There aren’t many women who follow in their father's footsteps trekking through the trenches of hip hop, but Coi Leray is making her best go at it. Born into the industry as the daughter of rap mogul Benzino, Leray first started rhyming as a 14-year-old and has spent the next few years honing her craft. Being born into a rap lineage, however, doesn’t bring you instant success. Leray knows she has a lot to do to prove to herself and her famous dad.
Despite only having a few years under her belt as a rapper, Leray has quickly made a name for herself with collaborations on projects by Fetty Wap, Jacquees, Ski Mask the Slump God, and Trippie Redd. With a few standout tracks under her belt, Leray knows this isn’t the time to slow down. In fact, she’s just getting started.
While her debut album is still in the works, new fans are interested in learning more about what drives and inspires her. Here are five things you need to know about BET’s Amplified artist of the month.
Frustrated with the 9-5 droll, Coi Leray told XXL she quit her day job and dropped “G.A.N” when she was 16 years old. The single ended up making waves in her home state and landed on the industry’s radar. A record deal with Republic Records soon followed “That’s when I knew I was ready for this s**t,” Leray said on her artist page. “I quit my job, moved out of my apartment, moved back in with my mom, and it was lit ever since.” Coi Leray’s breakout moment came with the release of “Huddy,” her first big single to date, and she’s been on her grind ever since.
“Well, you know, I grew up around Kidz Bop. Kidz Bop had like a hundred different varieties on one tape. So you’ll go from listening to Outkast to Justin Timberlake to Paramore like quick,” she explained of her musical palate in a 2019 interview with Milk.xyz. “I was just growing up on s**t like that and then as I got older. I’m a 90s baby so Chris Brown, Jojo, B5, s**t like that.”
One thing you’ll quickly notice about Coi Leroy is that she is a big fan of cartoons, to the point where she even rocks a Powerpuff Girls tat on her leg and can perfectly mimic Elmo and Stitch. In her cover profile for Office Magazine’s December 2019 issue, the 23-year-old her first song was inspired by the Disney film and rapped it for the publication, saying, “I like Stitch and Lilo. My brother’s name Ray Ray, and my father Benzino. And if you don’t know, I like to play with toys. My middle name Leray, and my first name’s Coi.’”
Her all-time favorite show is Courage the Cowardly Dog.
Through a quick listen to Coi Leray’s music, there’s one guiding philosophy that flows throughout her artistry: everything is CoZ. Her 2018 debut album was titled EverythingcoZ, followed up by EC2. In a 2019 interview with Montreality, the 22-year-old rapper broke down what it means to be “coZ,” and it’s as simple as it sounds.
“‘Everything CoZ’ starts with self-acceptance. Before you can do anything in this world, you have to, most importantly, know yourself. You have to love yourself. Every day you get to know more and more different things about yourself.”
Even though Coi Leray was raised in New Jersey, Boston will always have a piece of her heart. “One thing about [there], the support system is crazy and they know music. They love trap music out there. All of my family is out there so they’re just a big influence, all my blood family is in Boston,” she told Hype Bae.
Want to listen to the latest from Coi Leray?
Check out Coi Leray’s BET Amplified Artist playlist on PANDORA here.