Ya Malkia (Marquetta Hewitt) hip hop artist, producer, and songwriter born in Panama City, Florida. Her full stage name Ya Malkia Kuamka (Yah Mal-kee-uh koo-um-ka) is derived from the swahili language and translated means “The Goddess Awakens”. For the sake of ease and less confusion she later shortened it to Ya Malkia and also goes by YMK. She devised the name to mark a new milestone on her spiritual journey blossoming into a wise, colorful, and passionate creator. She brings a loving, positive, encouraging yet also a no-nonsense and authoritative personality to the genre. Strongly skilled in songwriting, lyricism, poetry, and a voice that is sure to grab the ears of any type of music listener. Her approach with her music lets you know she is no stranger to the craft and takes her talent seriously. Her style speaks southern hiphop, R&B and Neo Soul, Funk influences mixed with new age futuristic and experimental sounds.
The journey of creativity began at a very young age as she enjoyed writing poetry, songs, plays and also keeping a diary. As a child she always wanted to be a performer often putting on shows with her younger brothers or cousins for parents and family. Growing up she enjoyed listening to music having been introduced by her father Elvis to great icons early on such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Isley Brothers, Commodores, Babyface, and too many others to name. As a teen she spent a lot of time to herself listening to music, following her favorites artists and imagining being on stage, performing in front of millions of people around the world. Watching music documentaries and learning about the lives of some of her favorite artists was one of her favorite past times. The knowledge of the industry behind the scenes, learning more about artists’ struggles and not just the glitz or glamour piqued her interest in music as a whole. She is greatly inspired by artists such as Brandy, SWV, Tupac, Missy Elliott, Ludacris , Lauryn Hill among her favorite and many others. These artists inspired her to want to begin making her own music and also are some of the influences behind her style of music that incorporates, truth and storytelling, wisdom, subtle to in your face hard hitting bars and punchlines, substantial songwriting and melodic hooks.
After graduating high school she attended Southern University A&M College in Louisiana as a biology major going through challenging obstacles and years of trying to discover what her path in life was meant to be. Eventually she decided to drop out due to depression, lack of motivation and impending financial burdens of living off campus and working full time. Taking a different route she found a career in the food service industry starting in entry level positions and working up to managing full service restaurants. Driven by the passion to be her own boss, she often launched different business ideas on the side. Something she deems valuable around this period of her life was the conversations with with friends about future business and dream moves. This helped her to continue pursuing her dreams of living a life that she could be proud of regardless of the day to day struggles she experienced. After years of working physically and emotionally draining low paying jobs she found herself not truly happy and struggling to gain clarity on her life purpose. In 2016 she took a risk and decided to relocate to Alaska in hopes that it would mean a fresh start and a closer step to her destiny.
The new chapter of life in Alaska taught her how important it is to really know and understand who you are as an individual. When you do not listen to your inner voice of guidance and walk in your true purpose, things will fall apart in order to resurrect into a stable foundation. Ya Malkia endured an emotionally abusive and toxic romantic relationship, ultimately it lead her back to rediscovering herself and passion of music. After regaining her footing and cutting ties with things and situations that no longer served her growth, she began to focus more on making music a career. Her journey has given her large amounts of wisdom, confidence and pushed her to discover so much, not only about herself but the world as a whole. Her music reflects a lot of her growth in spiritual, esoteric, and metaphysical aspects. The way she is able to translate it to real life experiences showcases how skillful, diverse and emotionally driven her writing can be.
Her first official single “Give It To Me” in 2019 received great responses from her supporters. The track produced by D’Artizt is a head bouncing southern east coast type beat and lyrics written by Ya Malkia. In the track she demands respect and speaks on social injustice, cultural appropriation, conspiracy and more. She delivers an animated and entertaining performance that is sure to have you wanting to hear more. The song is also featured on DJ Smokes 2020 February Mixtape Release “Make Rappers Rap Again” and is also featured on the corresponding Spotify Playlist “Make Rappers Rap Again”.
Her 2020 project Rampage EP to be released February 14th is a recollection of her journey between 2016 to 2019. The 8 Songs on the EP were all written during that time and is somewhat of a musical diary. Not officially being a concept project, overall Rampage follows a theme of self actualization. Subject matter includes motivating speech, self love encouragement, observations of society’s lack of self acceptance, toxicity of social media, flexing on haters and lessons learned from relationships. The project is a great lead into the 2020 year, as Ya Malkia looks forward to releasing more music and making a name for herself.
Subsequently she will begin working on an additional EP entitled U.B.W. (Unapologetic Black Woman) Release date TBA. In which the content will speak on matters such as the value of self worth and esteem, colorism, the angry black woman narrative, the strong black woman narrative, appropriation of black women’s culture and more topics she feels are overlooked when it comes to the black woman’s perspective in hip hop music.
Ya Malkia creates and distributes her music under her own recording label and studio The Matriarchal Collective LLC.