For DeJ Loaf (née Deja Trimble), her fascination with music began in childhood, during which most of her time was spent teaching herself how to rap. These independent studies paid off last fall, when her debut single, “Try Me,” saturated the airwaves with a jarring juxtaposition of threatening lyrics and her innocent-sounding voice. Despite a reserved demeanor, DeJ is outspoken when it comes to her debut full-length album, due later this year via Columbia Records: “There will be sexy songs, love songs, and hardcore songs,” she says. “I’ll make the music I want to make.”
Home base: Detroit.
The buzz: After Drake quoted “Try Me” in an Instagram caption, the song went viral. DeJ then lent the hook to Shady Records’ “Detroit vs. Everybody.”
Now play this: “Me U & Hennessy,” an intoxicating track about a night in with her significant other. DeJ’s sensual coos are unexpected, given her baggy, unisex style, but she maintains that “tomboys still get the same play,” recalling the number of girls in high school who’d tease her, unaware that their boyfriends were secretly trying to get her attention.
Dream gig: Collaborating with Nicki Minaj, dispelling the belief that beef is inevitable between female rappers: “I’ve always been a fan,” says DeJ. “I love what she does.”
Coming up: A third EP and, in July, she’ll join Meek Mill, Rae Sremmurd, and Tinashe for Minaj’s Pinkprint Tour. Whatever she does, DeJ’s motivation remains clear: “I want to be great. The best to ever do it.”