Atlanta rapper Kodie Shane talks to Lil Yachty about her bright future

Lil Yachty’s explosive rise over the last few years has cast the spotlight on the talented artists in his Sailing Team crew bubbling up in his frothy wake. First and foremost is Kodie Shane—she’s a gifted 19-year-old rapper and singer from Atlanta, whose breezy bops have earned her millions of plays and several nationwide tours, including a recent slot supporting Jhené Aiko.

Born Kodie Williams, Shane is no stranger to the music industry—her sister Brandi belonged to the girl group Blaque. They scored several chart hits, appeared in the cheerleading film Bring It On, and opened for stars like ’N Sync and TLC. “It definitely always made me want to be an entertainer,” Shane explained in an interview with FACT.

On anthems like “Drip On My Walk” and “Bounce Back,” Shane displays a talent for hooks matched only by her nimble flow. Her confidence is contagious; you feel as stratospheric as she sounds, a concept she leaned into on her Zero Gravity EP from last year. Her melodies soar like balloons, trailing streams of colorful vapor. In Shane’s bright world, the sky is the limit.

KODIE SHANE: How’s everything going with you? I know you’re about to go on tour, you’re about to drop ‘Lil Boat 2 and you’re going crazy.

LIL YACHTY: I’ve really been working on ‘Lil Boat 2 deadass. That’s really all I’ve been working on.

SHANE: Oh yeah y’all about to go crazy. It’s about to be a wrap for everybody. So what have you been up to? I saw you were just on tour.

SHANE: Yeah, I did a show in Phoenix. They were going crazy!

YACHTY: You had the actual fan base going insane.

SHANE: Yeah, and I don’t have any record so it’s insane that they were fuckin’ with me. I didn’t think anybody was on me down in Phoenix so that was crazy. And I’m about to go on the Jhené tour, that shit about to be fly. 

YACHTY: Them kids was goin’ insane!

SHANE: Them kids was goin’ crazy! There were so many girls, that shit was crazy.

YACHTY: That shit was fire, dog. There’s been so much change in a year from the first show we had where everybody came to see me, to now, when you’re doing your own thing.

SHANE: You really put me in position for that shit.

YACHTY: That was my plan from the beginning. So you did two or three tours this year?

SHANE: Three!

YACHTY: It’s a good thing, because I had a vision of everybody doing the same thing as far as the gang. Good for you. You’re doing it. I knew when I met you that you were really about that shit, which is why I wanted to give you an opportunity to showcase how talented you are, and you really took that shit and ran with it. You know what it is, once you get that one single bro.

SHANE: It’s gonna be a wrap!

YACHTY: It’s going to be overwhelming. Is it overwhelming for you now?

SHANE: Sometimes it’s crazy like, in Phoenix, it was a little overwhelming because there were a decent amount of people there, like 400 to 500 people. It was in Phoenix, Arizona, and that’s a weird ass space bro. So it was weird that people came out because I didn’t think anyone was going to. But I do a lot of tours so that shit just really puts me in position.

YACHTY: What’s been the hardest part so far?

SHANE: The hardest part for me so far has been like putting out my music that I really like, and not having people fuck with it like I do. I’m pretty sure everybody goes through that but that’s been the hardest part for me. It was like damn, I really fuck with that and I thought they would fuck with that, you know what I’m saying?

YACHTY: Yeah, the hardest part for me would definitely have to be with dealing with criticism and hatred and how it works. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and everyone can have a voice. So I didn’t understand at first why people would be so mean, or just have so much hatred for no reason. But as you continue to be successful and go up, you can’t be bothered by it. You can’t be trippin’ off of it because it becomes regular. Not that it becomes too regular, because you never want it to become just a regular thing that people just hate on you but what you do is make it to the point where they have to respect you.

You hear people say things like, “I might not like his music, but he’s such a this this that,” or whatever. You don’t gotta like my shit but you have to respect me and that took a while for me to understand. Especially because I don’t have nobody. I came into the game by myself so it took a long time for me to understand. You have to understand that your music isn’t for everybody, your job isn’t to please everybody. When you’re in the studio you can’t be like, “I want to make music that everybody will like!” You have really understand your fan base, what they like, and that’s what you do it for.

SHANE: That’s something that I’m starting to learn now, you know what I’m sayin’?

YACHTY: And really it’s like a life lesson thing, you have to go through it yourself. It’s like finding your style and analyzing what got you to where you are in the first place, you know?

SHANE: Yeah, for sure.

YACHTY: When I first released my Teenage Emotions album I thought that shit was fire, as you should! Then the sales came back and it did 44,000 first week and I was devastated and so confused, I worked so hard. But I disconnected with my fans because I tried to do this other stuff, you know? These records were good but they weren’t what I started with.

SHANE: You had fire on there!

YACHTY: Yeah, but it was no radio record. They were ahead of my time because that’s not where I was, I was trying to force these styles and do all this other shit. I shouldn’t have done that, that’s why I got my bases. I love the album but I would’ve … I don’t know—

SHANE: You probably would’ve done it a little differently, but everyone would do something on their first album a little differently. I get what you’re saying. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s trending.

YACHTY: Yeah, just never change or transfer yourself, just be you.

EZRA MARCUS: How did you guys meet each other?

YACHTY: I met Kodie at my first Atlanta show.

SHANE: It was at The Masquerade right?

YACHTY: Yeah, at The Masquerade the first one, two years ago. I was coming off stage and going to my car, I was just moving and my manager was trying to introduce me to her, but there were a bunch of fans and everybody was taking pictures. There was a lot going on. So we took a quick picture and I met her but I didn’t pay anything into it. Then we reconnected in the studio with Lil Uzi Vert a while ago and we was chillin’, and she came in and I remembered her face, and she started playing songs and stuff and I was like, “Whoa, she’s super dope!” So I saw her as new, fresh, fire. I wasn’t even poppin’ yet I was just like bubblin’.

SHANE: Yeah, you were just turnin’ up!

YACHTY: I guess it was during the come up, me and Uzi was just comin’ up and then I don’t know, I always wanted to have her close by my side and I wanted big success for her. So every time I went on the road I took her on the road, that next project I had I had her on that project, I got on her shit. I was having all these videos trying to get her in something and I was always talking about her and always tweeting and posting pictures and really promoting her and really trying to get the world to see this new face, this is my little sister and it got to the point where everyone thought we were literally related. I did it for everybody! I put the spotlight on everybody but you took the light.

SHANE: And I’m running with it.

YACHTY: You deadass used it for what it’s worth and made it a turn up. I just wanted to see you be a star and that’s exactly what you’re doing. I’m proud every time I see you do something like we’re doing the same festivals now and you’re really doing your own thing.

SHANE: Thank you bro.

YACHTY: It’s all love.

SHANE: I’m working on my album right now; it’s fire. Me and Yachty have a few songs on it and it’ll be dropping around March. 2018 is going to be a crazy year.

YACHTY: It really is.

SHANE: I love you bro, thank you for everything and keeping it so fire.