Ncognita releases debut EP


Courtesy of Emilio Sanchez.

Jabez Berniard

Since deciding to pursue music in high school, rapper Paige “NCognita” Stevenson has amassed over 25,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, starred in her own Youtube docuseries, and signed a deal with Raedio in partnership with Atlantic Records.

On Friday April 15, 2022, the 21-year-old Los Angeles native released her debut EP, The Playbook. Stevenson, a junior at Loyola studying urban and electronic music production, said that she has been waiting for this moment since the twelfth grade. 

“I feel like this is the right timing,” Stevenson said. “ I finally have the ears and the eyes that I want to have on me.”

The EP includes the two singles “Gangsta Lean” and “Nothing At All,” along with five other new tracks. Stevenson said each track was carefully chosen to tell her story in an authentic way. The major theme through them all is her duality and “showing that you can have a balance of this world and that word”, she said.

“It starts with me telling the play on my life, and it ends on how I feel life should be,” she said.

Stevenson said she wants listeners to keep an open mind when they hear her music. 

“They should listen to every story,” she said. “I have some really relatable tracks that can appeal to all audiences.”

Of the seven songs, Stevenson said that “Nothing At All,” is her favorite record.

“It was the first time I got personal on a track,” she said.  “I told my story in the most point-blank way possible. It was just something different that I did, and I really ended up loving what it turned out to be.”

The song’s lyrics detail her experience in college and her journey as an artist. She said the lyrics reflect back on the choices she’s made, the people she’s met, and lessons that she has learned. 

“My heartache and pain only made me want to grind harder and that’s led to success,” she said. “If you’ve dealt with love and heartbreak, I believe you should listen to this record to know that you can come out of anything and make it better. You can make nothing from something.”

Stevenson said her biggest takeaway from producing the EP was learning the importance of patience.

“I realized that everything doesn’t happen in a controlled way or how you think it will,” she said. “Sometimes you just have to let things happen.”

She said she will continue being fluid as she works to balance her studies with her career. She wants to take the skills and techniques that she’s learning in her classes and apply them to the real world. 

“Coming back to school was a good choice for me,” she said. “I’ve been surrounded by people who are striving toward the same thing I am and it’s an uplifting thing. It’s very encouraging.”

For Stevenson, having a solid community to rely on has been invaluable. 

“The most validating part of this process is seeing how much love and support I’ve had so far in my music journey,” she said. 

As she looks to the future, she said she wants to continue to see success. 

“I want to be a mogul,” she said “I want to be an inspiration to people who are trying to do it like me: people in college, people that are working hard, people that are just doing it. I just see myself being an inspiration and whatever comes with that comes with that.”