“I’m just an ordinary girl who chooses to speak for other ordinary girls.”
As teenager, Erica Mason did not have a good relationship with her mother. “I didn’t respect her. I just felt like I was never really good enough before her at that time.” She is glad that her father was also present in the home, but they were not close. At age fifteen she searched all over for validation, getting into partying and bad relationships.
“I remember just being at church one day. They invited me out to this concert and God just rocked my world. The guy who spoke was talking about how God loves you unconditionally, and regardless of what people think you are, who people think you are, God loves you.”
On that day, Mason says she gave her life to God. Shortly after that, she began to be mentored by a woman at her church. This woman sexually abused Mason, who was not her only victim.
“That left me really confused and really upset with God. It was the first real time I’m experiencing such a deep deep hurt from people that I thought loved me just for the way that I was.”
Mason was at the lowest point in her life, and became suicidal.
“I popped pills, a bunch of pills and it was at that point where I was done. I wanted to take my life and I was out of here.”
Her suicide attempt was unsuccessful, and when she woke up the following day, she believes God spoke to her, saying, “When you took those pills, I was the One who swallowed them.”
At that point she came to the understanding that no matter what she goes through, and no matter how people may harm her, she remains unconditionally loved by God.
Mason was first exposed to Christian hip-hop around age fourteen, previously not even knowing of its existence. At that time, she enjoyed R&B music, especially Pretty Ricky and Ne-Yo. When she first heard Christian hip-hop, she was amazed at how they spoke about things happening in her life and also talked about God.
“At the lunchroom tables I was the one freestyling when they were beating on tables with the pencils and stuff, so I was always able to rap a little bit but never really took it seriously.”
One day, she decided to write down her own rap song and afterwards she shared it with the youth leader at her church. The youth leader then demanded that Mason perform the song at their youth night.
“I did it and everybody in the room started crying.”
After that night, she continued to write raps, and later started making songs. “It just always had the same effect. People’s lives were being impacted. At that moment I knew I’ve got to do more than make this just a hobby.”
As a female rapper, she sees that people have an expectation that she is not going to be good, or “you could be good for a female.” Whenever she goes to a show, people unfamiliar with her music assume that she is a singer. “I try not to dress like a rapper because I just like the way that I dress.”
Mason says that she sees these obstacles as an advantage.
“Once I’m done performing and am off stage, a lot people’s minds are blown that I really am good and that I take my craft [seriously and] I focus on trying to take it to the next level.”
She says that specifically within Christian hip-hop, she sees that it can get awkward for married men when they collaborate with her on a song. “It’s just knowing how to navigate through those boundaries. For instance, being a chick in a studio with a married man at three o’clock in the morning doesn’t really happen often.” What Mason likes to do is to get to know the wives of the married men whom she makes music with; that makes things go smoothly and be more comfortable.
Her new single “Work It Out” was written on a morning when Mason woke up at five a.m. very upset. “I feel like everybody has that relationship or that person in their lives who really tick them off sometimes or just scares them because they’re getting so close.” She had a friendship with someone who has always supported her and been there for her, and decided that she was going to work it out and get through the difficulties to maintain their friendship.
“It was a message to every person that I’ve faced adversity with in my life where I had to make that decision, ‘Am I going to stick it out with that person or am I going to walk away?’”
Commitment and loyalty are core values to Mason, so to her friends with whom she shares them, she always wants to work it out to get through the hardships together.
Pretty n Radical is somewhat of a motto that Mason wants to share with women and girls. “Pretty and radical simply means to love who God made you. As a woman, I’ve dealt with a lot of confidence issues and being very insecure.” Mason says that she is herself because that is the way God made her.
“I am beautiful not because someone says that I am but because I’m made in God’s image. God sees me as beautiful. I’m radical because I radically love. I’m the kind of person that I genuinely care about God and people a heck of a whole lot. Everything I do is very passionate.”
She knows that guys don’t want to be called pretty, but they should desire for the ladies in their life to be pretty and radical. “You want your wife to be pretty and radical. You want your daughter to be pretty and radical. You want your mother, your aunts, your cousins, your friends to be pretty and radical because you want the people you care about most to love who they are.”
“The focus of it is teaching other women how to be pretty and radical, how to love themselves, how to walk in confidence, how to be comfortable in the skin that you’re in and how to express it outwardly.”
Currently, she is in the beginning stages of a new project. She plans to release a mixtape this year followed by an EP in early 2018. “It’s going to be the kind of stuff that you can listen to for hours in your car and you feel like somebody understands exactly what you’re going through.”