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Day Sulan came to win. The first lady of YG’s 4Hunnid collective asserts that victory is the only thing on her mind these days and with the recent release of the imprint’s first collaborative project, Gang Affiliated, the 24-year-old Compton native is primed and ready to go.
The success of past hits like “Big” featuring Rubi Rose and her most recent single “Bailar” have provided the necessary momentum and the only way to go from here is up. Not bad for a girl who started off firmly under her parents’ thumb, relegated to the house where she spent much of her time with sketchbooks, paintbrushes and poetry. Day likens her youth to the story of Rapunzel but by the time she’d reached her adult years, she hit the ground running, even if the destination itself wasn’t clear at the time. Now Day Mulan has found her stride as part of the 4 Hunnid camp and she’s showing no signs of slowing down.
We spoke with Day Sulan to get more insight on her talents for our CERTIFIED FRESH series.
HipHopWired: How did the idea to do the Gang Affiliated project come about?
Day Sulan: It was kinda random. Because of COVID, our individual projects got pushed back. So, [YG] wanted to come up with something in the meantime to keep the music consistent and that’s when he was like, “I think we should drop something as a group.” And that’s really all it was.
Describe what it was like working on the album with D3 and YG.
I feel like we all work a little bit differently. Like, I’m not as social as they are. They can really be in a lit studio session with a lot going on but me? I get distracted. So how we worked it out was: they made their compilation songs and the ones that I heard that I fucked with, I did my verses to. And which
ever one was the best out of all of them, those were the ones we went with. We all have kinda like, our own singles on there, and I already had “Bailar” so my part was already done in a way.
Don’t take “no” for an answer. If you wanna do it, you wanna go get something, you find something you love, something that makes you happy—you do it regardless of the people in your way.
Okay, so… I’m going to say this: You’re pretty but you don’t lean on that fact when you rap.
Yeah, nah. [Laughs] I can’t just be pretty looks out here. You gotta show that you can spit your shit. You can talk your shit. It’s alright.
Who would you say has influenced your rap career?
It’s actually crazy because for the longest time I actually had no idea what I wanted to do. I actually found out the first time I got put in the studio, that I had an actual love and a talent for writing and doing music and that happened [three years ago] when I was 21. So I can’t say that it was someone that I saw where I felt like, “If they can do it. I can do it.” It was more so I finally found something I loved that made me happy and I could finally chase after this thing that makes me happy.
Would you say that your past career as a dancer gives you an edge as far as knowing what works in the club?
Yeah. But honestly… Times are for sure changing and music is evolving on some crazy shit. You never know what’s gon’ hit nowadays. It could be futuristic. It could be country. It could be hardcore rap, some gutter shit. You really never know. But I can say: with being a dancer for so long, being in the club, I got to really see what people really rocked to. I got to see what people sat down and chilled to. What made the club jump. What made the club like, “Eh. It’s time to go home.” So I could say it for sure gave me insight in that way.
You have a solid fanbase already. Is it fair to say that your favorite tracks match up to their favorites?
For sure. I think my fave song is the one we recently dropped “Bailar.” It was so out of the box for me, for me to be so fresh in the game and I wrote that song. When I first got into music it was very different, you don’t see girls from LA, or anyone rapping doing anything like this. It was like “Cool. This stands out.” But I fuck with all my music honestly. I never put out something I don’t like. But I can say that’s the one I feel different about.
What was your experience growing up in Compton?
For me it was very different. I can tell you how my homegirls lived versus me — I was from a very sheltered home. If I wanted to go outside, if I wanted to have friends, I had to sneak and have friends. I couldn’t have a phone. I couldn’t have nothing. I was really isolated in the world, all I had was art. I had painting, I had drawing, I had writing. I would write songs, poetry. I really had… It was kinda like… Prison, in a way. [laughs] The only time I could socialize with people was at school. My life was like the Rapunzel story. I really couldn’t go outside. But for me, it was coming from a broken household, being isolated, it inflicted a lot of trauma but it all made me stronger. That’s why I am where I am.
If there’s one young girl from Compton watching you work right now and wondering what that would be like for herself, what advice would you give her?
Y’all need to be strong. Don’t take “no” for an answer. If you wanna do it, you wanna go get something, you find something you love, something that makes you happy—you do it regardless of the people in your way, the obstacles… There are gonna be so many things that will try and stop you, especially being from Compton where there’s little to no opportunity but you also have Hollywood around the corner. You gotta branch out, don’t stay in no box and don’t let nobody put you in no box.
Describe what it is to be a woman in hip hop in 2021. It seems that the obstacle has always been: working to break out of what’s expected of you, as a woman in a male-dominated field.
Yeah. It’s different. I’m actually 24 now. If I was younger, I’d probably be a little more open to different things. But it’s a little harder, because being a woman doing music, people try and put you in the box of “if you make music like this, you make music like this. If you make nasty shit, you make nasty shit. You make ratchet shit, you make ratchet shit.” It hard but it’s not something that can’t be changed. It’s just a longer process to change that.
You recently Tweeted: “Losing ain’t an option 4 me.” Where was your head that day?
Being in this industry there’s always that “what if”: “Am I gon’ make it or not?” This shit really isn’t guaranteed but for me, I’m not really taking that as an option. I can’t lose and I don’t even want that to be in my head that this ain’t something I can achieve. Whether this is the route or there’s another one coming. Whatever happens, losing is not an option. You gotta win in any way, shape or form. Can’t nothing stop that. And that’s where I was at that day. I woke up feeling that way like, “I’m not ‘bout to deal with all this pressure and all these people saying this bullshit to me. Fuck all that.”