She’s about getting bags, icing out in bling, and making it big, but far from the commodities of life she also serves as a rapper championing female empowerment. Her name is Saweetie, and for the past couple of years, she has been solidifying herself not only as a burgeoning music artist but also a high stakes entrepreneur.
After graduating from the University of Southern California, working three jobs throughout her degree, Saweetie found fame in 2018 after freestyling over Khia’s ‘My Neck, My Back (Lick it)’, resulting in her first single ‘ICY GRL’. From there she gained notoriety for tracks like ‘Focused’ that skipped themes of female sexualization and instead presented ideas of working hard and making money.
Throughout her career, these hustler-ideals have been the focus of Saweetie’s musical repertoire. She possesses a chugging work ethic that seems boundless, and an attitude that reflects her Bay-Area upbringing, a place that births rappers with ‘that pimp talk, that slick talk, a certain type of cool’, she says. She’s an artist that sees an empire for herself, one she often tells interviewers will be built by her ‘seven streams of income’. And she’s already halfway there; there’s Icy lips, Money Makin’ Mamis, her ICY chains and clothing collaboration with PrettyLittleThing.
Her single ‘Tap In’ is just the latest addition that solidifies her hardworking persona, and joins her extensive discography of unapologetic, female-power rap ballads. It’s the first release off her upcoming Album Pretty Bitch Music, a project that hones messages of independence, confidence and power. We sat down with Bay-Area sweetheart Saweetie to chat new music, the ‘Pretty Bitch Movement’ and hustling grandmas.
Hi Saweetie, how are you?
I’m good, you know just hanging in quarantine
Congratulations on the release of your new single, ‘Tap In‘. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Thank you! Well, ‘Tap in’ is important to me because, beyond the meaning of just twerking and turning up, you’re able to tap into things you really care about in life. Right now, America’s going through all these things, so you can tap into social injustices by tapping into foundations and charities to make a difference. Or you could tap into voting to make a difference. That’s the reason why I decided to go with ‘Tap in’ as a leading single because you can tap into different things, whether it’s with what I said before, or beauty and fashion, it just has an underlying message of just tapping into what takes your interest.
I was watching your Instagram live video the other day with Too Short and you were talking about ‘tapping in’ and using your platform to give voice to issues like Black Lives Matter.
Yeah, it’s important for artists, at least from my perspective, to spread awareness and educate your fans so that they can take their own actions.
That’s evident with your new Album Pretty Bitch Music, you started something called ‘The Pretty Bitch Movement’?
Well, the ‘Pretty Bitch Movement’ definitely stands for something. I wanted to create something that embodied everything in my music. So when I say ‘Pretty’, I’m giving power back to my fans, because everyone is pretty in their own way. For me being pretty is more than a face value. It’s energy, it’s how you carry yourself, it’s a plethora of things. So I just wanted fans to see ‘pretty’ in our uniqueness. And when I say ‘Bitch’, that stands for something too, because I say it a lot in my music. I was inspired by Tupac’s acronym T.H.U.G L.I.F.E (The Hate U Give Little Infants Fuck Everything), so the acronym for B.I.T.C.H is Boss, Independent, Tough, CEO and I’m from the Bay so the H means Hyphy, which means turning up and having a good time.
In ‘ICY GRL’ and ‘Focused’, your first couple of releases, you talked about coming up in your career and now in ‘Tap In’ off Pretty Bitch Music, you’ve made it. Is that how you feel? And do you think you’ve changed from those first few singles?
I definitely don’t think I’ve changed, I feel like I’m just expanding my sound. When you listen to the other tracks that are paired along with this project [Pretty Bitch Music], I’m still tapping into the things that those first few songs were discussing. ‘Focused’ and ‘Icy grl’ are about being ambitious, making a bag and being an independent woman. So I think that with this new body of work, you’ll not only be able to hear the new things that I’m talking about, but I’m still touching base with that inner hustler spirit I have. But I definitely think that that’s what makes ‘ICY GRL’ special. There are different facets to being a woman. Yes, we handle our business. Yes, we have a love life. Yes, we turn up, yes, we love fashion, and yes, we care. We love and we care. Being different and being different things is what makes me human. A human woman. I feel like I don’t like to pigeon myself in a hole when it comes to my songs, which is why I cover an array of things.
Last time you talked to ACCLAIM you said that you were looking for that original sound, like what Lil Kim has, and that you were still figuring it out. Do you think you’re closer to that sound on Pretty Bitch Music or are you still exploring?
I definitely feel like with this new body of work I’ll be able to put a stamp of uniqueness and innovation on the industry as an artist in my own creative way. I feel like with each project I’m exploring but with Pretty Bitch Music I definitely had a list of things that I wanted to talk about every time I went into the studio. So I definitely had a checklist. I feel like this project has more intent and more purpose, so I’m being really careful with the messages I’m sending across to my fans.
What are a few of those messages that you’re sending on this album?
The regular ICY GRL commandments; hustle, focus on yourself, love yourself, get your bag and get a partner to match your swag. I feel like I speak for Boss women, and what do boss women do? They get money. So when I say ‘Imma show you how to bag an 8-figure nigga’, when I’m saying ‘rich nigga that’s my type’, I’m not talking about being a gold digger, I’m talking about getting a man to match my bag.
I feel like being an independent woman is definitely part of your message. You told ‘Genius’ in an interview that you surround yourself with women who are constantly teaching you things. Could you share an important lesson you’ve learned from someone?
From my grandmother. She is such a blueprint for what I do in life and I just think that she’s made me into such a hustling-type of women. She was one of the top real estate agents in the Bay Area. She would always get her own hair and nails done every Thursday, super fly and had the latest, coolest gear. So she’s always been someone who I look up to and someone I model myself after.
So she must be where you got your entrepreneurial spirit? You now have a clothing line, a jewellery line, lip glosses and music.
Yeah definitely, she was the CEO of her own company, she was a self-entrepreneur, and she was one of the people who raised me, so seeing her have those things and her own employees, that’s what motivated me.
Speaking of important women, I know you got to speak with Lil Kim last year, how was that?
Surprising! She’s so iconic but so humble and I felt like she was my homegirl when we were on the phone together. I really appreciate her for showing me big love and doing that interview. So, shout out to Kim!
She said you guys might collaborate?
Sure, I would love to collaborate with Queen B! It makes sense. We’re definitely gonna do it.
Okay last question, last time you told us that your biggest achievement had been reaching No.1 as an emerging artist on Billboard. What do you think your biggest achievement is now?
My biggest achievement is probably Pretty Bitch Music. I don’t think there’s one ‘My Type’, one ‘ICY GRL’, I don’t think there’s just one big record. I think there’s five or six hits, so I’m excited to share this new body of work with the world!
Thanks so much Saweetie, and Happy Birthday for a couple of weeks ago!
Oh, thank you girl!
Keep it locked to Saweetie for more and check out her new single ‘Tap Out’ below.