IMAGE COURTESY OF IAN STONER
Chippy Nonstop is incredibly easy to like. The Oakland-based rapper is a surefire good time, infamous for getting thrown out of parties and having well-known friends like super-producer Diplo and Bay Area buddy Kreayshawn (the latter of whom directed a clip for the 20-year-old’s ode to bad behavior, “Kicked Out The Club”), but she’s far more than a pretty party girl with a great Twitter. Chippy’s energy is best harnessed on a stage (whether that “stage” is a table in an abandoned warehouse or something a bit more practical), where she unleashes an onslaught of sexy dance moves and catchy hooks, most being from mixtapes like #GlobalSkoolOfTwerk, a testament to the young talent’s stamina and ear for interesting sounds you can also bounce your butt to. With a slew of November tour dates on the way and a bunch of new, ultimately positive attention from the release of her MoneyDance101 mixtape (produced by DJ Two Stacks of “Gucci Gucci” fame), Interview spoke to the firebrand about her international upbringing, Internet fame and jumping out of a building.
ALEX CHAPMAN: What do you remember as your first interaction with performing?
CHIPPY NONSTOP: I was born in Dubai, and my mom was an aerobics teacher and a dance teacher for high school kids. I would always sit in on her classes and memorize the dances and stuff. I’d go home and be doing the dances and she’d be like, “What the fuck? How does she know all the steps all of a sudden?” Then we moved to Zambia, Africa, and she used to teach at my school, an American school, but I was still too young.
CHAPMAN: What was living in Zambia like?
NONSTOP: It was really weird. The town we lived in is called Angola, and there’s nothing there. There’s one school and one restaurant, which is also the nightclub, which is also the rec center where kids used to do exercises and swimming and shit.
CHAPMAN: What made you guys move there from Dubai?
NONSTOP: Well, my dad used work for Lipton, the tea company, and every three years they transfer their employees to a new, random place. It’s cool, but I know people who have little kids and do that, and those kids cry every time they have to move. For me it was really fun, because I feel like every time we moved was a perfect stage of my life—like exactly when I would have wanted to move. Then my dad just quit his job because he didn’t want us to move that much anymore, and he just randomly decided to move to Canada.
CHAPMAN: Where in Canada?
CHAPMAN: Oh, cool. Did you like it there?
NONSTOP: Yeah, I liked it a lot. It was fucking cold, though. But Toronto’s a lot of fun, and I’m Canadian now, because we’ve lived there for three years. But after that I moved to San Francisco.
CHAPMAN: Do you feel like any of those places inform you musically?
NONSTOP: Yeah, I get influenced a lot by cultural sounds. Even if it’s not necessarily from Africa or wherever I’ve lived, I’m really influenced by a lot of different cultures. A lot of the sounds that I like in my ear are from other places.
CHAPMAN: That makes sense, considering your affiliation with people like the Mad Decent crew, who pull influence from all over.
NONSTOP: I just saw Buraka Som Sistema play and they’re amazing. When I saw them on stage, I was like, “This is what I love” —the passion you feel behind the different cultures and sounds. I don’t even understand them but I’ve memorized all the words to their songs. Portuguese is so hard to speak, but to me, it’s not even the words—it’s the sounds that come out that I appreciate more.
CHAPMAN: What made you want to start rapping?
NONSTOP: I was dancing for a DJ in LA, ZAKMATIK, who’s doing stuff now too—we were both part of a group called T Tauri TrapHouse. Paul Devro from Mad Decent saw me dancing on stage for Zak, and he was like, “Yo, you have a crazy stage presence, why don’t you just try to rap?” And I had rapped, not serious or anything but I’d tried, so I was like, “Let’s do it, whatever.” We went to the Mad Decent studio and we recorded a bunch of songs—I haven’t even heard them and have no idea where they are. We didn’t do anything with them, we were just like, “Oh that was fun, whatever.” A couple months later Stunnaman from The Pack hit me up randomly on Twitter and was like, “Oh, you look interesting, what do you do?” And I was like “I guess I rap.” He asked me if I speak any other languages, and I told him I speak Hindi. He was like, “Well you should get on the hook of this song.” I did it and I really liked how it sounded. Then I tried to make solo stuff later, but it was hard for me to find the exact sound I wanted to go for and what I wanted to say. I’m so particular in how I want production, so nothing has really worked out until these last six months.
CHAPMAN: It seems like the way that your songs work, it’d be really frustrating for the sound to not be where you want it, because production is such a big part of the structure.
NONSTOP: Exactly. For my last two tapes I always say I sat literally next to the producer the whole time telling him to change things. Nanosaur was the first person I actually connected with, and I just met him once. I went to his studio to make one song, and we stayed up for two days straight just making all those songs [on #GlobalSkoolOfTwerk].
CHAPMAN: That’s crazy.
NONSTOP: We literally didn’t know each other at all, and the next day we hit each other up, and it worked out so perfectly.
CHAPMAN: You meet people off the Internet sometimes, which I assume is because you have a pretty big digital presence. Are you even able to go on social networking sites now without getting bombarded?
NONSTOP: I can’t go on Facebook chat at all, it’s so annoying. All these pop-ups come up when I log in. Me and my friends have a thread on chat, and I have to put it all in a separate category. [Facebook] Events are a whole other story. I used to just accept everyone’s friend requests, but now I can’t even deal with it.
CHAPMAN: Well I’m sure everyone’s a promoter or a rapper or something.
NONSTOP: Everyone’s a rapper.
CHAPMAN: What’s your policy on hearing people out when they want to collaborate?
NONSTOP: I listen to a lot of people’s music that they send me. I actually enjoy looking at people and stuff. I look on Twitter if I’ve seen their name a few times, they don’t have to be well known or anything. I stopped listening to beats because I know I work so much better when I’m with the producer. I have an inbox full of really good beats, but I just wanna be there.
CHAPMAN: When it comes to your visuals, are you also really hands-on?
NONSTOP: In terms of “Bitch I Bought It Out,” I wanted a lot of graphic stuff so I hopped on that. For the Kreayshawn video, I mostly let her do her thing. I’m a visual person, but I don’t imagine the shot very well. But if there’s ever any graphics, I want input on that.
CHAPMAN: So now that things are starting to get pretty serious in terms of your career, do you feel like you have to be more methodical?
NONSTOP: To a certain extent. My whole thing is really about not giving a fuck and doing whatever I want, so I pretty much just do that.
CHAPMAN: And beyond PR, is it still just you? Are you booking your own shows?
NONSTOP: Yeah. I’ve been playing like three shows a week in New York, unless I’m out of town or other stuff, so I’ve been playing a lot, and the shows have been good, too. It hasn’t really been a difficulty for me to book shows, but it’s about getting my mind in order. It’s hard to keep up with everything—collecting my money and stuff.
CHAPMAN: Especially when you have to chase people down for that.
NONSTOP: Yeah, and being a girl, it’s so annoying and hard. They’ll just be like, “Oh, haha, little girl, so cute.” And I’ll be like, “No. Give me my money!” At this point it’s not too bad, but I definitely need a little help.
CHAPMAN: It’s gotta be a bit pressing to be everything at once.
NONSTOP: People will try to use an artist, and a manager can stand their ground. But with me, I really, really like performing – I’ll be like, “Yes, I get to perform with DJ Sliink!” I just get excited, and then I’ll get ripped off.
CHAPMAN: Did you just perform with him? He’s dope.
NONSTOP: Yeah, at a warehouse in Bushwick. It was so crazy—I had to stand on top of a tiny pillar and hold on to a rafter. If I had let go, I would’ve died—I played a shorter set than I usually do.
CHAPMAN: Do you feel like every time you walk into a space you don’t know what to expect?
NONSTOP: Yeah, I play a lot of DIY shows, so I’m always like, “Oh, God, is this microphone gonna work properly?” But I love playing shit like that, because the energy is always amazing.
CHAPMAN: Those shows are always so much more fun. I went to a house party in Chicago where Diplo played, and it was insane.
NONSTOP: I threw a party for [Mad Decent’s] Paul Devro at a house, and Diplo played with [Major Lazer hypeman] Skerrit Bwoy. I don’t know if this should be on the record, but I took Xanax and drank half a bottle of vodka by myself—just taking Xanax knocks you out. I climbed up the second story, jumped out the window and got fucked up—I was bleeding everywhere. I didn’t remember this and told everyone that some random girl beat me up, but that didn’t happen. That’s pretty ridiculous.
CHAPMAN: A lot of people are really into your Twitter crew, Yung Klout Gang. What’s the deal with that?
NONSTOP: It’s kinda a satire, and we’re all just best friends fucking around. Now, all of a sudden there’s a “Fuck Yeah Yung Klout Gang” Tumblr, people who we’ve never met are hash-tagging us—it’s just so weird because we started off just kidding. But we’re all always on the Internet, and we all travel and aren’t always together.
CHAPMAN: It seems like a lot of them really show you love on Twitter and help spread the word.
NONSTOP: Yeah, we’re really supportive of each other. We’re all our own entity but we all help each other out at the same time.
CHAPMAN: You do a lot of different things—is making music what you really want to do?
NONSTOP: I want to do this forever. I wanna keep creating and doing everything for as long as I can and not just be a fad. I know people don’t take me as seriously, but you can’t take anything seriously because we don’t know what’s serious and what’s not. Not a minute of the day goes by where I’m not thinking about this or doing this. I can’t even think about a relationship or anything like that—I’m just always thinking about this. My basic goal is longevity and having enough money to live on it. I’m not trying to be a trillionaire or anything but—
CHAPMAN: Enough to not be on the street.
NONSTOP: Well, kinda lavish. Low-key lavish.
MONEYDANCE101 IS OUT NOW. FOR MORE ON CHIPPY NONSTOP, VISIT HER FACEBOOK PAGE.