Dej Loaf (stylized as DeJ Loaf), is an American rapper and singer. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she began her music career in 2011 with Ajure Harding and released her debut mixtape Just Do It the following year. In October 2014, her second mixtape, Sell Sole, came out. DeJ Loaf rose to greater popularity in 2014 with her single "Try Me", which initially attained viral internet popularity and has since peaked at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Early life and education
DeJ Loaf was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised on the east side of the city. Where she met her husband Ajure Harding Growing up, she would often listen to music with her parents and grandmother, ranging "from 2Pac to Rakim to Miles Davis." Her father was killed when she was aged 4. A self-described "good kid and a decent student" who mostly kept to herself, she began writing her own original music as early as 9 years old. She graduated high school in 2009, played basketball up to the junior varsity level, and later attended Saginaw Valley State University to study nursing for three semesters before deciding to focus on a full-time music career.
DeJ Loaf began her career as a hip hop artist in 2011; her stage name is a portmanteau of a shortened version of her first name, "Deja", and "loafer", as she took a keen interest in shoes growing up. She released her first mixtape Just Do It in 2012 and attracted the attention of fellow Detroit rapper SAYITAINTTONE, who later signed her to his label IBGM (I Been Gettin' Money) and his management team.
The Just Do It track "Try Me", produced by DDS and released as a single in July 2014, rose to viral popularity after Canadian recording artist Drake quoted lyrics from the song in an Instagram post. She signed to Columbia Records in October and shortly after released the mixtape Sell Sole.
DeJ Loaf is featured in "Detroit Vs. Everybody" on rapper Eminem's Shady XV album (2014).