Awkwafina started at “My Vag,” now she’s here
Awkwafina (real name Nora Lum) had her first breakout with a few jokey rap singles like "My Vag" (a response to the "My Dick" song) and the anti-trust fund anthem "NYC Bitche$," both of which ended up on her 2014 debut project Yellow Ranger. As you may know, in the time since then, she took to acting (appearing in MTV's Girl Code, the Seth Rogen movie Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and more, and she was profiled in the Bad Rap film), and now she's in two of the summer's biggest movies: Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. As a more famous artist than ever, Awkwafina took a moment to write an essay that reflects on her upwards climb, and how "My Vag" and "NYC Bitche$" almost ruined her career. It reads:
In 2012 I put a video called My Vag on YouTube, knowing that it probably wouldn't do well - and it would make the laughing stock of every job interview ever. I wrote a song called NYC Bitches while making $9/hr at a vegan bodega. After it went on YouTube, a man came in asked if I was Awkwafina - it made me so happy.
One day, I got the email of my life. An A&R exec at a major record label wanted to meet with me. I listened to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac on the way to the meeting. He listened to two of my songs and never called again.
5 years later, I'm in an escalade in a gown, driving down Hollywood Blvd that they shut down for Crazy Rich Asians. And I asked the driver for the aux to play Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. I became teary, thinking about this moment, what it meant.
I remembered those days when I got fired from my job for Awkwafina, when I was broke for Awkwafina, when I got kicked off line-ups because "Awkwafina is a joke." Awkwafina was a dream I was chasing, and in some ways, I am still chasing her. But we need to take risks. We need to go broke. We need to prove them wrong, simply by not giving up. Awkwafina wasn't supposed to exist, but somehow she does. And I think about it everyday, that she was born for one reason only- to show every person out there, that it is possible.
Not only is 2018 a big year for Awkwafina's film career, but she also released her first rap project since Yellow Ranger, the In Fina We Trust EP, this past June. It proves/reminds you that she's not just a joke rapper (though it does start and end with a humorous skit where a man mistakes her for other famous Asian women... and men... and Dora the Explorer), with five songs that show off real-deal rhymes, catchy hooks, and crisp production. You can stream the whole EP, watch the video for the song "Pockiez," and watch a few Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean's 8 related clips with Awkwafina, below.