The Buzz On: Sirah

We’re newly obsessed with five-foot hip-hop powerhouse Sirah.

A lot of rappers lay claim to stories of the difficult journeys they took to get to where they are, but for Los Angeles’ Sirah, it seems like a long trip indeed from her days of homelessness, which she says she pretended was “camping,” and cutting her teeth at 8 Mile-style shows in South Central, to appearing on two massive hits over the past year, signing to Pulse/Atlantic Records AND having her music featured on MTV’s upcoming reality show “Washington Heights.”

Listen to Sirah, and watch the “Washington Heights” trailer after the jump.

That certainly wasn’t an easy place to break out of as a 5-foot rapping white girl, especially long before being a 5-foot rapping white girl was a total thing, but it forced her to refine her game, she says. Kind of surprised she didn’t end up going with the moniker Petit Sirah, all things considered (that’s a wine pun for those of you who are of wine-drinking age). It’s definitely not a coincidence, however, that “sirah” means “life” or “journey” in Arabic, and more specifically the sum total of the experiences that make up who we are as people.

We’re not sure what the Arabic word for “dubstep” is, but a friendship with a fella by the name of Skrillex, who featured her vocals on his tracks “Bangarang” and “Kyoto,” certainly helped kick things to the next level for Sirah. That hard-stepping, bass-wobbling vibe carries over to tracks of her own, like the exuberant “Up and Down” from her own C.U.L.T. mixtape from earlier this year. She illustrates a gentler touch on the intimately woven stories on songs like “Made It,” which she says “was basically a freestyle about where I grew up and how I’ve finally ‘arrived.’” “Like Me Now” shows a more manic panic-attack mode where she rhymes about her worries about hype and self-esteem. At this rate, she’s going to have a lot more of both to wrestle with this year.

+ Listen to Sirah’s “Up And Down” and more of her tracks.

+ Watch the “Washington Heights” trailer, featuring Sirah’s “My City.”

Photo credit: Pulse/Atlantic Records