Kreayshawn first stepped into our hearts when her song "Gucci Gucci" was all over the place. Out of nowhere, she was the talk of the internet and it seemed like people were either very much FOR her, or very much AGAINST her. I pretty much love her with every fiber of my being, so I begged her to come to the VICE HQ in Brooklyn, and have a convo date with me in our fancy Bear Room. I know how to treat young rappers right, you know? Her first full-length album, Somethin' Bout Kreay comes out on the 18th of this month, so we talked about that, but also about the proper definitions of "lean," and how Bruce Willis is her uncle (not really).
VICE: So the album comes out September 18. It seems like it took awhile for it to come out. Do you see any differences in your writing style from when you first started working on it, till it wrapped?
Kreayshawn: Yeah, definitely. I did a lot of freestyling back then, and things were more just about goofing off and having fun. Once I started going to the studio, then things were more serious. I don’t wanna waste time goofing off anymore. I wanna get my point across, right now.
I think nowadays there’s less talk about that because there’s less shock value with all that, and the whole V-Nasty thing. So yeah, I don’t have to deal with that as much as when I first came out. When you’d Google me back then, all it was were videos of people confronting me like I’m crazy or something.
You’re from Oakland, and it seems like it’s not such a thing there. Like people just hang out with whoever and dip into different cultures without it being seen as some weird “appropriation” thing.
Definitely. Out there everyone is separated more by economic status. It’s all like “you’re hella broke,” “damn, she’s hella rich.”
No, that was just a goof. And then I had this fake money that I ripped and people were like “that dumb bitch is over there ripping money.” I was like “um, I would never do that.”
Your videos are always really creative and there’s always a lot going on in them. Do you have a lot of say in the making of them?
Yeah, I directed the “Breakfast” video. I wrote the treatment for it, and had a co-director help me out because it was really effect heavy and I don’t know about building sets and all that, but it was funny because on that video I was so concerned with the direction of it, and getting 2 Chainz for it, that I wasn’t paying attention to my “look” or whatever, and that’s the most important thing in a music video, how the artist looks, so at the end I wasn’t that satisfied with how cute I was, but with “Go Hard (La. La. La)”
I was really happy, because I was really cute in that.
How do your songs differ being performed live, versus being performed in the studio? Do you find that you switch things up a lot with the songs you do live?
Performing live, I don’t know, when I get onstage I kind of black out, and just go into performance mode. Literally before every show I’m like nervous out of my mind, and then as soon as I’m about to go onstage, and can hear all the people screaming, I’m like “okay.” Like for some reason, everytime, right before I perform, I get this feeling like nobody’s gonna care, but that’s because I’m a weirdo, and self-conscious on the under.
Do you have a standard crew that you always prefer to work with?
Yeah. Back in the day I’d just go on Youtube and rip audio to rap over, but then I started getting audio from this guy 2stacks who did the “Gucci Gucci” video, and he would just send things with no subject and no message in the email, so all you could do was press play, and I always ended up loving everything he sent, but I was living in Oakland and he was living in Staten Island, so we never got the chance to sit down and work together. But “Gucci Gucci” came from him, and he has a sample in “Bumpin’ Bumpin’” so it really is like a collab.
Any time an artist, especially a female artist, gets big right off the bat, everyone has something to say about it. When it comes to other artists like Kitty Pryde or Azealia Banks, who kind of broke the same time as you, do you guys all keep an eye on each other, or is it whatever?
I was with Kitty Pryde yesterday. She was out in LA and she did a show and I DJ'd it. Definitely when I first started seeing her stuff on the internet I was like “what is this?” I was super intrigued because the way people were talking about her was like the way people had been talking about me. I just think that a lot of the girls should be together, especially when you see somebody who’s coming up and might go through the same stuff you went through, you wanna kind of just be there in case something goes wrong, to help them out.
Were you ever surprised by a situation where that was just absolutely not the case? Like, where that kind of mutual respect and desire to help wasn’t there at all?
Yeah. I think my humor is kind of hard to understand sometimes, and I definitely had this thing with Azealia Banks where she thought I was dissing her, but it’s actually the opposite. It was weird, but we ended up settling everything, and we’re actually gonna make a song together. And that’s cool because a lot of my best friends, we started out hating each other.
That’s a girl thing for sure. Like trial by fire.
It is. And it’s like, if you know this bitch can beat you up, and you can beat her up, it’s like you form a union and are like “we’ll just beat a bitch together.”
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve read about yourself on the internet?
There’s a bunch of shit online about how my uncle is Bruce Willis. I had a picture where I was standing with someone and Bruce Willis’ head was Photoshopped on it, and it fit so perfectly, and the picture was taken with film, so it looked even more legit. Also I like to fuck with reporters sometimes and tell them I smoke crack. Like “oh, I’ve just been touring, writing songs, smoking all kinds of crack.”
There are some things that come up sometimes, in the rap world, and I have no idea what they mean. Like “lean,” I have no idea what that is. Can you explain it to me?
Lean is like prescribed cough syrup, and people mix it with Sprite and make it into a dainty drink. It tastes pretty good, but I stopped doing it.
Because now you’re on crack?
Yeah, because now I just do crack. No. But it’s just really bad for you, and super addictive. And like right now it’s such a trend. Like weed should be the only trendy drug. Lean shouldn’t be trendy. It’s like cool to take pictures of your stupid cup. It’s like taking pictures with your heroin needle. Stupid.
Check out Kreayshawn's tour dates, and order her album, HERE.
Photos by Kate Black.