By Tamara Palmer
Can a YouTube hit translate into a lucrative record deal? That’s a question being asked as Kreayshawn (Natassia Zolot), a 21-year-old multimedia artist who quickly snagged more than two million views on YouTube for her video and rap song “Gucci Gucci,” will announce that she’s signed a recording contract. The news, expected to be released by tomorrow, differs slightly from rumors that have circulated online.
“Gucci Gucci” rejects name-brand culture in favor of individuality. “Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada,” she chants on the infectious hook. “Basic bi---es wear that shit so I don’t even bother.” The video, filmed in Los Angeles, shows the tiny and heavily tattooed Kreayshawn sporting shiny Minnie Mouse-style ears, smoking blunts, rapping about selling Adderall, cocking guns, and snatching bi---es.
Like many a YouTube sensation, the video polarizes people; while some find real magnetism in a white girl rapping about firearms and pharmaceuticals, others have decried “Gucci Gucci” as a low point in Hip-Hop. What some might view as inauthentic rings true to others who understand that she could very well be the product of her environment of nearly a decade spent growing up as an anomaly in an Oakland neighborhood violently known as the Murder Dubs.
“It’s kind of like everyone’s checking in with each other, like, ‘I like this but I don’t like it. Do you like it?’” she says via phone from Los Angeles, where she currently lives.
“Gucci Gucci” was posted on the site on May 16 and had over 100,000 views in three days, thanks in part to mentions in Pitchfork and Fader. The song reached the one million mark on May 27, and has climbed to over 2.2 million as of this writing. On May 31, MissInfo.TV started the rumor that Kreayshawn had signed a deal with Sony for one million dollars.
“Basically, that rumor went out about that deal being signed without it being finalized or anything so it’s just craziness,” she says of the aftermath. “People are hitting me up saying all these crazy things and even ‘til this day, right now, I have $200 in my bank account ... When they ask for things I’m like, ‘Bi--h, I have $200 in my bank account and rent is due today! There’s nothing over here for you.’”
Bloggers quickly picked up on the cameos from Odd Future’s Left Brain and Jasper in the “Gucci Gucci” video and the videos she’s directed for Lil B, a Bay Area rapper (and self-proclaimed “Young Based God”) with a prominent online following. Kreayshawn’s even got a new Wikipedia page that claims that she’s been called “the female Lil B” and the “based goddess." In the midst of the viral madness, Snoop Dogg contacted her via Twitter and invited her to meet. By the second time they’d hung out, they’d recorded a song called “Keep It Craccin’,” which she says will eventually surface on her first album.
“I can understand it’s pretty out of this world,” she says. “All these Lil B fans have been fans of these guys for so long and finally there’s a girl on the same kind of hype ... They’re probably like, ‘Oh s--t! A girl that we can like? Oh, I can play this in front of my girlfriend too, what? Oh, my girlfriend likes her? She snatched my bi--h, what?’”
That’s another thing people have focused on: Kreayshawn happens to like girls —sometimes. She labeled herself an “occasional lesbian” when pressed by Complex, but doesn’t seem too keen on having any attention put on her sexuality.
“People are always writing about, ‘Is she a lesbian? Is she straight?’” she cracks. “And I don’t think any of that matters right now.”
Kreayshawn’s first headlining performance (with her White Girl Mob cohorts V-Nasty and Lil Debbie) was held on May 27 at the tiny Som Bar in San Francisco, which was oversold with a line of a few hundred around the block, record executives having flown in from New York to catch the show. There were guys in the crowd, but they were pushed to the back.
“It was ridiculous to see these girls fist-fighting, jumping on the stage, and going crazy,” she says. “It was my dream come true!” Indeed, this RapFix writer had to jump on stage at one point for mere survival.
Kreayshawn’s creativity is not limited to music, and that might be her greatest asset. She has directed, shot, and edited several music videos for young Bay Area rappers and singers over the past few years and briefly attended Berkeley Digital Film School on a scholarship, a talent that might actually exceed her sonic experiments.
She grew up surrounded by ways to be creative; her mother was in an all-girl surf punk group the Trashwomen (self-proclaimed “queens of tease rock”) and had a DJ boyfriend. She’d “go crazy” if she couldn’t direct and hopes to make videos “with better equipment and bigger budgets and bigger names.”
Kreayshawn rejects the notion that “Gucci Gucci” will define her or be her wondrous one hit that she’ll have to perform for her whole career.
“I’m not a person who just made a song and happened to get it popping off of one song. I think there’s a lot of songs that are going to sound even better and are a different genre.
“Honestly, do you really somebody would sign someone off of one song? Being like, ‘Oh, we’re just gonna take a gamble?’” she asks. “There’s definitely a whole bunch of other stuff out that supports the fact that I’m gonna keep creating.”