worked hard enough to create a name for herself. Ko can rap in both English and Chinese Mandarin and has three albums to her credit till date. She made the world sit up and take notice in 2012 when she won Best New Artist at the 24th Annual Golden Melody Awards, the Grammy’s of Taiwan, becoming the first rapper to ever win the gong. Living in New York, Ko was exposed to hip-hop music and culture at a young age. By high school, she knew how to sing and rap songs.
“My inspiration was Tupac Shakur’s Changes,” she says. When it comes to rapping, content is an important factor, Ko believes. However, she struggled with writing challenges like learning how to rhyme and transition from single to multi-syllable words. “I feel like music is for the ears. All you need to do is hear it and like it. Everything else is just propaganda,” she explains.
“Being able to evoke a certain emotion and relate with others and connect with different people. It’s a beautiful thing and very rewarding when you can do it effectively,” says Ko, who is busy working on her fourth album.
“ It’ll be my 4th so I’m going to switch up the language and flip it from Chinese back to English as opposed to English to Chinese, which was my first album. Everything comes full circle,” she adds.
Ko, a follower of Rhythm and Rap style, structures words in a rhythmic fashion over a beat, using her voice as an instrument.
“ I tend to lean more towards jazz productions but also enjoy fusing elements of funk, soul, house as well. I’ll sometimes include a melody and add harmonies too. I believe that’s why my songs are considered catchy. I use a lot of rhyme and rhythm, experimenting with various melodies and flow until I find the perfect one. I feel like an architect in that sense, designing a song and painting a story using rhymes,” concludes Ko.