While scrolling down my timeline one night I ran across a link of an Emcee I’ve heard of. I clicked the Youtube link and was amazed at the raw, vibrant, lyrically skilled lady. As I dug deeper, I truly realized I genuinely respected her. It was love at first spit if you will. After checking out her album release party I got a chance to build with Michelle Amaryllis also know as Miss She Ill and was impressed by her passion, intellect and admiration for Hip Hop. Listened to the album and was blown away. The Whittier native/NY resident and I had a chance to chat, and I’m even a bigger fan now then when I first heard her rhyme. She is a breathe of fresh air.
(MM) Where did your name come from. What's the meaning behind Miss.She.Ill?
(Mish) I was always into art and graffiti, but was terrible at block letters. Color was my thing, so I was pretty much a filler. One night in high school, we were out throwing up a piece. We finished it and my boy calls me "Mish iLL" and that was kind of the running joke of the night. We got in the car and as we were talking about it, "Miss.She.iLL" came up. This was before I even started emceeing. Once I started taking it more seriously, I wanted to use something unique and original. Something completely me. That's exactly what it is, close to my first name, Michelle and representative of myself. It serves as motivation to be my best and live up to the name. It stands for M.ichelle I.s S.traight S.pittin S.killfully H.iphop E.mcee I.ntelligent L.yrical L.ady
(MM) What was the first song you heard where you told yourself, I wanna do that. What was the motivation for you to start rhyming?
(Mish) There wasn't a particular song that motivated me to start rhyming, but I do remember always hearing Lauryn Hill's verse on Ready or Not. She's really killin em softly... "so while you imitatin Al Capone, I'll be Nina Simone, and deficatin on your microphone"... the vocabulary, the delivery, the finesse. Feminine, yet tough.
(Mish) My real motivation to start rhymin was the intersection of music and poetry. I started emceeing when I realized I had the talent to deliver rhythmically what I was developing through my writing. More than anything though, it was knowing I had the ability to make others listen while I spoke.
(MM) In this era of indie artist/labels. What is your take on major labels. Do you have any personal experience with a major label?
(Mish) I like being independent. Major labels come with all these extras that are not always in tune with your personal artistic development. They tend to try and package or manipulate your art. I've had a few encounters with label affiliates. I've never been the type that easily digests people telling me what to do. I guess it just tends to be a conflict of interest.
(MM) As an artist what is your goal with your career? What's being a successful artist mean to you?
(Mish) My goal is to inspire, motivate, and influence others. Being a successful artist to me is keeping my authenticity and essence. As long as I continue to have fun, love what I do, and be proud of what I create, that's enough.
(MM) How would you define your style?
(Mish) Genuine. Raw. Good Vibes
(MM) Who are the three artist that motivate you the most. Like every time these artist drop a song, feature or album you buy it no questions asked?
(Mish) Common, Black Thought, & DJ Premier
(MM) What's you favorite song on the The Illtroduction and why?
(Mish) Homecooking, because it's so personal. It really captures the essence of where I come from and how I was raised. I can't say it's the best track on the album, but if I had to pick one, it's my favorite.
(MM) You mentioned in your diary on your website that you graduated from school (UCLA my alma mater) before pursuing your music career. Explain why that was important to you and what academic endeavors have helped you in your process? Also what your major was?
(Mish) I graduated UCLA in 2009 with a B.A. in International Development Studies and Political Science. I am currently finishing my graduate degree in International Communication at St. John's University. This is important to me, because being a student is a big part of my journey. I am a student of music as well and education is a priority to me. As a first generation college student and a woman coming from an immigrant family, breaking stereotypes and people's misconceptions was always something I was proud of. More importantly, I always wanted to better myself. I really enjoy learning, not only through formal education, but you will constantly find me reading books, watching documentaries and videos, diggin through records. You gotta have knowledge before you can form ideas and opinions. The rest comes from life experience.
(MM) If there was a movie character that would perfectly describe you who would it be?
(Mish) Sidney Shaw from Brown Sugar. I can get all philosophical and think of some other good ones, but in the most practical sense, every time I see that movie it's like seeing myself on the big screen. The only difference is I grew up on the West Coast. From her witty attitude, to her style of dress, to her skill of writing, and true love of hip hop, I can relate to her a lot. That's why I included a few of her clips from the movie on The iLL.troduction. They sounded like things I would say.
(MM) If you could describe your style as a sample what would it be? (For example I picked Bob James Nautilus - every time you hear it, it's just as dope as the first time you heard it.)
(Mish) I would say James Brown- "Funky Drummer"... raw, soulful, influential, good vibes, & important to hip hop.
Shouts to the West Coast, So Cal, Los Angeles and Whittier, but also Queens & NYC for holdin me down these past few. You can check me out at www.misssheill.com, www.misssheill.bandcamp.com, www.facebook.com/misssheill,www.soundcloud.com/misssheill, www.instagram.com/misssheill, www.twitter.com/misssheill