Blossoming Bay Area rapper Saweetie exploded onto the scene last October with her “Icy Grl” video, which has since collected over 10 million views. Now, the 24-year-old is celebrating her new record deal with Warner Bros. and plans to redefine what High Maintenance means with her forthcoming EP.
While Saweetie likes to have her hair and nails on point, she’s not using the term “high maintenance” in its traditional form.
“From an external perspective, yeah, I like material things, but when I say ‘high maintenance,’ I believe I’m high maintenance all around,” Saweetie explains to HipHopDX. “For example, my relationships with people, my family and my friends are high maintenance. I’m a very traditional person, so I nurture and care for the people around me. My body is high maintenance — I work out, I eat good. My soul is high maintenance — I pray a lot.
“I think that’s what I’m about to do in rap — change the idea of what it means to be a female rapper,” she adds.
Saweetie, who graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016 with a degree in communications, admits the “Icy Grl” video was “super girly.” However, she says she’s always been more of a tomboy. Her latest video for “Focus” shows her rocking Nike Cortezes and jeans rather than the more revealing outfits she sported in “Icy Grl.” While she doesn’t mind getting attention for her looks, she’s not trying to become a sex symbol.
“I’m just being myself, so if that’s something that kind of comes out of it organically and brands my image, so be it,” she says. “But that’s not what I’m striving for. I think it’s really important for any artist, not just a woman, to stay true to who you are and when the labels come, they come. It think being true to your brand is the most important.”
Being a woman in the industry does present its challenges but with her management behind her, Saweetie is in a safe space. However, it wasn’t always that way.
“I love everyone I work with and I’m super comfortable,” she says. “In the beginning, before I met my manager, it was really hard navigating the industry. You just deal with men who claim they want to work with you but in reality, they just want to spend time with you.”
With everything in place, Saweetie is excited to share her High Maintenance EP, which is expected to arrive on March 16.
“When we were shopping around at different labels, immediately when I met them [Warner Bros.], I felt like I was at home and like they were family,” she says. “I’m super happy and excited the deal worked out.”
*Saweetie is performing for HipHopDX’s SXSW showcase on March 16 in Austin, Texas.