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city girls talk new album and co-sign from drake


There were literally think-pieces dedicated investigating what women were behind the names mentioned in Drake’s summer anthem, “In My Feelings”.  Folks damn near risked their lives and driving records attempting to go viral on social media with an accompanying dance challenge started by comedian Shiggy (a smart move since both the comedian and a few attempts at the challenge were featured in the actual music video). But still many weren’t quite sure who “JT” or “Resha” were and why Drake gave a damn if they loved him or not. With the music video recently dropping, dripping in New Orleans swag and “Code to the safe!” echoing in the background, if you weren’t familiar with Jatavia “JT” Johnson and Caresha “Yung Miami” Brownlee before, The City Girls are most definitely hard to miss now.

VIBE sat down with the BFFs for an interview this past spring and the pair shared how they began making music, some legal troubles that attempted to stand in the way of their success and who has inspired them along the way. The 20-somethings from Miami got a little buzz going in the music industry with their singles “F**k That Ni**a” and “I’ll Take Your Man”. From there it was record deal from Quality Control which also houses acts like Cardi B, Migos and Lil Yachty. Soon after Drake hit them up to be on the B-Side of his Scorpion album. It was then that the duo was officially named “The City Girls” and began to take what they describe as a natural talent, a little more seriously. The duo explain the meaning behind the name, a decision made by Quality Control record execs Coach K and Pierre. Although JT still seems somewhat lost about the name, Yung Miami clears up the confusion:

“He said cause every n***a, want a city girl.”

JT goes on to say that she’d never pictured the childhood friends who seem to word play off of one another effortlessly would be in this position:

“Honestly I’ve always been gifted with rapping but I never would’ve thought that I’d be a rapper.”

“Like, I never would’ve imagined me, like, being here in y’all face, like, doing this ‘cause it was really more of us having fun when we did the song which was in August. So, we didn’t think it was gonna get this serious, like, ‘Oh we got a record deal, wassup.’”

The pair cite Nicki Minaj and fellow Miami native Jackie-O as inspiration. Although Jackie-O now has a career in Christian rap, JT gushes over her admiration of the “Nookie” rapper when she was younger:

“Growing up I used to call myself ‘Jackie-O Jr..’”

“I met her once but she changed her number on me ‘cause my friend stole her number out my phone and called her a bunch of times. I really wish I could talk to her now. When I rap sometimes I hear her, you know? I hope that one day we meet again cause I know she remembers me. I was crazy about her and now her daughter listens to our music.”

Unfortunately JT hasn’t been able to experience the crazy success of “In My Feelings” in person. In August 2017, she was arrested and charged with aggravated identity theft. Her family put up their home for bond. While their single “F**k That Ni**a” was a radio favorite, JT turned to the church and vowed to leave the scamming lifestyle behind shortly before she learned of a blessing in the form of a record deal. She eventually turned herself into the authorities when the single was released kicking off a #FreeJT movement on social media (people can be seen wearing ‘Free JT’ jackets and t shirts in tribute in the video). Yung Miami held down the Karena Evans-directed music video solo surrounded by dancers, but makes it clear that she’s anxiously awaiting her BFF’s releases in March 2020 so they can get back to business, telling VIBE:

“True friends stick together no matter what.”

Before JT’s arrest, the pair reflected with the publication about the making of their album Period. Yung Miami shares there were plenty of late nights in the studio working on an album they hoped would be fun with a sprinkle of serious subject matter:

“It sounds crazy but it was fine, it was fun. We were correcting each other like, ‘Don’t say this, don’t say that, do this part over.’ We were having fun on it. We’ll get to the studio at 1 p.m. and be there ‘til six in the morning.”

When it comes to making future hits, the two hope they can link up with fellow label mate Cardi B., noting that “the hood” is finally having its moment:

“I think that it’s a good opportunity in women right now.”

“Everybody wanna be hood in some type of way even if they was raised good. They wanna be in the hood because the hood is fun. They get their interests that way.”

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