Kanye. Lupe. Common. Chicago hip-hop may be a guy’s sport, but last summer a girl joined the team—with her toes done up and her fingernails matching. Kid Sister’s outrageous manicures—a trademark since she was a teen—inspired her first single, “Pro Nails,” featuring Kanye West, which became a sensation late last year. On August 5th, the Markham native, born Melisa Young, follows it up with a debut album on Downtown Records that melds cultures and genres, viewpoints she says she honed as the daughter of a white mother and a black father. “I keep things balanced in terms of sound and culture because that’s who I am,” says Young, 28. “This CD is a reflection of who I always have been and who I’ve evolved into—a lovable weirdo.”
Reflecting her down-to-earth silliness, Kid Sis’s lyrics are mixed into dance beats contributed by her brother J2K, of the local DJ duo Flosstradamus, and her boyfriend, Kanye’s DJ A-Trak. But don’t attribute her quick success to her connections alone. “A-Trak didn’t ask me to rap on this shit,” Kanye says in the introduction to “Pro Nails.” “It wasn’t no favor.” The girl’s so good, she doesn’t need one.