Childhood & Early Life
Young M.A was born Katorah Marrero on 3rd April, 1992 in East New York which is a residential neighbourhood in the eastern section of Brooklyn borough in New York City.
Her father was sentenced to jail when she was just one, and he remained in jail until she was eleven years old. Her mother played a major role in her children’s upbringing. When M.A was 7-years-old, her mother Latifa decided to relocate to Chesterfield, Virginia as it provided better school facilities and also her children would remain away from the violence of East New York.
M.A started to write her rhymes in her schoolbooks which she would later rap in 2001 when she was just 9. Her mother encouraged her purchasing her a karaoke machine which M.A used to set up as a temporary studio in her closet.
Young’s mother mostly played reggae and hip-hop music in the house and thus, M.A developed an inclination towards the genre which helped her establish musical career. Her mother and uncle used to frequently rap but they never pursued rapping as a career.
M.A mostly scored high grades in school and also joined the football team. She was tomboyish from childhood and loved to play basketball and football. As she loved the Air-Jordan brand of basketball clothing and athletic footwear, her mother always bought her the latest shoes from the brand.
She became the leader of a local rap group named ‘Moneymakers’ while residing in Virginia.
M.A and her family relocated to Brooklyn when she was 16 years old. Tragedy struck her family in 2009 when she lost her elder brother. Her brother was killed in a gang-violence in Pennsylvania. Thereafter, she went through a phase of depression and went for three sessions of treatment and also took a break from her music. She has stated that her brother was a father figure to her.
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Career & Later Life
Young M.A after completing her high school started to work at TJ Maxx, an American department store, and Shake Shack, a New York restaurant chain. She continued to make music by self-providing the money for a recording studio with local music producers.
In 2014, a controversy arose when American author Dr. Boyce Watkins through his Facebook post criticised her song titled ‘Brooklyn (Chiraq freestyle)’ which had gone viral stating that her lyrics glorified violence, black racial killing and evoked a sense of negativity. However, this incident actually made her more famous as people rushed to hear her Chiraq song. As of 2017, this song has received more than 9 million views on her YouTube account.
M.A released her debut mix tape titled ‘M.A The Mix Tape’ on 15th March 2015. It included songs like ‘Body Bag’, ‘Girlfriend’, ‘Henny Dance’ and ‘Intro-YOUNG M.A’. This song streamed 3.35 million times on Spotify. This mix tape received over 140 thousand listeners and was downloaded more than 48 thousand times and earned Bronze status from DatPiff (online mix-tape distribution platform).
Young M.A released her second mix-tape titled ‘Sleep Walking’ on 4th November 2015. This mix-tape included songs like ‘Quiet Storm’, ‘Get This Money’, ‘Dear Bro’ and ‘Brooklyn Poppin’ and it got Silver status from DatPiff. The song ‘Dear Bro’ is about her coping with the psychological trauma from the demise of her brother. Her ‘Quiet Storm’ song talks about breaking stereotypes about women set by society. MTV praised her mix-tape stating it to be a ‘thoughtful project’.
On 12th May 2016, she released her epic official debut single titled ‘Ooouuu’ which received more than 66 million views on YouTube. This single was produced by UDub of NY Bangers fame and it reached 19th position on US Billboard Hot 100 chart. By September, this song had been streamed around 7 million times on Spotify. This single received double Platinum certification from Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2017.
Next, M.A released her third EP titled ‘Herstory’ on 27th April, 2017 under her own M.A. music label. This EP includes songs like ‘MA intro’, ‘Hot Sauce’, ‘JOOTD-- in collaboration with Monica’. The song ‘Self M.Ade’ of this album received more than 1.5 million views as of June 2017 on YouTube.
She featured on Fader magazine in 2017 where she stated that she was thinking on bringing up an album very soon.
M.A has been uploading her official music videos on her YouTube account and at present she has 1 million subscribers in it and around 2.3 million followers on her Instagram and 121 thousand followers in her Twitter accounts respectively as of 2017.
She has also collaborated with other rappers like C.A.S.H, Dae Dae and Young Thug and some of the collaboration hits are ‘Murder of Game’, ‘Hella Bars’, ‘Thot’ etc.
M.A has featured on many TV programs like ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Falcon (2016)’, ‘The Wendy Williams Show (2016)’, ‘Verified (2016)’ and MTV Woodies (2017)’.
She went on a musical world tour called the ‘Issa Tour’ with hip-hop star 21 Savage from 31st March, 2017 beginning at Texas House of Blues and she is to cover San Francisco,Los Angeles, Portland, Minneapolis and Anaheim.