Kash Doll has a new baby on her hands, which she is adamant was well worth the wait.
Speaking on the line with VIBE on a Monday afternoon, her excitement over the recent arrival is palpable in her Midwestern twang. She ensures us that her latest contribution to the world is a handful. But given the time she spent creating and breathing life into it, she hopes we cherish it as much as she does.
Kashton, the rapper’s adorable one-year-old son, is not the bundle of joy she’s doting on at the moment. Yes, the toddler—her first child with Detroit rapper Tracy T—is the center of her universe; he dominates her social feed and lives like a prince. Yet, the latest labor of love that’s left Kash Doll occupied is her new mixtape Back on Dexter. Her first Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama marks a return to both the music scene and her Detroit roots.
“Dexter is the street I grew up on. It’s really one of the rough areas in Detroit and that’s where I came from,” she notes.
The rapper’s name and music may ring bells nationally, but her hometown remains her main source of inspiration. Back on Dexter finds Kash Doll forging ties with fellow hometown heroes and Midwest luminaries, including Babyface Ray, Icewear Vezzo, Sada Baby, Peezy, Payroll Giovanni, and Lakeyah. Her choice of lyrical co-conspirators gives the tape a distinctly steely groove that makes it a solid return from a lengthy hiatus.
Even in her evolution as a thespian, the city looms large. Detroit serves as the backdrop of the hit Starz drama BMF, on which she reprised her role as Monique for the series’ second season. The omnipresence of the blocks that helped shape her has fueled her rise to stardom and served as a reminder of how far she’s come.
VIBE spoke with Kash Doll about Back on Dexter, her burgeoning acting career, motherhood, and the continued embrace of her Detroit roots.
VIBE: You recently released Back on Dexter, your first Gangsta Grillz mixtape. What led to you connecting with DJ Drama?
Kash Doll: Honestly, DJ Drama’s mixtapes, the Gangsta Grillz, are very popular. They’ve been the thing since I was younger. And my label, I believe we have connections with him and we just made it happen.
The project is called Back on Dexter. So what is Dexter and in what ways did that area shape and influence you to the point that you wanted to make it the name of this project?
Well, Dexter is the street I grew up on. It’s really one of the rough areas in Detroit and that’s where I came from. So it’s really just me getting back to my roots. I just had my baby, so it meant a lot for me to start off getting back into music, getting back into the game where I started from. And that’s why I took it back on Dexter and that’s where the name comes from.
Looking at the tracklist and the features, this mixtape has a heavy Detroit presence. Was that a conscious effort or more organic?
It’s crazy because I can say both. Because when I first did it, I wanted Back On Dexter to feel like Detroit. So that was my attention for it organically, every song I made just naturally vibed with all the heavy hitters because we all came up together. Like I’ve done three songs with [Icewear] Vezzo. I’ve done songs with Babyface Ray, everybody that’s on there. I can’t just name a few, but everybody’s on there, we already did collabs or always been around each other. So naturally, that happened. So intentionally, I wanted to make a Detroit-sounding project. And naturally, since that’s what I do, it vibed with certain artists.
This is your first project since giving birth. How would you describe your mind state while you were making this project, as far as the content and the lyrics?
My conscious was just me being back to myself. The root, you know what I mean? And that comes from the name, that comes from the cover. That comes from the features, that come from the lyrics, the beats. My brother Joseph McFashion, he put a lot into helping me and he’s the executive producer, as well as myself. That’s where a lot of that came from. Just the roots, man. I just want to take it back to where I started.
Where do the lines between Arkeshia and Kash Doll begin and end?
I just think that the blurred lines will just always just remain the same. Just keeping it grounded. Keeping it authentically myself, Arkeshia, just really raw. Raw Arkeshia. Street sh*t, you know what I mean? Just real ghetto, Detroit. Them the vibes, man.
You showcased your acting talents during the first season of BMF and made your return for season two. What has the experience been like getting acclimated to the acting world and the grind of it all?
It was really fun. It was a different experience and I just learned. It just opened up another world, it’s like I had another baby. Really music is my first child. And acting is my second because Kashton came after those. Even though he’s number one, no matter what, but you got to give each one of them a certain amount of attention. And now it’s like I gave birth to a whole ‘nother side of me and it’s fun, but it’s also kind of the same. It’s like ‘All right, the script is like lyrics.’ You’ve got to remember your lyrics before you go perform, so I be having to remember my script. And then I go out and perform, but that’s when I get on the scene and they say ‘Action.’ So it’s like they’re kind of the same but they’re different. One, you physically got to put yourself in a whole another person’s perspective. And then one of them, you actually get to be yourself. It’s just you talk with your music and you tell what’s going on with your emotions and sh*t like that. So they’re two different things, but they’re the same. And they’re all my babies and I love it all the same.
Speaking of acting, do you have any goals or aspirations that you’re shooting for in the industry?
Yeah. I wanna take acting to a whole ‘nother level. I enjoy it a lot. The difference is with acting I get to sit still for a few months and I get to get my mind right, learn lyrics, and do stuff like that. And then with music, I’m always on the go, so it’s like I get the best of both worlds. So yes, I do need that. I actually need the acting to give me that good balance. So yes, I am looking forward to doing more and I’m actually doing more. So it’s more to come.
Speaking of new additions, you recently celebrated your son Kashton’s first birthday. What would you say are some things that motherhood brought out of you that even shocked you?
Man, I cook all the time now. I don’t normally do that (laughs). I’m really soft now. Like Kashton just turned me into a sucker [laughs]. He owns my heart, man. Every time I see that little boy, he makes my heart smile. I didn’t know that I could love somebody more than I love myself. And now I’m more cautious on how I spend money. [I think about] what could it do for my son’s future, how could he benefit from it? You just become more cautious of who you are and what you represent as a mother and not just as a human by yourself. So a lot has come into place with my finances, where I want to stay, how I want to move, my safety. It’s just different, you know.
A lot of women admired your grind while pregnant and even after giving birth. What fuels you to go so hard and what advice would you give to those who look up to and admire you?
What I will say is just let go, don’t think too hard, and let God lead you. Have faith, pray, and as long as you giving it your all, you’re doing the best you could, you’re doing great. Don’t overthink it, don’t put yourself in a crazy mindset of your baby has to have this and has to have that. Yes, I got it so I do it. But if you can’t, as long as you’re doing the best you can, that’s all that matters, man. Everybody doesn’t have to do what you see on social media for your kids. And for the people that could afford it, it’s not all about just what you could do for your child. It’s the time and the effort in the knowledge and the nourishing that you give your child. So it’s way more to being a mom than just taking pictures for social media, having lavish parties. It’s really just being a mom, man, so I just give them that advice. Just stay true to God, stay praying. And as long as you’re doing the best you could do you doing great.
Back to you one of your first children: music. Later on this year, you have plans to drop your album, and it’s gonna be your first in almost four years. Can you let us know the who, what, when, and why about it?
I got out of my last [label] situation. I wanted to give my baby a year of me before I got back because he deserved that. So before I got back into music, I just wanted to give my baby all of me, and that’s what I did. And I just went about getting into the project because I started missing it. I started missing music, I started missing even getting in the studio. So once I started feeling better, I hit up my bro [DJ Drama]. He always wanted to do a project with me. He’s like ‘You got to take it back to the roots. They miss you, it’s been a while.’ And that’s what we did, we just got in the studio. He got a Airbnb out here in Atlanta and we got in there. I brought my baby because I had to be comfortable. I didn’t want to take him into a studio with the big speakers and stuff because he was like seven months or eight months [old]. I got my baby and I just recorded. And I just did me without thinking too hard.
What’s next for Kash Doll?
My album coming out this year. More acting gigs and more charity events and more investments and more. You’re just gonna see a whole bunch of everything.