16 Feb 2011

“It’s All Love”: Shunda K is here to save the world!

Shunda K's album The Most Wanted was our album of the week on French Radio London this week, because it ROCKS. You can listen again to the show here.

TOW's Ruth Barnes met up with the lady herself whilst she was in London in summer 2010 - read all about it here:

“Now I know some of you heard the world is going to end in 2012... I want you all to know you don’t have to panic... it’s under control!” So raps ex-Yo! Majesty high priestess Shunda K on Here I am to Save The World from her debut solo album The Most Wanted, just released on Fanatic Records.

Shunda K is a tour de force. Sound-checking on stage with a beer can in hand, spitting out her lyrics she’s formidable and a tad scary. But all that evaporates as soon as she gives me a mammoth bear hug and says: “Thanks for the love sister”.

Yo! Majesty burst onto the scene as outspoken Christian lesbian rappers in 2006 with their ‘Yo’ EP. However, after positive press and tours with likes of The Gossip and CSS, the group split after the release of their second album for Domino Records in 2008, following a bust up between group leader Shunda K and singer Jwl B. It was a pretty nasty time, with both parties slamming the other in the press. Now, backstage at Madame Jojo’s in Soho, Shunda K ponders how it all fell apart: “I was like, Shunda maybe you was a little too much, you tried to put all the blame on Jwl B. What part did you play? Did you make things hard? I was outta control. It was probably ego, honestly I didn’t mean any harm I just wanted the best for my group.”

The superhero stance of Here I Am To Save The World was inspired by Pixar super-family The Incredibles, after watching it a few years ago, the rapper says something clicked: “I’m Shunda K the untouchable! I thought, I’m gonna spread the love of god, be there for the people, be real, be the one person to tell the truth and stand up for what’s right and what’s just.” After having removed herself from the Yo! Majesty drama and aftermath, Shunda K says the collaboration with Cindy Wonderful (of Berlin electro-poppers Scream Club) happened easily online: “I’m convinced that everything I wanna do, I can make it happen.” Hell yeah.

Shunda K’s solo material touches on everything - rock, drum ‘n bass, dancehall, reggaeton and dubstep. When I put this to her she simply says: “My desire is to reach the people. Everybody don’t like everything. With me, when I hear music I can’t tell you what genre the music is, don’t put titles on me - I’m trying to reach everybody.”

Shunda K and Yo! Majesty always wore their beliefs on their sleeve, but she is quick to correct me when I ask her about religion: “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual. Religion is a modern day slavery. The record industry is a modern day slavery too, it binds people, it holds you down while they suck everything outta you.”

“God is all the way across the sky!” A conversation with Shunda K is punctuated with this kind of rhetoric, but she’s not pushy: “No matter what religion you serve, you’re still serving the same god” she says. “Religion brings separation, that’s not god, god intended us to be one. Love yourself first and then you can serve other people.”

Shunda K talks passionately about her upbringing and her sexuality. The way she talks is reminiscent of how she raps, there isn’t a pause or a hesitation - infact it’s difficult to get a word in edgewise. She came out when she was 18, but has known since she was a child that she is gay. “When we were playing house I was the Daddy!” she jokes. Then goes on to talk about her mother being gay and having witnessed first hand the prejudice she underwent, Shunda K was reluctant to tell the truth about herself: “My grandparents came up in slavery, they never seen any love. Our religion says, ‘gay people you’re an abomination’, all your life you have this desire to be with one sex, but they say it ain’t right. You’re forced to be with a man, it ain’t like I ever enjoyed hoppin’ on the dick - it’s just somethin’ you do when you’re in a relationship!”

After two more relationships with religious men (one a married Muslim, the other a pastor - she admits to have been vulnerable to religious men who told her homosexuality is wrong) and plenty more drama, Shunda K says it was Jwl B who made her see sense and realise who she is: “I know we got our beef, but she wrote me a latter from jail and she gave me a lotta support. She said god is there for you, god already knows who you are, it was really encouraging.”
Having recently toured with Peaches (she raps on Peaches’ track Billionaire) Shunda K is feeling focused and inspired about flying solo: “I’m inspired by her live shows, she’s got this big ol’ long dick (laughs) she is really comical and brings the song out. I’m like, I wanna do that... Peaches is a role model to me, ‘the teaches of Peaches!’”

Shunda K’s debut album The Most Wanted is out now and available to buy on Amazon and iTunes.

Article first published on Wears The Trousers.