Toward the end of “Ghost Town,” the centerpiece of Kanye West’s eighth album, Ye, a heavy alto rips its way through layers of heavy guitar loops to deliver some of the record’s most devastating lines: “I put my hand on the stove, to see if I still bleed / And nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free.” The person behind that aggressively numb couplet? 070 Shake, or the artist born Danielle Balbuena.

In the 18 months since Ye dropped, the artist’s life has changed astronomically. On January 17, she released her debut record, Modus Vivendi, about as introspective a rap record as they come, which features chilled-out, experimental samples. Perhaps that has something to do with the ’70s music Shake (as she prefers to be called) took in while making it; she says she listened to Pink Floyd daily throughout the album’s gestation period. Lyrically, the album is alternately subdued, outré, and trippy, addressing such disparate subjects as microdosing, the dangers of monogamy, and astrology, with the specificity of a wallflower who spends her time keenly parsing the world.

A couple of weeks before the release of the album, Shake sits next to me at the Def Jam offices, wearing a shearling Levi vest, a pair of striped work pants, a Gucci belt, and holographic Buffalo London sneakers. On her face she has a little tattoo of a chromosome; on her hands, I make out a dinosaur and a line of houses. When Shake talks, she does so with the demeanor of someone with their head in the clouds. She’s spacey, dreamy, yet deceptively careful and precise. Vogue spoke with Shake about the making of her debut, youthful rebellion, and how she really just wants to make people feel something.

I know you worked on a song with Kanye about a year and a half ago. How has your life changed since then?

I learned a lot from that. It was a really big milestone in my life. Not just because it was Kanye, but because I learned a lot from working with him. I learned a lot from his work ethic. He was one of the main reasons why I became so free in this music, and can play and do whatever I want. There are no boundaries. I think that had to do a lot with my growth as an artist.

Can you tell me about putting this album together?

[The process] took about a year. Something I really learned from making the EP I did two years ago is that I should sit on my music and give myself time to see how I feel about it in a couple months. As an artist, that’s how you really test it out to see. Listening to it again 10 months later, I felt the same way that I did when I made it. Usually, if I make something, months later I don’t like it at all—I can’t even hear it, you know what I’m saying? This is definitely different.

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