“Did you get that candid loving moment with my child?” Chika asks. On a recent morning in her Los Angeles home, the rising rapper’s spontaneous rendition of a Kermit the Frog song quickly turned into a private show for her dog Vision (“Rainbows are visions—like you!—but only illusions…”) The ginger-haired pup has rarely left his owner’s side during quarantine, including when Vogue stopped by to spend 24 hours with Chika at home and in the studio.
Since getting signed by Warner Bros. last year, the 23-year-old and become a music star to watch thanks to her bold mix of rap, hip-hop, and poetry. She’s competing for Best New Artist at next year’s Grammys and made XXL’s 2020 Freshman Class, a showcase for emerging rappers whose past lineups included the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Megan Thee Stallion. Barack Obama is even a fan, including the rapper’s song “Crown” on his 2020 summer playlist (“Excuse my language but BITCCHHHH,” she tweeted in response).
After changing into a James Baldwin t-shirt gifted to her by Lena Waithe, Chika heads to the studio. Giving Vogue a behind-the-scenes look at the making of her latest single “Gold Medals,” the rapper gets candid about how success has (and hasn’t) transformed her world. “This Grammy nomination changed my thought process on who I am,” she says. “I want people to know that even if I never get any kind of praise, no prize for this, no trophy, or gold medal, I’m it.”