A Daughter of Berkeley, Shy'an G Is Poised to Put On For the Bay

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On a Sunday morning in Oakland, Shy’an G, quietly spoke about the familial and regional influences on her latest EPs The Reset, a creative project that engulfed listeners throughout 5 tracks on her growth and development as an artist. Family is a vital point for strength for the young MC who has been covered in local publications such as East Bay Express and KQED Arts for her latest project, after a two year break from I Just Need A Minute, her first EP, released in 2017. The daughter of two local artists, her ability to paint illustrations in rap originated from her lineage of grandparents, featured on The Reset’s cover as a reminder of the legacy she hopes to build upon.

“I just needed a minute because I was going through a whole bunch of crazy stuff and it was stuff that I didn't really need to deal with” Shy’an G says. “I tried to create a life for myself that I thought I was supposed to live and it turned out to just explode in front of my face, it just took me right back to the beginning. So I just need a minute to kind of figure out where did I go wrong?”

During her absence from music she experienced periods of unemployment. and disrespect from peers. But instead of allowing outsiders to narrate her journey, Shy’an G took ownership of her experiences and funneled those energies into The Reset. She called upon her team of local producers; Yajj, Money Maka, M6 and ManiOnThisThang, and returned to YR Media’s Remix Your Life  (formerly known as Youth Radio), the artist development program that provided her with writing workshops to strengthen her talent and produce a transformative project that would re-introduce her artistry to the Bay area rap scene. “ It's really funny that you know it’s the reset because I went back to the place where it started to create something called the reset,” Shy’an G says.

A disciple of the conscious rap tradition, “Go Off,”draws upon the spirituality of Nina Simone to speak to power about social inequalities and truth of our current realities as Black people in this white supremacist capitalist state over a Money Maka beat. “Top Down,” the EP’s single, paid tribute to ManiOnThisThang, one of the project’s producers who tragically lost his life this year.

“Working on that just writing for that beat that he did because he was on the verge of becoming a game changer, you know only 17 years old. Just doing it. You know. And accomplishing a lot more than a lot of other producers who are older than him. He was really changing the game up, he has so much skill. And he's also somebody who I looked at as someone who lived his best life too” Shy’an G says.

Living her best life means the removal of barriers and people who attempted to hinder her from embracing the creativity of her artistry in the rap game. Every word on The Reset is intentionally placed with the objective of Shy’an G’s power and wisdom at mind. Reminiscent of her musical influences of Lauryn Hill, Talib Kweli, and womxn rappers in the Bay Area, this is the definitive project that broke Shy’an G out of her shell. From a young AAU basketball player to an emerging socially conscious rapper, she credits the numerous womxn rappers in the Bay Area who mentored her, and contributed to the development of an innovative sound heard throughout The Reset. The latest in a legacy of womxn rappers taking control of the narrative around their artistry, Shy’an G aims to gain respect in an industry where patriarchal mentality and stereotypes have siloed MC’s due to their gender.

A student of Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Monie Love, Rah Digga, and Missy Elliot; Shy’an G possesses an awareness of the complexities within the female rap tradition, and emphasizes unficiation between womxn in rap, especially in the Bay Area. “I want to present an alternative, I got love for all of my Black sisters out there winning I just want to the media to know that this does not have to be the only image that is projected”, Shy’an G said in an interview with East Bay Express. Embedded within her discography are affirmations towards her community of Black womxn who made supported her vision, and laid the foundation for her success.Her hope for the future of Bay Area Hip-Hop is to invoke the spirit of The Conscious Daughters, a womxn Hip-Hop duo from East Oakland who gained regional acclaim in the 1990s, to the current roster of womxn rappers in the Bay.

“If I ever get to the point where I'm well known enough and I meet the current ladies of the Bay Area holding it down I just wanna tell them like thank you. Thank you and can we please continue to grow? Can we continue to let people know that we can hold our own as well as the dudes out here. I just want women to be valued better in Hip-Hop, specifically in Bay Area Hip-Hop too,” Shy’an G says.

Deep seated within her rhythms, in between the 808s and layered productions, are tiny hints of a socially conscious prophet emerging through to listeners. A daughter of Berkeley, Shy’an G encompasses the historical foundations of regional and national conscious womxn rap tradition, yet draws upon new underground sounds to produce EPs that display the beginnings of an emergent pioneer.