tkayIt’s a mistake to call Tkay Maidza ‘precocious’, because it suggests a kind of smugnesss that the 20-year-old just doesn’t have. She’s definitely talented, cool with big-upping herself (in the hip hop tradition), eager to look out of the box, and more committed and motivated than most, but she’s young – and totally owns that fact.

“I think the whole idea of me doing this was to please myself, not for anyone else,” she tells us. “It was just a bonus that people care.” Maidza’s debut TKAY includes the Killer Mike-featuring Carry On (“I think what [Killer Mike] is saying is that some people kind of want to scare you into not trying… like their life’s goal is to convince someone not to follow their dreams”) and the mega propulsive Tennies (such a Missy beat!), but you also get cuts like the beautiful and vulnerable Follow Me, in which Maidza’s impressive melodies shine. “That’s kind of what felt right,” she explains. “Sometimes when I write songs I’ll just sing, and if it doesn’t feel very necessary for it to have a rap in there, then I’m not going to put anything in there. It’s all natural.”

It’s the same way with moods; Maidza wants to embrace them all. “When I wrote Tennies I was probably in a really cheeky mood, so it came out. If I feel like being funny or weird, I’m going to write a funny song about how cool I am. Then a day later I’m like ‘I have no idea how I wrote this, ‘cause today I’m just not in the mindset.’ You can certainly flip it, and write a song that says ‘I’m going to be great’ – that’s when you’re trying to find the positives out of it.”

TKAY is out now via Dew Process/Universal.

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