Maiya The Don
Interview: Aleia Woods
Image: Akira Ruiz
Editor’s Note: This story appears in the Winter 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands in December.

With her Brooklyn roots, ferocious tone and quick-witted bars, Maiya The Don creates music reminiscent of Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown. The raptress has been focused on getting her footing while her place in hip-hop gets cemented. Following the recent release of her album, Hot Commodity, Maiya Earley, 22, hit the road for the first time, offering support for Flo Milli’s Thanks for Coming Here, Ho Tour. She’s on her way up.

XXL: How did you feel about participating in the cypher?

Maiya The Don: I actually was particularly excited about Latto picking me. It was super humbling, but then also it gave me a little bit of a big head because I’ve said it before, I’ll say again: Latto was my favorite rapper before I was rapping. So, to go so quickly from a fan to a peer is just like, so heartwarming and full circle. I really do appreciate her. She’ll always stay in the highest regard of my book. I love and respect every single one of those girls that was in there.

How do you differ from your rap peers?

I don’t think anybody raps likes me. I think I’m very traditional and rugged in my style of music. I don’t really rap about the same things or in the same way that the other girls do, which I love. We’ve actually all talked about that. They said the way that I rap, it can’t be replicated, which was the biggest compliment ever.

What does it mean to you for women to champion each other?

I feel like we get more money together. Hating each other don’t really do nothing. It’s like, a lot of energy. Where I’m from, I’m not going to go back-and-forth with you. We gon’ get it down. It’s so much more eyes on us when we come together. Camaraderie is so important, and just having peace. We all do the same thing. We’re going to be around the same people, work with the same people. That’s how I felt in high school almost. Why I’m going to go back-and-forth with this girl? I got to see her every single day. It’s just stupid. I think it’s import- ant to show that you can coexist amongst people without being the best of friends. Men don’t have that problem. People don’t ask men the kinds of questions that they ask women. I feel like people get a lot out of putting women against each other for whatever reasons, like some sick, weird s**t.

Check out Maiya The Don rap with Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo and Mello Buckzz in XXL's Cypher Lab, presented by the Starz Original Series Power Book III: Raising Kanan, below.

Watch XXL Cypher Lab Featuring Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz

Watch Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz Unite for a Real Conversation About Women in Hip-Hop

Watch Behind the Scenes of the Cypher With Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz

Maiya The Don photo
Akira Ruiz/XXL

Read Maiya The Don's interview in the Winter 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on newsstands now. The new issue also includes the cover story with Latto and conversations with Killer Mike, Flo MilliDD OsamaMello BuckzzSexyy RedBigXThaPlug, plus more. Additionally, there's an exclusive interview with Fetty WapQuality Control Music's Coach K and P discuss 10 years into the label's growth, in-depth stories on the popularity of sampling in hip-hop in 2023 and the state of hip-hop touring, and the best moments of hip-hop's year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

See Photos From Latto's XXL Magazine Winter 2023 Cover Story