At 16 she recorded for the first time in a studio and then never set foot in one again. The unfathomably well-mixed songs on her SoundCloud were engineered and recorded solely by Natalie Pass. She enlightened me during our conversation about her two stellar EP’s, her clever alias Versailles the Everything, her thought process and where she hopes her music will go in the future.
The double threat and Florida native started rapping at 15, exploring her natural ability to string words together and taking up the challenge of memorizing Twista lyrics. Her drive to make music tapered off at 16 and she didn’t fully start up again until she was 20. Initially she wrote under the name Lady P, because it made sense. P – Pass – she’s a lady - Pretty straightforward. A tandem search online however changed all of that.
N: Where does your name Versailles The Everything come from?
V: I use to be called lady P, & that’s because my last name was Pass and I thought it was kind of the simple thing to do. It was kind of cliché’ so I don’t know how but I started looking up the palace of Versailles. Not really knowing what I was looking at, but the one thing that stuck out the most was when Louis the 14th was in reign he was obsessed with absolute rule/absolute monarchy in the kingdom. Absolute monarchy is monarchy not limited to a restrain by laws of a constitution, I was like let me flip this a little bit and make the constitution be Hip Hop.
She donned the alias and tailored the play on words to fit her perfectly. Versailles the Everything is what the name encompasses- she is inciting a call to action with her music- she is challenging absolute monarchy – and she is shattering the box that she gets placed in because quite simply she can do everything.
Hence the epic name.
All the more interesting is what I found to be her delivery. She can rap her verses and sing her hooks but she was plagued with having to find the balance and not being known for just one or the other. Versailles however chooses to attack your ears with wistful lush harmonies. Almost lulling you into safety with her singing then she releases a waterfall of lyrical bullets outlining a crisp and clean concept in several different ways. Rap in particular is a male dominated rumpus that has boastful and prideful spitfires. When listening to her it isn’t a female trying to “rap like a male” or a female trying to “rap like she cute” – It’s a poet assaulting your ignorance with a clear understanding of rap as a poetic means to educate, incite and inspire. She sounds like no one but herself. In short she’s really fucking good.
N: Where does your prowess come from!? You do streamed concepts, state it and then you outline it.
V: I never looked up to anybody, I hate to say it but I don’t really listen to music. I never listened to music before; I never listened to illmatic I hate to say it. I never listened to pac and biggie or I can’t tell you I look up to such and such because I feel like if I did I would always be influenced, I would always take something from it and I didn’t want to chance it. I’ll support that person’s movement – I support the hell out of Kendrick he’s making moves! People in the industry making all these chess moves I completely admire their ability to do so I just choose not to listen to the music because I don’t want to take anything from it. It’s a subconscious thing that you actually end up taking from it you never realize it but before u know it – you’re doing the same thing that Kendrick did with “I”. When it comes to writing people use to tell me you should look at battle rapping so you can get your bars up, work on your metaphors. I prefer to attack in a different way writing wise I’m not about ok let me make the entire verse a metaphor after a metaphor some people can master that and that’s wonderful- for me I just attack it.
On the cusp of really taking on her new alias Versailles released several covers and the track Boulevard.
”Boulevard was one of my favorites. That was when I was really starting to embody being Versailles. I don’t know where I got this idea but I was like let me be a little bit proper on the track when I’m speaking. It was beautiful, the beat everything about it- it was just a great flow and I really felt like I was walking through somebody’s boulevard watching shit go down. At the end of it that’s what I wanted it to feel like damn I just walked around the boulevard,”
The push from the singles had put her on the radar of major indie music curator Darker than Wax. (Just listen to her entire SoundCloud, she’s been popping from the jump you will thank me later for it.) DTW ended up doing and artist spotlight on her and in the same month she released her first Ep entitled Injvstice.
She never intends to sit down and write an album. As she recorded more and more she realized a streaming concept. She had placed a large emphasis on challenging the absolute monarchy in music. This concept shaped her EP Injvstice and gave us the first chance to hear her truly remarkable expertise as a lyricist.
N: The Injvstice ep, what does that body of work mean to you?
V: After the fact that I had put everything together and I listened to it from beginning to end. I thought okay so this is injvstice, every single song has a different meaning of injustice to it. I wanted people to take not one meaning of injustice away from it- I wanted to them to listen to individual songs and grasp different definition of injustice to them. – It’s like a rainbow of definitions of injustice and people gravitate towards different songs…It wasn’t a complete album that all sounded like the one song, I wanted it to be versatile but have the same meaning at the root of it.
As we delved into her music and dissected her wording she gingerly recollected her thought process. Admittedly she writes in a state of subconscious never really knowing what she is saying until she hears it. She has the ability to take her emotions and animate them with well-tailored lyrics and descriptions. As if a mood couldn’t already be felt, imagine an outpour of emotive vernacular that rings in your mind in ways that visuals can. She is auditory sight and the alarming rate at which her music can throw your imagination from one situation to the next is nothing next to normal. And, that isn’t a bad thing.
Garden, the first single off Injvstice in particular was something that shocked her after she heard it back. What was on her subconscious is still not known but she made one hell of a song.
N: What was does the first single off of Injvstice [Garden] mean to you?
V: I wrote the song the same hour that I heard the beat…There was a lot of shit on my mind at the time. Eventually I realized I wrote this from my subconscious it’s crazy! Then I started to break down like every little bit and I’m like yo this song is literally about two people that are together and know that they could be with other people but choose to be together for the fuck of it. And then - when it comes down to them being together it’s like they’re hurting themselves in the end but they do it anyway just because it makes them feel good. Like what’s the line? “I will give you my soul for the price of my forever.” That line set the tone of that entire song. It was basically to say I will do whatever you want me to do and I’ll go to the ends of the earth just because you asked me to do it, I know it hurts me in the end but I will do it because that’s what you want me to do. The whole song is like one huge metaphor for it and the more I listened to it the more I was like my god! This song is something.
N: Red Woods was also a really interesting record to me. There’s a great dichotomy in it. What does that song mean to you exactly?
V: When I did redwoods I was still mourning my grandmother’s death, and it was around her birthday too. I wrote night lights in Paris, lobotomy & redwoods all around the same time and I was in that mode where I felt like running through the woods, and I’m running so hard I don’t see the woods any more, I don’t even see the trees anymore, I don’t see anything around me, everything kind of became red. I was staying up all these late nights barely getting sleep and my eye were blood shot red and then I was like mmm…”redwoods through my paper chase blood shed through my mental cartridge” – and I was like wow I’m pretty much running myself sick. I guess I was angry at people also, I was going off on somebody for putting me in that box that I always ended up in, and I was like let me try and break out of it. That’s how redwoods became grimy but I was still trying to reconcile something inside myself, I was seriously having a fight on the inside, “should I be this way, should I not be this way” at the time that I was delivering the verse. I listen to it now and I hear the pain in the first half and the second half I’m like oh nah forget this! That song is the light and dark version of me.
The feedback that she got from Injvstice was positive but it put her back in the box that she was always fighting to get out of. The drive to keep her talents not codified by being just a singer but a rapper as well was hugely evident and that was the inspiration for her most recent EP Trip V. The ballsy and confident project was a blatant message to everyone belittling her as a lyricist she essentially deemed the tape “ a retaliation”. One listen to Trip V and well…message received!
“You can take this mic and every bit of me back to the grave where I came from, cause’ I’ll be goddamned if I let you get to me. You ain’t nothing but a rouse and you know your motherfucking music sucks what I don’t have…”
She released the first single Phantom a quintessential middle finger to her nay-sayers that not only showed her other worldly use of word play but turned heads. By the time second single Vidi came out she was in full steam and the Ep was doing exactly what it was intended do.
I stumbled upon Versailles the Everything on SoundCloud when her song Appetizer also off Trip V was reposted by indie music platform Infinit. Blindly listening as I usually do, and then I heard the hook….
“We don’t need no introductions/ you say you may know me but hold up that’s something/ because I know you to be my future dinner/ Eat you up destroy your fucking future with this holy spittin”
Appetizer is the ultimate ether and what came from Versailles was nothing short of astonishing. The track was brought to her by Cosmonostro/ Futuronostro producer and Now Futur founder Mass. Versailles fell in love with the track by produced by DTweezer of Now Futur and finished it in a matter of hours. The EP prior to hearing her intentions was a gritty and dark tape with a full flex of her lyricism and possibly her current state of mind. All too surprising to hear that was what she wanted. Her ability as a lyricist rang clear on my first listen as well as her skill as a singer. There is no question that she is an unbelievable writer nonetheless.
At just 25 Versailles The Everything is an artist to keep tabs on. She is another young creative that is bridging the gap of gender in Hip Hop and making it about the music and prowess as opposed to the person. Without a doubt there will be more to come from this young maven as she alluded to be sitting on about 4 unreleased projects. (No Big deal!) If InjVstice and Trip V is any indication of what’s to come I expect great storytelling oh and just a small reminder that she can body records.