On the playground of pop music, Natassia Zolot is paying her dues. The payoff, a music career propelled by Kreayshawn and three million Youtube views for her single salutation “Gucci, Gucci”, was advanced ahead of the time most artists spend making their name.

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Zolot, a Berkeley Digital Film Institute student, created a persona that became an internet sensation followed by a debut album. This is the part where paying dues comes in. Critics are rarely kind, especially to an artist who-in their opinion-hasn’t “done their time”. SPIN magazine entered Kreayshawn’s debut studio album “Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay” into their monthly online Worst New Music cache.

Is Kreayshawn for real, a future star? Or is Zolot putting on a show with the next great pop swindle? Is Kreayshawn an entertainer? Ask the fans who were screaming and reaching to touch the Oakland born/raised artist during her Pensacola concert.

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There is a sincerity from the rapper who was born into punk. Her first band met in the basement of her aunt’s house, but instead of starting the next Luscious Jackson, she dropped the instruments and focused completely on hip hop.

One week before her “Group Hug” Tour hit Vinyl Music Hall, I called Kreayshawn for the Pensacola News Journal Music Matters column. Her first words mirrored her introduction to the world, “Hello! Hey, what’s up?”

Sincere with a side of giddiness, my adventure with Kreayshawn began.

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MS: My girlfriend (at the time) and I are getting ready for Halloween; What are your crazy plans for Halloween this year?

K: I don’t know. We get to tour this morning so, I don’t know. Usually I go out and be all mischievous and crazy. I think I just might scare little kids and eat candy.

MS: Are you going to dress up?

K: Every year I just like pick random stuff out of my closet and turn it into a costume. I don’t really buy something; it’s always some random shit I just made up.

MS: You mentioned touring; you’re busy as hell, what’s the most exciting part of being Kreayshawn?

K: The most exciting part would probably be…oh…getting free clothes and getting free clothes and traveling.

MS: I know your mom was in a punk band, what kind of music was flowing through your household as a kid?

K: All kinds of stuff from Dead Kennedys to crazy funk music. I don’t know how to really….

MS: The reason why I ask is because I would love to see you as the leader of a band like Luscious Jackson or even like Sleigh Bells mixing hip-hop, punk, metal and punk. Is there a chance we can see you adding a band or maybe doing something like that in the future?

K: Yeah. I mean it’s something I’ve definitely tried before when I was younger. My aunt had this band room with all these instruments and after school me and my friends would go and we made this band called Breakfast after School and we’d always practice, but it never turned into anything.

MS: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at one of your shows?

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K: I’ve seen girls flashing me and people getting…Oh! This one time-it’s not the craziest thing, but it was so funny-we did a show and we were watching the video of it later on and my homegirl was filming some girl face-smooshed this other girl and it was like the funniest thing ever. The whole crowd is doing its thing, and in the corner, you just see this girl get her face grabbed and smooshed to the ground. It’s hilarious. We’ve had girl fights just like any other rap show.

MS: As an artist, how do you juggle the love and the criticism you get?

K: I know it’s hard because I’m always online talking to people and stuff so it’s not like someone is running my account. Like I read all that crazy people be like, “I’m gonna’ rape your mom for making horrible music” I’m like, “What? What?” I usually just be like, people who bully need help, the ones who are not happy with their lives. No one’s so happy with their lives that they harass conditions. I think like that.”

MS: Why does it seem that the media asks females-especially female artists in hip-hop the dumbest questions that have nothing to do with their art? I see people asking you some of the craziest shit. Why is that?

K: A lot of people ask me, “So, what’s your favorite place to shop?” or “What’s your fashion inspiration?” For girls, definitely when other girls, like younger girls look up to you, they want to do everything you do; they want to dress like you and blah, blah. They ask stuff like that but at the same time it’s like sometimes, I’ve done interviews where they didn’t even ask me about my album. It would just be like, “Oh, you like wearing platforms?” I don’t know. It’s cool though, I like being tall I guess.

MS: It just strikes me that you get questions that most male artists don’t get. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

K: I’ll randomly have these moments when I’m in the studio and some crazy celebrity will come through-like Pharrell-and he’ll be like, “Keep doin’ what you’re doin’.” That’s all I need. I’ll be like “Oh, my god! You don’t even have to give me advice, just talk to me.”

I take random things. When people won’t even be trying to give me advice and they’ll say something super inspirational and I kind of take it into my own advice.

MS: On that same note, a lot people look up to you, not just women, but men too. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are?

K: I would say, “Have everything be as organic as possible. You can’t just force the viral video. A lot people just want to make that “Gucci Gucci” video again. So you can’t force it, it’s got to be organic and you just got to have a passion for music and usually that stands out especially nowadays because it’s easier.  But it’s not, because and that makes it kind of like, people get to choose what music becomes popular again, because somebody has all these hits on Youtube and it only makes sense that it should be on the radio. I don’t know, it’s crazy. Well, the internet, at first, kind of ruined music because it was all like “Oh, people are ripping music offline”, but now it’s like the internet is influencing music it makes whole other crazy way now.

MS: This is a crazy question; Do you prefer crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

K: Crunchy!

MS: Any particular reason why?

K: I don’t know. I just like crunchy little peanuts.

MS: What is something about yourself that no one else knows?

K: That…I don’t know. Everyone knows everything about me. (California stop-start laugh) So, I don’t know, I can’t think. “I’m great in bed.” I don’t know.

MS: Is there anything else you want the fans in Pensacola, Florida to know?

K: That we’re going to turn it up and have a good time.

– Michael L. Smith

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