Inspired by the greats such as Missy Elliott, Kari Faux is paving her own way in the world of rap.

The young MC, who also goes by the moniker of “Rap Game Daria,” got her start by working with Childish Gambino’s creative agency to produce her first single “No Small Talk.”

After the release of the track, Faux has gone on to make a name for herself as an upcoming talent in rap, and hopes to showcase her skills on her new release,  Lost En Los Angeles, which will be released by Wolf & Rothstein on April 8.

Hitting stages at SXSW this week, we caught up with Kari to get her take on music, women’s empowerment and some of her biggest inspirations.

TheSource.com: You were recently featured on Spotify’s “”Women in Music Stories & Songs” playlist for Women’s History Month. What does being an empowered woman mean to you?

Kari Faux: Doing whatever you want, no matter what other people think. That is the easiest way to be empowered, to do exactly what you want to do.

On the playlist you spoke about Erykah Badu and why you feel like she is an important figure in music. Can you elaborate on why you chose her?

I spoke about Erykah because I feel like she’s honest and I feel like a lot of people aren’t honest. She’s just doing her own thing, living in her own universe. You cannot really label her or put her in a box.

As March is Women’s History Month, what woman has been the biggest inspiration and influence in your life?

My aunt. She has always been really cool to me. She was just one of those ladies that went to school and she used to have her own local TV show kind of thing, where she interviewed people. She was very involved in city politics. She was very lively and listened to all the cool music and went to the cool events, but she was also a really sweet person. She was a direct influence because I liked that she was empowered, married or not. It never felt like she wasn’t a whole person and I loved that about her.

A lot of young women seek to imitate what they see in the media as well as social media. What’s your advice for ladies who feel the pressure to conform?

Don’t! Just don’t conform. The thing is, and I’m not trying to knock anyone that wants to do their thing on social media, do your thing or whatever, but if that is not what you are, do not try to be that. Don’t try to be something you aren’t because it’s so much more work.  You are definitely going to find people that like you for who you are! There will be a crowd that likes you. It just takes too much of your energy to not be you.

What are your thoughts on the rising influence of women of color in Hollywood?

It is tight! Being Black is cool right now. I hope it stays that way. I hope there is more representation and more young girls of color, so other girls can know they don’t have to change who they are.

Being a bBlack girl growing up, I watched a lot of TV, a lot of movies and music and I did not really connect with anything because the people I saw never really looked like me. If you don’t see people that look like you, you start to think, ‘well, maybe I am supposed to look like that.’ You can start hating yourself or trying to be something that you are not. I think it’s really cool we are starting to see more representation.

What are some personal affirmations you live by?

I have these sayings on my wall that I wrote. Before I left Little Rock to come to L.A. I was very confident in myself and very sure of myself. When I came back home I went into my room at my mom’s house and I saw this paper I had taped on the wall before I left. It just said all these things like: you are beautiful, you are smart, you will make someone smile today, you will make someone feel beautiful today, you can achieve all things.Being in L.A. I just started feeling really s*itty about myself. Going home and seeing that piece of paper that I had written, I just thought, well damn. These are the things I need to remind myself of.

In what ways would you like to see women become more unified?

We should all support each other even if we do not always agree on certain things. I think it’s really corny when women try to bring down other women for whatever the case maybe. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. What you bring to the table and what someone else brings to the table does not have to directly affect each other. What another woman does on Instagram or Twitter does not take away from what I do or you do. Just because I don’t agree with how someone lives does not mean I have to bring them down to make myself look better.

You have a project coming out on April 8. Will these themes be present within your album?

Yeah! How I feel as a woman is definitely very present on this album. I was listening to it and I was like all these songs are about me being an emotional girl. One track on the album, “Fantasy,” is all about not being any man’s fantasy and just being okay with that. I think this album is definitely for the women of the world. I am glad about that because I’m a woman, and women need to hear good things from other women.

What else do we have to look forward to with this release?

Fun music and dance music. I am all about having fun.

Photo Credit: Ibra Ake