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10 things you need to know about ms banks

Meet one of the most important women in UK rap.

i-D Staff

i-D Staff

Tyra Banks (no, not that one) began rapping aged just eleven, inspired by strong female emcees like Lil Kim, Ms Dynamite, Lisa Maffia and Foxy Brown. She's come a long way since her playground bars, collaborating with Stefflon Don, JME and Stormzy in the process, while finding her own raw, energetic sound. Like a lot of people, we were introduced to Ms Banks through her impressive Fire in the Booth freestyle just over a year ago, in which she freestyled over Kanye's 30 Hours. Last month she reminded us why we liked her so much, with a new video for the bass-heavy OMG. Bar after bar and look after look, she slays. Meet the only Tyra Banks you need in your life via these 10 fun facts...

1. Ms Banks lives in south east London, where she was born and raised.
"The best thing about it is that I'm still next to Bagel King. The worst thing is its racist history."

2. Aside from her own, her all time favourite fire in the booth is by Avelino.
"I really feel like he has the best word play in the game and I could feel his passion even though he comes across so calm. It actually really inspired my own as well."

3. The last thing to make her say OMG, was Get Out.
"It's such an amazing film. It's so smart and has you thinking so much whilst you're watching it and even more so afterwards. I've been discussing that with my friends ever since I watched it."

4. We're not sure how she chose a favourite from all of her killer lyrics, but she managed it.
"Root chakra is the stem and my crown is the flower so I can't mess with anybody some of you need a scour take her for granted 'cause you sweet can turn a good chick sour. It's from my Fire in the Booth. I'm really proud of that freestyle.

5. She finds the UK hip hop scene both supportive and competitive.
"I feel like I'm a very competitive person myself, but at the same time I'm always happy and inspired when I see other people win. I feel like it's a good balance to have, as long as you support as well as compete, and you are seeing a lot of people on the scene supporting each other and bringing others up."

6. She's full of good (and bad) advice.
"The best advice has got to be "do your thing and be yourself because everyone is improvising and creating along the way", and the worst advice is being told to follow some one else's path, and that's bad advice simply because we're all different and our journeys can't all be the same."

7. She was only eleven when she wrote her first bars.
"They were like 'T to the Y to the R to the A, when I'm on the mic don't ramp don't play' LOL. They've definitely evolved and improved since then."

8. The first album she ever had was Britney's self titled debut.
"It was Britney in 2001. I didn't physically buy it myself, my mum bought it for me. The first album I purchased with my own money was Beyoncé's self tilted album back in in 2014."

9. She loves a good home-grown talent.
"I'm loving Hardy Caprio right now. He's a sick artist from Croydon. If you don't know you should get to know."

10. Her ultimate ambition is to keep on spreading love…
"…and letting all the young girls know they can be whoever they want to be. Oh and also to be rich!"

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Text Frankie Dunn