The lyrics “This one is for the boys with the booming system; top down, AC with the cooling system …” filtered through Clarksdale, Miss., native Shuniia Wrenn’s 8-year-old ears in 2010. Sure, she had heard hip-hop before, but nothing had caught her ears like rapper Nicki Minaj’s “Superbass.” From there, she dove headfirst into Minaj’s catalog, going as far back as her early mixtapes.
“My mom didn’t play certain things, so I was kind of sneaking and listening to her,” Wrenn, 21, told the Mississippi Free Press.
The path toward music was always being paved for Wrenn, starting at the age of 2 when she first became a hip-hop dancer. The rhythm moved to her hands, as she would drum and create beats with her hands during classes. Eventually, it moved to her mouth, and she found herself battle-rapping with other students.
Wrenn began writing raps at 8 years old when she, as a second grader, wrote a rap to encourage her fellow students before state tests that year. The student also wrote raps for her school’s Christmas program. “I just thought I was doing something,” Wrenn said. “The audience was clapping, but as I went back, I realized those raps sucked.”
At 15, rapper and producer Jermain Dupri heard one of Shuniia’s songs that she had posted on her Instagram and liked her post. Around this time, Dupri’s reality show “The Rap Game,” a reality-TV rap competition among young performers, was premiering on Lifetime. A viewer of the show, Wrenn realized that she had potential to make rapping a career.
Wrenn used her first name as her rap name before transitioning to Shuniiadaballer after people kept calling her by her handle on Instagram.
“I just want to represent the state and let people know that it’s talent here in Mississippi,” Wrenn said. “There’s a lot of talent in Mississippi; it’s just there’s no spotlight or resources to help us in that department.”
Social media has definitely offered her a leg up when it comes to promoting her music all the way from Clarksdale. She has around 200,000 followers on Instagram and close to 200,000 followers on TikTok, too. Some of her videos have millions of views with one video in particular sitting at 6 million.
“How I want people to see me on social media is just somebody who is real, unapologetic and just bringing the real essence of hip-hop back,” Wrenn said.
All of Shuniiadaballer’s social-media platforms are monetized, so she earns some money off her published freestyles and other content. Still, she works a full-time job to cover studio costs and other financial responsibilities.
“I work a 9-to-5 just like everybody else to put more into my music career because music is not cheap,” the rapper said. “Studio time can range from $100 an hour and up; music videos are $400-plus. You gotta buy clothes, hair and travel. You’re going to invest more than you get back.”
Wrenn is in the process of recording her debut album, “Queen of the Sip,” which is a mix of hip-hop and pop and is set to be released in late November or early December. The album is titled after a moniker that she uses often in her raps, and listeners can find information on the album in the bio of Shuniiadaballer’s social-media pages.
“It’s like a mode. It’s like an alter ego. Like how Beyonce has ‘Sasha Fierce’ or Nicki Minaj has ‘Roman,’” the rapper said of the title. “I gave myself that when I realized I was doing numbers that (few) in Mississippi (were) doing … female-wise.”
The recording process has been smooth for the Delta rapper. She leans on her personal experiences to write the pop songs and purely on her talent as a lyricist to write the hip-hop side of the album, she explained.
Outside of her album, Shuniiadaballer is planning on putting a tour together as she has received a lot of calls from different promoters. She is also working on creating quality visuals for her album and re-releasing her clothing line, The Baller Closet.
“When I do make it, my main goal is to bring a spotlight here,” Wrenn said. “All of these artists deserve some type of spotlight to help them out because I know the feeling. I’ve been in their shoes. They get discouraged. I want to be that one celebrity that didn’t forget Mississippi.”