Back in March of this year, an Oakland MC named Kamaiyah dropped one of the best rap projects you’ll hear all year – A Good Night in the Ghetto. Ever since she’s been surrounded by a whirlwind of hype, appearing on YG’s lead single “Why You Always Hatin?” with Drake (a song she actually gave to YG) and signing a deal with Interscope.
Now she’s premiering her new A Good Night in the Ghetto mini-documentary, directed by Chris Simmons, with XXL, and in it she takes a tour of her hometown East Oakland to talk about her childhood, what it was like growing up in her neighborhood, and the days prior to her first ever headlining show at the New Parish in Oakland.
“The A Good Night In The Ghetto doc was put together to show my evolution and journey into my first show,” she tells XXL, “as well as give people a brighter spectrum on who Kamaiyah is, where I come from, and the background regarding my musical influence and why I do it. My growing hype is humbling, I remain grounded because none of this is possible without God and humility. As for the future of my musical releases…stay tuned.”
Childhood friends chime in on growing up rough as the Oakland spitter remembers her first friend getting killed when she was just 14. We also get introduced to her BMG (Big Money Gang) crew as they talk about recording in a member’s bedroom when they first started out. Kamaiayah even used to put up her rent money for studio time. Don’t tell her landlord, though.
But the most touching part of the doc covers James De’Andre Burks, Kamaiyah’s close friend who recently passed away from cancer. She dedicates the last song on her tape, “For My Dawg,” to him, and in the mini-documentary she talks about how they met, why they were so close, and how much James meant to her. It’s painful to watch, but essential to understanding the forces that have shaped Kamaiyah, not just as an artist but as a human being.
Watch A Good Night in the Ghetto above and keep your eyes out for cameos from YG, DJ Mustard, Kehlani, Rae Sremmurd, Project Poppa and more as Kamaiyah takes us along the journey to her first ever headlining show. “I think like 10 years from now, I’m gonna be like…one of the biggest female rappers in the world, if not the biggest,” she says. “That’s how I see myself going. Not even being cocky. You gotta believe.”