The One And Only: Toyanna Rae (@toyannarae)

Interview by ~Mike Gaits~

Toyanna Rae (Toy) Seoul, S. Korea

Mike Gaits.:What brings you to

Toyanna Rae.: is a site the provides artists with useful tips to help further their career as a musician. As I searched through the site, I thought it would also be a good platform for me to get my name out there and further myself as a musician.

Mike Gaits.: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you found rap as an, "Expression Lane?"

Toyanna Rae.: As a child, my dad was in the military. We moved every 3-4 years which meant always having to start over; new school, new friends, and sometimes a new language.  The only consistent thing in my life, besides my family, was music. When I finished university, I moved to Seoul, S.Korea on my own.  While I was working and studying the language, I would often write rhymes to express things I felt. One of my friends suggested that I record some of the raps I wrote. I did, and a few months later, I entered a rap completion called “Show Me the Money” where I finished top 21. I found that rap was the best outlet for me through which to express everything I felt from having been alone in Korea and other feelings in general. In 2014, I entered Season 3 of the same rap competition; finishing top 12 out of almost 3000 people and rapping in my second language. I released my mixtape “TOY’S’TORY” ( at the end of 2014 and am currently working on new material.

Mike Gaits.: Listening to your music I could tell right off the jump that you have a lot of passion for your music; "Hip Hop Junkies" was a dope track! Can you tell us what was the message behind this song?

Toyanna Rae.: Thank you. “Hip Hop Junkies” is a half Korean half English rap. The first part of the rap addresses the ranking of female emcees. I simply state that I am different from other female emcees and that's why I am aware that making it as a foreign artist in Korea is difficult, but it's not impossible. The latter half of the song addresses the fact that most Korean companies often recruit younger trainees in order to mold them to the companies liking. The trainees don’t have much say in what they want; they simply do what the company tells them. In my rap I state that I know who I am and no one can change that, no matter what they may say about me. 

Mike Gaits.: Who are some of your Favorite Female Emcee's in Hip-Hop right now?

Toyanna Rae.: Right now, I’ve been listening Jean Grae, Rapsody, MC Lyte, Nicki Minaj, and Tink. I also enjoy listening to  Azealia Banks because she sticks to what she likes despite what the crowd says.

Mike Gaits.: How do you get inspired when writing that next dope track?

Toyanna Rae.: Usually, if I hear a beat I like or one makes me feel some type of way, I start writing immediately. Or, if I’m emotional (whether angry, sad, or happy), I write while I’m still in the heat of that emotion.  Most times, however,  a simple trigger word is enough to get me writing. 

Mike Gait's.: As a Female Emcee in the game, would like to offer any advice to the new up and coming, "Lady Emcee's?"

Toyanna Rae.: Don’t give up and don’t compare yourself to others. Your only competition is you and who you were the day before. Also, don’t  give up your morals for fame. Find out who you are by yourself. Don’t let others define who you are for you. Finally, HUSTLE. Really put yourself out there and market yourself shamelessly. 

You can find Toyanna Rae's (Toy)

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