A Conversation with Vancouver’s Queen of Hip-Hop, Rude Nala

Fierce yet gentle, creative but focused, that is what the lioness, Rude Nala is made of. A smiley, soft-spoken rapper from Burnaby has gone from performing outside the H&M in Metrotown to playing shows at Celebrities Nightclub and putting out hit EPs. She has just dropped her second EP in two years–oh and she is only 21 years old (cue everyone thinking about when they were 21, chugging Smirnoff Ice and being an overall shambolic mess, not being a complete badass putting out EPs faster than Post Malone gets tattoos). 

So how does the half Caribbean, half Filipino, who grew up in Metro Vancouver end up being a Queen in the hip-hop industry? Being just as her name says, Rude Nala.  

“To me, what “rude” means changes throughout my career so I love it when people ask me because it always makes me think about what it means to me now.  Rude, is, first of all, a huge part of Caribbean culture. If someone calls you a “Rude Boy” or “Rude Girl” they are calling you a boss. What it means to me now is stepping into myself, becoming the person that I am supposed to be and by doing it boldly,” says Rude Nala as she leans back in her chair.  

The second part of her name “Nala” has two meanings, one is that it is her birth name spelled backwards (Jalangi), which side note– is also a super cool name. The second meaning is of course from The Lion King,  for those who don’t know (how you have gotten this far in life without knowing The Lion King is truly shocking, but anyway I digress), Nala is Simba’s best friend and grows up with him as they adventure through the jungle. She grows from “Young Nala” to Nala by the end of the movie but for our Nala, she has grown from Young Nala to Rude Nala. This personal and professional growth is evident in the difference between her two EPs. 

Rude Nala’s first EP, Rude Awakening, dropped in 2018. The songs are about her learning who she is and stepping into the jungle of the music scene to find her own voice. The songwriting in Rude Awakening is much more emotional and talks about feeling alone in the music industry. As she continued to push through the challenges, she found her pride, and now she has a supportive team behind her. This changed her songwriting and propelled her to where she is now. Her second EP, Rudeness (dropped June 29th, 2019), makes it clear that she has found who she is, she is no longer a lion cub, she is a full-grown lion and is ready to roar! Rudeness is the wake-up call that everyone needs. So, how did she do it? How did she become the person and the musician that she always wanted to be? She did it the Rude Nala way, she stopped sweating the small stuff. 

“I just stopped caring about things that weren’t important and only focused on what I wanted to do and how to get myself to where I need to be. I keep my head down, I stay in my lane and I just go”. 

It’s just that simple, stop caring about the dumb sh!t and then thank Rude Nala for being so damn wise. 

Not only is the songwriting on Rudeness a proclamation of self-empowerment, but she also uses her voice to tell her story. Similar to Rude Nala’s personality, her voice is silky and strong, like a good whiskey, goes down smooth but hits oh-so-hard.  

Get yourself a taste of it here on Spotify.  Follow Rude Nala on Instagram @rudenala.