Siya has accomplished a feat that many others haven’t been so successful with: She’s an out and proud lesbian and also a respected rapper. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive for Siya, who returns to TV tonight when Oxygen premieres Season 2 of Sisterhood of Hip Hop. And while there are four other women MCs on the show alongside Siya, it’s undeniable she is its heart; the rising star whose artistry is innate and nothing is done for show.
In Season 1, we saw Siya struggling to keep her personal and professional relationships strong, and Season 2 has her in a different place—literally. Siya has relocated from New York to Los Angeles where she says, “was where I needed to be to accomplish more things in in terms of my career so I made it happen.” (Her new EP drops in July.)
In the season premiere, Siya is faced with a tough decision as her contract with mentor, Tank, is up and rapper T. Pain comes by the studio, expressing interest in signing her to his label.
“Tank always does a good job. He’s an amazing guy,” Siya said. “He’s always been all about me and he never tried to change a thing and believes in me so much. So there’s never confusion there as far as my loyalty to him. But when certain things come knocking at your door, you have to open up that door to see what it’s about, even if you choose not to go that route.”
When I ask her how tempting it is to be courted by someone like T. Pain, she answers very diplomatically, and oh-so-Siya like.
“Everything in life is a temptation. At some point every day in your life you’re tempted to do something. But again, when your loyalty lies with someone, that’s like me being in a relationship and knowing I’m faithful to my lady,” she said. “Same thing with my career.”
Siya is a fantastically talented rapper, but she’s also a great person. She has no interest in social climbing or changing who she is to make money off a false image, and that comes across in her music. Her songs about relationships are very clearly about women, and yet they are still universal that someone who doesn’t identify as a lady-lover can still vibe with her and the emotions she’s putting behind the words.
“Me being openly gay has never been an issue,” Siya said. “That’s why my fanbase is what it is and why people on the show respected me as much as they did because I am so open about my sexuality and am so open as far as my sexuality in my music. People gravitate towards that—someone they can relate to and whose music they can find comfort in.”
Last season, part of Siya’s story was her relationship with on-again, off-again girlfriend Renaye. Ultimately, they parted ways and Siya says, “Renaye is no longer a factor.” She laughed and continued: “I am very much so in love right now and very happy but my relationship will not be on TV. The focus is on my music.”
Still, Siya said she doesn’t fall into the stereotype of most rappers who are interested in womanizing.
“The woman that I’m with is very supportive in terms of my career and I’m very supportive in terms of hers, too, so there’s never a miscommunication about what I’m doing, my whereabouts or anything like that,” Siya said. “Yes, rappers have that unfortunately that stamp on them that they can’t be faithful, and they’re players and all this other shit. But at the end of the day, I’m still a woman and I have values and I’m very big on monogamy. I feel like if you’re going to be a cheater, why be in a relationship?”
Siya says that between seasons “everybody has matured,” and the chemistry has grown stronger because all of the women on the show (Nyemiah Supreme, Bia, Diamond and Brianna Perry) become such great friends who support and love one another. “That’s what make Sisterhood of Hip Hop Sisterhood of Hip Hop,” Siya said.
On this season, some visiting mentors include Da Brat and Queen Latifah, the latter who Siya said is “an amazing person. A great influence. We we all a little shocked when she walked in. She dropped a lot of things and gave us some good advice.”
Part of what makes Sisterhood of Hip Hop such a cool show is that camaraderie—the lack of competition within the group (save for a few moments between Nyemiah and Diamond) and the ultimate goal of lifting one another up by giving advice, props and sharing stages. And when they aren’t working on music, they can talk with one another about other things going on in their lives, which is where we get to know more about the women behind the personas.
“When those cameras are on, we know what it’s about. We know our whole life is going to be on a television show,” Siya said. “That’s what I love about our show: What you see on TV is exactly who we all are. Nothing is fabricated.”
Season 2 of Sisterhood of Hip Hop premieres tonight at 9/8c on Oxygen, but you can watch it online now.