July 3, 2012


You Need to Know: M.I.A.'s Protege Rye Rye

Angela Weiss
Angela Weiss

Every Tuesday, You Need to Know spotlights a rising artist that we know will blow up big. Listen now. Thank us later. This week: Electro/hip-hop artist and M.I.A.'s star student Rye Rye, who is performing on the traveling Identity Fest this summer.

We're from the school of thought that if M.I.A. backs a new artist, we're backing that artist, too. Enter Rye Rye, the 21-year-old Baltimore native and the first act to sign to M.I.A.'s N.E.E.T. Recordings record label. (Other signees include Sleigh Bells and Blaqstarr—not bad company.)

Rye Rye's debut single, "Shake it to the Ground," released in late 2006, was a huge club hit... but Rye Rye couldn't even enjoy it because she was only a junior in high school at the time. Despite her young age, the popularity of the track led her to a meeting with M.I.A. and Diplo (no pressure), the result of which was an opening spot on M.I.A.'s 2007 Kala tour. Rye Rye signed to N.E.E.T. shortly thereafter and began work on her debut album: 2012's Go! Pop! Bang! She tapped the likes of Akon, Tyga and Robyn to guest on the album, as well as her mentor M.I.A. All good choices: The album peaked at No.1 on iTunes' Electronic Albums chart.

Now Rye Rye's taking her dance-fueled hip hop to the next level—she's performing at this summer's Identity Festival. Included in a lineup that features artists such as Paul Van Dyk, Porter Robinson and Wolfgang Gartner, it's clear Rye Rye isn't just another female rapper. Keep your eyes on this one.

Rye Rye featuring Robyn, "Never Will Be Mine"