'I Busted Some Doors Down.' Rapper Young M.A On Her New Album, Homophobia and Breaking Boundaries
At 27 years old, the rapper Young M.A has experienced more peaks and valleys than some people encounter in a lifetime. Raised by a single mother who worked 12-hour days, the young Katorah Marrero became a precocious wordsmith and the first girl ever to join her school’s football team. In 2009, her older brother was murdered by a fellow gang member, sending her into a deep depression. Fast forward to seven years later, she was on top of the hip-hop world when her song “Ooouuu” broke out as a defining single of 2016, making her a rising star and one of the few successful openly gay women in hip-hop history.
But while “Ooouuu” brought her fame and wealth, the Brooklyn rapper suffered a deluge of problems behind the scenes, including addiction, depression and interpersonal issues with her inexperienced team as they struggled to handle the withering spotlight. “The expectation leaves you in a confused position,” Young M.A tells TIME. “I really didn’t know what to do, because all of this is just coming so forceful towards me.”