Big Break: This summer, rapper Dej Loaf (real name Deja Trimble) quit her janitorial job at the Chrysler plant, unsure of the future. But after she uploaded her single “Try Me” to SoundCloud in July, the track went viral, thanks to Drake quoting its lyrics on Instagram. “Stuff travels so fast,” says Dej Loaf. Indeed: She signed with Columbia in October.
Inspirations: Dej Loaf uses hardships (her father’s death, severe asthma) as fuel. “I make music about what’s going on,” she says. “If you can relate to it, relate to it.”
Co-signs: “There’s 500 remixes by 500 rappers,” says Dej Loaf of “Try Me” — including Wiz Khalifa and T.I. She has come to welcome the buzz the new takes give her, but initially she was protective. “We were making calls, getting remixes shut down, because we were still trying to grow mine. It’s like, ‘How dare you?’ ”
Up Next: “Try Me” is still growing, climbing 67-65 in its second week on the Billboard Hot 100 dated Nov. 15. Meanwhile, her Sell Sole mixtape arrived in October, she’ll be featured on Eminem‘s Shady XV compilation (due Nov. 24), and her own debut LP is underway. “Just understand that what I’m doing hasn’t been done,” she says. “I want to be legendary.”