Coi Leray Is an Icon within the Making—and She Is aware of It

Coi Leray has fallen in love—with herself. For the reason that launch of her debut album Trendsetter final 12 months, the 26-year-old rapper has been leaning closely on self-love. And she or he’s acquired the music to indicate for it.

Certainly one of her most up-to-date songs, aptly titled “Self Love” from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack, is slowly climbing the charts and presently sits on the Billboard Scorching 100. Her single “Gamers,” the feminine empowerment anthem about ladies being gamers, too, was her first prime 10 hit. Nevertheless it’s her upcoming self-titled album COI—out right this moment—that reveals Leray at her most confident. “That is the period of an icon being made,” she says over Zoom. “And all of the icons have self-titled albums.”

Since she launched her debut mixtape Everythingcoz in 2018, Leray has been acknowledged as one to look at. In 2021, the rapper was featured on the coveted XXL Freshman cowl, alongside fellow feminine rappers Flo Milli and Rubi Rose. Her hit single “No Extra Events,” which was launched the identical 12 months, grew to become her first music to look on the Scorching 100. And since then, she’s collaborated with rap heavyweights like Lil Durk and Nicki Minaj, in addition to the R&B singer H.E.R. Although her upcoming sophomore album remains to be extra of the identical, Leray can be flexing new abilities.

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On COI, she transcends the field that followers and critics have put her in, and formally introduces herself, and her versatility, to the world. Take “Black Rose” for instance, an infectious and brazen rock music that repeats the chorus, “Why they wanna push me? / They know they’ll’t shush me.” “As a younger Black feminine artist within the business, it’s essential for me to relay the message that they’ll’t silence me,” she says. “It’s a pleasant reminder. Bitch, don’t play. You possibly can’t cease me.”

“Man’s World,” which includes a pattern of “It’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown, is one other standout. And it got here collectively within the eleventh hour. As Leray was finalizing the album, she felt like one thing was lacking and wanted a music that will present her followers a special aspect of her. “Like, yeah, we’re speaking about being attractive and shaking ass, however what about Black empowerment?,” she asks. “It is a Coi album so there wanted to be a worldy report by Coi. I assumed to myself, ‘How are we gonna go loopy?’”

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Courtesy of Republic Data

“Like, yeah, we’re speaking about being attractive and shaking ass, however what about Black empowerment?”

As Leray continues to excel at her craft, she’s specializing in efficiency, too. “I see myself evolving on stage,” she says. As time goes on, she desires to include extra choreography, in addition to glitter, spotlights, robes, and a stay band. And someday, she additionally desires to fly above the gang. “I used to be making an attempt to fly for Summer time Jam, however that shit was $150,000,” she says in disbelief. “It simply reveals how closely invested artists are of their reveals. It prices. However for my subsequent present, I’m gonna fly. And be sure to seize that cash shot after I’m within the air.”

Since Leray debuted, she’s typically been discredited and seen because the underdog. And at sure factors in her profession, she would take heed to the noise. However now? Not a lot. “Since I’ve achieved so many issues at this level, I don’t really feel just like the underdog anymore,” she says. “I’m actually hearth. Like, I’m actually that woman. I’m a silent murderer on this business. Yearly has simply been a stepping stone in elevating. Within the time between these two albums, I’ve fallen in love with myself increasingly more. The vitality behind this album is ‘Unhealthy Bitch Vitality.’ You possibly can hear it within the music.”

And, in response to her, you possibly can see it, too. “Proper now, the colour of my aura is chrome with some glitter,” she says. “I’m shining, child. And I’m right here to remain.”

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Juliana Ukiomogbe is the Assistant Editor at ELLE. Her work has beforehand appeared in Interview, i-D, Teen Vogue, Nylon, and extra.