Show & Prove
Words: Georgette Cline
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Asian Doll is about her business. Ask any rapper and they’ll likely tell you the same, but 22-year-old Misharron Jermeshia Allen bucks the stereotype that hip-hop is always tardy to the party by arriving early to lunch at Blue Smoke Flatiron, a barbecue joint on Manhattan’s East Side in New York City. While it’s a rainy, dreary November day outside, the Dallas-bred rapper is dressed like it’s summer, with Gucci sunglasses and shorts comprising her all-black ’fit. The New York restaurant is a fitting choice for the down South native—Texas is one of the world’s leaders in barbecue—and since she’s 1,548 miles from her Dallas stomping grounds, she’s got a taste of home with an order of smoked chicken wings and mac and cheese.

Before indulging in her meal, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Teens” expresses relief that her residence in New York is soon to be permanent. Asian Doll is tired of living out of suitcases and resting her head full of brightly-hued hair in high-priced hotels due to her busy schedule. “I feel like I live on a plane,” she admits. “It’s so crazy, like, I never see my apartment in Atlanta. I’ve just got to move to New York. New York keep me on my toes. It’s about the hustle.”

Grinding is nothing new to Asian Doll. Over the past three years, she’s crafted a signature sound, a mix of savage Barbie street records and ineluctably confident lyrics, which can be heard across seven projects: Da Rise of Barbie Doll Gang Empire (2015), Drippin in Glo (2016), Project Princess Vol. 1 (2016), Outtaspace (2017), Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2017), Doll Szn and So Icy Princess (2018). She’s also refined her style, a colorful, kaleidoscopic blend of streetwear chic and designer allure that has garnered her a loyal fan base in the Instagram era.

“It’s going to be to a point where I’m going to have all the girls around the world looking like me and it’s going to be beautiful because it’s like, Yo, there’s no rules for yourself,” states Asian Doll, who prides herself on the “gangstaness” that helped shape her image. As a result of her work ethic and vibrant aesthetic, Asian Doll’s been booked and busy in 2018, but the road to get there wasn’t easy.

As the second oldest of four siblings, Asian Doll was raised by her mother in a single-parent household since her father spent most of her life behind bars. In 2009, at the age of 12, she spent two years in her grandmother’s custody when her mother also went to jail for fighting Asian Doll’s aunt.

However, the rapper’s mom was a solid influence when it came to hip-hop. Besides Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and the late artist Lil Snupe leaving a lasting impression on her lyrically, Asian Doll’s mother inspired her to start rapping because she was a former rapper herself. Growing up, Asian Doll remembers hitting the studio with her mom and rapping along to her songs. “She’s the reason why I started [rapping],” Asian Doll explains. “I used to be like, Yo, I don’t even know how I know how to rap. It’s nothing I forced. I really know how to do it so good and so fast. Like, how did I get that talent? It was my mom."

Asian Doll recalls writing rhymes in the sixth grade and putting out her first official song, “No Flocking (Freestyle),” which she says blew up on Facebook, in the 11th grade. Despite not graduating from high school in Dallas (where she played basketball on the school team), Asian Doll was hell-bent on building a career off rap, even if she had to leave the city. “I used to always dream about being this rapper,” she reminisces. “I used to really dream about my image a lot. So I just brought it to life.” Songs like the get-money anthem “Gucci,” her remix of Playboi Carti’s “Lame Niggaz” and TheLabCook-produced “Talk” illustrate her vision.

In 2016, after experiencing struggles at home, the loss of murdered friends and hate from her own city, she moved to Atlanta to fulfill her dreams and stay drama-free. The relocation came with a lot of couch-surfing, countless studio sessions and a meeting with Gucci Mane, who eventually signed Asian Doll to his label, 1017 Eskimo Records, in June of 2018. “He’s so inspiring,” Asian Doll affirms. “That man is a trap god.”

Before 1017, the rhymer reveals Atlantic and Epic Records deals were in reach at different points in her career, but she decided to secure the bag with Guwop because she felt she’d be a priority as the only woman on the roster. “Asian [Doll] is super-focused,” says Amina Diop, a 1017 Eskimo Records label executive and Senior Vice President of A&R at Republic Records. “She’s a hustler and 1017 is comprised of hustlers. She also has a cult-following of fans who contacted Gucci Mane on social media and literally he took notice. That’s crazy.”

Now, life is a whirlwind of video shoots, recording sessions with Gucci, Lil Yachty and YBN Nahmir, among others, and touring—alongside Bhad Bhabie for the Bhanned in the USA Tour throughout spring 2018 and with LaFlare, Smokepurpp and Hoodrich Pablo Juan for The Unusual Suspects Tour, which closed out 2018. Her fans have noticed changes, too. “I miss the old gangsta, guns and money Asian. I don’t like this outer space Auto-Tune Asian,” a follower wrote to her on Instagram on Nov. 5, 2018. “It’s called growth,” she replied. “Them guns and that life was real, not just an image. My life was on the line but I’m in a better space. No negativity, you know the vibes.”

Next up, those vibes will be showcased on an upcoming six-song mixtape with another female rapper—she’s keeping it on the low for now. With so many other “Dolls” in the game, Asian Doll is focused on more unity. “I don’t want to be the only one,” she says, as the plate of wings sits in front of her, untouched. “I’m going to pull up somebody with me. I want to make music and touch the people who need to be touched. And be happy.” No cap.

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2018 issue including our Migos cover story interviewVic Mensa's turn toward activism and a woman's equality proponent, Show & Prove with Jay Critch, G Herbo finding new purpose as a fathera look at the way women in hip-hop are rising to higher heights, Smokepurpp breaking down the songs on Deadstar 2 and more.

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