Photo courtesy of Chella H
On Tuesday, Chicago rapper Chella H, a.k.a. Jenny LowEnd, dropped her mixtape No Filter, a fitting name for a project from an MC that calls her movement Real Bitch Association (RBA). It’s her first project in three years, but that’s not to say she hasn’t been busy. Last year, she was the ringleader of the Chicago supergroup Women With Attitude alongside Sasha Go Hard, Katie Got Bandz, and Lucci Vee—the last of whom appears on the new record. The mixtape features production from Atlanta’s Zaytoven and a bonus track from the late Bankroll Fresh.
Chella H is also known as the First Lady of Chicago, so we had to have her in attendance at the screening of our latest episode of Noisey on Monday at the Harper Theater in Hyde Park. We talked to her after the screening about her thoughts on the film and the personal triumphs that went into No Filter.
Noisey: It was cool seeing you last night. What did you think of the Noisey Chicago episode?
Chella H: I liked it. It wasn’t anything surprising to me ‘cause I’m here in Chicago, you know? But it was nice. I thought it was funny when you and Chief Keef was doing the paintball. It was good for me. I just think that Chicago is so big, so a lot of people highlight what they know.
If we came back, what else would you want us to highlight?
Well, I know when you do something like that, there’s a lot of people who aren’t going to make it in there. I wasn’t in there, and I took a lot of time to film with you! But I wasn’t mad. I think sometimes people want to see different stuff. I know a lot of niggas out west. They might not be as popular as the Durks or the Louies, but people want to see different sides.
Where in Chicago are you from?
I’m from the Low End. 39th and King Drive. Actually, me and Katie Go Bandz are from the same projects. Sasha Go Hard is from down the street.
Did you know each other when you were kids?
No, I’m older than them. I knew a lot of Katie’s family. I worked with Sasha first. I’m the one that put Sasha and Katie on their first song together. They knew each other, but they never really worked together. They might not say that much, but it’s true.
Do you feel a bit of a responsibility to put on some of the other ladies from the city? To help build that community?
You know what, I used to feel like that. That’s why I put together that Women With Attitude project. So, what I did was came to all of the girls with it, got an investor, and everyone got money. I don’t feel like that no more. I feel like I got to be more focused on me. I wish them the best, but shit, they straight. I still show everyone love. But it’s time to worry about Chella.
And that’s what you’re doing with this mixtape.
This is my first project in three years. It’s great music, but it’s not just music you turn up to. I have reality music. In the intro I’m talking about how I grew up and what I did to survive. Me losing my brother and my baby daddy in the same week. Today is actually my brother’s birthday, so I wanted to drop the mixtape for that reason. I got pregnant at 15. That’s a lot of shit, you know? So, I wanted to tell those stories.
I got song called “Aye Little Boy.” That song is going to make a difference in some lives. I do some motivational speaking, so I go to schools, group homes, shelters. And I talk to the kids, and I used to do it with the girls. But I ended up talking to this group of teenage boys at an alternative school. I shot half of the video for that with the boys. And I want to finish that video over at the spot where the woman did the bricks. The tombstones.
Diane Latiker from Kids Off the Block? She’s doing incredible work.
Make sure you listen to that song.
I’ve heard it! You’re reaching out to young guys in that song to try to tell them to make the right choices, right?
Yeah. That’s a good ass song. It’s blunt, it’s not a preaching song, and they can relate to it. What’s crazy is I took that song to radio, and I told them we need a song like that because we need to do something. I told them let’s run it but they said, “We like the song but we’re going to push ‘Bitch Whet.’”
Says a lot about what people want to hear.
I told them that it’s sad that they think that way. I also wanted to tell stories for girls. Not just songs like, “Fuck that nigga.” But I got a song called “Cash Me Out.” No disrespect to Tink, but a lot of girls may listen to her because that’s how they feeling. But then you got a bitch like me that’s like, “Look nigga, we finna fuck, can you give me some money?”
That’s pretty blunt.
I love the project. I had 18 songs on it, but then one of my homies got killed. Bankroll Fresh. We did that song a while ago, but the other boy Eldorado Red on the song, he’s a big rapper from Alabama. He’s locked up. So, we never did the video. So I was just like, damn, now Fresh gone. So I just put that on the project at the last minute.
How did you know Bankroll?
I met him through Zaytoven. Zay’s been doing my songs for years. He did the “High” record I got with Lil Durk. My most popular record in Chicago, this song called “Poke It Out.” He fuck with me.
Zach Goldbaum is the host of Noisey on VICELAND. Follow him on Twitter.