Much has happened since rapper and self-proclaimed “lifestyle influencer” Lil Debbie appeared as Kreayshawn’s sidekick in the 2011 viral smash “Gucci Gucci,” introducing most of the world to the White Girl Mob. In time, Kreayshawn and Debbie were yelling, “Free V-Nasty” no more, and White Girl Mob assembled in full while in the thrust of the music biz spotlight. With Kreayshawn the viral darling and V-Nasty a lightning rod for criticism immediately upon her release from jail, Debbie’s presence in the group remained low key. The group’s stylist and deejay, Debbie reluctantly took on her deejay role to help a close friend.
When Kreayshawn’s career began to take off, Debbie faced increased pressure to support the cause, and when her efforts weren’t deemed enough, she was unceremoniously booted from White Girl Mob. Paired with a separate falling out with V-Nasty, Debbie found herself without the two close friends she entered the business with.
Facing a wave of criticism from those saying she couldn’t rap, Debbie decided to tackle the challenge head-on rather than back down and jump into the fashion world. Long before he was a media enigma, RiFF RaFF stepped in as a mentor, and his influence is apparent on early Debbie tracks “Squirt” and “Michelle Obama.” On her own, the “’Rap game Betty Crocker in Versace boxers” channeled a Trap sound on more recent single “Ratchets,” which rolled out a video featuring plenty of twerking before the term entered the pop culture consciousness. Its content also became the object of an unlikely controversy. Believe it or not, if you’ve taken issue with Miley Cyrus’ recent transformation, you may actually want to give some credit to Lil Debbie.
HipHopDX chopped it up with “female Bernie Madoff” to find out if Miley Cyrus has reached out since her infamous VMA performance to cite Debbie's “Ratchets” video as an influence on her new image. Debbie also explained why she stuck with Rap instead of switching to fashion full-time after her falling out with the White Girl Mob and revisited some fond memories during the group’s early days.
Lil Debbie On Her Relationships With V-Nasty & Kreayshawn
HipHopDX: As of today, has anything changed in terms of where things are at with you and V-Nasty or you and Kreayshawn?
Lil Debbie: Me and V-Nasty have been friends since I was living back in Oakland. We’ve been friends for a while now since everything happened. V-Nasty went out of her way and hit me up. She was like, “Look, we ended on a bad note, but I want you to know I still love you.” The reason why I even rekindled our friendship was because she really went out of her way and sort of “womanned up” to the situation, which I respected.
With me and Kreayshawn, there’s no bad blood. She had a baby, so I don’t feel like I can even really say anything negative about her. Her baby is beautiful, and I just hope her the best, but it’s not like we talk every day. We don’t communicate.
DX: I want to go back in time and revisit your early days with White Girl Mob. A lot of people like to dwell on the negatives here, but the three of you grew up together and shared a lot of great times. Visiting that period from a more positive standpoint, is there any memory that stands out as among the fondest times you had with Vanessa and Natassia?
Lil Debbie: I’m gonna keep it so real. When we were 15 through 19, we were fucking living it up. We really started getting into the music industry and shit. We’ve always rapped, but the thing about growing up in the Bay Area is that everybody raps. There’s someone you know that raps, and it’s all so closely knit. Kreayshawn was doing videos, and I was going alongside her, helping her almost like an assistant. Then we were doing music videos for rappers, and then we were rapping. Then we started doing party videos, where when we’d go out and film what we were doing—just day-to-day shit with each other, and what our life was really like. People really loved the videos, and they were literally just of what we were doing.
We’ve always had fun. We’ve all been through so much together from 15 through 20. That’s a long time. Vanessa had babies. It’s just so much...the memories. I wish White Girl Mob could’ve stuck together, but we didn’t. That’s just how it goes.
DX: You first became known in the game as the stylist and deejay in White Girl Mob, and throughout that time you mentioned being a large fan of fashion. When everything had fallen out with White Girl Mob, why did you decide to move forward with your Rap career instead of moving fully into fashion? What kept you in?
Lil Debbie: Honestly, it was competition and the amount of shit everyone was talking to me. Bitches think they’re hot. [I thought], “I can do it just like you. Bitch, you want to feel the burn? I’ll burn you.” You know what I’m saying? Don’t take the heat if you can’t be in the kitchen. Mothafuckas was doubting me, and I stepped to the plate and I did it. And I just was like, “You know what? I am good at this,” and I kept it going.
I make catchy music. I’m good at it, and I can’t help it. I didn’t think I was ever gonna be a rapper. I was actually against being a rapper. People started testing me and talking shit to me, but my shit was so good, I just decided to say, “Fuck it, I might as well.” It’s not hurting shit, and I can still do my fashion. It just became part of the brand.
Lil Debbie Previews “Queen D” & “California Sweetheart”
DX: I wanted to speak a bit on your new Queen D EP. In what ways is the album similar to what people have recently seen from you—songs like “Ratchets” and “Michelle Obama”—and in what ways is it different than what people have heard from you in the past?
Lil Debbie: I love the project Queen D, but I also have another project that I am going to be putting out right after Queen D. That's a project that I’ve worked on a little harder. My next project has more of a variation of beats. There’s singing on it and different beats and song concepts. Queen D is more of my ratchet side. It’s my fun side.
DX: Is that project still going by California Sweetheart?
Lil Debbie: Yes. That’s the one I've been working on for a while now.
DX: What can people expect in terms of tracks?
Lil Debbie: Queen D has three tracks and two remixes. California Sweetheart is gonna be about 10.
DX: RiFF RaFF had an influence on you when you first started putting out music as a solo artist. Have you two had a chance to reconnect recently? Does he still play a large part in your career or, is it now a bit more hands off?
Lil Debbie: Me and RiFF RaFF will always be family. I love him to death. I’ll text him every day, but his career has really picked up, so he’s running around all over the place. He’s more hands-off with my career now, and I’ve more taken full control of it. We actually have one song we haven’t put out yet, called “Suckas Asking Questions.” He’s just a busy guy, and my career has picked up a little more too. I’m traveling and doing the “Queen D” tour, so I’m just kind of broadening my own career and my own life.
Lil Debbie On Fashion & Miley Cyrus Allegedly Copying “Ratchets”
DX: Your mom was a fashion designer, your grandparents were tailors, and your dad was a musician. What was it like for you growing up among such a creative family, and how did it really turn you into who you are today?
Lil Debbie: My mom is the one who raised me. She was a single mother. I can remember my first time in the emergency room happened because I was running through her warehouse in downtown Oakland where people were sewing up baby clothes, because she used to sell baby clothes. I smacked my head on the floor. I literally grew up in fashion. I was a baby model. I hated modeling when I was a baby, so it’s kind of funny that now it’s part of what I do, but I guess that’s inevitable. It was wonderful. My mom’s a good mom. Everything was perfect. It's not like we really struggled.
DX: When you spoke with Vlad TV a few months back, you had spoken on how your “Ratchets” video, in a number of ways, was recycled or used as inspiration for Miley Cyrus's “We Can’t Stop” video. In the days since, we’ve seen the world take note of Miley even further, given her VMA performance and her “Wrecking Ball” doing record VEVO numbers. What’s your reaction at this point? Has your stance changed at all? Has she reached out?
Lil Debbie: She hasn’t reached out to me. I think she’s funny, and I think it’s amusing. It gives me hope in my life that I can perform at the VMAs one day, because I could’ve done that.
She has money. She can pay for the best shit. I can’t really hate on her any more because she’s gonna continue to do it. Do I know if that’s really who she is? No. I don’t know the bitch. I don’t even talk about it anymore. It’s everybody else that talks to me about it that makes me aware of the situation.
I don’t fucking lurk that bitch, and I don’t look her shit up. I don’t listen to her music. I don’t care about it. All of a sudden, you have a fucking album with Mike WiLL Made It? Of course you do, because you can pay for it. And is Mike WiLL gonna do it? Of course he is, because you’re paying him for it. That’s the way the game goes. She just talked to the press first. But is it weird to have people make you notice that that’s what's going on? It kind of makes me feel like my identity was stolen, but I try not to get on that. Then I think, “Am I delusional?” But then other people mention it to me. It’s kind of weird.
DX: Similarly, you’d mentioned how Rihanna reached out to you to ask about a particular piece you wore. With that, she acknowledged your influence. Is that really all you’re looking for in a situation like this—you want it to be known that you were an inspiration?
Lil Debbie: Yeah, you know what I’m saying? Just something. Don’t walk around the situation when other people are bringing it up to me. It is what it is.
DX: In that interview, you also made a point to say, “Everything in the industry is recycled.” I loved that quote, and was wondering if you could elaborate on that point a bit more.
Lil Debbie: We’re in such a time that everything before us is now being mixed together to make this day and age, to make the next generation. It’s like nothing is original anymore, period. You can’t tell me you’re the first person that wore braids or you’re the first person that had long, blonde hair down to your ass, because that’s being going on since you were fucking born. For people to be like, “That’s my style,”—what?
I know people that say a generation is their style. It’s just ridiculous for people to say things like that, because we're in a generation where we’re a mixture of different generations before us. You can’t even say you were doing it first, because they were doing that first in the ‘90s. It’s so ridiculous. People are just so fucking outlandish.
Lil Debbie Details The Bay Area’s Influence On Hip Hop
DX: When you spoke with Frank151, you were quoted as saying, “The Bay is a big part of the music industry. It’s just not that a lot of people acknowledge it or give credit to it.” In what ways do you really see that manifested?
Lil Debbie: I mean, Yo Gotti just put a song out [saying], “I’m going, going, going, back, back, to the Bay. Rest in peace Mac Dre.” That’s example one. Obviously, people know about Mac Dre out there. He’s a lyricist. He’s a genius. With the words and the lingo that he used, he literally started his own language. E-40 literally started his own language. Simple things like that.
Kreayshawn was from the Bay Area, and she had a huge influence on almost every white rapper that’s out now. I don’t want to name names, but there’s white, female rappers out there, and Kreayshawn made it possible for them [to find success]. She was one of the first girl rappers signed, period. You can’t take that away from her.
DX: When you were on “Sway In The Morning,” you mentioned that Lil Debbie was one of several nicknames that you and White Girl Mob had thrown around. Are there any others that pop to mind that were almost the “Lil Debbie” moniker?
Lil Debbie: I always joke around because a lot of my fans call me by my name, and it really freaks me out. I’d always be like, “I wish my name was Lil Jordy, Baby Pank or Webbie Vuitton.” I always come up with names. Lil Debbie is cool. I love the name, but I feel like I could change it whenever the fuck I want. I like nicknames. They’re fun.
DX: Sort of like how RiFF RaFF changes his name on Twitter.
Lil Debbie: Yeah. I started rapping with him, so of course I'm going to pick up habits that RiFF RaFF does. For one, I don’t do sound check. I’ve never seen RiFF RaFF do sound check. There’s just certain things like that. Or he does his nicknames. I switch up my nicknames all the time. My fans pick it up and use that shit also. I don't even call myself Baby Pank anymore.
DX: Lastly, I wanted to touch on a line from your song “Michelle Obama.” What do you mean when you say that you’re the “female Bernie Madoff?”
Lil Debbie: I mean, I’m crazy. I’m out here ballin’.