Today’s new crop of emcees live in a less contained environment artistically thanks to this generation’s marriage to any and everything connected. That means that the sonic barrier between local and outside sounds are blurred to create new forms of expression on a constant basis. Up-and-coming spitter Raven Sorvino exemplifies the notion perfectly.
Spending her childhood between Houston and Los Angeles due to her parents being separated, Raven describes herself as embracing both southern and west coast mentalities in every way possible. “Being in the south gave me a politeness about me, and my dad was the type of person that didn’t take any stuff,” Raven explained. “Being with my mom in LA, she was such a queen; everything was so glamourous and elegant. Take both of those two, that’s really who Ravin Sorvino is.”
Though she didn’t catch the music bug until several years later, there was always a need for her to perform at a moment’s notice. It didn’t matter if she was the only one dancing at a birthday party, performing at talent shows or being a cheerleader for her brother’s football team; clearly this was her dream. “I always wanted to be an entertainer and was never afraid to be in front of people,” said Raven. “Not to sound cliché, but I was born for this.” She later even lent herself to theater by acting in adaptations of Macbeth, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (the W.S. Gilbert spin-off Shakespeare’s Hamlet), and Michael Frayn’s Noises Off.
The transitioning from teen to womanhood in high school can be startling and Raven was no exception. Dealing with heartbreak from a previous relationship, she channeled that energy into her first rhymes. After displaying her rough lyrical skill to her brother, his encouragement inspired her to take music seriously. Born Anna Maria Pink, her rap alias came around that time from watching the Antoine Fuqua-directed action film Replacement Killers staring Chow Yun-Fat (his first Hollywood role) and Mira Sorvino. Though the film was a box-off flop when released in 1998, Pink was infatuated by Sorvino’s portrayal of passport forger Meg Coburn caught in a gang war. While the Raven part is more symbolic, Sorvino just sounded cool.
“Raven because it’s a mysterious black bird that flies the skies, and the sky’s the limit for me,” explains Raven. “Sorvino just sounded gangsta to me.”
Thus, Raven Sorvino was born. With a goal in mind, Raven would work a 9 to 5 during the day and hone her craft in the studio at night.
A chance meeting with Picasso of bubbling LA-based collective Language Artz would catapult Raven to one of hip-hop blogging’s most talked about female emcee after the release her debut mixtape Inspired in 2011. Inspired’s biggest and most obvious influence throughout its nine track span was none other than the late great R&B songstress Aaliyah through sample usage, along with a portrait of the “One in a Million” singer. Before her untimely passing, Aaliyah’s style was known for blending both feminine and masculine fashion styles, something Raven has attributed to her outer wear as well as personality.
“The balance is me being a woman at the end of the day, but I have an aggressive side and I’m not a push over,” Raven said. “My parents have good genes to make me a beautiful girl so I present that well, too, so there’s a sweet side.”
Lets not forget; Raven can spit, especially considering rhymes like these: “My exes all crawling, they on they knees, should a put a ring on it, you can ask Queen B/It’s a new queen now last name Sorvino, Mobb Deep trill hip-hop Pacino/Mermaids pretty but I’m finding Nemo.” Due to time spent equally in Houston and Los Angeles, Raven’s hip-hop influences are run the gambit of the genre’s greats from Notorious B.I.G. To Pimp C.
Later projects Paper Girl and Playa Del Ray would eventually make her a household name to most (including shows in New York and Atlanta), but Raven is gearing up to take over the world as she is set to release her next project Queen of HeArtz this fall. According to Raven, the album will solidify her place in hip-hop thanks to evolved rhymes and what she describes as “wavy production.”
“You’re going to get a sound that you’ve never heard from a female ever,” Raven said.
With a highly anticipated project soon to be released, multiple shows and being one of the most talked about female rappers to come out of southern California in quite some time, Raven’s mission to be apart of hip-hop’s elite is still in progress, something that pushes her daily.
“Honestly, it feels good but I haven’t celebrated yet because I have much to do, said Raven. “I do feel pressure on myself because I just want to be a great artist in general.”