Rap-Up TV: Jhené Aiko Talks ‘Souled Out’ Debut, Love for Kid Cudi and Tupac

Jhené Aiko takes Rap-Up TV on her journey from being signed to Sony/Epic at the age of 12 to touring with B2K to meeting up with No I.D., who brought her to Def Jam. Now at 24, the much-buzzed-about singer has found her own lane and is working on her debut album Souled Out with some help from No I.D. (Kanye West, Nas), KeY Wane (“Amen”), and the Fisticuffs, who produced the majority of her 2011 mixtape Sailing Soul(s). She is also eyeing a collabo with Big Sean (Jhené has recorded a song for his next album) and some Top Dawg Entertainment artists.

Kid Cudi is at the top of her wish list. “That’s pretty much one of the only people that I listen to consistently. No matter what he puts out, I’m one of those fans. He can do no wrong in my eyes,” said Jhené, who would also like to collaborate with Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.

One artist who’s had a major impact on her career is Tupac Shakur. “He’s an icon for speaking your mind and being you even if it’s controversial,” shared the L.A. native. “He’s been a big inspiration for me just to stick to who I am and to actually stand for something through music.”

Just last month, Jhené lost her older brother to cancer. She penned the touching tribute “For My Brother” in his honor and played it for him on the day he passed away. “It was really special for me and I’m just glad that he got to hear it,” she said.

For more on Jhené, check out her latest music video for “3:16AM.”