Aja puts everything on the line for their debut album, Box Office

PHOTO: Tanner Abel

PHOTO: Tanner Abel

Aja is busting down walls and barriers with the release of their new album ‘Box Office.’

Out today, Aja’s ‘Box Office’ is proving the New York City rapper can’t be pigeonholed into any medium or genre. Showing off their musical versatility with hits like their recently released music video Jekyll & Hyde, Aja is transcending expectations and moving forward in a bold new direction.

‘Box Office’ is a departure from Aja’s first EP, ‘In My Feelings.’ Coming off their death drop defying run on Rupaul Drag’s Race All-Stars season three, Aja sought to break the mold from previous iterations of music produced by RuGirls and stand out as a distinct voice in the rap scene. Yet, there were more compromises that came with producing their first EP than they expected. “I’m going to be real, the first project was more me channeling the energy of the world that was around me at the time.” Aja explains, “I was going for this cutesy, colorful aesthetic. Like, let me really channel this pro-gamer, anime-lover because I know my fans will really love it. It wasn’t really hardcore.”

Drawing inspiration from rappers like Tyler the Creator, Nicki Minaj, and Eminem, ‘Box Office’ promises a hardened, uncompromising tone that reflects Aja’s new sound. Like the album’s namesake, Aja is inviting fans to take a front-row seat to witness their artistic journey. “With ‘Box Office’ I want to give people a ticket to my life. I want people to come to see my experiences. And a lot of what I put into this album is raw emotion that I’ve been feeling throughout the year.” ‘Box Office’ demanded a lot more out of the artist, hence the harsher, grittier mood. “Making the album, I had to make a plethora of sacrifices. And I really think that’s the biggest difference is that when I released ‘In My Feelings’ I didn’t have to put anything on the line. But to release ‘Box Office’ I was willing to put everything on the line.”

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Running with the theme of life as a show, Aja curates the titles and tracks of ‘Box Office’ like the billing on a movie theatre marquee telling a larger cohesive story. “Every single song is titled after a movie, tv show, or an idea and based off of some medium. There’s a track on there called ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ which features Shea Couleé. There’s a track called ‘Kill Bill’ and it’s about revenge. Every song explores a different theme. The order that I put the track listing tells the story like one big show.”

Along with the cinematic order of the album, Aja has been releasing eye-catching anime screencaps and movie posters for each track in ‘Box Office.’ Fans of Aja’s last EP ‘In My Feelings’ will enjoy João Victor Mathielo’s Sailor Moon-esque reimagining of Aja’s lyrics. And newcomers to the album can catch a teaser trailer of what to expect on ‘Box Office’ with visual artist Fernando Monroy’s dynamic movie posters.

“I can’t wait for people to listen to (the album) and learn more about me as an individual then they probably need to (laughs).” Aja promises there will be more to come on ‘Box Office’ and has no plans on slowing down with their accompanying tour. “Stay tuned! I’ll be releasing lots of video content and I’ll be touring this album worldwide! Get your tickets, live your life, and don’t talk to strangers unless they have money, okay?”  

If you’re in Atlanta, you can catch Aja’s ‘Box Office’ release party, HEART♥BTZ, at the Heretic this Saturday, February 9th at 10:00 pm! Treat your special sweetheart to the dance party of the decade with performances by Aja and local Atlanta drag superstars Brigitte Bidet, Dotte Com, Molly Rimswell, Alex Suarez, Iv Fischer, Jackson Rims Day, D'Knighten Day, and more! Swipe right and buy your tickets today ♥♥♥

Photography by Tanner Abel

Stevie King is a genderqueer comedian, freelance writer, and wife of seven brother-husbands. She loves spending her days sitting at home waiting for her children to call...