Today on Asheville Grit, we are thrilled to premiere "The Coronation," a song from Asheville hip-hop musician SIYAH (Isa Whitaker) and local producer Nex Millen. The first of two collaborative tracks SIYAH has made with Millen, it's got a fierce beat with a harpsichord line and harsh vocal samples, a pairing that works supremely well because of its contrast.
SIYAH rhymes quickly and with stunning precision over the instrumental groove. "What makes a man a king?" he asks. The answer, it seems, is belief in himself and in his process of growth as an artist and a person. Siyah's lyrics are both vulnerable and powerful. "This is the coronation," he says, "My royal entrance. And I don't need your validation or acceptance."
We talked with SIYAH about the track and what he's up to these days.
So much has happened since first dropping my debut EP Brief Demonstration in December 2015 (6 months after moving to Asheville.) In April 2016 I performed with Midnight Snack at the Asheville Music Hall to kick off their spring tour. Following that, on May 7, 2016 I had my first show at the BLOCK Off Biltmore, shortly after I started attending an eight-week artist development workshop, "Inside Out," taught by Jessica Tomasin and Nex Millen.
While in the program I performed at the LEAF Festival and the Goombay Festival, and at the end of August 2016 the artists from "Inside Out" (including Mook, Spaceman Jones, and Jonathon Santos) had an artist showcase. In September of 2016 I was a part of another artist showcase at Isis Music Hall (with Jack and Zack from Midnight Snack, Brie Capone, Autumn Burnett, and Carly Taich, among others). I performed at various other shows locally and had my final show of the year on 11/11/16 at Awaken Asheville with Bryan Divisions, the day I also re-released my Brief Demonstration EP. Starting off 2017 I released a new song, "New Chapter," produced by Axian, in February.