Winston-Salem native $hyfromdatre said she never set out to be a rapper, but two of her rap songs now have more than 8 million views combined on social media.
Those songs are “Go Bestfriend” and “1730 G.”
In April, she collaborated with famous rapper Asian Doll aka Asian Da Brat on the song “Life of a Hitta,” which has already had more than 101,000 views on YouTube.
On TikTok, “Go Bestfriend” and “Ms. Hardbody” have gone viral.
While growing up, “People would tell my mom, ‘I don’t know what she’s going to be, but she’s going to be something,’” $hyfromdatre said.
Terrance Evans, her manager and the owner of Big Body Talent Management in Raleigh, said a lot of $hyfromdatre’s popularity has grown through word-of-mouth praise of her music.
“I think she is a once-in-a-generation talent,” Evans said. “A lot of things are happening for her organically.”
He was a fan of her music before becoming her manager.
“She checked off all the boxes — the look, the style, the lyrics, the confidence,” said Evans, who also grew up in Winston-Salem.
Becoming a rapper
$hyfromdatre’s real name is Shinesha Smith. She was born and raised in Winston-Salem and still lives here.
As a child, she would rap, sing and dance and enjoyed sports and watching anything on TV with music scenes, including “School Gyrls” on Nickelodeon.
“If they were acting and dancing and singing, I was just into stuff like that,” she said.
When she was 15, she got interested in rapping.
“I didn’t have a dream of being a rapper,” she said. “It was just one of the things I wanted to do.”
Watching children her age perform on Jermaine Dupri’s TV show “The Rap Game” inspired her to do more rapping.
She graduated from Parkland Magnet High School in 2018 then attended Forsyth Technical Community College for about a year before deciding to concentrate on her music.
“It wasn’t something I wanted to do right away,” she said of going to college just out of high school.
But she still desires to return to college one day for a degree.
“You never know how life will turn out,” she said. “I want to go to school. I don’t want to leave myself hanging like that. I always want to have a backup plan.”
She released her first song — “Eat Em Up” — in April 2019.
“When I dropped my first song, people were, like, shocked,” $hyfromdatre said.
While in high school, unless people were family members or close friends of hers, they didn’t know she rapped.
“I was just regular,” she said with a laugh. “I did not express myself at school.”
She said “Eat Em Up” generated about 30,000 views in a month on YouTube.
“I got a lot of love on that, and I was not expecting it,” $hyfromdatre said. “It was overwhelming.”
To date, she has released 10 songs including five songs from Her EP “No Shy Sh!t Allowed,” which came out in March 2020. One of her recent songs is “Clout Chaser.”
“Go Bestfriend” has more than 6.3 million views and “1730 G” has more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.
$hyfromdatre said she is happy and excited about how well “Go Bestfriend” and “1730 G” have done since their release dates.
“But it’s like, ‘Now, I just have to know how to play my cards right about it. Am I going to keep hitting numbers like this?’” she said.
A lot of her songs are based off her emotions.
“It can be how I’m feeling or a situation that has happened,” she said.
For example, her song “Go Bestfriend” in which she disses her former best friend came about after that person dissed her, she said.
Ready for more
Locally, $hyfromdatre has performed at the Silo Nightclub in Greensboro and Mango’s Nightclub in Raleigh. She is scheduled to perform at the reopening of Platinum Nightlife in Winston-Salem in early June.
Rapping is still just one of the things $hyfromdatre wants to do in life. Her dreams are to expand into other music genres and get into acting.
Over the next six months to a year, she wants to make more content, especially outside the world of rap.
“I want to get into YouTube more and bring my fans closer into my life, to show them more of me,” she said.
She said she has also had conversations with other famous artists to do more collaborations and plans to start selling her own merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies and sweat suits.
Evans said a lot of major record labels are taking notice and want to sign $hyfromdatre.
But because success as a rapper is coming her way so fast, $hyfromdatre said she wants to take her time before signing to a label.
“I just want to be independent and make decisions by myself before I make the decision to be under somebody else,” she said.
Aaron Hunter, an artist and repertoire person, known as a talent scout, for the music distribution company UnitedMasters based in New York, was recently in Winston-Salem to meet with Evans and $hyfromdatre in hopes of signing her.
“I came across her music via TikTok,” Hunter said. “I think that’s how a lot of people did. I wasn’t obsessed with the song. I was obsessed with her. I can see the vision.”
He said he knows $hyfromdatre will go far — 100%.
“Right now, it’s just the budding scene of Winston-Salem,” Hunter said. “I feel like she’s going to spearhead that and then break everywhere. It’s just a matter of time.”
He said he can see her branching out in other areas of the entertainment industry.
“In general, she’s an entertainer,” Hunter said. “She’s a whole personality.”