LIFE & STYLE

‘Everything I Put My Hands On, I Can Do It’: Alabama Chef And Rap Artist Chasing Big Dreams

Mary Colurso
al.com

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Mary Colurso reports, Neyuana Davis is “the creative force behind Exquisite Dining On The Go and Exquisite Sweets N Treatz, whipping up delectable dishes for customers in her home kitchen.” Oh, and she’s also and amazing rapper!

Montgomery

Neyuana Davis hasn’t tried to build a rocket ship in her Alabama backyard. But if she did, we wouldn’t count her out.

Davis, 33, is a can-do entrepreneur who sets goals, works hard and typically finds success. She’s not on the level of Jay-Z or Rihanna — at least, not yet — but the Montgomery woman is chasing her dreams with confidence and focus.

Right now, she’s the creative force behind Exquisite Dining On The Go and Exquisite Sweets N Treatz, whipping up delectable dishes for customers in her home kitchen. Her specialties are seafood — shrimp, crawfish, lobster burgers and more — and goodies such as cakes, cupcakes and dipped strawberries.

Davis also is an emerging rap artist, writing, recording and performing as Kashiyuana. She’s released a handful of singles through her indie label, Pretty Gangstaz Ent., including “Petty Betty,” “Throw Da Money,” “Pressure” and “Fighting Demons.”

“I’m pretty much one of those people, I’m going to try, whether I fail or succeed,” Davis says. “Everything I put my hands on, I can do it.”

The entrepreneurial spirit comes naturally to her — Davis started styling hair in middle school and launched a business called Exquisite Styles — and she’s been teaching her five children about the importance of having a vision and building a brand.

“I’m teaching them to be little entrepreneurs, just like mama,” Davis says in an interview with AL.com. “I’m really hands-on, and I never wanted to work for anybody else.”

She founded Exquisite Sweets N Treatz in 2015, and followed that with the dining business four years later. Weekly menus and available sweets are posted on social media; customers place orders that way and pick up their food on a specific day.

Davis says her customer base has grown significantly — so much so, it would be easy to get overwhelmed — and she’ll probably require more space for cooking and storing ingredients in the future.

Saving up for a food truck is on her to-do list, Davis says, and she hopes to expand her reach to other cities in Alabama. A party-planning business is on her agenda, as well.

“I’m going to perfect my craft before I ever introduce it as a business,” Davis says. “I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my food and my music.”

A professional rap career is her most recent pursuit — Davis released her first single in summer 2021 — and she’s been writing poems and short stories since her teen years. Putting emotions on paper is her strong suit, Davis says, and that translates to lyrics and rhymes with a powerful flow.

“I could always listen to someone’s story and make a song about it,” Davis says. “I say a lot of things that relate to the South and what’s going on as a whole.”

Performing on stage is a new skill for her, and one that Davis, who describes herself as shy, is learning to master. She’s participated in several showcases over the past year, and been featured in “Alabama Massacre” videos with other rap artists. The latest edition, “Alabama Massacre 18,” dropped on Feb. 25.

Her stage name, Kashiyuana (pronounced “cash-ee-yah-na”), is a play on her first name, Neyuana (pronounced “nee-yah-na”), with an appreciation for cash emphasized at the start. Davis says she’s been encouraged to show a little skin with her wardrobe for Kashiyuana, and although it runs against her innate modesty, she’s experimenting with a sexier style.

“I’m a quiet person and I stay to myself,” Davis says. “It’s almost like I’m two different people, Kashiyuana and Neyuana. I’m so conservative to the point that I’m always covered up. But the way I dress for Kashiyuana is not the same.”

Despite her status as a newcomer on Montgomery’s rap scene, Davis has caught the attention, and gained the support, of some key movers and shakers. Noah Baker of Platform Network and We Global Hip-Hop Massacre is her mentor, helping Davis with marketing and promotion, watching her in the studio and offering career advice.

“There was something that stood out about her,” Baker tells AL.com. “I could see her being real consistent and see how she was working and chasing it. She’s willing to get out there and do the work. There’s a hunger for it in her voice. She’s taking all the opportunities available to her. I really do feel she can conquer all of it, and she’s going to have that career.”

Davis has drive and creativity to spare, Baker says, and she’s willing to listen to constructive criticism. Her writing abilities are a major plus, Baker says, and Davis has already launched her own label, designed her own graphics and planned her own merchandise.

“A lot of artists come through the Platform and the first thing is, if they have the talent,” Baker says. “A lot of them are talented, but they’re lazy-type artists who don’t have a work ethic. It’s just rare to find someone who has it all.”

Jay Black, a Montgomery hip-hop artist, producer and engineer, agrees that Davis has what it takes to succeed.
“She came in to do a studio session, and she was just a good artist, professional and really on her stuff,” says Black, also known as BurnOne. “Every time she comes in here, she’s on it. She seems very seasoned, like she’s been doing it a long time. She comes in ready and prepared. She knows what she wants. It makes my job easier and she respects my time.”

Black, who produced “Petty Betty,” says Davis has a knack for emotional content, grabbing listeners and keeping them immersed in a song.

“I think her writing skills are way above par,” Black says. “That’s one of the things I love about her the most. When you hear the lines she puts down, she makes you feel her music. She brings you into the song. … I see her doing great things, maybe as one of the first women artists to get a major deal from Montgomery.”

We might say that Davis is really cooking these days, in the kitchen and in the Montgomery rap world. She often finds herself trying out new lyrics as she prepares orders for her customers, and Davis says she’s giving both occupations ample attention.

“I push both of them the same,” Davis says. “The food and the music all goes together. I haven’t been rapping an entire year yet, but I keep dropping singles. I keep getting my followers up, giving them content. And I’m saving up my coins to get that food truck.”

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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