City Girls: Friendship, Trap Music, and the Rise to Stardom

Rap Duo The City Girls which consists of Yung Miami (Caresha Brownlee) and JT (Jatavia Shakara Johnson), two friends who grew up in the Opa-Locka and Liberty City areas of Miami Florida. Both women grew up around trap music, with JT’s father having a studio in their home, to Yung Miami having fellow female rapper Trina as her God-Mother. Both grew up with fathers that were drug dealers and mothers that were either in jail or simply not in the picture. It was in middle school when they met and became fast friends.  Neither woman had any intention of becoming Trap Musicians, and had become accustomed to a life of working retail jobs, yet hustling on the side. It wasn’t until JT wrote a diss track called “F*ck Dat N*gga” intended as a diss track to a man that refused to give her money, and asked friend Yung Miami, who hadn’t rapped until that point, to join her. The diss track quickly turned into a female empowerment anthem in late 2017. The duo helped their song gain popularity by paying DJ’s at bars, clubs, and strip clubs to play it to the crowds. By the time they had released their first mixtape and began performing, people across the country had become familiar with their name and music.

Rise To Fame

 

Rise to Fame: After the release of “F*ck Dat N*gga” they gained the attention of record label Quality Control and it’s executives Pierre “Pee” Thomas and Kevin “Coach K” Lee, who also signed artists such as Lil Yatchy, Migos and Lil Baby. The duo recorded their first mixtape with the label entitled Period. The single “Where The Bag At” hit Billboard’s Heatseakers chart, and the ears and eyes of artist Drake. In June 2018, Drake requested that the City Girls be featured in the summer Hit “In My Feelings” and shouted both out by name, singing “Resha, do you love me? Are you riding?/ JT do you love me? Are you riding?”. The song was released just 19 hours before JT surrendered herself to federal prison on the charge of credit card fraud. While JT served her sentence, Yung Miami took the lead during press releases, performances, and interviews. Fans of the group including Rapper Megan Thee Stallion showed support by rapping “Free JT”, and wearing shirts with the saying as well.  The Duo’s “Act Up” became a worldwide hit and was featured in shows such as Netflix’s Black Af and remixed in Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj’s “Hot Girl Summer”. The City Girls released their debut album in November 2018 entitled Girl Code which had features from Cardi B, and Lil Baby. In 2019 Yung Miami became pregnant and continued to promote the City girls album even until giving birth.

JT FREE

In March 2020, JT was released from federal prison along with the single “JT First Day Out”. The City Girls second studio album City on Lock was released June 2020, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, yet still garnered success. The single “Kitty Talk” featuring Doja Cat from the album went RIAA Gold. In 2020 the duo was featured on numerous songs which gained popularity through the app TikTik such as “Said Sum,” and “Do It”.

Although City Girls recently rose to fame only four years ago, their popularity continues,  due to their female empowering anthems. Fans are expecting another album from the duo in 2021. 

Musical Influences

Inspirations:

Trina

Salt n Peppa

Lil Kim

Missy Elliot

Nicki Minaj

Contemporaries

Contemporaries: 

Megan Thee Stallion

Cardi B

Doja Cat

Rico Nasty

Bibliography

“City Girls Open Up About JT’s Jail Time — And Why They’re Ready To Conquer 2020”. Billboard, 2020, https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/8547638/city-girls-billboard-cover-story-interview-2020.

 

“City Girls – Motown Records”. Motown Records, https://www.motownrecords.com/artists/city-girls/. Accessed 7 Mar 2021.

 

Guzman, Isaac. “City Girls Rule”. Office Magazine, 2018, http://officemagazine.net/city-girls-rule.

 

French, Kenneth. “Geography of American Rap: Rap Diffusion and Rap Centers.” GeoJournal 82.2 (2017): 259-72. ProQuest. 7 Mar. 2021 .

 

Spanos, Brittany,. “City Girls, Separated By Prison, Want To Be Icons”. Rolling Stone, 2018, https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/city-girls-separated-by-prison-want-to-be-icons-702646/.

 

Zeichner, Naomi. “City Girls Are More Like You Than You Think”. The Cut, 20218, https://www.thecut.com/2018/09/city-girls-are-more-like-you-than-you-think.html. Accessed 8 Mar 2021.