Meet D'Girl, a fresh female rapper navigating the male-dominated waters of Colorado hip-hop
D'Girl (aka Dosha Harris) has emerged as a compelling new force to be reckoned with in the mostly male-dominated local scene. But it goes way beyond the fact that she's a lady MC. The twenty-year-old, who's been rhyming since age thirteen, carries herself with the poise of a veteran and has a magnetic delivery that merges the elements of lyrical flavor with the style of MCs like Drake and Nicki Minaj.
We first stumbled upon D'Girl at DJ Ktone's "Denver's Got Next" talent showcase, where she rocked the stage with friend and frequent collaborator Landy. D'Girl moved through the crowd with such ease, it wasn't clear that she was one of the performers until she took the stage. The Denver native says this easy energy is how she keeps her creative spirits high during the recording process.
"Essentially, when I get in the studio, it's the feel of the track and who I'm with," she reveals. "With my artistry, I always put a girly touch to everything. My lyrics are kind of hardcore, but I'm more of an in-between kind of person. I make sure that when I'm at shows I can bring sexy as well as the hard element to the stage, because no one just wants a hard girl or a super-prissy kind of person. I make sure I keep a balance and give them what they want."
After the 5280 Urban Music Awards last year, D'Girl blew the crowd away at an after-party, adding cred to her already-burgeoning rep and catching the eye of fellow rapper Mr. Midas.
"After he saw me rock at the after-party, he approached me to join his team," she recalls. "I've been rapping since I was thirteen, and when I lived in Nebraska, I got down with the music scene out there. I'm from here, though, and when I moved back at eighteen, my ex-boyfriend was a rapper, and I thought, you know, I can rap a little bit.
"Once they heard me," she continues, "they told me I had that voice and that power. I didn't think I could go anywhere with it until my mom heard me and told me she knew I could make it. I love music, and it's something that's in me, so when she encouraged me, I figured, 'Why not?'"
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, D'Girl is working on releasing tons of old material: "I have so much stuff from last year that hasn't been released, so I'd like to drop a double disc," she says, as well as put the finishing pieces together for a multi-volume series of mixtapes all patterned after a choice makeup item.
"I'm going to call it Mascara Music Volume One," she explains, "and with the volumes, I want to do a 'waterproof' edition and a 'lengthening' edition, as a three-part series. It's going to be crazy."
While she is definitely a part of the Gang Green imprint, D'Girl maintains her independence by having a hand in all marketing and branding components to her work, allowing for official autonomy.
"No one can push you like yourself," she points out. "I have a lot to do with my marketing and all of the ideas I come up with. I have a manager now, and he's doing his thing to make sure I can get a lot of exposure, and I'm trying to make sure that I do my part.
"I love hip-hop," she adds. "It's not just something I do for my hobby. It's artistry. We create concepts for songs, and we write together, everything. We don't just hop on a beat and go at it. If you listen to our words, we're actually saying a lot."
Although a far cry from the old-school purist example of female rap of artists like MC Lyte, D'Girl is a descendant of Lyte's descendants. Citing Young Jeezy as the rapper who inspired her to write more, she hails Nicki Minaj as the MC who truly motivates her the most.
"Nicki Minaj put that fire in my heart that it could actually happen for me," D'Girl declares. "She came from the bottom like I came from the bottom, and you've always got to have your motivators, and now she's one of the best to ever do it."
There are some of the obvious comparisons to other rappers in the game, particularly Diamond from Crime Mobb, and other artists from the South who personify "swag" rap, but D'Girl brings her unique styling and artistic perception.
"One thing about Colorado rap -- or my rap, at least -- people always try to mix other people's swag," she concludes. "We have a lot of California and Southern stuff, but my music and other people's music from Colorado sounds a particular way. Even though I swag it out on a track, you can always hear all of my words.
"The song 'No Stopping Me' is really close to me because it tells of my struggles in hip-hop as a female. Sometimes people try to play you like a minor when you're really a major person. To be able to have my voice heard and tell my experience means a lot to me."