Creator Spotlight


Interview: Ajay Woolery

Media: Zedikaya


Sharing his experiences through music and captivating listeners with his unique sound, rapper and songwriter Zedikaya is an artist on the rise you don't want to miss. Learn more about Zedikaya's artistic journey in our latest feature.

Photo: Zedikaya


What would you say propelled you towards choosing music?

Z: Since I was in third grade I've been playing the drums, So music has always been part of my life as an outlet. It was like an artistic way just to release all the stuff I had going on, but then in middle school, I started doing more classical kinds of music and I wasn't really feeling it. I began exploring music more throughout high school, which really made me consider delving deeper into how I could make music myself while quarantining during the pandemic. Like what can I do to really get what's in my mind out? So that's when I started songwriting, rapping and doing what I do now. And really, nothing has felt the way that this feels to me, just being able to really express how I feel and being able to just really show my perception of the world and what's on my mind. And yeah, just getting that off my chest has really been such a blessing that I've been able to find this medium.


Throughout your journey of discovery, who were some of the artists you were intrigued by stylistically?

Z: I feel like most artists, when I started I wasn't comfortable in my artistry yet, because I had just started. So I was kind of reaching for just what I liked to listen to instead of trying to figure out what I really wanted to make. So in the beginning, I was trying to make trap tracks and stuff that wasn't really true to me. Once I started listening to more artists like Mavi, and artists like Mike, kind of how they just speak about what's going on in their mind and what's going on around them and what they see happening, I figured out that was just an acceptable way to express myself. And that's kind of what I've leaned into, more of a storytelling, more of an internal kind of music, I guess you could say.


You recently did a feature with Afromatcha as a member of 202 collective, talk a bit about the group, how you came together and what you’re are working on.

Z: Well, 202 Collective is just me and my friends from New York. What we're trying to do is push this new narrative of a new kind of music. I feel like when you see the rollout, which should start later this month [now past], you're gonna see that it's nothing like anything that's out right now. 202 is really just a tight-knit group, like the dynamic is just amazing because we were all friends and we all liked each other before we started making music, and we would hang out before we began making music together. We all made music by ourselves so just you can kind of hear our dynamic through the music. The group is just amazing. I mean, I love everybody that's in it. And yeah, what that interview was just, it was super fun. super loose. I shout out to Jada. for that. Shout out to Afromatcha.

Photos: 202 Collective on Instagram


What can we expect from 202, and yourself in 2023?

Z: For 202 I think that we're going to start releasing a song a week. So we're going to start dropping songs. Also, we’re trying to just show what we've been working on because we've been working on so much stuff, rolling it out is just really really hard because there's so much that goes into it besides just recording the music. But all of that is coming together and now we have the chance to just start releasing tracks, which is amazing. And then for me personally, I just put out an EP called “Overpriced and Underwhelming” on all platforms, which is probably the best work that I've put out yet. And really just kind of where my mind has been at recently when it comes to writing and when it comes to what's been going on in my life I feel like I just want to let that sit for a little bit, and just let people kind of digest that. But from 202 you're gonna hear a lot of me.


Talk more about “Overpriced and Underwhelming” a bit. And kind of what the idea behind the title of the project was, and what it means to you…

Z: Yeah, the title of the project “Overpriced and Underwhelming” kind means two things. It's how kind of how I felt about college. I had just started college. and I wasn't and I'm not really feeling it. So it kind of relates to that. It's also about moving to L.A., everything is so expensive in L.A. In general, I just found myself doing all these things and none of them really amounted to what people said they would amount to. I was just like, Alright, I know what's going to work, and that’s if I just get into the studio. So just ended up just being in the studio a lot and making that project and it was literally because everything was so overpriced and underwhelming. So that’s why that project came to be.

Photo: Zedikaya


Ok, Speakurtruth is your most popular track with nearly 50,000 streams, it’s been used for fashion shows and featured by Spotify. What was the backstory behind the development of the song?

Z: Speakurtruth was a song that I had made a while ago and then I refound it and was like “Oh, this is sick”, and we kind of put it out. It's actually very interesting how that was the song that's gotten the most traction because in playing it for people, there were a lot of people who didn't like it actually. I was like, F**k you, I like it and I'm gonna put it out. And then everything that followed happened out of nowhere. Like with the fashion show, I was walking in this show for one of my friends and he asked if he could use the song. And then it was on some editorial playlists from Spotify. It was just amazing seeing it all kind of come to fruition. I mean, obviously, it's just like 10%, maybe even less of what I hope to see in the future. But just seeing even just that small percentage pay off was just amazing.


If not music what would you be pursuing right now?

Z: If it wasn't for music, I feel like definitely it would have been soccer. I mean, I was gonna go to college for soccer, that was gonna be the route. But then I realized I didn't really love it. I only liked it because I was good at it and because it was what people were saying I was good at. And that's not really the reason why you should be doing stuff. I realized that music is what I had really loved and when you love something so much it's easier to improve at it at a faster pace because you're willing to put in the hours and you're willing to really work on it. So I feel like it would have been soccer, but I would not be as happy as I am now.

AW: I guess you enjoy the challenge that music gives…

Exactly. And there's always room to improve. In music, there's always someone that you can learn from. And even in 202 collective. There's always someone in the group that's better than me at something, who I can turn to and try to learn from, which is so amazing with having a group like that.


Who’s playing nonstop for you right now ?

Z: Currently, I've been listening to a lot of Mike, his newest project is really amazing. My favourite song off it is “No Curse Lifted”. I really love that song. And I'm listening to a lot of BKtherula, and a lot of Armani Caesar. From Armani Caesar, a really great song is “Many Moves Freestyle” and she's the only female artist on the Griselda label so she kind of brings a different energy, which is amazing and she's from New York too. And then from BKtherula, I've been listening to “A Girl is a Gun” which is just like, it's kind of just like a feel-good kind of song that I really just enjoy listening to.

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