One meeting with DonMonique and it's immediately clear the 21-year-old Brooklyn rapper grew up nursing on the sounds of hip-hop's most unapologetically brash women. Temptingly viral singles like 2015's "Pilates" feature the young emcee drawling her way through Internet-age references in clever verses buoyed by her signature teasing rasp.
Similarly, projects like her Thirst Trap EP establish Don as a voice of subversive femininity. There is no eyelash batting or playing the helpless coquette, she rather presents a rough-edged, autonomous kind womanhood that thrives on independence and rejecting seeking approval.
In fact, the more you listen, the more you may find yourself juxtaposing the neophyte emcee's delivery with the erotically-charged purrs of Lil Kim of yesteryear.
"Got Kendall, got Kylie, got Miley / I can make the work stretch like pilates," she croons, encapsulating the overwhelmingly viral charm of the Jenner sisters and Miley Cyrus into a double entendre on drug dealing. It's just the kind of line you'd expect from a rapper coming up in the web age.
We caught up with DonMonique in Brooklyn to chat with her about style, inspiration and women in hip-hop.
How do you describe your style?
I'd describe my style as cool but cozy.
How does New York City inspire your fashion sense?
When you're from the city you're always on the go, maneuvering. So I've always liked being comfortable but also stylish.
Did you favor tomboy sensibility when you were growing up?
It was a mix of both. I feel like I'm more tomboyish now than I ever was. I kind of grew up backwards, when I was younger I had so many dresses and heels and now that I'm older I just want my kicks and sweatsuits!
Who is your favorite designer at the moment?
I've been wearing a lot of Ralph Lauren again. I have a love/hate relationship with the clothes but I think he'll always be my favorite.
How do you feel about the perception of women in hip-hop?
I think people respect the role of women in hip-hop more and more every day. I'm witnessing it. There's so many dope girls out right now killin' shit. Honestly, I don't really care about all of that because I'm gonna do me and rap regardless.
What woman artist do you admire most?
Definitely Foxy Brown. I admire how she never attached herself to another person. You always saw her with different crews but she was never affiliated. She had her own name and I fuck with that because it was pretty rare for women to do that then.
Who are you listening to now?
I've been listening to a lot of Young Dolph lately. Travis Scott's new project is cool too, and Drake of course. Hoodrich Pablo is very fire, too.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I wouldn't be rapping if I didn't think I would be one of the best. I can see myself as the face of the new generation of emcees.
What advice would you give to a young girl hoping to be a rapper or singer?
Don't give up, don't let people tell you no, and practice makes perfect.
Check out the ladies shaking up the creative industry in our Wavy Women series.