Rising Artist Cee Tha Gxdd Shares New Music and Journey to Owning a Record Label at 19 Years Old
Upcoming Hip Hop artist Cee Tha Gxdd doesn’t do music for the fame. She does it for the craft. The Birmingham, AL artist has the voice of a seasoned singer and the rap skills to match. Her hit single “Have You Like” blew up on social media back in 2018, making her one of the most impressive new talents to come out of Alabama.
At just 19-years-old, Cee Tha Gxdd has huge plans for the future that fans won’t want to miss.
In speaking with me on a Friday night, we started off discussing the curious origins of her stage name, Cee Tha Gxdd. Her real name is Carmen Smith, but the artist views herself as more than just the average person.
“I see myself as a God . . . like it’s really deeper than ‘Cee Tha Gxdd’, you know?” Carmen shares.
By deeper, I assumed that she meant her stage name stemmed from a religious background but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the 19-year-old sees herself as having a higher purpose in life. That purpose being to create good music.
After talking with Cee Tha Gxdd further about herself and upbringing in Birmingham, AL, it became clear that she’s one of a kind.
“I never really let anything impact my music. I know there’s a certain style ‘The Wave’ they do down here, but I don’t really lean towards that,” Cee Tha Gxdd explains. "I do my own thing.”
Having a mind of her own and a true individualistic spirit, Cee Tha Gxdd puts out the type of music she enjoys. With a growing music industry that’s constantly looking for “the next big thing”, Cee Tha Gxdd certainly fits the mold. She can both sing and rap, a rare combo to find in an artist.
With so much talent, it makes sense that she’d learn and study from other great artists. After asking who her biggest musical aspirations were, Cee Tha Gxdd named Drake and J. Cole as her favorites.
“I don’t have a lot, but I like Drake. I like his lyricism . . . I like J. Cole, too,” she revealed. “I don’t have a lot of people I fuck with, but I fuck with them . . . I like a lot of real music.”
With many of her songs like “Nightmares” stemming from personal experience, it makes sense that the artist would gravitate toward songs with meaning.
Unfortunately, not too many of her idols follow her on Instagram. However, she had celebrities following her old account that had previously been disabled. Despite being frustrated by the instance, Cee Tha Gxdd chooses to focus on the positives.
Her biggest project she’s currently working on is dropping the music video for her viral 2018 hit “Have You Like.” Cee Tha Gxdd revealed that it’s coming out "soon".
According to the rapper, she “didn’t know what she was doing at the time” she produced the song. Keep in mind that she’d only been 16-years-old when she released the hit single. Though, as she embellished on her craft, she became more confident in herself.
“I just decided to put it out there.”
In revealing further details about the upcoming music video, Cee Tha Gxdd told me that while she doesn’t usually promote a ton of LGBTQ material, she promises that her music video for “Have You Like” will certainly make up for that.
Additionally, Cee Tha Gxdd shared with me the first time she attempted to shoot the music video. Let’s just say it didn’t go well for her.
“Man the first time, I went to go shoot the music video was in Atlanta at an AirBNB,” she said.
“But it wasn’t even an AirBNB, it was some construction site.” Obviously, the mix up must’ve upset Cee Tha Gxdd at the time, but she seemed to find a sense of humor in the situation. Luckily, she received a refund back for the mishap.
Despite the setback, Cee Tha Gxdd has pressed forward with her music career. Her most recent tracks being “Easy On Me” and “Complicated”, both drew on her romantic relationships with women. Though, the topic matter differs from some of her other tracks like “Spiritual War” which discusses her thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and the unjust murder of George Floyd. It’s clear that Cee Tha Gxdd’s musical content varies from personal experiences to heavier topics.
Though she claims there’s no deeper message behind her music. Arguably, her pure desire to create music and use it as an outlet speaks volumes about her as an artist.
“I didn’t really ask for the fame, I just like making music,” Cee Tha Gxdd said candidly.
The joy she gets from her artistry just means she’s a true artist at heart.
In true artist fashion, Cee Tha Gxdd has even excelled in her artistry by becoming the CEO of her record label Recognize A Winner Entertainment. At just 19-years-old, the artist juggles her music career with being a young businesswoman. She manages her record label alongside her partners Riko Ru, Kesoni and NolaaBabyy who are also upcoming artists themselves.
While getting her own music off the ground, Cee Tha Gxdd eventually plans to sign other artists as well. In fact, she sees Recognize A Winner Entertainment as “being as big as the Quality Control record label.”
"I would say being an independent artist in the industry is what influenced me to create my own label. I wanted to find a group of like minded individuals to pursue the same goal. Plus, you can generate a lot more revenue being an independent artist than being signed to a label where I’d have to give up a large percentage of my royalties. I’m signed to myself I like it better that way."
When asked about the meaning behind choosing to name her record label Recognize A Winner Entertainment, she shared that "the name Recognize A Winner speaks for itself really.".
"See in my city I feel like I get overlooked. People claim they’re looking for something different, well here I am. Yet the people stealing flows and riding other n*ggas waves still getting praised like they created something but aye I know one day they’ll recognize one… a winner.
Not only has Cee Tha Gxdd started her own record label but she’s also gearing up to roll out her own fashion line, Sacred Society. Similar to her music, her clothing collection will have a significance attached to it. Fans can expect Sacred Society to hit store shelves in the next couple of months.
"My supporters could expect a different type of expression from my brand. I will be tapping into divine consciousness, along with unique designs and intellectual messages. I don’t wanna say too much about it but when it does drop, the merchandise will be available online."
Cee Tha Gxdd shares that she has plenty of songs in the vault, including a track with a Destiny’s Child “Say My Name” sample beat. Arguably, one listen to the teaser found on her January 7, 2021 vlog will have fans hooked.
Additionally, Cee Tha Gxdd plans to drop a new mixtape “Love Is War” before the end of 2021. The mixtape will include 13 songs, as well as a bonus track. That already sounds like a lot of great music.
In speaking about her future plans for 2021 into 2022, Cee Tha Gxdd also alluded to going on tour after dropping her mixtape.
"After I drop my "Love Is War" mixtape, I'm going to do a "Love Is War" tour. I'm an independent artist, so I book and do my own tours, so we gon' be straight, me and my peoples. When I say me and 'my peoples' I mean my sister and my friends type shit, you feel what I'm saying."
The star has already performed at several locations throughout her hometown in Birmingham, AL.
Nonetheless, with so much planned throughout the year, it’s clear Cee Tha Gxdd loves working in the studio booth. When asked what else she’d like fans to know about her, she shared that she’s hard at work and will drop new music soon.
"Just because I don't drop as frequently, I'm still working. I'm always working. I got a lot of stuff in the vault and--that's all they need to know. I'm coming."
We can’t wait to see what else she’s cooking up. Be sure to watch out for Cee Tha Gxdd.