In just over a month, Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci” video racked up more than 4 million YouTube views, earning the pint-sized Oakland rapper/director/DJ and her White Girl Mob a few new fans, including one Snoop Dogg. A record deal with Columbia quickly followed her viral success, and this summer, the 21-year-old will head on a mini-tour before dropping her debut. In the meantime, Kreayshawn would like to remind you that her creative game has been bubbling for some time now.
After ditching the film program at UC Berkeley, she directed music videos for Soulja Boy and Lil B. Next, she’ll direct the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ new video, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie.” Her latest single, “Rich Whores,” picks up right where “Gucci Gucci” left off.
What inspired your signature look—heavy black eyeliner, hoop earrings? Growing up, my mom did the eyeliner thing so she taught me how to do it. I also used to buy the $3.00 bamboo earrings every day, but I finally got some real ones, so now I wear these every day.
What about the tattoos? Everything seems to come back to my mom, because she’s covered in tattoos. When I was 15, I snuck off and got my first tattoo on my neck—the ice cream cone. I didn’t think at all. It was like, ‘Oh I like ice cream! I’m getting ice cream.’ My mom still gives advice like, ‘don’t be out late, make sure you’re not partying too much,’ but she’s super young and doesn’t really have the mom voice. She’s down and she says this is the best thing happening in her life right now, which makes me feel good.
People are intrigued by your “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. Do you use your persona as a selling point? If I felt weird about anything people would be able to read that. I wake up at the house, I’m wearing pajama shorts, a T-shirt, and I’m doing a crazy photo shoot and that’s what I want people to take away from my personality. If there is anybody who says, ‘Oh, I love Kreayshawn and I want to be like her,’ then just be confident in yourself and do your own thing.
Where does that attitude come from? I think it’s a lot from where I grew up, in Oakland. If you act weak, people will pick on you because you’re weak. I’ve always had to be confident in myself, and I’m also funny and I can talk well with people and shit like that.
Are you trying to share that confidence with fans? Yeah, when I started making music I was making it for me and my friends to goof off. I didn’t think it was ever going to be this big. So now that I have a crowd this big, I want to be able to say something that I think is important or something that I think is missing.
About a year ago, you decided to pursue rapping full-time. Did you have an idea about what kind of music wanted to put out? I knew that I wanted to do what I thought sounded good, by mixing different genres into songs. I wasn’t seeking out producers that make normal beats, I would find a specific sound and listen to the beat alone, just hanging out, to see if it was different and if I could vibe to it. Songs like “Gucci Gucci” are about the beat and the melody of the song. My mom is a music genius, so i grew up listening to everything from Tito Puente to rebel punk music to fuckin’ Cool Keith and Mos Def mix tapes when they first started coming out. I’m everywhere.
Are the lyrics important to you? I’m just trying to put my hands in everything. Of course I want people to listen to the music, but I also want people to see the vision and I want people to wear the clothes. You know what I’m saying? What’s the origin of White Girl Mob? And why such a straight forward name? I used to say it in my freestyles all the time, just randomly. It’s me, V-Nasty and Lil Debbie and we’re all just three random white girls from different lifestyles so we could all come together and use White Girl Mob as a funny thing to say, just like NWA is a crazy mob. But then I’ve also been doing this thing called Girl Gang, which is like the spinoff. White Girl Mob is the name of the group for the three of us and Girl Gang is the name of the movement behind it.
Why does Lil Debbie look so similar to you? That’s how we found each other! Someone was hitting me up on MySpace, talking to me like I was her and I was like, ‘What are you talking about, my name is not Jordan.’ They were like, ‘Bitch you stole her pictures!’ Stole pictures? Is this really real? So we ended up hearing about each other all the time and finally met up. Back in the day, we used to look dead-on with each other. We always told people that we were twins but now that everything has been rolling on, I don’t want people to think that me, her and V-Nasty are triplets and shit. We’re all working on our own projects; V-Nasty has her own music separate from the stuff we do together. We’re all from the same area but we grew up differently and I think that’s what makes it so great. You know how the Spice Girls all have five different crazy personalities? We have three different crazy personalities as well.
Do you think people are fascinated by seeing a white girl rap? I think it’s something that people have either been waiting to see or something that people just don’t understand yet. There are people that are like, ‘I love this, she’s representing, this is the shit.’ And then there are people who are like, ‘What the fuck is this? Is she making fun of hip-hop?’ and it’s like, What? Nothing is ever that serious. I’m doing this for fun and for everyone who likes it. I didn’t click the “Gucci Gucci” video 2 million times, everyone else did. I can see how that it’s crazy, but there’s room for it.
Are you still trying to pursue film while working on music? I’m always going to have my hands in everything because I’m a creative person and this is how it all started for me. Based off “Gucci Gucci,” people were able to look back and see that I have a history of shooting stuff. It’s not like I just made this song out of nowhere or that I just got a deal randomly. I always want to keep my hands in everything, I think that’s important.
When will we hear your debut album on Columbia Records? Before any of this happened we were working on an album, so we’re just going to be finishing that up and putting it out. I want to put that out as soon as possible because I want people to know that this isn’t just some random viral thing. I’ve been doing music before I was on the internet, when I was like 10 years old. I made my first song with my mom when I was about 5. That was way before the freaking internet, that was before cell-phones and all that shit. I was definitely destined to do this.
What will the new album sound like? It’s a fusion of random genres, covering everything from how you feel when you caught your man cheating to how you feel about the basic bitches—you know the girls who are all swagged out, but not your kind of swagged out. There’s also gonna be some slow little songs on there. It’s going to have the same feel as “Gucci Gucci” but it’s going to be all different sounds and subjects. You’re not going to hear me complaining about the same shit.
You sing also? I’m not a good singer but I want to do everything on this first album because I’m establishing myself with it. Later on, I would love to do crazy music and maybe even do a metal band. I’m not scared, man. I don’t want to be in a box at all. People say, ‘You’re the rapping Lady Gaga’ or ‘You’re like Kesha’ but I want it to be something very different from that.
Any new, noteworthy collaborations? I made a song with Snoop Dogg, which is pretty freaking exciting. He loves White Girl Mob. He was like, ‘“Gucci Gucci”—that’s my shit.’ I’m hoping to get a couple random collaborations but right now I’m focusing on getting the album and my voice out. I don’t want people to get mixed up and be like, ‘Oh I’m going to listen to Kreayshawn because so-and-so is on this track.’ I really want to build a foundation first.
You’ve smoked a lot of weed on film. Is that part of your daily routine? That’s my medicine. Sometimes I can’t eat in the morning if I don’t smoke a little weed.