Hip-hop artist Khadijah Tillery, 22, is looking to the capital region and beyond

Khadijah Tillery has goals.

“I want to leave a message to the world,” she said. “I want to be known.”

To do that, the 22-year-old, born, raised and residing in Albany, got off to a good start. Earlier in 2021, she launched her own clothing line and on Christmas she released her first hip-hop project under the name Pooka, the “New Drip” EP.

Between music, fashion, parenthood and a day job, Tillery has plenty to do. This is exactly what she wants and how she plans to do it in 2022.

“I always have to keep myself busy,” Tillery said. “Doing all these things excites me and I’m focused. Once you start doing things, you have to stay productive and keep running. »

Rap and fashion were central to Tillery’s childhood. In her early teens, she sang but quickly fell in love with hip-hop after being exposed to it by her mother and brother.

“I grew up with music in my soul, my mother was old school, so I loved listening to Tupac, Biggie, their message really influenced me,” she recalls. “My brother introduced me to hip-hop; I started doing freestyle and he was composing beats.


By age 15, she’d released “a sung song” and transitioned to rapping, “putting headphones in people’s ears” to listen to her freestyles. While she felt the inspiration to make music, Tillery wasn’t ready to embark on full-fledged songs and projects until relatively recently.

About six months ago, Tillery teamed up with regional producer and performer Brian Chiappinelli on her debut EP. While some of the songs were around over a year ago, Tillery’s real appeal lies in its first three tracks, recorded with Chiappinelli in a whiff of inspiration a few months ago. It is with this material that Tillery can feel growing as an artist and has found the confidence to promote his music to a wider audience.

“Brian was just hitting me with beats and playing the ones he produced a year and a half ago, and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I gotta do this’ and I did some freestyle in the studio,” Tillery said. “I just talked about myself, how I felt about myself and what’s going on around me. I just tried to follow the rhythm of each bar and say something meaningful to me.

“Before, I was just making songs and putting snippets for people on social media,” she explained. “I had to gain confidence in myself and now I’m getting into the sounds that I love. I can see the construction in me and I’m so excited to see people loving the album. It’s incredible.

Tillery hopes to continue to build her profile as an artist in 2022 by releasing music videos and performing live. As she develops this aspect of her life, she is also looking to expand her clothing line.

In 2020, she launched StitchnDrip, a line that manufactures a wide range of clothing and wigs. The company was born out of a lifelong interest in tailoring and the positive feedback she received for her own style.

“I’ve always had a passion for sewing,” Tillery said. “My mum taught me and I wore my own hand-sewn outfits to school. People would ask who made them. I would tell them I made it and they would say, ‘No, you don’t.’ didn’t!’

“I came up with the name because ‘let me sew you up some gout,'” she added. “I make custom clothes, tracksuits, wigs for girls of all colors. There is a lot of creativity that I want to be part of.

Follow Khadijah on Instagram: @pooka_dripdrop

“New Drip” by Pooka is available on Apple Music (https://music.apple.com/us/album/new-drip/1601913561), Spotify and Amazon Music


Running his own business has given him a taste of “the life of an entrepreneur”. In the coming months, Tillery is looking to grow the StitchnDrip brand through more photoshoots and finding brand ambassadors. She also seeks to combine and cross-promote clothing and music wherever possible. The hope is that by doing this and maintaining a consistent level of activity with everyone, she will grow her brands beyond 518.

“I don’t just want to be a local artist,” Tillery said.

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