Indie rapper Poraa approaches her freestyle songwriting with a solid sense of self-confidence | Photo by Rūta Smith

Charleston native and indie rapper Poraa exudes an artistic conviction gleaned from years of shaping her image since long before she stormed into the local music scene in 2020. 

Poraa’s in your face rap has surpassed a million streams, yet, she considers herself a shy person behind the scenes and was hesitant to even share her first song. 

And while it’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the hip-hop industry, Poraa calls the local support she has received overwhelming. Local magazine Black Business Prosperity named her female rap music artist of the year in 2021, solidifying her as a noticeable force in the Lowcountry. 

“My hometown — they support me 100%,” Poraa told City Paper


Taking inspiration from Crime Mob’s female rappers Princess and Diamond, as well as Lil’ Kim and City Girls, the hard hitting lyricism and rapid tempo on Poraa’s most recent album 10 Steps Ahead reflects southern rap proficiency and girl-power prowess.

“I don’t want to be a female rapping about kicking in doors — I don’t do that,” Poraa said. “I can rap about what I do or what females do. The things that I say in rap are the things that females are scared to say. They like my music because I’m saying what they’re thinking, and now they have an excuse to say, ‘I can say this because it’s an art now.’  ”

Poraa said each track on 10 Steps Ahead started as a freestyled verse she developed as a songwriter, playing off themes or ideas she uncovered spontaneously in her stream of consciousness. She then perfected the material verse by verse at Str8 Drop Studio in North Charleston.

While Poraa is accustomed to doing featured verses on other artists’ songs, she said she wanted to have a collaboration on at least one track for 10 Steps Ahead that would demonstrate a diverse technique. She landed on local rapper Theoo for the song “Do It For” after working with him on a couple of his unreleased tracks. 

In the near future, Poraa said she plans to take her time and release singles rather than a full-length project. She’s also working on another another music video with a similar vibe to her popular YouTube track, “Bully Shit.” Raw, aggressive and peppered with profanity, Poraa said “Bully” was her way of reclaiming her territory.

“Around that time everyone was saying, ‘Oh, she’s not a rapper. I’m tired of her rapping. I’m tired of hearing this or that.’ So that video was like, ‘OK, let me get on my bully shit and show y’all I can rap about this, this and this.’ That’s what that video is all about.

“It’s all me,” she added. “I don’t have  management, I don’t have a team. Studio time, videos — it’s just me.”

Listen to Poraa’s latest album on Spotify:

Help the City Paper keep delivering excellence

Winner of top 2021 state journalism honors (best editorial writing and best cartoon), the Charleston City Paper brings you the Best of Charleston every day. Support our “unafraid” journalism with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.