Artist Spotlight: Mz Streamz
When you’ve taken rapping seriously since the age of seven, by 19 you should know your way around a mic. Baltimore’s Mz Streamz certainly does, and we’ll go as far as saying she’s one of the most ferocious MC’s—male or female—we’ve heard in a long time.
Born Indya Streams in East Baltimore (Lafayette Homes public housing, to be exact) the no-holds-barred lyricist is part of today’s new era of hip-hop femme fatales (championed by Nicki Minaj) who exhibit a fearlessness in stage demeanor and subject matter not seen since the glory days of Lil Kim.
Having recently signed with boutique label Milkcrate Records, Streamz has already collaborated with the Gorillaz and had a featured spot on a Lily Allen tune. She once won so many consecutive rap battles on local radio station 92Q she was retired from competing, and she’s currently celebrating the release of her first official mix CD, It’s Alive.
Having seen more than most teenagers in her young life (younger brother, Vernell, was fatally shot during a confrontation with another teenager in 2006), Mz Streamz’s plan of attack is simple: reach new audiences through her unique hip-hop/go-go/electro sound, letting them know she’s very much “alive.”
You’re celebrating the release of your first mix CD, It’s Alive. What can audiences expect from it?
“They can expect a standout sound in a new lane in music, created by Mz Streamz. They can expect a ‘stream’ of club bangers, girl power, attitude, hip-hop, dance and me showing many different flows and styles over the hypest production. It’s all so brand new!”
What are you trying to express with the name of the CD?
“The title is about life and living it to the fullest; lettin’ people know that my style, my swagger and everything else is alive. I’ve arrived and my sound is unique—I exist and the game has changed. Mz Streamz is alive!”
You’re known as “Baltimore’s Club Princess.” How did you get that title?
“I’ve been writing songs since I was nine years old. The late K-Swift [RIP] played some of my early music on the radio and in clubs and people liked it. She was the club queen and I became the princess ’cause I’m the youngest in charge.”
You said in a recent interview that Baltimore’s a very hard town for new artists to break in their music and, for the most part, “everybody hates.” Can you expand on that?
“It’s difficult for new artists period in this day and age to get due credit. As for B-More there hasn’t been many breakout stars [who are] actually from here, so there’s no formula, and people can be negative out of confusion and not knowing what moves to make. I just keep writing more songs, though.”
Your freestyle skills and life story both command respect in the streets. Do you think you’ll be able to stay the same “Mz Streamz” as you transition to mainstream/pop success?
“I built my name up to never be doubted, tampered with or questioned. The streets and gritty lyrics molded and prepared me for the mainstream—you can’t say ‘mainstream’ without saying ‘Mz Streamz’—we one and the same. In today’s game, a lot of street music goes mainstream; just look at Waka Flocka Flame, he’ll be mainstream soon. I provide the edge and rawness that keeps the mainstream buzzin’. That’s why I can make records in all genres ’cause I write all my songs.”
What are the next steps planned to promote It’s Alive?
“My mix CD is out officially this week so go pick up two! We have two new videos coming soon, for ‘It Girl’ and ‘Dirty Money,’ more shows and touring, some secret shows and collabos, too. I’ll play Afram festival in B-more [in June] and I’m bangin’ out hits. And then my record with Gorillaz will drop and people’s heads will spin.”
Your fashion sense is very unique—how would you describe it?
“I’m still young but I look up to Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Salt N Pepa, Roxanne Shante. My style’s a mix of classic street fashion and cute styles of today, plus I love vintage casual. I can rock anything really; depends on the day.”
You’re performing in New York for the DrJays.com x Milkcrate event this week. Why should people come out to the show?
“People should definitely come out ’cause DrJays.com supports so many new artists; it’s gonna be a dope night of music, from all my new songs and raps to Rakim the God MC plus Clark Kent and Aaron LaCrate on the decks—we damn near got everything you can want in a party! B-more parties are the wildest…you gotta come and see me rip all the fast party tracks and get lyrical, as well. We gonna dance!”
“Superfast Jellyfish” – Gorillaz featuring Mz Streamz
“You Can B-More A Freek” – Estelle featuring Mz Streamz
Check out Mz Streamz (reppin’ Baltimore) battle Philadelphia’s Shiest Raw: