Student artist Noughtie Dee seeks to revolutionize rap in male-dominated genre

Oregon State student and local music artist Destiny Franklin, stage name Noughtie Dee, shares how they started making music, and where it has led them. Franklin started writing their own music in the summer of 2019, and their new EP will be releasing May 14 on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and Soundcloud.

Cara Nixon, News Contributor

“I cannot rap.”

That’s what Destiny Franklin told their music literature partner in their junior year of high school at Kenwood Academy in Chicago, Ill. Franklin and their classmate were supposed to create their own beat and lyrics, record it and play the finished song for the class as a final project. 

Franklin remembers feeling embarrassed at the time to even consider rapping. After all, they had only ever been an avid listener of music, and never a creator. 

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“I wish I had the voice for rapping.”

That’s what Franklin told their Instagram followers their freshman year at Oregon State University, where they are currently a third-year student studying psychology. 

Now, Franklin is also known as their stage name “Noughtie Dee,” and they have two albums as well as two singles out in the rap and alternative rap genres. 

However, that summer of 2019, when Franklin was just starting at OSU, female rappers like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Rico Nasty were topping the charts, and though they felt a pull to get in on the action, they lacked the confidence to do so.

“I knew I could do it,” Franklin said. “I just didn’t feel like I had the voice for it.” 

Franklin spent many hours that summer finding random beats on YouTube, freestyle rapping over them and then showing their work to friends. Those friends are the ones who encouraged Franklin to find a producer and get in the studio to record their own music. 

Luckily, Franklin had a friend in Corvallis, Ore. who had his own home studio. Franklin recalls feeling anxious as they entered the studio, clutching their yellow notebook to their side which contained all of the lyrics they had written over the years.

“I was so nervous, and [my friend] was just like, yeah, come on. Let’s get to my studio. Let’s get to work. And the rest is really history,” Franklin explained. 

Their musical inspirations include artists like BbyMutha, Babyxsosa, Rico Nasty and Hook, all of whom are women who rose to rap fame in a male-dominated industry. 

Franklin already felt isolated when they first came to Corvallis. The small town was a “culture shock” in comparison to Chicago, where they attended high school, and Atlanta, Ga., where they spent their childhood. Now, however, they feel more connected here and have made lifelong friends. 

That initial isolated feeling, however, transferred to their experience in the music scene as a feminine-presenting person. They felt like no one wanted to support them in the rap community because of how they present themselves. Franklin explained that most independent artists in Corvallis are masculine-presenting or male artists. 

“I just feel like they didn’t want to take me seriously,” Franklin said. 

This reciprocation of support among artists is especially important in Corvallis, according to Franklin, because the music community is small.

However, Franklin has been given multiple opportunities they are thankful for since starting their music career. They participated in a Tiny Kitchen Concert at the Women and Gender Center on the OSU Corvallis campus, performed for a student showcase hosted by Orange Media Network and are currently in a student competition to perform at Dam Jam on May 22.

Franklin also said they expect some change to occur in the response they receive about their music in the near future. This is because previously, they have released music which appealed to a heteronormative population. In their upcoming music, however, the songs are written about their experiences with non-men, which may gain attention from a different audience. 

In the future, Franklin said they would also like to experiment more with hyper pop and combine the electronic dance music and rap genres.

For the time being, now with the confidence that they can rap and the music to prove it, Franklin said what they really need is the support of the local community, which is essential to their success as an artist.

 

“Just having that small number of believers is going to be super important and helpful for me, even when I leave Corvallis,” Franklin said.

Franklin’s extended play album will be released on May 14 and can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and Soundcloud.