Kanye. Lupe. Common. Chicago hip-hop may be a guy’s sport, but this summer a girl is joining the team—with her toes done up and her fingernails matching. Kid Sister’s outrageous manicures—a trademark since she was a teen—inspired her first single, "Pro Nails," featuring Kanye West, which became a sensation late last year. On August 5th, the Markham native, born Melisa Young, follows it up with a debut album on Downtown Records that melds cultures and genres, viewpoints she says she honed as the daughter of a white mother and a black father. "I keep things balanced in terms of sound and culture because that’s who I am," says Young, 28. "This CD is a reflection of who I always have been and who I’ve evolved into—a lovable weirdo."
Reflecting her down-to-earth silliness, Kid Sis’s lyrics are mixed into dance beats contributed by her brother J2K, of the local DJ duo Flosstradamus, and her boyfriend, Kanye’s DJ A-Trak. But don’t attribute her quick success to her connections alone. "A-Trak didn’t ask me to rap on this shit," Kanye says in the introduction to "Pro Nails." "It wasn’t no favor." The girl’s so good, she doesn’t need one. One of only eight female solo artists at Lollapalooza, Kid Sister performs August 3rd. lollapalooza.com.
Photograph: Taylor Castle