Get to know TiaCorine, the North Carolina rapper (maybe) co-signed by Drake

The rapper reckons the 6 God emulated her single ‘Stylist’ on his new DJ Khaled collaboration ‘Popstar’. But who is the emerging star?

Drake’s no stranger to suggestions that he’s drawn inspiration from the work of up-and-coming artists, and this time it’s that of high-pitched melodic rapper TiaCorine. Known for her viral SoundCloud hit ‘Lotto’, the North Carolina native has claimed that Drake emulated her April single ‘Stylist’ on his new DJ Khaled collaboration ‘Popstar’. But who is the emerging rap star?

South side, stand up!

TiaCorine was born and raised in Winston-Salem in North Carolina and always had a hand in the music world. She has been singing and playing instruments for as long as she remembers; it seems it was in her destiny to become a rapper. Her most cherished early musical memory is that of her third grade talent show. After she and another classmate wanted to sing the same Aaliyah song, they battled it out in class and (you guessed it!) Tia won.

The Barbie queen made her want to rap

There was a bit of a dry spell in the mainstream when it came to female rappers before Nicki Minaj came along with her 2010 debut album ‘Pink Friday’. When Nicki burst onto the scene, Corine felt that she had a real chance of being a rapper. She related, too, to the rapper’s androgyny. She may have loved Trina and Lil Kim, but no-one ever had swag quite like Nicki.

“I don’t give a fuck / I’ll beat a bitch up”

Although she had been releasing music videos from 2013, it wasn’t until last year’s viral TikTok track ‘Lotto’ that TiaCorine broke into the big time – all while managing her new-found fame as the same ol’ gal from Winston-Salem. She told YouTube’s Big Mouf Media that she “doesn’t do YouTube beats but this one time I found this one beat… I had it for three days and I couldn’t write to it because I was [dancing]. I got out the shower, looked in the mirror and said, “I don’t give a fuck – I’ll beat a bitch up;”. Thus the viral, Instagrammable line at the heart of ‘Lotto’ was born.

And she won the draw

Continuing her winning streak, Tia has now racked up over a million streams on SoundCloud and 4.25 million more on Spotify, not to mention the tens of thousands of TikTok videos to that infamous opening line. Changing her life upside down, the once self-managed rapper is now signed to South Coast Music Group and has been played by all her favourite stars such as Rico Nasty and SZA. The next step is hopefully getting them on the remix, telling upcoming YouTube interviewer DCJ: “I’m working on it. My top people are Rico Nasty, Blaatina and Doja Cat”.

The ultimate co-sign?

Here’s the good part: after releasing a few more singles, it was ‘Stylist’, her feature with US R&B singer Chlothegod, that sparked this whole Drake debate, with both songs featuring high-pitched yet deliciously monotonous delivery. Either way, this self-proclaimed ‘anime trap‘ rapper could be onto something. And if Drake was inspired by the North Carolina star? That’d be the ultimate co-sign.

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