Kreayshawn Dishes on Female Rappers + Working With Kid Cudi
Kreayshawn is a white, female rapper. Those distinctions certainly make people curious about the tattooed and doe-eyed ‘Gucci, Gucci’ 22-year-old from Oakland, Calif.
Luckily, music fans will get to know more about Kreayshawn — born Natassia Gail Zolo — when she drops her debut platter, ‘Somethin’ Bout Kreay’ on Sept. 18. Sure, she’s competing with mega pop stars like Carly Rae Jepsen and Deadmau5 on what has shaped up to be a very busy release date, but Kreay isn’t going to get buried in the pop music deluge. She is one of those artists who will catch steam via a slow boil. It’ll take a minute, but once she really catches fire, she will be blazing!
PopCrush spoke to Kreay, who pulls no punches and has a sly sense of humor, on the eve of the album’s release. Find out how she feels about the classifications laid at her doorstep, what it was like to work with Kid Cudi in the studio, details on her upcoming all-female rap tour, and inspiration behind her fashion capsule collection. Once we were done chatting with her, we were cray crazy for Kreay!
First things first. Are you tired of the white, female rapper designation, even though it’s what you are. Is it too limiting? Is it accurate?
Every title people give each other is limiting. I can understand ‘female rapper,’ but when people go into race, it separates us as people, in general. Even with sexuality and s—. People want to say I am bi, lesbian or straight. It doesn’t matter. It does separate and make me who I am and different, but…
You don’t prefer it?
No. I am more than a white female rapper!
Can you pick one song from ‘Somethin’ Bout Kreay’ and share a recording or writing story with our readers?
There is a song that I sang on, and I was nervous to sing it. I love writing poetry. I have millions of journals of poetry I’ve written. I wanted to do a singing type song. I don’t necessarily have to make as much sense as when I am rapping; [with poetry] it can be metaphorical and beautiful. I was excited [and] passionate about it. The lyrics were filled with metaphors. When I got to the studio, and it came time to sing it, I shut down. I was so shy. I was driving myself crazy in the studio. I didn’t do it the first day.
So, the next day, I brought my homegirl with me. That time was the only time I had to sing it, since we had a special producer in there for the day, so I had to do so much s— to get me to sing. Someone said, ‘You can lay down in the recording booth and sing while laying down.’ It was like, ‘Okay, that might work.’ We set up all these pillows and I had my homegirl in the studio with me, holding my hand. It was hilarious and it came out good. It’s called ‘Luv Haus.’
Do you have any non-musical talents?
I’m DJing lately, but that’s still musical. But something non-musical is that I went to film school and I do direct music videos, but that has to do with music, too. Everything ties in, in the end, with music and rhythm. I love being on beat. I do poetry and I am working putting together a book of all my old diary entries and poems.
On ‘Somethin’ Bout Kreay,’ there are two big features: 2Chainz and Kid Cudi. Do you have any good studio stories or was everything done digitally and remotely? Did you have any face time?
Me and 2Chainz, we do everything digitally and via email, but me and him have done music videos for each of the songs we’ve done, so we spend more time together than anyone that I’ve worked with on the album.
Me and Cudi, our whole feature came from chilling in the studio. He is friends with Jean Baptiste, who produced most of the songs. He was there and I was hanging out, and we started talking, and he was like ‘I am into punk lately,’ or something to that affect. Well, my mom was in a punk band, so I have that history, so it turned into ‘Let’s make a punk song.’ That song ['Like It or Love It'] solidifies the album and being inspired by a bunch of different styles. He plays guitar riffs on the album — it was natural. He broke out the guitar and he went hard.
You have an upcoming tour, called ‘The Group Hug’ tour with Rye Rye and Honey Cocaine. Was an all-female tour happily accidental or intentional?
It was definitely intentional. I thought it would be dope. Female rappers coming together, banding together, makes it less of that… thing were there has to be only one female. Who is the new female? It doesn’t have to be just one. The more we all stick together, the more we create a group that is part of hip-hop. It’s not about being the new girl or the new girl face of hip-hop. It’s all girls. With our fans, it is important to come together. The best way to get all our fans together is to all do shows together.
How involved were you with the capsule collection that you designed for Karmaloop? Did you have your hands in it? Or were you just approving designs that were shown to you?
I have been trying to come up with merch forever. It’s so hard, since I am such such a f—ing diva about the designs. I denied 50 different types. I am a diva, so I keep my hands in it. I disapprove of a lot of stuff.
Lots of pop singers have tattoos now — you, Cher Lloyd etc. It’s more like a statement among young females in the pop world more than ever. Is that a generational thing?
Generation-wise, a lot of females coming out are all inspired by the same generation. Our fans are now in the generation below us. I am learning about them. They are the kids of the kids who had kids. My friend’s parents are young and were growing up in the ’90s. It’s crazy.
Watch the Kreayshawn ‘Go Hard (La.La.La.) Video