Photo by: @knvkleaded
If you’re familiar with rappers Ab-Soul, Capital STEEZ, Joey Bada$$, Princess Nokia, Angel Haze and any other ‘spiritual’ rappers, then you’ll love Alia Zin. The LA rapper is known for her wordplay, spirituality, and ambition – let alone the determination she has for her craft. The amount of work she puts in her music is unbelievable and can’t be matched. Treating her words in her sound as spells, her tracks are pure magic.
Although Alia is working her way to getting the respect she deserves with her sound, she can spit a lot better than a lot of these rappers out these days. If your a real fan of hip-hop and respect the skill in proper rhyming, you’ll dig Alia. Not only can she spit hard, but her music is something to listen to when you’re going through a hard time, or just need vibes to relate to certain situations. Her music has already helped many, as she writes to heal herself, she’s helping healing others- especially other women.
I got the chance to ask Alia Zin some questions on her craft, being involved with PakkMusicGroup, Ab-Soul, spirituality, her last album- Wiccan, and working on her Sage My Soul EP.
Photo by: @knvkleaded
Before your album Wiccan came out, you were contemplating moving on and quitting music. After moving back to LA, you stuck with it and are creating new material. What helped you to move forward and decide music was what you wanted to pursue?
There were multiple factors that came into play in helping me decide if I should continue to pursue music but LOVE definitely was the number one reason in why I chose not to stop. I went to school for two years and was planning on finishing my BA in Portland, Oregon before moving back to LA. I was in a supportive relationship at the time with another artist who actually helped me craft essential components of Wiccan and even featured on a couple tracks. Once I moved back to LA and started this adventure with Pakk Music Group it became clear that there was nothing else I wanted to do- I wanted to create. When you’re shown glimpses of how your music is affecting people (even on a small scale), and you’re shown that you can use your own creativity to inspire uplift, and profit as a career at the end of the day, how could I choose anything else?
I noticed a lot of your tracks are produced by PakkMusicGroup. How has the production company helped your music and artistry and how did that come to fruition?
Working with Pakk Music Group has been a journey. Python P came across my music about three years ago via Instagram. At the time I was still living in Portland, Oregon and we communicated via email, sending me Pakk’s of beats where I would then record and send completed tracks back to him. A couple of our earlier tracks came about that way like “Bloodclot” and “Bad Apple”. When I came down to visit LA for my first appearance on The Cypher Effect in October of 2015, I also linked with Python P and Northstar The God for the first time in person. After I relocated back to Los Angeles, Pakk Music started to MOVE and I was happy that I could witness the growth of the Pakk from early on. Production is essential to an artists sound, image, and creativity so to come across such a dark, gritty, yet versatile sound I knew this was right where I needed to be. As far as my artistry Pakk has been there providing the sounds that I crave and pushing me to step outside of my comfort zone or the “norm” as their instrumentals have layers of texture and take you to different dimensions.
In your Wiccan album, you speak about chakras, alchemy, being awake and ahead of your time. Being a spiritual person, when did you discover these things and how has it helped you grow?
I’m conflicted with the time that we’re in right now because a lot of people are intrigued by this idea of ‘woke’, godlike, spiritual, yet what many fail to understand is that every one of us has been and will always be a spiritual being. From when we are born and inhale to when we die and exhale and even beyond that. I can only speak for myself but what has guided me as a tool of enlightenment the most has been my music. Not because of recording, not because of other people like my music, not because of performing, but because of the way it ignites my soul. Understanding Soul is understanding Self and that’s one of the most complicated things to do but also the most rewarding. People want results and answers now (myself included at times) and it doesn’t work like that, growth is gradual. Right now, I’m just enjoying this journey, accepting what I cannot control, and allowing my manifestations to unfold one day at a time.
Despite what you practice, just like everyone else, you go through struggles and you speak of those hard times. The production on Wiccan is hard-hitting and a bit dark. What is the most difficult part of being someone who is constantly trying to better yourself around so much death, struggles, drugs, etc.?
I think the most difficult part is healing from whatever obstacle or struggle you’re going through or previously went through. Every interaction we have whether negative or positive leaves an imprint on our soul and that energy is stored within our chakra points. We have to rewire the way that we think and rewire the way that we heal. I was fortunate enough to not experience a large amount of death up close but the numbers are still there by the hundreds in our communities. I was fortunate that my mother and father divorced when I was young and I was removed from an abusive environment. I struggle with my own burdens and demons but I know that they can only overcome my mind state if I allow them to.
You’ve been working on your new Sage Your Soul EP. Your music consistently reflects your life and observations- on this project how does it differ from Wiccan?
When I created Wiccan I was in a dark place. Partially lost yet somehow still on course as you can depict with the unorthodox structure and sound. Wiccan was the foundation and the Sage My Soul EP is now starting to build the structure. It definitely differs from Wiccan as I feel more secure as an artist, I feel that the growth from last year to this year is something that will be recognized, as well my beat selection this time around. I’m in a different mind space right now. Last year with Wiccan I felt as though I had a lot to prove being a new face in Los Angeles with no one really knows me, I wanted to get the message across that I am a lyricist first. Now, with this Sage My Soul project, the focus is more about making quality music and sharing my story of moving back to the Los Angeles area and some of the things that I experienced mentally, physically, and environmentally throughout the transition.
You got a shoutout on TDE member; Ab-Soul’s ‘Do What Thou Wilt‘ album, with your voice being on his last track ‘YMF‘ at the end. How did you two cross paths and what has he helped you with or how has he influenced your music?
Meeting Soul was surreal for me. I remember I had just performed a small set in the Culver City area when Soul invited me through to the TDE studio. I work with some of Soul’s producers Python P and Northstar The God who both knew Soul growing up so things panned out naturally over time. I definitely gain inspiration from Soul with his lyricism and style being something that I admire and can relate to. I view him as a mentor figure, and can only hope to keep progressing as fluidly as he has.
Photo by: @knvkleaded
With a lot of people thinking Wiccan practices might be devil worshipping or evil with no beneficial values, have you gotten any backlash on your title or judgment from the content you rap about on it? If so, how did you handle it?
I’ve had a few people DM me or comment here and there with the insinuation that what I am preaching is ungodly. It’s always funny to me when this occurs because that tells me off the back that they haven’t listened to my music. If you actually dissect the bars, I almost always have lines regarding pieces of my story, social justice, and overall simply empowering other’s to pursue whatever it is they want to do. When I created Wiccan it was around the time that I stumbled across Wicca and began to question my spirituality and beliefs. At the end of the day, I have no religion, I stand for love and truth. When we begin to go back and forth within religion that is where the message stops being about the higher power, God and becomes a societal and human conflict—that I am not here for.
In an interview I saw of you, you stated : ” I really just want to inspire young woman who feel like they don’t know what they’re doing with their life and are in negative environment, they don’t know how to get out of it and need someone to look up to that talks substance.” Why is it so important to you uplift other souls?
It’s important for me to uplift others for multiple reasons. First I feel that that’s what we are placed on this planet to do, tap into the collective consciousness and continue to transform just as Earth does when we experience paradigm shifts. Secondly, I’ve been that girl. Lost and in a negative environment where I felt like giving up, that I had no purpose here, and the path that I was on was only taking me further away from my calling. Only with the aid God, my close family, and music, I was able to regain my mental strength to start living and exploring Self. And third, why not? There’s so much hate in the music industry and in the world alone that why wouldn’t I want to inspire others along the way. I never know who is listening to my music and I always think when I’m recording that someone may be listening and needing my energy, just as much as I need to release it.
Another thing you pointed out was that your lyrics are a form of witchcraft and being a firm believer in creating your reality. Do you feel like everything you’re working towards will work out in the end and how do you stay positive to know everything will work out how it should be?
Yes, my lyrics are definitely a form of magic. To be able to create something simple using the contents of my mind and have people connect to it the way they do is something special and almost indescribable. That doesn’t mean that it’s all peaches and cream though. Some days I feel low, especially when I am in writer’s block, struggling to feel inspired. I stay positive by taking time to relax, explore new creative outlets, listen to other artists that inspire me such as Joey Bada$$, Soul, Kendrick, Cole, Rapsody, and continue to manifest that even though I don’t know exactly “how” it’s going to work out, I can’t give up on my Soul nor Self.
Other than your Sage My Soul EP, what can we expect next from Alia Zin?
I have a few feature collabs coming soon, so be on the look out! Other than that it’s SAGE MY SOUL SEASON.
Watch Alia Zin- Untitled Mix [ TCE Mic Check ] on Youtube below and stay tuned for Sage My Soul EP coming soon!