Raquel Divar is as badass as they come. This Portland-based female rapper, lyricist and vocalist is known for her innovative fusion of bass music and rap. Her flows are smooth, futuristic and fly. She is part of the duo Cory O. and Raquel Divar who are working on a new album, set to drop late 2017 with the first single dropping late spring.
Check her out on Soundcloud
When was the moment you knew you were an artist?
Not sure the exact moment but I decided I was a poet when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I was always writing, it was almost like a voice in my head, it was so natural to me, most of the time I would write things and I didn't really even know what they meant I just knew they sounded good.
Have you always been involved with music?
I didn't grow up playing instruments or anything but I grew up with music all around me, my older brother was DJ, he would scratch for me and make me mixtapes. My dad plays conga drums and is really into salsa and jazz music so eventually it came as a natural thing for me to turn my poetry into rap.
What are some achievements you are most proud of on your path so far?
As far as musical achievements I’d have to say being named one of Portland’s most underrated rappers of 2016 by the Willamate Week was a huge one. I had no idea that the best of list was even a thing, I was so surprised, I really had no idea….. also doing shows w/ Cory O and having it be so well received, because what we do isn't purely a rap show, and it's not your typical DJ set either so to have people like it and want more is a really dope achievement to me.
What are some goals you would like to see yourself achieve as an artist in the next 2 years?
I would really like to take the duo farther. Play some shows out of state and out of the country. Cory and I have been working hard to hone our sound over the last few years and I think we're almost to the point of going on tour with it outside of the west coast…. Also I'd like to collab more with rappers and producers I'm fans of.
What is one artist (dead or alive) you would like to collaborate with and what would you create with them?
Definitely Timbaland, hands down. He is my all time favorite producer. I would love to just kick it with him and see his musical process, how he writes songs, his go to’s, would love to sit down and make a track with him from scratch.
What is it like to be a female MC, do you feel like you have to work harder to be recognized? How do you make up for that, if so?
I definitely have to work harder for people to take me seriously. I think it's the same for any woman working and creating in a male dominated industry, it makes us more on point and professional because we have to be. I really like to stay informed on my audio gear/sound design and production knowledge in general but I feel like that's one way I able to show people, especially men in the industry I'm really about the music on a deeper level, besides just being a good rapper.
What do you see for the future of female rappers and MC’s? Are there any trends you are excited about?
Hip Hop is at a point where female rappers are dominating the game in a lot of ways. Not in the mainstream as much but at least in underground and as up and comers. I think most people have heard a ton of rap that comes from a male perspective and hearing rap from the viewpoint of a woman is something a lot of people still haven't really been exposed to before, it makes our sound stand out in that sense. I know so many talented female MC’s right now who are just as dope if not doper than the guys, who are putting in work and getting their credit, it so dope to see, so yeah, I think it's our time in a way.
Do you feel that Portland music scene is a positive catalyst for your work? How does it influence your creations?
Absolutely. I've made some of my favorite music here. I like to roll to a lot of different shows in different scenes. I feel lucky to live in a place where so many artists of different mediums are thriving, keeps me inspired and on my toes.
When is the next time you are performing in Portland? And the next time after that?
At this point I can’t say, but be on the lookout. Cory O and I will be hitting some stages in Oregon soon, and be on the look out for our upcoming releases too! We have a release on Stylust Beats comp album West Coast Bass Vol 2. that drops April 5th. And also we are set to drop the first single off our album late spring. I can’t wait for everyone to peep it.
What can you tell me about the first single off the album?
Its called ‘Vandals’ It's a U.K. grime inspired track with that west coast dubstep flavor. Cory killed it on the beat, it’s bangin as fuck, and we will be droppin’ it with a visual. I'm excited.
When is the album set to drop?
We don't have a date yet. I really wanted to get it out before summer but sometimes real life has come before music and it had to be pushed back. But in the end it's giving us time to really polish off the project so I'm juiced.
I've heard that you always spit unreleased verses as a part of your sets with Cory O. Tell me more about that!
Yea I do. I have a bunch of unreleased verses that I only spit during shows, I consider them more fun party raps, so yea, you will notice them when you come see us perform. I almost always write a new verse for every show too, just to give our set some extra flavor.
What is your routine for writing lyrics? Do you roll up a J? Do you wear specific socks? Can you create on the go?
I usually just pace around with a pair headphones on and write whatever comes to me, or I end up freestyling in the car and pull over to write ideas down. That's usually how I get ideas started, but after I have my idea I usually sit down at a desk to finish the rest or a song or verse. And yea, I pretty much always smoke if I'm writing. I don't know, writing is kind of a mysterious thing to me, sometimes it's just there and I don't have to try, I just write and it's dope from the gate and I wouldn't change a thing. Other times I'll rewrite a verse for a verse for days, and it's like a solving a puzzle, either way I love it.
What’s your fav weed strain?
I'd have to say Pineapple kush.
How are you influenced by the bass music scene? What are some similarities and differences between the bass scene and hip hop scene?
I’m influenced by bass music/ dubstep/ grime in terms of my beat selection and format. I really love beats with heavy bass and a dark edge. I've always gravitated to rapping as a part of a DJ set because the beats are continuous, and you really get to move a crowd in a different way than if I were to just do a song stop, and do the next song. That's how Cory and I build our sets, around the idea that this is a dance party and also rap show. I grew up in days of hip hop when the DJ and MC were equally important, so I'm trying to stay true to my roots in that way….
How does hip hop culture and bass music DJ culture drive your music?
Hip hop culture drives me because of the competitive aspect of it and the fact that hip hop is a voice for minorities and people who are under represented, I feel like my perspective should be heard. Also I just love all kinds of rap in general from gangster rap to weird lyrical stuff and double time pattern styles, even spoken word, every time I hear a new style it pushes me to keep expanding my skills and try new things. Bass music / DJ culture drive me because there is this aspect of digging for new tunes, finding the new fire tracks, that's why I always write new material just to use in my sets, it pushes me to keep it fresh. It's interesting because hip hop is really about classics, you can play the same Biggie track and everyone knows all the words it doesn't matter it's 20 years later, and DJ culture is more about having the latest tracks, playing something no one has really heard before, or putting a new twist on a classic… I try to do both, make classics but always keep it fresh and interesting.