Take a look at social media or social justice in 2018, and it’s clear that Gen Z is positioned to change the world. Take a look at Kodie Shane—a 19-year-old rapper from Atlanta with a penchant for Rick Owens and writing lyrics that don’t hold anything back—and you’ll begin to see how she’s part of the movement too. “My generation is awake and going crazy—it’s exciting,” Shane tells us.
In many ways, Shane may be far and beyond where most young entertainers are today (let alone teens). She was creating music for a long time before she ever made it official—“I just had everything in my head,” she explains—and eventually put her heartfelt lyrics and bouncy rhythms together for something more serious. “I was 15 when I really wrote it down. It was then when I realized I had a passion for it.” Cut to a few years later when Shane found herself as the first and only female member of Lil Yachty’s Sailing Team and released her first mixtape, Big Trouble Little Jupiter.
Fortunately, Shane had a little bit of help, as well as passion, to her make her dream a reality. Her family tree is filled with fellow music successes, including her sister, Brandi Williams of the late-’90s girl group Blaque, and her mother, who’s also the young rapper’s manager. “I do think that there are a lot of things that I learned from them,” Shane says, but she adds that she’s not letting her background dictate her path entirely. “I am kind of taking it as my own.”
The same modus operandi can be applied to the rapper’s personal style. One look at her Instagram tells you her aesthetic is laid-back, athletic, and thoughtful with touches of bright colors and playful graphics. “You show the world who you are by the way you dress,” she says of her fashion choices.
While she’s a frequent wearer—both on and off stage—of track pants, hoodies, and sneakers galore, she’s also passionate about brands. “I’m really into Rick Owens, J.W.Anderson, Number (N)ine, and Undercover,” she tells us. “I love Chanel because they’re fly.” Sure, it’s a mixture of references, but if Shane had to sum it all up, she could. “I like to describe my style as sort of like The Matrix. I like leather, I like black, I like buckles, and I like layers.”
Like with most lyrical artists who gain our attention and make us hold on tight for every word, it’s Shane’s individuality and openness—not just the amazing style—that draw us in. And while she’s breaking boundaries in a male-dominated field, she also admits that the industry has a long way to go to reach equal representation. “Until everybody looks at it that way, the industry won’t change, you know?”
Furthermore, she speaks candidly about her personal life, her struggles, and her queer identity, allowing listeners to connect with her and see themselves in her work. “It’s not like I’m trying to use my music to talk about equal rights and to get all worldly on everybody—that’s not what I’m doing. I’m making what I’m feeling, what life is like for me, and what I’ve gone through,” she says. “I’m saying to just be yourself. You don’t have to be what anyone else tells you to be.”
As with most ambitious hustlers, the most exciting thing for Shane is always what’s up next. Specifically, this means the release of her upcoming tape—“I’ve been working on it for two months now, and I’m still recording it, so I’m excited to drop it”—and touring later this year. But the vision doesn’t stop there. “I want to do some movies, I want to get in on my modeling career,” she says, rattling off her future plans but assuring us that her focus is music. “I need to accomplish everything one thing at a time.” Despite the cliché of being young and hungry, there also seems to be a calmness Shane possesses as she steadily reaches for each new accomplishment. “I was born into entertainment,” she says. “Not just music, but the whole industry.” We’ll take that as a promise.