Limited visibility

Ayoo Angie is taking over the world one rap video at a time

Put simply the video for local rapper Ayoo Angie’s two-minute Lil’ Kim freestyle “Big Momma Thing” is cool as hell. As subtle shots of Stephen Avenue’s “Trees” sculpture flash across the scene the majority of the clip focuses on a young confident rapper and her three-person entourage. Adorned in fur coats and stilettos they strut through an abandoned parkade as she spits furious brag raps without batting an eye. At once effortless and aggressive she exudes brash confidence.

On the phone the 22-year-old born Angela Taraddei comes across as her video character’s polar opposite. Warm polite and prone to laughter she admits that she’s often met with misconceptions. “Everyone has this idea that when they talk to me that I’ll sound really deep and rough and for lack of a better word intimidating or scary. I’m like no that’s not me” she says with a giggle.

Born and raised in Calgary Taraddei has been casually rapping since 2010. She was a business student at Mount Royal University before she decided to take a break and take a more serious stab at the artform. With a background in acting musical theatre and dance she was used to the performing arts but it wasn’t until she developed the Ayoo Angie persona that she found the confidence to dominate the stage.

“I’m always ridiculously nervous but as soon as I’m onstage for a good minute then suddenly the second persona Ayoo Angie kinda comes out” she admits. “I won’t say it’s just all an act but it’s definitely a second persona.”

When she’s not dominating the stage Ayoo Angie is magnetic and impossible to ignore on film. As Taraddei admits she shared the “Big Momma Thing” video sparingly. “I’ll put my stuff on Twitter and on my Facebook but I’m not the type of artist that will @ everybody and message everybody with my videos. I just think it’s not classy” she says. Still the video found its way to Noisey the music site operated by Vice which suggested earlier this year that she could be the next Lil’ Kim.

“I’m really kind of on a video campaign right now” Taraddei says adding that she probably won’t release music without visuals any time soon. “Especially when you’re coming up everyone’s been bugging me to drop a project drop a project. And I’m just like I do want to drop a project but I kind of want my name and my face and even my brand to be more known so that there’s a little bit more of an anticipation behind it.”

It’s certainly working. As a self-taught director and editor Taraddei describes herself as a control freak. Her clips maintain a gritty semi-pro quality that makes them easy to obsess over. The recent video for “Only Type of Cheese Ya Get” is at once timeless and universally appealing. As she attacks the hard-hitting percussive beat Angie and her crew kick back in a Mount Royal classroom strut their stuff through a school hallway and briefly post up in Kane’s Harley Davidson Diner. Those who don’t recognize those student desks or striped restaurant booths wouldn’t be able to tell it was shot in Calgary.

The fine line between representing one’s city and beating fans over the head with civic pride is one that Taraddei is well aware of. “I have yet really to shout out Calgary in a song to be honest” she says adding that it’s not out of a lack of love for her city. “I’m always completely proud of where I’m from…. Without Calgary I would not be who I am today.”

Having said that she won’t be following her local rap peers’ footsteps and shooting a video in front of the Peace Bridge any time soon. “As much as I like to showcase the city I would rather shoot a video that could be shot anywhere” she says. “You don’t know where it was shot — unless you really know where it was shot.”

Her next video will most likely be shot in a plain white room a throwback to classic minimal rap vids like Craig Mack’s “Flava in Ya Ear.” All of it boils down to her savvy less-is-more release campaign. “I’m just kind of taking it month by month by month and seeing where it goes” she says. “I want to be in the industry as an entertainer and a performer but also I would like to dip into directing other people’s videos and stuff…. I’m still a nobody in my eyes in some sense but I’m trying to go places for sure.”

Ayoo Angie performs on Friday April 4 at the Hifi Club.