Fresh off the release of her debut EP, High Maintenance, rapper Saweetie is quickly shaking up the industry through her music and various different business ventures, including a collaboration with Sprayground and Footaction for the release of a limited capsule collection.
The Bay area native first caught our attention with the release of her “Icy GRL” freestyle, where she spits over Khia’s beat for “My Neck, My Back.” The official music video — which dropped in October 2017 — quickly went viral and has since reached over 20 million viewers on YouTube. Just last month, in February, she landed a joint venture with Warner Bros. Records for her own label, Icy.
During a private event for her Sprayground collaboration in Los Angeles , we caught up with Saweetie to talk about her Saweetie Shark bag, her perspective on the success of female rappers, new music, and her debut project High Maintenance.
Your EP High Maintenance is out now, and your song “ICY GRL” is getting more popular day by day. Can you break down what an “Icy girl” does that would be considered high maintenance?
So, what an “ICY GRL” does that would be considered high maintenance is — For one, being high maintenance has the misconception of being materialistic, which I don’t think is a bad thing. It’s a mindstate girl. What I mean by “high maintenance” is like, my soul is high maintenance. I pray a lot. My body is high maintenance. I eat good and I really care for my family and friends. So I really nurture and care for those relationships. That’s what I mean by “high maintenance.”
An Icy girl — to be high maintenance — for one, she has good hygiene. You know? Gotta keep the hygiene right girl. She’s educated, she’s icy. She’s just like, a dope girl hustling and trying to make her dreams come true, which was me. I’m so happy that I’m fulfilling what I want to do in life.
Now that the EP has been released, do you have any other goals for 2018?
My goals are to open up for a really dope headline. That’s my dream. I really like Cardi B. Shes doing her thing. To be able to open up for her, that’d be dope. She’s rockin’ it right now, you know? Another goal is to have a successful album, and you know, put out some merch and finally meet more of my fans in person — which we’re doing here today. So those are my goals for 2018
Seeing the success of female artists, specifically MC’s like Cardi B as you mentioned. Does that change your perspective on being a female rapper? Does that influence your career goals as a rapper?
I think it makes me feel a lot more comfortable with all the female success that’s been happening. Because, you know, it’s knocking down doors. For a long time, it was like, “Only she can be the hottest female rapper,” but I feel like a lot of girls are doing their thing right now and I love it. There’s a great imbalance in the industry when it comes to a whole bunch of male rappers. The fact that a lot of us are out here doing our thing makes me super happy. I’m super proud of that.
Have you had any difficult situations or have you experienced any roadblocks being a woman working in a male-dominated industry?
Yes definitely. Being a woman in the industry, we’re definitely given advances that could compromise our morals and for a long time, I was facing that. It was never a real problem for me. I never was questioning myself. I knew I wasn’t going to do that in order to skip ahead. And, I’m glad I waited ’cause nobody can ever pull no dirt on me.
Are you receiving real genuine support from other women in the game?
Yea, I’ve gotten some good support. I saw Dreezy listening to my song “ICY GRL” at her birthday party. I thought that was great. She was rocking the platinum blonde and looking absolutely fabulous. Kamaiyah, she’s from the Bay as well, she reached out and she supports what I’m doing. Whenever I get responses from females, it means a lot to me because we’re all in this together, we’re a team. Also, Kehlani she’s super dope. When I hear from women, and especially from back home, it means a lot to me because it’s home base. It means a lot.
Do you have any future collabs coming up with any of those female artists?
I can’t spill the beans, so I wanna say, “Maybe.”
You said every icy girl is educated, so let’s talk about you graduating from USC. Not only are you achieving your dreams of being a rapper, but you also took the time to get a college education. How important is that you?
I always felt like if you don’t have the resources and the plan, if it’s not right there in front of you, I strongly suggest people get an education. It teaches you invaluable skills. I may not know or remember what I learned in class, but it definitely taught me responsibility, organization and how to work with people I wouldn’t typically work with. Even if it’s for a year, try it out ’cause you never know if you are going to like it.
You have Zaytoven on your EP, and he’s your cousin. Do you have any more music created with him?
The only song he did on the EP was “Agua”, but I actually went to Atlanta this past week and I’m gonna give you some inside scoop. We were working and I actually have this new song. I don’t know when I’ll be dropping it, but it’s called “Mood,” and it’s a vibe girl. He’s super talented. I love rocking to his beats and I’m excited to see what comes out of out music relationship. ‘Cause we’re already like family. so I’m excited to see where that goes.
We’re here celebrating the launch of your “Saweetie Shark” backpack. How did this whole collaboration come about?
For one, they had wanted me to be a brand ambassador and I was like “Hell Yeah.” This is some dope product. The material is great and durable, which I love, so I was already rocking their stuff. When I went in to meet them and walked into their room where they have all their premiere bags — meaning the bags that aren’t out yet — I saw the Saweetie Shark bag and I was like, “This is dope as hell.” It’s pink, it’s fun. You know, one of my favorite animals is a shark, so I thought it would be a great collab and I’m excited to see what the outcome of this event it.
Why is a shark one of your favorite animals?
They’re vicious, they’re independent and they be on their own schedule. And they’re a beast and I feel like I’m a beast cause to be a female in the game, you gotta be a beast. You have to be twice as good. I feel like that’s what sharks are, twice as good. For them to be loners and live as long as they do, it’s dope.
Saweetie’s collaborative backpack with Sprayground is available now at Footaction.