Fifty years into this lifestyle we call hip hop, the buzz and dominance of female MCs in 2023 (Ice Spice, BIA, Latto and Lola Brooke to name a few) still comes as a surprise. For decades in rap music history, many believed the culture mainly existed as an African-American male expression—this despite pioneers like Sha-Rock, the Sequence, Roxanne Shanté, Salt-N-Pepa, etc. For another period in the history, Nicki Minaj won female rap awards for years on end because competition was so scarce. As hip-hop turns 50, welcome to the feminine renaissance of rap, represented lately by newly anointed sistren Sexyy Red.

Born Janae Wherry in the north side of St. Louis, Missouri, Big Sexyy aka Sexyy Red just started rhyming in the past few years. Her steady musical diet of favorites like Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne and Juicy J came to bear when she decided to record a revenge track against the father of her young son, Chuckie, inspired by his infidelity. (Don’t google, it’s unreleased.) Launching an indie rap career in 2019, the 25-year-old MC officially debuted with “Ah Thousand Jugs,” setting up a playfully raunchy style she continued on her Ghetto Superstar mixtape, culminating with hip hop’s golden anniversary summer song—33 million global streams and counting—“Pound Town.”

Last month’s Hood Hottest Princess mixtape features “Pound Town 2” with Nicki Minaj, who notoriously doesn’t guest emcee with just anybody. In short order, Sexyy received the raucous applause of recognition at June’s BET Awards, then took off to the Wireless Festival in the U.K. for more screams and shouts alongside Travis Scott. Her increasingly hectic schedule included an EBONY call to discuss the inspiration and creative process behind “Pound Town.”

For months, the St. Louis native stepped away from her passion. She had just given birth to a son, and life was simply taking its toll. Despite all of this, her friends, family and team continued to push her to record. Her buzz was growing, and they wanted her to be able to capitalize on the momentum. Knowing this, the rapper was able to push herself to get back out there—which was ended up being a blessing in disguise.

"I was in a depressed stage. My team just kept begging me to come to Miami [to record]. I finally put it to the side and said I would come," Sexyy Red shares. "I went in the studio for months—it almost was a like a year before I finally was feeling like myself. I didn't have anything written down, though."

The "Pound Town" rapper recalls finally getting into the booth to record her now viral hit. Although hesitant at first, she took the advice of her team to simply freestyle and go with whatever came to her mind as she heard the beat play.

"That day, I just had to freestyle. I heard the beat and just started going off the beat. I started rapping: “I’m out of town, thuggin with my rounds…” And I’m like, what should I say next?... I just was rhyming."

"I didn’t even like the beat at first," she admits. "But because it was a Tay Keith beat, everybody was like, just use the damn beat. At first, I was only listening to it on my phone, but once I heard it in the studio played through the earphones, that’s when I just caught a vibe."