DijahSB is the Kid Cudi-approved rapper dismantling gender
Following the release of their new album, Head Above the Waters, rising Toronto MC DijahSB talks Kaytranada, Kid Cudi and non-binary representation.
29 Apr 2021
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, DijahSB is a deft rapper with fantastic songs and clever punchlines. Their gorgeous new album, Head Above the Waters, is perfect if you like bouncy sounds that make you want to dance in your kitchen while getting introspective, they’re the artist for you.
I discovered DijahSB’s music while I was in college in autumn last year. Their music is carefree, giving me a moment to dance in my room before each Zoom class, with tracks like the breezy euphoria of ‘Throw That Back’ getting me pumped. As I do my morning routine, I’m soundtracked by their EP, last year’s Girls Give Me Anxiety and I rap along to ‘Frontin Like Pharrell’ from their project 2020 the Album. They have a creative imagination and a knack for wordplay, with bars that’ll make you wild out.
DijahSB’s work focuses on overcoming challenging moments such as financial precariousness and feeling low, while also being about enjoying life. Chatting over Zoom, we talk about their influences, the Kid Cudi co-sign and non-binary representation within music.
In our conversation, DijahSB explains how rapping over lo-fi beats and house music helps them cope with their anxiety. They hope to help others conquer their stress along with handling their tough days, saying people should listen to their music “If you’re looking for someone to make light of the world.” They continue, “Within my music I like to focus on things that are heavy [while also] making light of things.”
DijahSB is an artist who isn’t afraid to open up about how they feel when things are heavy while also being the person to get the party started.
gal-dem: What’s your favourite line on the new album?
DijahSB: ‘By Myself’ with Harrison. I say, “Anything I stock they be buying. I can sell a rock to Goliath.” I’m like how did I come up with that? Definitely one of my favourite lines at the moment in my mind but there’s more on the album.
Who or what artist can you say helped you explore house music and the current sound you have now?
Kaytranada, he’s the person that really made me want to jump into the sound I have now. His Bubba album inspired me the most to kind of want to jump more into that sound.
Kid Cudi recently co-signed you through Twitter after watching you freestyle with your mask on, what was your reaction? Where were you when you found out?
I had actually just finished doing a puzzle. It’s so funny, I just finished doing a puzzle and my friend tweeted Cudi because he said that he wanted to start signing people to his label. Without my friend tweeting Cudi, I wouldn’t have seen the tweet. Then I replied and then I guess he went on to my Twitter and saw my pinned tweet which is the freestyle. He quote-tweeted it and I froze for like 30 minutes. It was the craziest thing to happen to me. Those moments are just so surreal to have – somebody that you admire saying that your stuff is cool.
“The representation does matter, and you never know who’s watching – you never know who’s listening, never know whose life you might change just for being yourself openly”
What’s your favourite Kid Cudi song? One that you can say has helped you on your tough days?
His entire catalogue. I’m thinking about maybe ‘All Along’ on Man on The Moon II. That’s kind of how I was introduced to Kid Cudi. I’m a late Cudi bloomer. Definitely anything off of Man on The Moon II. I just resonate so heavily with everything he talks about so it’s hard to narrow down.
What are your thoughts on being a non-binary rapper? We’re seeing so many non-binary artists finally receive the love and recognition the community deserves.
This honestly is a special moment to see anybody that’s non-binary. The representation does matter, and you never know who’s watching – you never know who’s listening, never know whose life you might change just for being yourself openly. For there to be any sort of representation is very amazing. I just hope that it’s not anything that would hold anybody back, or have anybody feeling like they’re not getting opportunities. I feel like it’s always the dumbest thing to judge somebody by their identity and not the music. When Frank Ocean came out as queer, [some] people were not want[ing] to listen to his music [even though] they were listening to it before. So it’s just like you were listening to it before, like, what was the difference now? Nothing has changed. It doesn’t impact his talent, doesn’t impact his ability to make music, it’s just him being himself. I feel like we just have to dismantle the social impacts of gender as well, so it’s important that “non-binary” is a thing and gets a little bit more attention. Not only the term itself, but the people too.
DijahSB’s Head Above the Waters is out now. You can listen on all digital streaming services.