Pinqy Ring
Gig Seeker Pro

Pinqy Ring

Chicago, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Chicago, IL
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Hip Hop Latin




"Pinqy Ring Has Found a New Life in Healing through Rap Music"

“Healing is OK and being vulnerable is OK, and that’s one of the things I want to share in my music,” said Marisol Velez, a Chicago-born and -bred rapper who performs as Pinqy Ring.

Velez has seen it all, but music — and rapping specifically — was not a passion until she reached high school. After a mostly quiet freshman year at Lane Tech, she made new friends who shifted her whole life. Velez said she grew up in a strict, religious household, which ultimately influenced her interests as a young adult. Hip-hop was not allowed; even gospel music was off the table. “Anything that made you kind of want to move your body even a little bit was the devil’s music,” Velez said about her youth.

Her strict upbringing made her rebellious as she got older. Velez describes this time as her at her worst. She regularly hung out on the streets and did whatever she felt like doing. Rapping was a casual hobby between Velez and her friends, who were mostly male at the time.

A near-fatal car accident during her freshman year at the University of Illinois at Chicago shifted her life again. Velez woke up from a coma in Cook County hospital with broken teeth, a broken nose and a bruise on her brain.

“Seeing myself like that and not recognizing myself, I realized that could have been the end of my life,” Velez said. “Seeing that and the pain my mom was in kind of made me realize I can’t keep living my life this way. I have this opportunity available to me to really tell my story and share my narrative and who I am and what I’ve been through. You know, change the world one day.”

Velez describes it as one of a series of essential shifts and affirmations in her life. “Being in the music industry and being a woman in the music industry, it’s so hard that I’ve quit seventy eleven times already,” she joked. “But then something will happen that will reaffirm this is my path and this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

This life-or-death experience made Velez not only abandon her teenage rebellion; it also changed the type of music she aimed to create. Her earlier rhymes were braggadocian, but her post-accident lyrics aimed at something more personal and vulnerable. If Velez genuinely wanted to share her gifts as an MC to the world, she wanted to leave behind a body of work both raw and radical. “I wouldn’t have been given a second chance at life if being open wasn’t what I’m supposed to be doing in life,” she added.

For example, on the track “Little Hearts,” released three years ago, Velez tackles the uncomfortable, often ignored subject of childhood sexual abuse. Many people questioned the MC over her subject matter, but she doubled down, emphasizing how important it is to address the deepest and darkest parts of our histories. Since releasing the track, the rapper said many young women have reached out to her to thank her. Some shared with Velez their own stories for the first time.

Sharing narratives of social justice and equality continues to play an essential role in her music career. She works as a site coordinator for Guitars Over Guns, an art mentoring program serving youth in underserved neighborhoods in Chicago. She’s also a participant of Next Level, a cultural exchange program sharing hip-hop across the globe and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Sharing her specific vision of hip-hop as a healing storytelling medium around the world is all part of the plan. “I’ve put both feet on the ground with dream held tightly in my hand,” Velez said. “This is what I have to do.” - Chicago Tribune

"Pinqy Ring at The Taste of Chicago"

Hailing from Humboldt Park, Velez's proud Puerto Rican heritage permeates her music and aesthetic, on-stage and off. Rapping in English and Spanish, her lyrics draw on narratives around feminism and justice for and recognition of marginalized people. She hopes her time on stage helps everyone who attends see the impact that hosting diverse artists has and how art coming out of all neighborhoods strengthens and unites the city.

"I'm bringing a ton of friends to rock the stage with me," she says. "I hope it brings some recognition to the immense talent that resides right here in our own city." - Chicago Tribune

"Karen Civil Presents: Civil Selects - Pinqy Ring"

A display of straight bars is what we need sometimes and that’s what we get from Chi-Town’s Pinqy Ring on “Phoenix"! - Karen Civil

"Mentoring Through Music: A Pinqy Ring Profile"

Resilient, empowering, and passionate are just a few words to describe Marisol Velez, a modern-day female rapper and educator from Chicago who also goes by the name of Pinqy Ring. A force to be reckoned with, Velez overcame obstacles throughout life and turned her negatives into positives.

In June of 2004, 19-year-old Velez fell into a coma after having been pulled out of a flaming car by off-duty police officers. As traumatizing as this moment was, for her, it was a rebirth and another chance at life. “I always liken myself to a Phoenix,” Velez says referring to the mythical Egyptian bird. “I have a Phoenix tattoo on my arm as well because that was the moment that my life changed,” she says.

Before the accident, Velez says she was not living her life in an honorable or respectful way, heading down the wrong path due to involvement with drugs, alcohol, and hanging out with the wrong crowd. It was this near-death accident that pushed Velez to change her life for the better.
Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 2.03.21 PM.png

“Waking up in Cook County Hospital and seeing a reflection of myself with broken teeth, a scar on my forehead and a broken nose made me realize that, that could have been the end of my story. That’s not how I wanted to go out,” she says. “That’s not how I wanted to leave the world.”

Determined to make changes in her life, Velez used settlement money she received from her accident to take a volunteer trip to Ghana. It was thanks to this trip that she found her passion for educating others and what pushed her to begin teaching ESL and GED classes at local schools in Chicago.

However, she was still hungry for more. An educator and artist, Velez found her saving grace in music. The liberation of creative expression in rapping is what inspires her to turn to hip-hop to tell her story.

“Music is the one place I can go to and be honestly and truly myself, and I think that that’s truth for a lot of young people who write music,” Velez says. “I realize that I want to be a rapper and a musician because it’s a way for me to represent Chicago, my Puerto Rican community, women, anyone that feels they don’t have a voice.”

Velez ran with her dream and put herself to work. Her first single, “Herstory”, debuted in 2013, and since then, she has released numerous tracks. Working on her music keeps Velez busy, but her dedication to make a difference pushes her to teach a weekly all-girls hip-hop class at Evergreen Academy Elementary School.

Making a difference in the community is not only a passion in her life, but also a priority.

“We need more mentors, we need more caring adults in these young people’s lives,” Velez says. “You can reach so many people with your music, but when you can be in front of them and you can guide them, it’s empowering the next generation.”
Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 1.58.40 PM.png

Velez also currently works with Guitars Over Guns, an art-based mentoring program that empowers at-risk youth. Velez’s experience allows her to make a positive impact in the lives of many young people like Jarmiah Scott, an eighth grade student involved with the program.

“I think of Marisol as a very close friend, almost like a mother to me,” Scott says. “She has told me to be myself, write freely, be that person that stands out in a crowd, and be different.”.

Another mentee, Vanessa Villa, 20, met Velez in 2014 when she taught her high school poetry course. The connection between the two was instant. Today, Velez continues to be a mentor and close friend to Villa.

“Marisol gives me advice on evolving as an artist - teaching me to pursue my craft and really believe in myself,” Villa remarked. “I really look up to her because of her tenacity. Knowing a lot of the struggles she’s overcome and looking at where she is right now in life and her persistent energy really drives me and gives me encouragement,” she says.

Velez ties both her passions together by including powerful messages in her music. Topics like promoting female empowerment and ending Chicago’s violence are close to the rapper’s heart and matters she often sheds light on.

“I want young women to know they are beautiful, good enough, worthy, and that anything they want to do is very possible.” Velez says. “That’s the reason why I continue to make music.”

Velez continues to be a source of motivation and strives to make a difference one lyric and student at a time. This ambitious, unstoppable, female rapper proves that anything is possible regardless of one’s circumstances. “I want other people to say, ‘She did it, and so can I’,” Velez says. - PBS Chicago

"Chicago Rapper Pinqy Ring: A Woman & Queen on Her Dream"

Pinqy Ring is one of the dopest MCs I have heard in quite a long time... I would try to put my spin on her and her story but she is so damn unique that in my humble opinion only SHE can lay it out for you.

Read more at: - The Hype Magazine

"Must Listen! Pinqy Ring - "Phoenix""

Coming out of the dark, Pinqy Ring is ready to take on the industry with new single Phoenix. No hook just bars, Pinqy rides the beat spilling her soul on the track spitting about her near death experience and her rising like the phoenix. A fusion of spanish and english in her rhymes, she is burying her opposition with a quick yet sharp cadence in every line, switching up the flow and ending the song clean... - ThisIs50

"Rapper Pinqy Ring Brings Her Message to the Classroom"

Pinqy Ring is a force to be reckoned with.

After a car accident that nearly killed her, a volunteer gig in Ghana and a somewhat rocky teaching career, the self-styled Princess of Chicago is at it again, rapping about the things most important to her — feminism, Puerto Rican pride and the streets she calls home.

But it almost didn't happen.

In fall 2004, then-19-year-old Pinqy, real name Marisol Vélez, was getting into all the kinds of trouble — drugs, fights, and hanging with gangbangers.

"I was a really bad person," the now 28-year-old Vélez said. "Looking back, I can say that. I was a bad person."

It was that taste for trouble that led to a bad car accident when she and a friend hitched a ride to watch an Oscar De La Hoya fight with a couple of guys they didn't know had been taking pulls from a bottle of Hennessy just before picking them up.

When the driver swerved at one point to avoid a parked car, he lost his grip on the wheel and veered straight into oncoming traffic, hitting another car head on.

Vélez didn't remember anything until she woke up in the hospital with a head injury, a broken nose and broken teeth.

"When they showed me my reflection, I couldn't recognize myself and realized that could have been the end of me," she said. "I thought about what my legacy would have been, and the next day was a 180."

She re-enrolled in UIC — she had previously dropped out — and finished her degree in creative writing, becoming the first in her family to get a college degree.

Then she used some of her settlement money from the car accident to volunteer at a school in Ghana for two months, and came back to Chicago to start a teaching career here.

But music always called to her.

She had begun rapping in high school and competed in online rap "battle domes" under a man's name. She had attracted attention, but got sidetracked with her troubles on the streets.

Teaching had satisfied her desire to make a difference, but there was still a void. So when Vélez found out last year she'd be losing her job teaching GED classes, she knew exactly what to do.

"I told myself, 'You could be really, really upset or you could take this as the universe pushing you out, telling you need to do what you love — making music,'" she said.

And Vélez didn't waste any time. She started working on recording new stuff and also wrote hip hop reviews on the Chicago hip hop blog Fake Shore Drive. Her writings and personal story soon caught the attention of an editor at The Hype magazine, landing her on the cover of the January 2013 issue, a spot usually reserved for more established rappers with huge followings.

So by the time the job ended in June, Vélez was already well on her way. That same month she released a nine-track EP, "HerStory," following it up with a video in September.

Now she's working on a new album, and is back in the classroom two times a week teaching high school kids creative writing, song writing and poetry at Pedro Albizu Campos High School in Humboldt Park.

She plans to release her new album sometime in 2014, around the same time she'll launch another big project, dubbed the Pinqy Project, in which she'll go into classrooms on a tour across the country, performing and giving motivational speeches.

Though she keeps busy, her day-to-day can still be a struggle — it's tough making a living with music, especially for a woman in a male-dominated genre — but her determination to succeed coupled with her desire to bring a positive influence to her community drives her forward.

"One of the biggest lessons I've learned is patience," she said. "And I'm learning that with my music career. I gotta be patient." - DNAInfo

"Pinqy Ring - "Phoenix""

The first time I heard a verse from Pinqy Ring was on Visual’s The Ambassador project about a year ago. I remember I had to rewind her verse on “The Take” and realized that Pinqy was going to be a problem really soon. Today, I’m happy to be posting her latest track called “Phoenix” which describes Pinqy Ring’s coming out of the ashes in life. Pinqy Ring buries the opposition, not just in English, but also in Spanish. Check out “Phoenix” below and be on the lookout for more from Pinqy Ring, who will be performing at this year’s Taste of Chicago. - Pursuit of Dopeness

"Pinqy Ring - Little Hearts"

Out of Chicago Pinqy Ring tackles the difficult subject matter of sexual abuse in her latest ‘Little Hearts’. After taking a break from the rap game the talented Ring chooses to return with a profoundly personal effort detailing something she has struggled with her whole life. You can feel the weight of traumatic childhood experiences being lifted off her chest as she pours her heart into this song. Powerful lyrics combined with genuine delivery result in a tragic listen that may help those that are suffering from similar circumstances realize they are not alone and provide them with some small comfort. ‘Little Hearts’ is a socially conscious track written by an artist with a lot to give. - AllUnsigned


Still working on that hot first release.



Born and bred in Chicago, Marisol Vélez (aka Pinqy Ring) first shook hands with the mic at age 15 when her love for learning Hip Hop songs turned into a curiosity to try it for herself.

During the span of her career, Pinqy has captivated audiences in Chicago - playing the Taste of Chicago in 2017 - as well as Washington, Austin, Houston, Minneapolis, St. Louis, New York, San Francisco, New Orleans and even Ghana, West Africa. She has been the subject of local, national and international media features and has reached hundreds of thousands of listeners as a guest on several radio interviews.

Pinqy Ring is a two-time recipient of the City of Chicago's prestigious Individual Artist Program grant, and was the first Hip Hop resident at The Ragdale Foundation. She will join the U.S. State Department’s Next Level 4.0 cohort, traveling to Vietnam to perform and teach MCing to youth.

A tough childhood, troubled teens and a catastrophic car accident all worked to mold the young artist into the powerful MC she is today. The accident, (which left Pinqy in a coma), served as the defining turning point in her life. She prides herself in her lyrical prowess, the courage to fearlessly share her story, and her ability to rap in both Spanish and English.

In 2013, Pinqy released the EP Herstory, celebrating her story. She followed this up with the courageous single “Little Hearts,” detailing her past experience with childhood sexual abuse, and her first album Herstory: The Lost Chapters (2015). She has released several singles in between, as well as her bi-weekly web rap series #PinqTuesdays that has totaled over 50,000 views. 

Pinqy Ring has been featured on The Chicago Tribune, Karen Civil, ThisIs50, Moral Courage, DNAInfo, PBS, Vocalo Radio, WVON, Microphone Bully, Power 92, Fake Shore Drive, WLUW, WIIT, WBM Radio, DePaul Radio, UIC Radio, Midway Radio and CANTV, amongst others. In 2013 Pinqy Ring was given the cover of The HYPE Magazine, and in 2014 was highlighted within the pages of her alma mater’s UIC Alumni Association Magazine.

Outside of music, Pinqy has engaged in countless hours of philanthropy. Through her workshop, The Pinqy Project, she spreads her message of hope, perseverance, and self-worth to youth across the US.

Band Members