After being kicked out of her mother’s home at the age of 16, Sally Sossa told her teammates if things didn’t work out with basketball, she was going to rap. The college basketball prospect turned femcee left the sport behind after a career-ending injury to pursue her first love: music. Her artistry tells a narrative of love, loss, and heartbreak, positioning the Houston native in a lane that’s all her own.
Sossa, born Sally Ann Marie Hall, grew up in Houston and spent her childhood winning rap battles against her stepfather and brother. Southern hip-hop music has always been fashioned as a response to the music being created in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, but Sossa is bridging the gap between the dramatically contrasting sounds, admiring Chicago rappers like Lil Durk and Chief Keef, she sits at the intersection of Southern hip-hop and Chicago drill.
Now, she is broaching her sophomore project, set to release early next year. Sossa exclusively tells Houstonia that the new EP will include features from Flo Milli, Mello Racks, and Toosii, with their recently released track, “Right My Wrongs.” She describes the project as “unskippable,” and says the new project will display her evolution.
Sossa notes that her favorite rapper of all time is Chief Keef, who made his debut in music in 2012, with hits like “I Don’t Like” and “Love Sosa,” which served as the catalyst for her stage name. In a rap industry dominated by “dolls, and girls,” Sossa was destined to be set apart from the rest. “It was just too many of the same thing. I just decided to give myself an original name, something that was still unique to me. Chief Keef is my favorite rapper, so he just gave me inspiration.”
For Sossa, the brash rapper incorporates infectious energy into her work with a sobering undertone. She represents the duality of being woman一you can hear the femininity and vulnerability in her work, while also rightfully taking her place alongside other zealous emcees.
After releasing a series of mixtapes on Soundcloud that highlight her numerous flows and impressive wordplay, Sossa’s manager believed she was ready to be introduced to music labels. Having endured homelessness, navigating without a car, and working at fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Popeyes as a teenager, Sossa was determined to sign a deal that would supply her needs. Following the loss of her grandfather, Sossa worked to secure and sign her first deal with Interscope before even graduating high school.
Her debut album, Life of Sossa (2020), showcases an amalgamation of both Houston and Chicago culture一while Sossa is inherently Southern and you can hear it in her intonation, the music incorporates a Midwestern influence, with gritty and dark lyrics and menacing production. The rising rapper’s affinity for Chicagoans metamorphosed into a dream come true when she received a Facetime call from Lil Durk.
Durk, she says, was intrigued by her demeanor, and quickly wanted to co-sign her. He is featured on the ballad, “Star Song,” Sossa's very first track to crack the millions, with Spotify streams upwards of 20 million.
The album, fueled with passion and pain, was a culmination of revelations she realized throughout her lifetime, packaged in 10 heartfelt tracks. She acknowledges her pain on songs “It Ain’t Love,” “Need Me,” and “Letter To The Streets,” while she embraces her inner machismo on “100 Flows” and “GMFU.” Sossa says that most of her pain stems from her parents' breakup and being heartbroken in her own relationships, but her music has provided solace and healing.
“That pain comes from being abandoned and not feeling like I had the support that I needed,” she explains. “But through my pain, I feel like one more person that can be open with the things that I go through, and connect with people and let them know that they’re not alone.”
Ahead of the release of her new project, Sossa has been releasing a number of singles, before the year's end, with her most recent, “Eternity.” She wants everyone to erase what they once knew about her as an artist, as she evolves and enters a new chapter in her artistry.
“People can expect a whole new Sally Sossa. Sally Sossa 2.0. The old me is erased. This project is going to show you that I’m elevating. I am growth.”
To stay up-to-date with Sally Sossa, follow her on Instagram.