Ashley Heyer.

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Edited by Bee Tomlinson 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is that moment you come up with an awesome line, a great bar, or the perfect line. Sometimes I’ll sit around awhile writing and not coming up with anything that’s worth saying, or it’s not cool enough, or it doesn’t sound right, and that moment where you get it—it feels like it makes the whole process worth it. Definitely a good feeling, a mood lift. It’s close to perfect happiness for me. 

What’s your motto?
My motto is don’t get shook; ...don’t get shaken, don’t get shaken up. I have a dry-erase board in my bedroom and I write everything on it; if it goes on the board it gets done - that’s the rule. At the top of that dry-erase board in big red letters it says “DON’T GET SHOOK.” Every time I feel something is going wrong or I’m not feeling sure of myself I just look at that and it helps me remember to keep going, hold steady, no problem. 

What’s your current state of mind?
My current state of mind is focused, making as much work as I can, while trying to branch out creatively. There’s definitely going to be more music on the way, and I’ve been building relationships with other creative people, so I’m hoping to branch out of music and work on other types of projects. I’m hoping to get more into myself, more into the art, and really just be creating and focusing on that – just work, and blur the scene out. 

How would you like to die?
I think this question is really aggressive! I definitely don’t want to die soon although it’s okay if it happens. I would say I would like to die feeling peaceful… or if I could die suddenly that would be okay too. Prolonged death doesn’t seem that appealing to me although you might get some cool drugs, which wouldn’t be all bad. 

What is it that you love most about what you do?
I’m a rapper—I love most meeting other rappers and doing stuff with other rappers. Like, rappers are cool, rappers are willing to do a lot of things, and they’re a cool group to surround yourself with. Doing cyphers—having spontaneous interactions with other people who are there to do the same thing as you, is an excellent way to spend time as a person. Shout out other rappers! I love other rappers! 

If you could have a conversation with anyone alive or dead who would it be?
I wrote down James Baldwin—I think this man is quite a writer; he is interesting to me also because of his perspective. I’m understanding that he was a preacher, and then left the church, but was still writing and speaking on issues like race, religion, and sexuality. He was working from his perspective and dealing with ideas that were important to him without the protection of the church. I really respect that, and we need people like this making noise so others can hear. 

When did you realize you wanted to be a creative?
I don’t like the title “creative” but I’ll let it be called that if that’s important. I don’t think I ever really realized I wanted to be creative; I just wanted to do something else, other than the primary options. I couldn’t really paint or draw, I was pretty bad in the band even, but when I got older I just decided I wanted to make music and I was just going to try. So, I think wanting to try to express myself in that way is what makes me a creative. Realizing you want to express yourself artistically makes you a creative...or getting a job that says you’re a creative, so it’s on your business card somewhere. I don’t want to be a creative—I want to be creative. 

What motivates you?
I am self motivated, I believe. I feel like I’m doing what I want to do and you get a certain amount of time to do that, so you might as well. Other people motivate me too—when they do their own thing. Like, I like to see how other people operate and bring them in, or work with them. What motivates me? I’m self-motivated and motivated by others’ motivation, haha. I’m also motivated by the idea that I should be doing and pursuing what I’m interested in and that at the end of my life that will be satisfying. 

What do you love about being a woman?
You know, I was never that into being a woman. I find it’s okay, not bad. Sometimes men will help you if they think you don’t know what you’re doing. which is kind of nice because you get extra help that probably men don’t get. But that’s not always a good thing because folks are questioning your competence at a very basic level. If they immediately want to help you and don’t know anything about you, then they’re judging you immediately that you can’t do it yourself—and maybe you can’t or maybe you can, but I would prefer the default view of women to assume more competence. 

What is your experience of being a woman while also being creative? It’s an interesting space to operate in. Obviously you’re looked at a lot, so what you look like is a “thing”. To that I just choose to be how I want to be. People say to me sometimes “you should dress like this” or “you should look like that,” and probably men don’t get that - or get the suggestions I get. But for now I’m just going to be myself, look how I want to look, and try not to let how people see me affect how I want to be. 

My motto is don’t get shook; ...don’t get shaken, don’t get shaken up.
Kailey Roth