'What’ and ‘if,’ while small and seemingly harmless sentiments alone, together carry weight that can linger through lifetimes. And while it may be easy to become lost in the never-ending spirals of the what if’s and could have been’s, here, we believe in Fate—that our choices and our intuition will guide us to the right place. It is easy to forget, though, that our instincts might be our best confidant in making such decision, as who knows us better than ourselves? For artist and rapper, Saweetie, to transpose love into melodies and lyrics is instinctual, and Fate takes care of the rest.
In 2018, Saweetie released her debut EP High Maintenance after her 2017 breakthrough freestyle “ICY GRL” went viral the year prior. Using Khia’s “My Neck, My Back (Lick It)” as a backdrop, “ICY GRL” is a manifestation of what the then Diamonté Harper hoped to be. An ICY GRL is cool, sometimes cold, and revels in self-assurance and autonomy. Her ICY EP quickly followed, further cementing her idiosyncrasy and voice to her close to eight million listeners in an otherwise relenting echo chamber.
Last year, Saweetie shared The Single Life, a six-track EP, revealing the intricacies of navigating through romantic uncertainty. Over a bed of warm, lush beats and rhythmic bass, her melodic verse creates a lived-in intimacy that becomes autobiographical and openly tender. It’s vulnerable and grappling, and questions whether we can stand alone on our own two feet after our stability is shaken. Is there truly life after love? To which, Saweetie answers, “P.U.S.S.Y. (Powerful, Utopia, Supreme, Sacred, Yummy).” And while her evergreen confidence and unwavering intuition are deeply felt, you can’t help but hear the hopeless romantic hiding within when she asks, “Can you handle my truth?”
This year, Saweetie returns with a taste of new music with singles, “BIRTHDAY” and “SHOT O’CLOCK,” still pouring out lively infectious tracks sewn with passion. With previously released and certified gold “Tap In,” triple-platinum “My Type,” and double platinum and Grammy-nominated “Best Friend” featuring Doja Cat, what can come next? Her forthcoming debut album Pretty Bitch Music is a long time coming as it was originally set to be released in the summer of 2021. But like most good things in life, it takes time. The artist confesses, “I don’t really have an era that I’m in right now. I’m just purely creating from the soul of my heart.”
And out from her heart comes authenticity, from her raw internet presence to her unapologetic honesty. As the original ICY GRL, Saweetie is no longer attuned to external expectations, letting the tendrils of her instincts lead the way, because nothing she needs is ever too far from herself. While we continue to patiently wait for her debut album, let’s bear witness as Saweetie finds solace within.
Presence, it’s such a big buzzword lately. Do you feel like you’re in the moment these days?
I try to be because there are moments when I’m always thinking about the future. I think that takes away the important things that are happening in real time. So I think 80% of the time I’m in the moment. I find that when I’m grateful for just the environment, the people that I’m around, and the things that are happening, it helps me. It allows me to be present in the moment.
When you’re making music and you’re in the studio, is there a certain way that you approach the canvas?
I just love when I’m emotional. When I’m emotional, I write songs a lot quicker. I write without thinking. It’s less of a structure; I’m just speaking from the heart.
What emotion is the most conducive to your creativity?
When I’m mad or when I’m really, really happy. When I’m sad, I’d rather just stay home, eat, and watch Netflix. But when I’m mad or really happy, I love to go to the studio.
Do you find a sense of release in that way?
Yes, I definitely feel like it’s a sense of release, especially when I’m mad. It allows me to channel my anger in a very healthy way.
With your brand Pretty Bitch Music, what transforms a regular tune into one for the pretty bitches?
I feel like the tune for the pretty bitches is definitely about getting ready. It’s inspirational, it’s fun, it’s sassy, and it just gets you ready for the night or the day. So, when I make music, that’s my goal. I love to inspire, and I love to have a good time.
Do you listen to your own music when you get ready?
That’s a really good question. My new music that’s unreleased? Yes. My old music? No.
What can you share about what is coming?
For this current project that I’m working on, I’m simultaneously working on a passion project and my album. I’m really excited about my passion project. My passion project makes me feel like how I felt when my career first started. Strictly about the music, expressing myself, and just wanting to get my emotions out there. I feel like that hunger that you have as a new artist is just really priceless. Once you’re put into the music industry, other people’s interests and ideologies get thrown at you. But when you’re a new artist, you’re starting from scratch. You’re a blank canvas and all you want to do is paint and create. I feel like I’m getting back to that moment with this passion project that I’m working on.
But I do have a freestyle coming out very soon. It’s called “Immortal Freestyle” and what inspired it was just the events that happened in my life. I felt like a lot of people thought that I would have given up by now. They thought that I was going to go in a different direction but I feel like a real ICY GRL is resilient. She’s ambitious, and she continues to go no matter what happens to her, so. You know, an ICY GRL is immortal. She’s going to keep on. If you knock her down, she’s going to keep on getting back up and she’s going to keep fighting her good fight.
You’re talented, you’re pretty, you have money, and you are incredibly smart. What are things that you’re still learning today?
I think one thing that I’m learning is to not second-guess myself. I find that when I second-guess myself, my first instinct is typically the right answer. When you’re constantly under a microscope and people are constantly criticizing you, it starts to affect the decisions you make, at least for me. What I’m trying to do right now is learn how to follow and trust my instincts.
The Icy Baby Foundation teaches kids about financial literacy— can you talk about how you and your grandmother made that organization come into being, and what you plan to do with it in the future?
My grandmother describes this way better than me, what we do is teach the kids how to manage their money and the importance of having their money work for them. I think that we’d have a better wealth flow in Black and Brown communities if it was taught to them at a younger age because then it would be second nature. I’m a big advocate for young children learning about the rules of their financials to ensure that they have a steady and bright future, because it’s one thing to get money, but it’s another thing to maintain it. I just hope that these kids know how to manage their money when they get their fortunes.
Would you say that knowledge is power?
I definitely think that knowledge is power, and I also think relationships are power. I think the more you know, the more you’re able to navigate the game of life.
Besides being a real bad bitch that drives a Tessie, what are some great bestie traits to have?
I love a bestie that I can go eat with. I feel like eating food is a great bonding experience. I love a bestie who I feel like I can confide in because we all need that person that we can run to and trust and vent to, while not feeling like we’re being judged. I know someone’s my bestie if we can sit in silence and not say anything, but still feel great about hanging around each other.
How does your friends’ opinion of your art affect the final product?
I share a lot. I keep my music and notes in my phone, so I’ll share a note with my best friends or my cousins or, whoever I’m close to. I think their opinions matter because they’re the consumers.
How are you prioritizing your friendship with yourself these days?
I think the way I take care of myself is through food. Food makes me happy. So if I’m my bestie and I’m taking care of myself, I’m probably ordering seafood boil. I’m probably getting a massage. I’m probably sleeping in a little longer, but I never looked at myself as my bestie before. That’s a good one.
What is your relationship with social media like?
I definitely feel like it’s a way to connect with people, but there was a moment where I took a break from social media and because I had taken a break from it, my posting habits became so terrible. I’m so about living in the moment. I might take a picture but not post it because I’m into creating memories, not posting them. However, because I do have a fan base, I have to realize that they want insight into my life. I’m working on posting more these days.
What do you think is unique about your fans?
My fans are very, very loving. I love how they have group chats. They uplift one another. They celebrate birthdays. If someone’s applying to college or to a job, they’re very uplifting. I love that about my fan base.
How do you define power? And how are you using yours?
I think power can be used for good or for bad. For good, I like to talk to my fans a lot. I actually just gave my fan advice late last night. She hit me, and she was going through a really bad breakup, and I’d already told her a couple of months ago, ‘Girl, leave him alone!’ So she hit me up, and was like: ‘I didn’t take your advice.’ So, I like to use my experience to help not only my friends and my family but my fans, because we all need that. We all need that help when we’re in that moment of despair because I know what that feels like.
What is some advice you would like to bestow on the ICY GRLs of the world?
I would say don’t quit. And the reason why I say that is because of something my dad gave me–it’s so beautiful. My mom gave my dad this quote when they were teenagers, and then my dad gave it to me when I moved to LA. I keep it in my bathroom so that my guests can see it, but it’s this: Don’t quit. When you want to quit, that’s when you don’t give up because that’s when you know that you’re about to reach your goals or your dream. I would always say, just don’t quit. Don’t quit because I feel like God challenges us in a great way to see if we really want what we prayed for.
Photographed by Mark Clennon
Styled by Von Ford
Written by Bree Castillo
Flaunt Film/DP: Briana Monet
Production Coordinator: Chloe Cussen
Production Assistant: Khami Auerbach
Location: Level 8