Kreayshawn

By
Photography DAVID MUSHEGAIN

Published September 24, 2011

There are normal days, and then there are days when your mom wakes you up in the morning to tell you Lil Wayne busted freestyle over your song. “I was like, ‘What?’ I couldn’t fuckin’ believe it,” says Natassia Zolot, better known by her nom de rhyme, Kreayshawn, of learning that the Young Money Millionaire had rapped over her cult hit “Gucci Gucci.” Then again, not much is what you’d call normal in Kreayshawn’s world these days. When “Gucci Gucci” first appeared on YouTube earlier this year, it almost immediately became an inter-web phenomenon, having racked up, at press time, more than 11 million views, and transformed the 22-year-old from East Oakland into an object of far-flung debate, with subjects ranging from the relative merits of her tatted-up, geek-chic, ’80s style to her sexuality and race. “Everything caught fire at once. Oh, popularity can be so hard sometimes,” Kreayshawn faux-groans. “People want to stir up controversy about me being a white rapper, or saying that I’m an occasional lesbian. I don’t even have the time. ‘White girl rapper’ is just one of the things I do. I want to be seen as someone who can do anything, not just a socialite.”

Indeed, not much about Kreayshawn’s origin proves conventional. A former film student, Kreayshawn first became known not for rapping, but for directing music videos for the likes of Lil B and kicking around with members of Odd Future. She’d get on the mic for fun, and released a mix tape and some videos, but when “Gucci Gucci” exploded, its infectious chorus—“Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada / Basic bitches wear that shit, so I don’t even bother”—made clear that hers wasn’t your standard hip-hop fodder. “I wasn’t attacking girls who wear those labels,” Kreayshawn explains. “The message is: Don’t let those labels define who you are. You can wear Gucci, but be confident in your own swag.” Kreayshawn certainly is: She will release her own debut album via Columbia early next year. “My vibe is definitely staying crazy,” she laughs. “Everything I do is unexpected, so the whole thing will be unexpected, right?”