Chika is Playing to Win With Debut EP “Industry Games”
“If we talking ‘bout a game, I know I'm ‘bout to win it."
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It's been two years since 23-year-old rapper Chika has gone viral for using one of Kanye’s own beats for a diss verse titled A Letter to Kanye regarding his support to Donald Trump, but she has been working harder than ever when it comes to social morals and creating music. Chika is an activist in the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC community who advocates for inclusivity and challenges societal norms regarding gender, race, mental health, and body image. She uses music as her outlet to spread her message, as well as using her platform to integrate social justice issues in everyday conversations and interviews.
Chika first stepped into activism while attending high school. She displayed “Black Lives Matter” posters in her school in an attempt to reach others and bring awareness to major social issues happening in her area. She was suspended for her efforts, but it did not stop her from doing what she could to spread the message. Chika is fueled by the desire to leave her mark on the world around her to influence others to be their authentic selves and for society to do better.
Being one of the biggest artists consistently advocating for change can be draining for anybody, no matter how passionate they are for their causes. Because of this and our current social climate, Chika has deactivated most of her social media accounts to get a well-deserved break to take care of herself. Her social media absence in no way diminishes her impacts and willingness to stand up for what is right.
On March 13, 2020, Chika released her major-label debut EP “Industry Games” via Warner Records. Featuring seven original tracks, the EP introduces Chika’s story and bright personality to fans beyond her active social media presence.
While the EP as a whole covers many topics, Chika’s intentions are simple: “I want people to feel me: I want people to understand where I’m coming from and to get to know me.” “Industry Games” is a reflection of who Chika is and what she stands for while showcasing her introspective lyricism and relentless flows. The seven-track EP illustrates her unmistakable talents while inviting listeners to meet her true self.
The first line of the opening track, Intro, outlines Chika’s motive for the EP: “Call it intuition, but I’m about to change the world, it’s been my only mission.” This song invites listeners into the album with a clear intention to keep in mind while digesting what is to be heard ahead. The track is backed with a beautifully dramatic piano piece that was written and produced by black American producer and songwriter Mark Batson. This element adds emphasis on the overall message of the song while engaging fans in a thoughtful way.
The raw lyricism of the title track Industry Games instills in listeners that Chika is here for the right reasons and refuses to play any “industry games.” These games consist of issues she noticed within the music industry, mainly the money-driven nature of how music was composed and released. She feels artists are lacking heart and not caring about their artistic progression or the messages their songs are portraying as long as they are making a profit. This hook-dominant nature of rap music lacks inspiration and Chika states she is above playing these kinds of games. This track is her vow that she will never play “industry games” and conform to please label executives or other artists.
Industry Games reaches into topics of female expectations in the industry as well. The second verse begins with “I'm fresh than a b*tch and you know that; don't take my body to show that.” This is an anecdote to the belief that female rappers need to look and act a certain way in order to be noticed. This statement is powerful and emphasizes that Chika does not need to show her body for people to know that her tracks are hot.
The third song on the EP, Songs About You, announces Chika’s presence the way Diddy has, as “the best of the new school.” She has arrived at the scene with an unmatched level of confidence, regardless of how many struggles it has taken her to get there. The track features a seamless combination of Chika’s adept rapping with her soulful singing to create an inspiring track that invites listeners to take a step back and celebrate the work they have accomplished, and to keep grinding.
While the title of the track Balencies comes off as a flex, the introspective lyrics prove quite the opposite. Balencies describes Chika’s struggles with her newfound fame and the array of emotions she has endured to get there. With fame comes pressure, loneliness, and judgement, and no pair of expensive slippers can take that away. The track includes a strong trap beat by Norwegian producer Lido and impressive harmonies from Chika's four backup vocalists.
Chika’s favorite track on the album, Designer, encompasses her emotions by telling the real story of her losing a friend due to her career. She was holding on to the past and attempting to bring an old friend into her new life, but was taken advantage of due to the friend’s greediness. The song reflects what she may have done wrong, but also confronts those who have hurt her along the way. In the end, she discovers that her life has changed and thus some relationships may change as well. The track was a means for her to work through this struggle, and resulted in a beautiful anthem for those feeling “fake love.”
The song includes a feature by her own ego, which is represented by a pitched down edit of her own voice. Her regular voice is representing her outwardly presented self and the way that she would speak on the situation. Her ego is working as armor to prevent her from getting hurt, while the other voice is acknowledging that she is learning from her story as it is being told. The song shows her wrestling with these conflicting feelings in a very authentic way.
On My Way is an emotional track about missing the one that you love and wanting to be with them. The song contains beautiful instrumentation and a light beat that brings listeners right into their feels. On My Way is a great addition to the EP that slows things down and introduces a more down-tempo side of Chika.
The final track on the EP, Crown, brings the album full circle by concluding with the first rap song Chika has ever written. The song is a triumphant anthem for those working hard to make their dreams a reality. The song emphasizes that no matter how hard it may get, you must keep going and not let anybody take your crown. The backing vocalists harmonize in a way that makes the song have an even more inspiring and uplifting feeling than the lyrics already provide. This powerful anthem was featured on Barack Obama’s 2020 summer playlist.
In total, the EP brings fans closer to Chika than ever before by bringing them into her life in a more intimate way. Each track fits the overall theme while sharing her thoughts on the industry and how she got to where she is today. Chika’s aim for an authentic career that spreads positive and uplifting messages is inspirational and leaves fans excited for what is to come next.
Since the release of “Industry Games” in March, Chika has released a sentimental single titled U Should on August 7, 2020. Exactly a week later, Chika released another track titled My Power. Both songs were featured on the Netflix movie 'Project Power'.