RH Interview: Chimeka, The Chicago Unicorn

RH Interview: Chimeka, The Chicago Unicorn

Chimeka is a Chicago-based artist with a message for the world. Self-described as a “unicorn”, “renaissance rapper”, and future “Hip-Hop Quincy Jones”, she steps out onto the Hip-Hop/ Rap scene and lays her heart on the line to inspire her listeners to going beyond the normal. Her career began as “Chin Chilla Meek” and “Murda Meek” in 2009. Her skills have earned her the support of other Chicago-based rappers like Shawnna, King Louie, and multi-platinum producer Toxic on her project It Feels Good to be Great (2012). Formally rapping as her real name, Chimeka brings “Champagne Showers”, “Elevator Music,” and “Netflix” at time where Chicago is bossing up. Her music reminds me of the fun, sexy, tough, on-site records Hip-Hop has heard in Shawnna and Da Brat, so Chimeka is for sure to gain popularity outside of Chicago. In May 2018, Chimeka showcased her first headlining show at Subterranean where her unique tickets were metaphorical bags of “coke” (they were just bags of flour!) The interview was conducted in her home studio, where I could tell she is most encouraged to write as her unicorn persona. This interview was authentic, revolutionary, funny, and full of gems. In her own words, “I’m just an old soul! Some songs are concept songs that are meant to teach you, like drop little jewels, but I tell people all the time I drop jewels but I’m not going to force nobody to get rich! Get to know Chimeka below!

rubyhornet: Hi Meek! I want to start off by understanding who you are and the type of music you create?

Chimeka: I’m Chimeka! I’m a unicorn, formally known as “Chin Chilla Meek” or “Murda Meek.” I am a product of Chicago by way of Los Angeles. I’m an 80’s baby so I spit out luxurious crack music. (laughs)

rubyhornet: I noticed that you changed your name after some time as “Chin Chilla Meek”. What inspired that change–almost like a re-branding yourself?

Chimeka: I’m a little older than a lot of other female artist in the Chicago scene right now and I felt like it was time for me to put “Murda Meek” side away. I had to kind of mature in my music. I didn’t want to put on a costume every time I stepped on stage. I just always wanted to be me and not have it categorized, you know? For example, “Chinchilla Meek” was this really cliché aggressive Chicago rap, and that’s not me 24 hours. So, I would rather give you Chimeka and if I decide to turn that on, I’ll let you know. I love doing that on stage, like “ok y’all now I get to be Murder Meek now, I get to do some rapping shit now.”

rubyhornet: You mentioned that you are a little older than a lot of other female Chicago rappers and maturing in your music. Do you feel like it’s a lot of pressure within the Chicago industry?

Chimeka: I don’t feel like it’s a lot of pressure because there aren’t that many girls that rap the way I do. It’s just the means of finding my target demographic where my sound is desired. Like how wine is an acquired taste, everyone don’t want to hear female rappers rap. However, in my space I feel like I dominated. There is no other girl that can come in the studio and do what I do, period, I don’t care. (laughs)

rubyhornet: Was that process of re-branding yourself in the middle of your career hard?

Chimeka: Naw! It was actually when I was on the verge of saying fuck it. It was a time when music wasn’t going to go away, but just not be my focus. I was debating whether I was going to continue to do it. Again, it was a reason why I had to let that stage name go–because it drives you crazy! I was living in these two worlds: in one of them you’re supposed to be this rapper. You’re supposed to be luxurious and have this money, be able to talk shit. In real life that was not going on!

rubyhornet: In a way, re-branding yourself gave you motivation to go harder?

Chimeka: Yes, it gave me space to be creative because I didn’t have to fall into these four walls of “Chinchilla Meek”

rubyhornet: Have you had a mentor during your career that contributed to your music, supported you, or lifted you up?

Chimeka: I’ve been in contact with any and everybody that is somebody important in Chicago. Everybody in Complex [studios] is the super big homies. You got Murk who’s like a revolving door in the Chicago industry. As far as gatekeepers, you got KX whose recorded everybody. The homie Toxic who is lowkey behind “Bodak Yellow”, that shit was created right here–they have the plaques in the office. My man Law he teaches me! He has helped me create this new melodic sound and allows me to be more comfortable. It’s very important for people to acknowledge their producers!

rubyhornet: As far as the production process, do you have full autonomy over your sound?

Chimeka: I always arraign my own shit–my own melodies and everything. This one here [producer, Law] helps structure a lot of songs. He always has input on the way we format a lot shit. Sometimes, if he sits here and let me do all the shit I want to. It’ll be 15 billion takes on a track. (laughs). Law and I have solely been behind all my music besides other producers giving tracks. The body of the music are these two.

rubyhornet: How do you balance your different personal traits with your performance image and private life

Chimeka: It’s crazy with using my real name, there is no balance it’s just complete transparency. I allow my viewers and listeners into my real world so there are no blurred lines, you already know you’re getting what’s given. I don’t want my listeners to have to expect differently from if they ever met me or encountered me in real life.

rubyhornet: Do you have any artist that you are musical inspired by? Is there a musical capacity that you are trying to reach or surpass?

Chimeka: I want to get as big as big can get! If there is ever a rapper Beyoncé or I don’t know, J. Cole– I want to be the girl that everyone says like “she’s the rapper”. I make more than just rap music, so I want people to understand that I will be the Hip-Hop Quincy Jones out here! (laughs). I want to go down as a legend in real life. I want to be remembered as an icon. I tell people all the time that I don’t want to be just a local rapper with a couple of hits. I want production deals, I want my music to go in movies, like every fucking thing! I have so many dreams and aspirations, it sounds so crazy!

rubyhornet: That’s so great to hear! I know that you started your “Don’t Do Coke” campaign, can you talk about how it started and how you incorporate that message in your music?

Chimeka: “Don’t Do Coke” is actually my little marketing agency. It’s my little baby. We’re not major but we host our own events. It’s one event that we did called Camp Smokey Bear. It was the first all Hip-Hop festival on the South Side. It was sponsored by myself. We had over 1500 people come out for our first one. We sold out in general admission the first five days, it was crazy! We were approved by the [Chicago] park district so now we are officially an annual festival. All of my campaigns were rolled out by “Don’t Do Coke”, like, we did a show called “Don’t Do Coke: Live” at Subterranean. We did an event called “Peace and a Movie”, which was the video release for Champagne Showers. We are just a collective of Chicago creatives that want to implement different strategies for social media marketing to increase awareness about Chicago culture.

rubyhornet: What’s next for Chimeka? What’s next for your music, your artwork, and brand?

Chimeka: I’m trying not to lose my brain! We’re working on dropping this EP “Crazy” that’ll be the second installment of a three-part Crazy, Sexy, Cool series. Sexy is the last part but I’m not telling anyone when I’m dropping it. I could probably drop it in February on some cliché love type shit. The first installment was “Cool” which featured “Elevator Music” and “Champagne Showers.” It’s Crazy, Sexy, Cool, because it’s the identity of the unicorn that you can never say what it is or that it’s real because you’ve never seen it.  I’m doing Sunny Woods and Friends: Presented by Twista and MMG on November 23rd. Following that I’m doing Hot Rod: Live at Promontory in December. And of course, I would like everyone to check out the “Cool” EP.

 

Be sure to check out Chimeka music streaming on Youtube, Soundcloud, and Spotify. Follow her on Instagram at @chimeka_ or Twitter at @_MurdaMeek. She has a performance at Cairo Ale House on November 23rd.#CoolEP dropping December 18th!

Athena Paige