*This interview originally appeared on SooDetroit.com, November, 2015.
I’m exhausted. Why? I’ve literally—well, figuratively, been chasing Kash Doll for a year to do this interview. Late last year, when the SooDetroit staff collectively decided that doing cover stories was the next proper move, I already had in mind who I wanted as the subject for the cover story. Seemed like a no-brainer to me— and everyone else on the team thought so, too.
After our inaugural cover story with Dusty McFly dropped last winter, I quickly focused my attention on Kash Doll. There were talks between her and the SooDetroit staff for weeks and weeks, and things were really coming into play—and then—everything stopped. The upcoming months were intriguing, to say the least—Kash Doll’s stock got bigger. She released a couple of bangers (“Run Me My Money” and “Accurate”, respectively), landed movie roles, and her Birthday Bash damn near brought the entire city out to come celebrate with her. Meanwhile, I was doing a terrible impersonation of Wile E. Coyote to Kash Doll’s Roadrunner. Simply put, I couldn’t catch her for shit.
A year and four cover stories later, I finally received a text saying that she was finally ready to do an interview with us. I was exhausted before the interview even started. Like I said, it’s been a fucking year! My boss shot me Kash Doll’s direct line, and after being amused for a good ten minutes of watching hilarious Drake “Hotline Bling” memes, I decided to give Kash Doll, who’s real name reads: Arkeisha Knight, a phone call.
Kash Doll: Hello?
Me: Hi, is this Kash Doll?
Kash Doll: Oh, hell nah. You ‘bout to get hung up on calling and addressing me like that.
Kash Doll: [Laughs hysterically.] I’m fuckin’ with you. What’s up, boo?
Me: [Laughs nervously.] Dog, you had me worried for a minute.
After a few more seconds of hearing Kash Doll laugh at my expense, we were ready to do the interview. One thing I learned about Kash is that she likes to laugh—a lot! She wasn’t anything like I had envisioned her to be—she was better. I usually approach each interview with a distinctive presumption of how each subject will be during the interview process. It’s a way to help me wane off any building anxiety or tension that occurs before I engage in any dialogue with the person(s) I’m interviewing. Aside from being humorous, she was very candid, and displayed a rawness that was genuinely earnest. Her and I talked like we had known each other for years, she has a welcoming quality about her—that’s just one of her amazing attributes. The 20-something-year-old (she refuses to disclose her exact age. “Mid-twenties”, she says.) has been making a name for herself over the past couple years. She was already notoriously known amongst her city of Detroit way before she laid down a verse. Kash Doll has an interesting past, but an even more interesting future.
This year she plans on dropping her highly anticipated mixtape, Keisha vs. Kash Doll, a week before Christmas. Not to mention, all the power moves she’s been making in not just music, but film, fashion, and running her own business (Kash Doll has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management). She’s a young mogul in the making. I know a lot of people have their share of opinions (read: criticism) about her, which she is highly aware of. But on this day, she sits down with SooDetroit to discuss those opinions, her views on women in hip-hop, her dating life, and her responsibility of being a role model for young women everywhere. This is what being Kash Doll is like.
So, I’ve heard somewhere that your rap career got jumpstarted when someone paid you do to a freestyle? Is that true?
Nobody paid me to do a freestyle. Me and Dex Osama, we had went into the studio because I told him I wanted to rap, and we did it. Then somebody paid me to do my first feature after that. So after I did the feature, I did the “2 On” remix , and that’s how that took off.
Who were some of your rap influences coming up?
Trina, Foxy brown, Nicki [Minaj] of course.
Speaking of Trina, you’re often compared to her a lot. Do the comparisons bother you or is it something that you relish in?
I don’t care. Long as they ain’t disrespect me and compare me to some nobodies, I’m cool. I mean, I don’t get intimidated by the comparisons. I think that’s a good thing for me. Like, to be so new in the game, and get compared to people who have already made their mark, and who’s footsteps I’m going to actually have to follow in—even though I don’t try to be nobody [else], I’m just doing my thing. It’s really a drought on female rappers—shit, mostly everybody had done the same thing, you know what I’m saying? I’m honored to be compared to the people they compare me to, actually. But I wouldn’t say it’s just Trina who they compare me to. It’s a mixture. I wouldn’t say it’s mainly her. It’s a lot of them, but I’m not tripping on either one.
Explain some of the misconceptions about you. It seems someone is always saying this or that about you. What is something said often about you that is totally false?
People are just stupid. The biggest misconception? People thinking I’m arrogant, because of how I flash. I’m flashy—that don’t mean I’m arrogant, that’s just fun to me. It’s a hobby to me. What’s a hobby to you? What do you like doing, sir?
Wait, so you’re interviewing me now? [Laughs.]
Yeah, I’m in a good mood. So what is it that you like doing?
[Laughs.] Shit. As far as being flashy is concerned?
Nah, it’s not about being flashy. I’m asking what is something you like doing everyday.
Well, doing this is what I live for. Writing is my thing.
Right. So just picture me telling you that you’re arrogant because you enjoy writing all day.
My answer was lame as fuck. [Laughs.]
[Laughs.] But seriously, how the fuck you gon’ tell me I’m arrogant because I like finer things, and I like wearing it?
Word. I understand what you mean.
I’m not looking down on anyone, I just like the finer things in life. There are people out there that just don’t like the finer things. It could be people out there with more money than me that wouldn’t even buy the type of shit that I buy, you know what I’m saying? Some people just don’t like it, [but] how you gonna fault me for liking it?
I just think some people are envious of others who acquire things they feel is out of their reach. Not saying it’s impossible for them to achieve those things too, it’s just some people will not put forth the effort.
Right, because it’s easier to hate instead of getting up and actually getting it on your own.
I can’t do nothing but be me.
Right. Ok, so, it’s no secret that you used to be a dancer or exotic dancer—whatever you want to call it. Do you feel that the dancing portion of your life, has in ways, made it hard for people to actually take you serious as a legit artist?
Not no more. At first it was, but after awhile, you can’t do nothing but respect it. You gotta respect talent. You can’t deny it. You just can’t deny it! You got people that don’t know nothing about me dancing. Only Detroit, I’m sure will remind everybody that [I used to dance], but it’s people who don’t know about me dancing [that are] fans of my music. You can’t deny talent. You can’t deny what I have going on. You can try to throw that [dancing thing] up, but ok, everybody has done something in life—people have been to jail, people have sold dope. Look at Jay-Z, you know what I’m saying? You can’t try to put me down. That was just a steppingstone for me. It got me known in my city, but once I started dropping records, I stopped [dancing]. I did what I had to do. You can’t say I danced no longer than 2 years. But, like I said, I did it, I got out of it. I had a mission I had to accomplish. I’m proud of myself. I’m never ashamed of that, and I know what I’ve done. But you know how it is. People are always gonna have something to say regardless.
It comes with the territory. You’re very sure and secure of yourself, but I just know that negative stuff used to bother you, right?
I ain’t gon’ front, at first it did used to get to me. But now it’s like “Fuck you, Daryl!” [Laughs.]
Now, I just put my middle finger up, or I don’t indulge in none of that. ‘Cause like, what you feed will grow, so I just don’t even feed off into it. I starve that shit, and I feed my positivity. I put all my attention off into that—not that other shit. But whatever.
Hip-hop is the only genre in music where double standards seem like the norm. Women in hip-hop aren’t viewed as just artist. They’re labeled as “female rappers”, where in other forms of music, women are just looked at as musicians for their respected craft. It feels like women in hip-hop always have to proved that they belong here. What are your views on women in hip-hop? Do you feel any pressure?
No. I don’t even look at it like that. It’s like all the guy artist that I’ve come across really respect me, and what I have going on. I haven’t come across anything that made me feel like it’s harder for me. It’s been a breeze so far. It’s been fun, you know? I seen DJ Mustard and he’s like, “I really fuck with your movement.” I’m like, “Oh, cool. That’s what’s up. I didn’t even know that you knew what I was doing.” So, I don’t even see it being something hard. People say that, but I guess I’ll learn as I go. [Pauses.] Only thing that I can say that is harder for females is, women just can’t get up and go. We gotta do this, we gotta do that, so we’re a little slower in that regard. I’m not about to come around a group of people…and, it’s like you said, it is a male-dominated industry, so I’m not about to come around a lot of males and my makeup is not done, my hair is not done, and stuff like that. I have to get ready. That’s the only thing I say is more pressure for females than guys, because we just can’t get up and go [like y’all]. I just can’t get up and do a video. There’s wardrobe, there’s hair, and makeup. You have to have a certain type of makeup person there, because you want to look a certain type of way. To me that’s the only problem. Other than talent, just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you’re better than me.
Yeah, most definitely. Gender means nothing in regards to talent. There are a lot of women in this game that are just as cold, if not, colder than male MC’s out here.
Exactly. Thank you, thank you. I appreciate you for saying that.
No problem. Ok, so what’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day when I’m not working?
But you’re always working, though. [Laughs.] I just meant, what’s a regular day like for Kash Doll?
Regular day for me? Shit, well, I’m always working. There’s a lot of photoshoots, video shoots, interviews, meet and greets with fans, studio…man, I’m always working. When I have time, I go to the mall with my dogs, Texting my best friend. [Laughs.] Um, shit, thinking about how I’m gonna be looking cute. [Laughs.] Thinking about how I’m about to post a picture and it go viral on the internet—shit like that.
Your Instagram be slapping something crazy.
Yeah, IG be crazy. They don’t be playing. I love IG.
—Oh, and Snapchat. How the fuck I leave Snapchat out? Like, if you really wanna get the behind the scenes, you gotta follow me on Snapchat.
I haven’t got into the whole Snapchat wave yet.
Aww, man. You need a Snapchat. I’m always thinking of some fly shit and looking cute or whatever. Masterminding the business.
Do you feel like it’s hard to sustain relationships in the position that you’re in now? I’m not just talking about relationships with your significant other, but I mean with family and friends as well.
It do get like that, because people that know you and that are close to you, they even start acting differently. Even though they know I love them. I don’t know what it is. But everyone that’s in my circle is one hundred percent real, so it’s not hard for me, because if it is a problem, then we talk about it and move forward—instead of it being a problem, and they’re keeping it bottled up, and then they explode, then I’m like, what the fuck? But it don’t get like that no more. I’m over that stage. My circle is so tight right now. You can’t affect me, if I don’t care about you. The people I do care about, if they got a problem, they say something to me and we fix it. Sometimes they’ll be like, “Oh, it took you forever to text me back.” Well, bitch, I’m sorry.
[Laughs.] I’m playin’, but goddammit, what do you want me to do? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I’m texting you today, so what the fuck it up? [They’re like] “Nah, bitch. I don’t feel like talking to you today.” Well, call me tomorrow when you get over that shit. [Laughs.]
People are really into their feelings these days.
Right. People are quick to say you’re changing, but if you really love me, you’ll definitely understand whats going on, you know?
Oh, for sure. Well, speaking of relationships. Is it hard to approach Kash Doll and ask her out on a date? Like, what’s your ideal date?
You know what’s crazy? Men don’t ask me out. Don’t nobody ever just come to me and just be like, “Can I get your number?” They always wanna go through people [to get to me]. I think they be scared.
It’s that intimidation factor coming into play.
They be intimidated by a real nigga. I’m a real nigga.
That response causes Kash Doll’s best friend to burst into laugher in the background.
[Laughs.] My best friend in here. She get’s on my nerves. But no one ever walks up to me and asks me out on a date. The crazy part is that dudes that are on my level be the most intimidated. It’s the niggas that are not on my level that just walk right up to me and be like, “Hey, what’s your number?” [Laughs.]
Hey dudes have to shoot their shot. You can’t pass up on an opportunity when it’s right there in front of you.
This one nigga got out of the passenger side of his friend’s car, got out, walked over to me and said, “Can I get your number?” This dude had the raggedest shoes on. I’m like, “Do you actually think you have a chance?” [Laughs.] Shit, I don’t know what it is. Dudes that I actually, you know, take serious, they never got ahold of me just by walking up to me themselves. I don’t know.
Dudes are going to read this interview, and probably will be taking all types of notes on how to get at you. [Laughs.] Ok, moving along. When you were growing up, was rapping something you always wanted to do?
Oh, I always wanted to be a rapper when I was coming up. I wanted to be a singer. I used to watch J-Lo and Beyoncé and always wanted to be like them. I just never thought that I could. I always thought I looked good enough, but just not good enough to be in the spotlight. I just never thought that. It was something that was on my mind. Something I thought was my dream, but I was like, I’m just gonna try to settle and just do this, or some other stuff instead. I always wanted to be an actress—I wanted to be an entertainer. I just don’t want to be a rapper.
Yeah, no one wants to be one-dimensional.
Right. I don’t want that one lane. I want all of them. This is all fun for me.
Speaking of acting, you were in Buffed Up. How you feel about that whole experience?
Man, that was great. I loved it. Remember, you forgot that I did 2Eleven as well. I did both of them. Buffed Up was dope. Both films served different purposes. 2Eleven was more of a drama. I got to act mad and throw my nigga out—which wasn’t really acting because I do that shit for real.
[Laughs.] I bet.
[Laughs.] You know what I mean? Buffed Up was a comedy, so I got to show my silly side. You know what? I could really be a comedian.
That’s for damn sure.
[Laughs.] I’m serious. I could be a comedian. But Buffed Up was fun. We cracked jokes all day on set.
I could see you with your own reality show on VH1.
Nah, I don’t need no reality show, because they ain’t gonna watch nothing else. They’re gonna be waiting for me to come out. They’re gonna be like, “Let me see what this motherfucka is up to today.” Because, it’s like, everyday I’m always up to something—it’s crazy. Ask Joseph [McFashion], he’s always around me saying that I bring him so much life.
Talk about being in the studio with Timbaland. That was such a huge look. What was it like meeting him?
Man, Timbaland is so humbled. He’s so cool. I can see why all the legends or all the people on his level are so blessed and humbled. They respect what’s new. They respect the new era. They respect the new wave, and they don’t be like, “Nah, y’all gotta do it like this, because this is how we used to do it.” They understand the new wave. [Timbaland] likes my music. He was so shocked because I did something to one of his beats before. I did [Ginuwine’s] “Pony” beat.
That beat so classic.
That’s a classic beat. I did a song called “304” to his beat. He heard it and actually loved it. He’s telling me, “Oh, so you actually like my stuff?” I’m like, “Yeah!” We were in the studio chopping it up, and later on, he sent me some beats. Man, I’m just working.
I see that, but what is up with this new music, though? When are you gonna drop a project?
Man, I’m dropping a ‘tape [on] December 18th. The world will stop. The world will stop that day. [Laughs.] Yes! It’s about-to-go-the-fuck-down. I’m doing it independently. I don’t need no major. People been reaching out, but I’m trying to get bigger before I sign with something. I don’t want nobody taking anything away from me.
Yeah, you have to create your own brand first, but if the money is right, then what?
If the money right, yeah, but if I create my own brand then they can’t do nothing but come with the money right. I don’t even want them coming to me with the stuff they come to other people with right now. You feel me?
I feel you. So, who would you like to work with more than anyone in the industry?
Explain why her?
Man, what? That’s my bitch! I love Rihanna. [Laughs.]
[Laughs.] Have y’all met yet?
Nope, but I can’t wait. That’s like my dream to work with Rihanna.
That would be big.
Hell yeah. But, you know, I’m not just the type of person that just wants to work with people. I want to earn my way to work with Rhianna, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and people like that. I want to earn it.
No hand outs.
Yeah, because it means so much more. They understand your craft and know where you come from. You just didn’t pay them for a verse or to be a part of something. They actually want to work with you because they respect you.
Alright, I feel this next question is very important to ask you. You know a lot of young girls look up to you, right? My question is, do you feel a sense of having an obligation, or better yet, a responsibility because your in the public eye, and they watch your every move?
You know what? Yeah, I do. I have a responsibility to all my fans. I can’t let them down. They’re really looking at me to make it. I give them hope. I want to be motivation to them. They actually get to see someone who came from nothing. People have watched me grow. It wasn’t like a bitch just got on—no, they actually saw me come up. Working at Little Caesars to Best Buy to being a dancer to stop dancing to becoming a rapper and doing movies. They actually seen it. I just can’t let these people down, you know what I’m saying? I would feel like shit. So, yes, I feel like it’s a big responsibility, but it’s fun. They love me for who I am, and that’s good thing. They just don’t love me for something else, but for who I am. I got a big responsibility, but I’m good. I’m not gonna let them down.