|City Girls (duo Caresha Romeka Brownlee aka Yung Miami
and Jatavia Shakara Johnson aka JT)
|American Hip Hop Duo
City Girls is an American hip hop duo from Miami, Florida, consisting of members Yung Miami, whose real name is Caresha Romeka Brownlee, and JT, born Jatavia Shakara Johnson. Established in the early 2010s, they have quickly made a name for themselves in the music industry with their energetic performances and raw lyrics. Their rise to prominence was notably accelerated following their collaboration with Drake on the hit song “In My Feelings” in 2018, which charted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
The duo’s musical style blends the vibrant, bass-heavy sounds characteristic of Miami hip hop with the assertive and candid lyricism that has become their trademark. City Girls’ narratives often focus on female empowerment and the contemporary urban experience, resonating with a broad audience and cementing their position in the rap genre. Beyond their music, the pair are symbols of resilience and determination, overcoming personal and professional obstacles to achieve success in a highly competitive field.
Origins and Early Career
The City Girls, an impactful duo from Miami, Florida, entered the hip hop scene with a sound that quickly captured widespread attention. Their journey is marked by a tenacious rise from local to national prominence.
Formation and Background
Miami serves as the backdrop for the formation of City Girls, a duo comprising JT (Jatavia Shakara Johnson) and Yung Miami (Caresha Romeka Brownlee). Unified by their shared experiences and a mutual love for music, they turned to hip hop as the vehicle for their expression. JT, who celebrates her birthday on December 3, and Yung Miami, born on February 11, leveraged their genuine chemistry to fuel their creative collaborations.
Before their union, JT was immersed in the local rap scene, dabbling in poetry and refining her lyrical prowess, while Yung Miami cultivated her performance skills, gearing up for a future in music. Together, they aimed to present authentic narratives from their lives in Miami’s vibrant culture.
Rise to Fame
The City Girls’ ascent was catalyzed by the release of their debut single, “Fuck Dat Nigga,” in 2017—a bold track that encapsulated their unapologetic style. This breakout single captured the attention of Quality Control Music, elevating their status from underground artists to promising signees under a label known for cultivating hip hop talent.
In 2018, their featured appearance on Drake’s “In My Feelings” propelled them into the national consciousness, proving their ability to share the spotlight with established industry giants. Despite JT’s absence from the music video due to legal issues, the duo’s notoriety continued to soar. As their following grew, Miami’s and JT’s proven resilience and distinct voices in rap affirmed that City Girls were positioning themselves as a formidable and relentless force in hip hop.
Musical Style and Influences
City Girls, comprising JT and Yung Miami, are known for their dynamic contributions to hip hop. Their style is distinctly sex-positive and unapologetic, with clear roots in Southern rap traditions.
- 2 Live Crew & Trina: City Girls are heavily influenced by the Miami bass movement, with 2 Live Crew’s explicit content paving the way for their own sex-positive lyricism. Similarly, Trina’s unabashed approach to sexuality in her music has served as a blueprint for the duo’s themes
- Khia & Afrika Bambaataa: Their music also nods to the unfiltered expressions of Khia, while the beats occasionally echo the innovative hip hop rhythms introduced by pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa
- Empowerment & Confidence: Lyrics focus on themes of female empowerment and self-reliance, often characterized by their confident and authoritative delivery
- Inner City Narratives: City Girls’ content frequently reflects their upbringing in inner cities, providing authenticity to their narratives that resonate with listeners from similar backgrounds
The City Girls have achieved significant success in a relatively short amount of time through a series of impactful hits, high-profile collaborations, and a resilient rise in the face of legal obstacles.
First Major Hits
City Girls’ career took off with the release of their mixtapes ‘Period’ (2018) and the album ‘Girl Code’ later the same year. The album featured the track “Act Up” which became a viral sensation and has been certified as triple-platinum. Their music is characterized by its raw and unapologetic lyrical content, which quickly resonated with fans.
Collaborations and Accolades
Their collaboration on Drake’s “In My Feelings” brought them international acclaim and helped position the duo in front of a global audience. Cardi B’s feature on the ‘Girl Code’ track “Twerk” solidified City Girls’ presence in mainstream music. Several of their singles have climbed the Billboard Hot 100, and ‘Girl Code’ itself peaked on the Billboard 200.
- Major Collaborations:
- Drake: “In My Feelings”
- Cardi B: “Twerk”
- Chart Success:
- Billboard Hot 100: Multiple entries
- Billboard 200: ‘Girl Code’ peaked within the top 40
Legal Challenges and Resilience
As City Girls were rising in stature, JT faced legal issues and was sentenced to prison for aggravated identity theft. Despite this setback, Yung Miami continued to promote the group’s work, demonstrating their resilience. JT’s incarceration could have halted their momentum, but the duo managed to sustain and even increase their popularity during this period. Once JT was released from federal custody, the City Girls wasted no time getting back to the studio and continuing their upward trajectory.
City Girls have established a robust discography that encapsulates the essence of Miami hip-hop. Their work includes a series of studio albums punctuated by chart-climbing singles that have garnered widespread acclaim.
- Period (2018): City Girls made their debut with this album, which laid the foundation for their trademark sound
- Girl Code (2018): Featuring popular tracks like “Twerk,” this album cemented their place in the hip-hop scene
- City on Lock (2020): This project further showcased their growth and adaptability to the evolving music landscape
- RAW (2023): Included in their latest offerings, “RAW” hosts singles like “Good Love” with Usher, displaying their versatility and continued relevance
- “Twerk” (2018): Featuring Cardi B, this single was a prominent track off their “Girl Code” album and became a cultural phenomenon
- “Jobs” (2020): A testament to their relentless work ethic and a standout single from “City on Lock”
- “Pussy Talk” (2020): Featuring Doja Cat, this track showcases their bold and unapologetic style
- “Twerkulator” (2021): A single that reverberates with the Miami bass tradition and an undeniable hit
- “Good Love” (2023): City Girls teamed up with Usher to deliver this fresh track, contributing to their new album’s success
Cultural Impact and Endeavors
City Girls, the dynamic duo from Miami, Florida, have significantly impacted the hip-hop scene and fashion world with their confident and vocal presence on various media platforms.
Influence on Hip Hop and Fashion
Quality Control Music, the label behind City Girls, has overseen the duo’s rise within the competitive terrain of Florida rap. They’ve carved out a bold space for themselves, often being featured in Rolling Stone for their unapologetic lyricism and contributions to the genre. Their sound is a fresh take on Southern rap traditions mixed with contemporary flows, which has influenced both established artists and the emerging generation.
In fashion, City Girls’ influence is unmistakable. Their collaboration with Bravado brought forth a line of merchandise that echoes their vibrant aesthetic, resonating with fans and fashion followers alike. From colorful streetwear to high-end collaborations, their fashion choices often make waves, with Variety and other outlets highlighting their contributions to modern style and fashion.
Engagement with Fans and Media
The duo’s approach to engagement with their fan base is highly interactive, utilizing social media to reach audiences directly. Through platforms like Instagram and Twitter, they maintain a strong connection with their fans, often involving them in decisions, sharing new content, and giving behind-the-scenes looks at their lives and work processes.
Expanding their media presence, one-half of the City Girls, Yung Miami, launched her own podcast “Caresha Please” on REVOLT, showcasing a new side to the duo. The podcast offers fans unique insights into the music industry and beyond, creating a space where dialogue and culture converge. This endeavor has added another layer to their cultural footprint, showcasing their versatility and influence beyond music.
Collaborations and Featured Appearances
City Girls have carved out a niche within the hip-hop industry, noteworthy for their dynamic collaborations with other artists and impactful appearances across various media platforms.
Collaborations with Other Artists
City Girls’ collaborative spirit shines in their music, teaming up with a host of renowned artists to create chart-topping hits. On their album “RAW,” they worked with Lil Durk, Usher, and Kim Petras, among others. Their track “Piñata”, although not confirmed to feature Lil Baby, Doja Cat, Fivio Foreign, or Megan Thee Stallion, exemplifies their approach to harnessing the unique energies of diverse musicians to innovate their sound. Lil Durk‘s presence on the album particularly stands out, revealing City Girls’ ability to blend their style with artists from different rap subgenres.
Diddy has also been a notable figure alongside City Girls, speaking to their connection with established industry icons. However, specific tracks from “RAW” where these collaborations occur are not detailed, so it’s unclear if names like DJ Khaled or songs like “Tonight” and “Face Down” correlate to these joint efforts.