America’s latest export, Kreayshawn, has had the online world going crazy for her recently. With her dubstep-influenced hip-hop sound and catchy hooks, this Oakland-born rapper has become everyone’s secret guilty pleasure overnight. In her first UK interview, Kreayshawn talks to The Wrap Up’s Laura Brosnan about her love for music, fashion, tattoos and, erm, weed...
The Wrap Up: Hi Kreayshawn! Firstly, let’s talk about your sound. How would you describe it?
Kreayshawn: I would say it’s based on a lot of genre fusion, mixing different types of sounds together, trying to make a new sound and take it somewhere different. ‘Gucci Gucci’ and ‘Bumpin Bumpin’ are definitely more like a dance and dubstep kind of hardcore sound. I’m into the synth fantasy.
TWU: You’ve been called 'the white Gucci Mane', 'the American Lady Sovereign' and 'the rap Lady GaGa.' What other comparisons have you had and what would you say is the most random/weirdest?
Kreayshawn: The most random has to be a white version of Gucci Mane, but people are always, and I mean always, saying that I’m the female Lil B. When it comes to comparisons, I don’t really care. Comparing me to anything or anyone isn’t really much of a compliment; it’s just trying to make sense of something you don’t know what to call or where to place, just yet.
TWU: You’ve been getting a lot of attention recently, mainly because of your latest track, ‘Gucci Gucci’. How did that tune actually come about?
Kreayshawn: Me and DJ Two Stacks, who is my producer, teamed up on it. He lives out in Staten Island in New York, which is super far from where I am in California, but we made it happen. The track is actually sampled from the song, ‘Bumpin Bumpin’. We all sat down and thought of a good theme for it and then got it cracking.
TWU: What would your reaction be if Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Prada tried to sue you? (Laughs)
Kreayshawn: It’s funny, because I’m not saying that people shouldn't wear the brands, I’m just saying don’t let those types of clothes define you as a person. You can wear a Gucci belt, but you don’t have to live that crazy lifestyle of pretending to be rich. If you can’t afford it, then it’s all good, you can still look good with or without it, it doesn’t matter.
TWU: A lot of your tracks sound very much influenced by UK grime and dubstep. Are you a fan?
Kreayshawn: To tell you the truth, I’m just trying to get out there so I can experience it with you guys. I’ve never been to the UK, but I have my passport and I am ready! There’s a whole bunch of artists, especially producers, from the UK who are doing their thing. The whole grime and dubstep scene over in England has definitely got some talented ass people; I love the whole movement. One thing about the UK is that they definitely have their own music style, they seem to be really big on music, and whatever is new and experimental is like the ‘thing’ out there. That’s why I really want to get out there and feel it myself, because I love music and I’d love to be around similar people who are into the new genres and who have open ears.
TWU: White Girl Mob. What is that all about?
Kreayshawn: In the White Girl Mob we have my sister, V-Nasty, who raps, and my other sister is the stylist – we all kind of just came together. We actually had a show two days ago in San Francisco and on Twitter, all the girls were like, ‘WGM, I love you’ and I didn’t really know how crazy it was until at that show, when we had the most amount of chicks going crazy on the stage, fighting in the crowd and just genuinely going crazy. It’s definitely cool to see something that girls can stand for, because there isn’t a lot of music out there that a whole bunch of white chicks can get on stage and go crazy to. I feel like this is definitely a good movement, not only for white girls but just for all girls, just to be empowered, creative and just to be able to rock out!
TWU: How do I become a member? Like, what would I have to do?
Kreayshawn: We’ve got to jump you in! We’ve got to give you a good…
TWU: Beat down?
Kreayshawn: No, no, no! (Laughs) You know what? I’m playing, it’s for everyone. Anyone can claim it – it’s really just about being yourself. Don’t just think, ‘I have to dress like Kreayshawn to be in the White Girl Mob’, don’t think like that. It’s all about being yourself no matter what.
TWU: You’ve had a lot of co-signing from some major acts like Snoop Dogg, Lil B and Odd Future. How are you coping with all of this attention?
Kreayshawn: It’s definitely something that I’ve been taking one day at a time. It’s really interesting to see what kind of artists are gravitating towards me and hitting me up, because these are people that I would listen to, or, in some cases, not listen to, and to have them listening to my music and hitting me up is definitely exciting.
TWU: Is this all a gimmick or is this 100% Kreayshawn, the rapper/artist?
Kreayshawn: I’ve always been doing music since I was really young. I’ve always been making songs and just making stuff for me and my friends to listen to, like recording freestyles and writing songs about how we didn’t want to work at Ikea anymore. I never really put it out or took it really serious, it was just something for me to look back on, just how I do with film, just to look back on some of the videos and listen back on the music. I was doing videos for an artist and his manager ended up finding out that I did music and he was like, ‘Just take this music seriously for a minute and just see where it goes.’ I hit him up one day and was like, ‘I’m serious, I want to go to the studio and really make some music’ and that’s when we made ‘Gucci Gucci’. I really didn’t think this was going to be the response, especially so quickly.
TWU: Who influenced you to start rapping?
Kreayshawn: My mum has been a lead guitarist in loads of bands and when I was growing up – from when I was like 2 years old to like 8 years old – my mum was in an all-girl surf punk band, so I feel that has a lot to do with my influence when it comes to fusing genres together and the whole all-girl thing. I used to pick up the microphone and start rapping over their surf songs. The Spice Girls played a big part, with just me being able to put myself out there and be wild. I was a Ginger Spice back in the day. Missy Elliot, when I was in the second grade, just watching her do her thing and do things seriously, it was very inspirational – that’s when I was like, ‘Wow, girls can rap!’ That was like my generation right there.
TWU: I also hear that you're a big fan of Shakespeare...
Kreayshawn: Whenever I get conflicted, I like to go through his poems and find stuff that I can relate to. I like to read his work and feel like, ‘Damn, somebody went through that way back in the day!’ The use of different language, poetically speaking, whether it’s a play and there are actors acting it out or if it’s a sonnet and he’s just writing about his personal life, it’s always been really interesting to read his work. It’s something that you can kind of understand, but your mind kind of makes up its own definition, that’s why it’s something that I always like looking back on. I’m always posting random Shakespeare quotes on Twitter.
TWU: Alright, let's talk weed, fashion and tattoos. You seem to love these things quite a lot...
Kreayshawn: Of course, I love smoking weed. I can’t help it; I’m waiting to smoke right now. I’ve got a good eighth waiting for me downstairs (laughs). As for my fashion, it’s all about sprinkling a little bit of everything. From shopping at a thrift store, to finding a nice expensive leather jacket, it doesn’t matter; it’s just all about wearing it with confidence. There are some outfits that I’ll get and I’ll be like, ‘Man, this is going to look ugly’, then I try it on and I just wear it out like, ‘F**k it!’ People usually end up liking it. For me, the ‘90s inspires a lot of my style, just because it’s all crazy and thrown together items. High waist trousers or skirts, with really short t-shirts, crazy hats and crazy big earrings. I got my first tattoo when I was like 15, I got it on my neck and it’s an ice cream cone…
TWU: Did Gucci Mane run into you before he got that ice cream cone tattooed on his face?
Kreayshawn: Yeah, he was jocking my style (laughs).
TWU: Yeah, blatantly (laughs).
Kreayshawn: After that first one, I got like six other ones in the same year and I never really stopped from there – even though I haven’t had another tattoo done in ages. I need to complete this big old thing that I’ve got on my side, I’m trying to get it finished because I’ve only got the main outline of it now. It’s a lady holding a cat. I love cats, I just can’t help it!
TWU: So, how do you define a bad b***h with swag?
Kreayshawn: You definitely have to be a weed smoker and you definitely have to wear big earrings! You have to be open-minded and you can’t be a person that shuts things out or hates on things. You have to be down to hang out with anybody and do anything. You can’t be on any stupid s**t either, there’s a difference between being a bad girl and just being someone that’s stupid: negative, fighting against everyone and being irresponsible.
TWU: And what exactly does swag look like when it’s pumping out of your ovaries? As you so nicely put it in ‘Gucci Gucci’...
Kreayshawn: I have so much swag it’s coming out of every orifice. It’s dripping out of my nose, it’s drooling out of the side of my lip, it’s leaking out of my ear, I’m crying swag and it’s pumping out of my ovaries. It’s just everywhere. Help me, I’m leaking! (Laughs)
TWU: Finally, what do you have to say to all of the haters out there?
Kreayshawn: I can’t be mad at them, because it is something crazy and it’s something new. The UK takes this kind of stuff way easier than people over here, because there’s always a problem, there’s always some kind of race thing, someone’s not comfortable with the music or what I’m saying, or they just don’t understand it. There’s all different types of people in the world, I’m not mad that some don’t get it. I didn’t put it out expecting over a million people to watch it, let alone understand it. You just have to keep listening. I’m going to keep putting stuff out there, so soon enough, it’s going to be something that they can’t ignore and will have to just deal with.
Stay up to date with Kreayshawn on Twitter – www.twitter.com/Kreayshawn
Words: Laura Brosnan (@Hyperfrank)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)