Representing Southeast London, Thyra (pronounced “Tyra”) Oji (Ms Banks) is a Nigerian and Ugandan rapper elevating the United Kingdom’s hip hop scene. Banks began her music career at the young age of eleven, where she began writing songs and listening to artists such as Lil Kim and Foxy Brown. Banks transcended into the public eye with her Fire in the Booth freestyle performance over Kanye West’s 30 Hours. As a young woman in the UK hip hop scene, she finds her experience with other UK hip hop artists to be supportive and competitive; an environment similar to that of a “healthy competition.” Ms Banks is keen on maintaining her voice and individuality throughout her music, and has effortlessly done so in her career. Furthermore, Ms Banks wants to inspire her young female fans to “be whoever they want to be” regardless of society’s opinions and expectations.
Growing up in a relatively lower-income area of Southeast London, Banks speaks about the struggles of her childhood and unrealistic societal expectations in her music. Banks commands individuality and independence in her music and does not shy away from her unique heritage. In the song You Don’t Know, released in December 2020, Banks showcases her individuality through braggadocio in lines such as “They say I’m top tier they say Banks is a elite,” and “My tax already high Imma need me like 2 milli.” With lines such as “Coming from the jungle so I act wild” and “Came a long way from Norwich” in You Don’t Know, Banks addresses the stereotypes placed on her growing up, particularly her heritage and place of origin. While society expects her to be one way, Banks disregards this expectation and acts as her true authentic self. During the beginning of the You Don’t Know Me music video, Banks is positioned in an office-like setting: quite opposite the location one would assume an African emcee to be in. The video then transitions to Banks in a luxury sports car with her friends and overlooking a city skyline, dressed in flashy outfits: a scene one might expect an African emcee to take part in. These contrasting settings display Ms Bank’s independent mentality. She relays to her fans that despite any assumptions or stereotypes, she is going to operate on her own agenda. Bank’s independence combined with confidence attracts many to her impressive work where she showcases her multi-faceted personality. Banks truly “Put in the work like there’s 3 of me” and her success may only ascend from here.