LightSkinKeisha, also referred to as Big Bank Beisha, is arguably one of the hottest rappers out of Atlanta in 2020. Though her pseudonym has caused quite the colorism controversy amongst the Black community and her sexy lyrics may have made a few people a bit more uncomfortable than the doctor prescribed, the 26-year-old Clones artist has been dropping tracks, minding her business and collecting her coin – as she should. The “Spend Sum Cash” and “Believe Dat” femcee has undeniably come a long way in her career from living out of her car to make ends meet and dropping her first official single “Weather” and is now starring alongside Michael Rainey, Jr. and Mary J. Blige as Brushaundria Carmichael on Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s executive produced hit series, Power.
I had the opportunity to chop it up with the Atlanta bred “Get In Dea” raptress over the course of a 45-minute phone conversation to talk about hypersexuality in the music industry, the impact of Breonna Taylor’s death on the state of Black women’s mental health and her role on STARZ’s hit show, Power Book II: Ghost. Check out our conversation below!
HYPE HAIR: When did you know that music was your passion and something you wanted to pursue professionally?
LIGHTSKINKEISHA: Honestly, I’ve always had a big love for music. When I was a little girl and younger, even in middle school, I used to listen to a lot of old school music, and I went through a period of time where I was kind of a computer geek because that was back when MySpace was poppin’, so I used to know how to enter the codes and literally create websites. With that being said, the finishing touch was always going to be the music that belonged on either the website or the MySpace page. Back then, there were so many different websites where you can stream free music, and I used to research so much different music.
When I was younger, we used to have a real nice studio in my house, and I’ve been around music for pretty much all of my life. When I actually dropped a song, and I saw the reaction that I got from it and people saying, “Hey, you need to continue to drop more music,” that’s when I thought I could do this because, of course, I was nervous dropping my first record and I used to just drop stuff randomly. When I dropped the record “Weather,” that’s when I got one of my biggest responses, and it hit like a million streams on SoundCloud. I didn’t even know what I was doing.
HH: How did watching hip-hop and R&B heavy-hitters influence your taste in music and personal style?
KEISHA: Like I said, I’m an old soul, so it’s a vibe to me. I love R&B music even though I’m a rapper. R&B music I could never get tired of [and] it’s always gonna stick around. I’m into the Donnell Jones, the Carl Thomas, the Luther Vandross, Brian McKnight and stuff like that. Even during that period of time when I was discovering new music, I was discovering country music, rock music, all types of different music and different sounds. Obviously, it had an influence on the type of music I make today. Growing up, you see female rappers, the domination, the styles and the flows. As a little girl, when you’re watching a female, especially a Black female, so powerful and beautiful, it just gives you some inspiration to say, “Hey, I can do that, too. I’m Black, she’s Black, and she’s a superstar.” I remember we used to go crazy over Destiny’s Child and fight over who was who. I always wanted to be Beyonce because that was my birthday twin (laughs). Even when it came to The Cheetah Girls and who was going to be Raven Symone.
With women being brave like Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Nicki Minaj, Trina – these women have been dominating the rap game as well as going against the grain and paving the way for female rappers like myself. They’re doing whatever they wanna do; they’re being sexy and confident. When you’re a little girl, and you’re looking at that, you’re going to gain some type of inspiration. Cardi B has a big voice and an amazing personality, so of course, that’s going to give someone like me inspiration because I feel like I have a big personality, I’m goofy, I’m silly, but I can really rap. Seeing her come up had a huge influence on me because it’s just amazing to see.
HH: You touched on a lot of very prominent Black female rappers. How do you believe the treatment of Black women, specifically in hip-hop and rap, has changed or evolved over time, if at all?
KEISHA: Well, I will say this. In today’s society, I’m so thankful to be part of this whole female rap domination era and how we’re really running the hip-hop industry right now because at one point in time, people would say, “oh, we don’t wanna hear that,” or “we don’t want to hear female rap,” “y’all are annoying and don’t know what to rap about.” Still to this day, you have people who say that female rappers rap about the same thing, but that’s not the case because we can say the same thing about the guys. I feel like we all have our different styles, flows, swags, and even if we rap about similar things, this is all stuff that we could relate to. For years, we’ve been hearing the guys speak, and this time, it’s important for the women to speak, have a voice and for everyone to tune in. This is history that we’re making, and 10 years from now, I can say, “I was part of that generation of Black female rappers coming up.” There are so many of us, and everyone is doing amazing and breaking barriers.
HH: Do you think that today in 2020, Black female rappers are getting the respect and homage they deserve?
KEISHA: To a certain extent. The fans are always going to go hard for us because they’re in love with us. At the end of the day, though, a Black female rapper, or a Black woman artist period, has it harder than really anybody else in the industry or anyone in this world. We have to do a lot, and we’re looked down upon for certain things versus what other races may do. We have to fit into this certain criteria; people body shame us, people come for us just because we’re Black, people come for what we say and how we act just because we’re Black. I’ve been told plenty of times before, “she’s too ghetto,” and you have people out here that’s appropriating my ghetto-ness. It’s okay when they do it, but because I’m a Black female and that’s who I am, it comes off ghetto, and it’s not okay. That’s why I say ‘to a certain extent,’ but at the end of the day, we have to rise above it all, and we always do.
HH: You mentioned that Black women specifically have to work a lot harder, and with recent events surrounding Megan Thee Stallion, it truly demonstrated that Black women are unprotected in the industry. How do you believe the industry can do a better job of protecting Black women?
KEISHA: I feel like it’s gonna have to start with the men first. Black women have to be so much stronger than others. Think about when Black women are pregnant, we’re bringing children into the world, and the doctors don’t listen, or how Black women have a higher percentage of having miscarriages or [stillborns]. It starts there when we’re bringing life into the world, and people judge us off the rip because we’re women and we’re Black. With the situation with Meg, it’s very unfortunate, and everyone has to realize this is a Black woman who was hurt. Regardless of what the truth is, she was hurt. Anybody that’s not standing up, speaking out to defend her, be on her side and realize what she’s going through, I don’t really have the words because it’s insane. I met Meg maybe a year and a half, or two, ago, and this was before she really blew up. Somebody had passed away from her family, and I remember being like, “wow, she’s dealing with that, but she still has to go out there and put out a performance.” To the world, all they see is the performance, and the whole time, she’s dealing with personal stuff. To see that she’s dealing with personal tragedies, still getting up, putting her heels and makeup on to go out there and perform in front of thousands of people, that’s brave. To see the situation she’s going through now and to see people doubting her side is insane because they have no idea what it’s like to be in her shoes. I love Meg, I’m praying for her wellbeing, and I’m praying for her peace of mind.
HH: Speaking of unfortunate situations, I want to speak with you about the lack of justice when it came to Breonna Taylor’s case. How do you feel right now as a Black woman beyond being an artist?
KEISHA: I feel like the world does not protect Black women; I don’t feel protected. The only time I feel protected is when I’m with my boyfriend, but I don’t feel like Black women as a whole are protected. That situation is very disappointing, and honestly, sometimes I get emotional thinking about it because you have this innocent Black woman who’s trying to beat the odds, goes to join the force, tries to fight for our country and stand for something because they say, “Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” and she joined them. She tried to protect and serve because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re signing up to be a police officer. The fact of the matter is no officer was charged for her death; they’re charged for the bullets that were missed. The man who got a $15,000 bond, bonded right out – and guess what they’re going to do. They’re going to protect him [and] each and every officer that was involved, but when it comes to Black women, who the hell is going to protect us?
This country has failed her. The police [are] not protecting and serving every citizen in this country. They’re not protecting and serving Black people, and they’re damn sure not protecting and serving Black women. The system is corrupt and set up for us to fail. I could go on and on. The Black community was more so not surprised. Everybody knew that this was coming because this a trend [and] this is what they do. I don’t blame people for being upset. Black people, we’re tired. Same goes for Sandra Bland and everybody else. We’re fed up, and it becomes disappointing when the system’s not protecting us, the country’s not protecting us, and even our own Black men aren’t protecting us sometimes. We protect everybody else, but who’s protecting us?