Getting Ready
young m.a

We Got Ready with Young M.A

Talking fashion and playing NBA2K before the rapper’s NYC show.

By: Jodi Taylor
Photography: Alec Kugler

All it took was a single phrase, “Ooouuu” from Young M.A’s debut single, for the world to fall in love with her. Now, three years later, the 27-year-old artist is touring the U.S. on the heels of her debut album, Herstory in the Making. Ahead of last night’s New York show, she invited us over to her Jersey apartment to hang while she got ready for her gig.

M.A hit pause on her Xbox game to open the door for us. She was in sweatpants, her tour tee, and Ellesse slides—and seemed unfazed and chill about having strangers sit in while her hairstylist, Sarah, started a fresh set of braids. While getting her hair done, she sat in a red leather styling chair that was perfectly situated in front of her TV, red Xbox controller in hand, playing NBA 2K (on the Chicago Bulls, for those wondering) while simultaneously chatting with us. As serums were worked into her hair and the hair dryer blew, M.A stopped the game to give us a full breakdown of the Manière de Voir denim outfit she was going to wear for the show.

Once her hair was done and the outfit was on, M.A topped it all off with a pair of fresh straight-out-of-the-box black Timbs (it was only right for the New York show, she told us) and a light shower of Dior Sauvage cologne, her signature scent. After snapping a few photos and sipping a bit of red wine, we all piled into a sprinter to head to the Bowery Ballroom. As we rode into Manhattan with Max YB playing over the speakers, we realized the whole shoot was just as laid-back and chill as M.A described her getting-ready style.

Click through to read more about her shopping habits, skin-care routine, Kweens Foundation, and when we can expect to see more tour dates.

Her typical getting ready vibe:

“I’m just regular. *Shows her hairstylist a photo* This is one of the things I do, I tell the hairstylist how I want my hair. I don’t like skinny braids when I get my hair done. And I don’t always get my hair done, that’s the crazy thing. Sometimes I like the rugged look—I don’t always really care for a fresh [style], only my shape-up. My haircut gotta be fly—before a show I gotta have a fresh cut. I just got it cut two or three days ago, so I’m still nice.

“I’ll listen to music and get in a vibe. Definitely some fresh kicks, that’s always necessary. There are times that I might go shopping the day of the show because I feel like I need a certain fit or a certain look, but other than that it’s really cool vibes.”

Go-to getting-ready snacks and drinks:

“Whatever is in my fridge at the moment. If I had to choose a snack, it’d be my Red Hot Utz, which I have here right now. I’ve dipped into those a couple of times already today [laughs].”

Her hero skin-care products:

“I wash my face with Burt’s Bees. My skin gets oily and dry at the same time, [and] if it’s too dry, I’ll break out, so I have to moisturize right after I wash. Coconut oil is good, I use that to moisturize. I probably do it about three times a week when I feel like it. But nine times out of 10, I just wash my face with water and drink water.”

The last thing she does before walking out the door:

“I might take a shot of vodka to warm up. I’m not a Hennessy person—those days are out of here. I’m a water person. I try not to eat too much before a show because it gives me the itis and makes me tired. I eat in the morning, and then I’ll chill after that. Mostly beverages, probably a little bit of candy or gum.”

On what her friends would describe as a “classic Young M.A outfit”:

“Red and black are my go-to colors with a white t-shirt. I’m not too much of a fashionista, but I do like to get things that I don’t see people in often. Before Christian Dior was the most talked-about fashion brand, when everyone was wearing Gucci, I was wearing Christian Dior—shout-out to my stylist, she actually put me onto that. She knew. I’m the type of person that, if I don’t see you in it, and I think it’s dope, I’m going to get it.”

On who makes the best white tee:

“It used to be Jockey, but they went away, and when they came back, I didn’t like it. I think Hanes got it right now because they’re making these cool effect t-shirts [out of] a richer material, and it feels like a shirt you can throw on for the day.”

Her favorite piece of jewelry:

“My Young M.A logo [chain]. A lot of people that aren’t familiar need to know that the logo is the NY token. Remember you used to have to use a token for the train? I based [my chain] off that. It’s NYC, so I did YMA for Young M.A, and then it says Brooklyn, NY.”

“The fit is [from] this overseas clothing line. It has a bunch of written words on it—it’s fire. It’s a two-piece set, a jean jacket and jeans. I’m an online shopper unless I need something specific. I get it from my grandma because she [shops] Amazon everything [laughs], and now I find myself Amazon shopping.”

What made her decide to put 21 tracks on the album:

“I definitely owe it to my supporters [because] they waited [for] so long. After all of this time, it was like, you’re either going to double up, or you’re going to triple up [laughs]. I owed them a lot. It was more so for them—if it was up to me, I would have dropped five or six songs.”

And where the idea for a mini tour came from:

“We had to feel into the markets because it’s been a while since I’ve been on tour. We had to play it safe—this is just me being honest. We didn’t want to jump the gun, we wanted to see what we could do [that was] a little more intimate. And we did excellent. Kind of what we expected, but we just wanted to be sure. I’m an independent artist, so I can’t jump the gun on a lot of things. We did six cities, and in the new year we’re going to do much bigger venues, different cities, and then [go] overseas.”

What she was most looking forward to last night:

“Just seeing my supporters, man. The MAB [Young M.A mob]. I can’t wait to see them. Since I’ve been on tour, it’s been crazy; they know the album so well and have been singing every song word for word.”

On if she’s ever been gifted something crazy from a fan:

“Everything was always thoughtful. I’ve been gifted the Dior cologne because they’ve seen it in my videos, I’ve been gifted canvas art, good luck candles, blessing candles—stuff like that. There’s never been nothing that was crazy like some panties or something.”

The first thing she does when she walks off the stage:

“I go right into the green room, drink some water, and just talk about the show right away. Nine times out of 10 there are meet-and-greets, so I have to get ready to meet all the supporters. It’s excitement, you have adrenaline as soon as you get off stage.”

Three things that make her go “Ooouuu”:

“[Laughs] Money, definitely a check. My supporters, and some good food, some seafood—crab legs, shrimp, all that good stuff. I’m a seafood lover.”

If she had to choose between Utz chips and seafood:

“Oh, seafood. Of course, that’s my first love. That’s my wife. Utz is the side chick.”

On how she gained so much confidence:

“Just being self-expressive and keeping it real, keeping it G. People need to know who I am, and it’s not for me to tell you on Instagram or something like that—it’s something for you to understand through the music. That’s me, I’m an artist. The album is called Herstory, and that’s pretty much what it was—getting to know me while enjoying the music at the same time.”

Where you can find her on a day off:

“Right here [in my apartment]. When I have my days off, I like to be in the crib a lot. Or if I have a few days off, I like to go on vacation. I can’t stay still, that’s another thing. If I’m in the house for too long, I have to go outside and do something. If I have the day off, I still try to do something constructive. It’s hard having a day off, I feel like I can’t stop working.”

On her Kweens Foundation:

“The foundation came about because of my mother [and me] having a couple of tragic situations in our lives—her life more so than mine. We lost somebody real close to us, my brother, her son, and it motivated the Kweens Foundation. We use the Kweens Foundation to give back to Kween, which [stands for] kings and queens combined. It’s our way to touch the people and give them our understanding. It’s for healing and for meeting these families that are going through the same situations as us, with no father figures and no mother figures at times. The less fortunate, [those who have] lost a loved one. We want to hear their stories and help them understand that they are not alone.”

Today she is doing a turkey drive and giveaway through her foundation:

“That’s another thing to give back to the community. I wanted to do it last year and never got a chance to. I did a Christmas drive, so this year I wanted to do a Thanksgiving one in Brooklyn. All of my charities have been in my city. I want to make sure I give back to my city before I start expanding [the foundation]. It’s only right.”

What she wants to be remembered for:

“Definitely the first artist to come into this game as a female talking that talk, man. No one else [has done] it like me; I’m literally in my own lane. I came to this game, I did it, and I sold platinum records—I went triple platinum. I’ve been across the world, I’ve been in places where people didn’t think I’d be accepted in; I performed there, I had people go crazy for me. I set my own mark without even trying, you know what I mean? I didn’t come into this game wanting to make people accept me, I came into this game like, You’re either going to accept me or you’re not. I’m still going to let you know who I am, whether you like it or not. That’s what I want to be remembered by; that person that never gave a fuck. I did it because I loved it and I enjoyed it, I’m independent, never signed to a record label. I just want to be remembered by Young M.A, that one.”

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