Durham, NC


Pronounced m-BALLA, M8alla is a singer who considers herself a citizen of the world. Born to Cameroonian parents in Paris, she and her family relocated to the United States when she was a toddler. She uses her experiences of colliding cultures to shape a genre she calls “Tribal Trap.” Think SZA meets M.I.A. M8alla sings for “immigrant women with American degrees and bottom grillz”; her latest single—“Illegal,” a bold reference to her immigration status—makes that quite clear. Her first LP, Never Leave Quietly, pairs the melodies of Afro-Caribbean music with the hard-hitting beats of trap music and the fluid lyricism of hip-hop. Now at home in Durham, M8alla is ready to set roots.