Dreezy shares challenges, roots at Rolling Loud

Photo Courtesy of Interscope

Dreezy had just finished her set under the blistering summer sun at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami on May 6 and was cooling down in her trailer, yet she remained in her performance outfit which included tight red leather bottoms. She displayed a level of comfort to be expected from a seasoned veteran of the game, no matter the fact that to most, she was a newcomer.

Of course, “newcomer” is a tricky term when it comes to rappers, and Dreezy is no exception. Having made waves in her hometown of Chicago for years before signing to Interscope, it was clear early on that within the local scene, she had no problem “keeping up with the boys.”

It is slightly ironic then that her biggest record to date is an R&B song with Jeremih. But in a time when singing is becoming a fundamental aspect of rap, Dreezy has played her cards right by not putting herself in a box. She was also one of few female artists to perform at Rolling Loud, even though the annual three day festival was the single most important hip hop festival of the year, representing seemingly every significant subgenre. This achievement indicates that Dreezy is at the beginning of her rise.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Technique: I know you just finished up a month-long tour with Gucci Mane. Are you planning to take a break now?

Dreezy: Hell no, I’m not taking a break! I’m ready to go even crazier. I think I’ve built a lot of momentum with the last album, so it’s only right that I keep consistent. I’m just waiting for my next project.

Technique: Will you be working on a mixtape or a full album?

Dreezy: I mean, I’m always working toward the album. I’m going all the way with it. But it’s just about always working, building music, making new raps.

Technique: Do you feel like you have more expectation put on you to grind and just go hard because you’re a female rapper, and that’s somewhat rare?

Dreezy: Well yeah, definitely. I definitely gotta keep up with the guys because they eat, breathe and live this shit, you know? But it’s twice as hard for a girl because of my image. Like, my hair, makeup, my body. They’re ready to judge off every little thing, so I gotta work double time. But it’s OK, I’m not bad at it.

Technique: Do you feel like that means you have to fill a certain role or that you have a sort of extra responsibility because of that?

Dreezy: I think they judge girls a bit harder, but I also feel like they give girls a lot of props too. Like I said, I have to work double time and people see that. They see me putting in that work. When you’re holding yourself up, if you’ve got the full package and you really have talent, it’s a lot of work, but you get recognized. There’s a lot of female rappers coming up now too, so I definitely think it’s more open.

Technique: One of the very interesting things about you as an artist is that you could easily be a full fledged R&B singer while still being a rapper’s rapper who can spit.

Dreezy: My early fan base, they love it when I rap. They get so mad when I’m singing, but the newer fans, they want me to sing on it. On my features nowadays, I’m like “OK, I guess I’m gonna sing it now.” So I’m learning I got to do a little bit of both, and I’ve got to get my niche with that shit.

Technique: And not put yourself in one lane?

Dreezy: Yeah. Because, it’s like, maybe one day I could get an R&B song and win an award off that, and at the same time have something else in the hip hop category.

Technique: I noticed your catalog doesn’t include much drill music, which surprised me for someone young coming from Chicago. Why didn’t you pick it up?

Dreezy: I used to do it! That’s what I mean about my old fans. If you listen to my early music, that’s what I was doing. I was doing drill. I got up out of it quick though. I’m glad you don’t even know that I used to do that shit. Like if you go back to all my early music, I was actually like, hard, and my core fan base, they love that shit.

Technique: The first time I heard you was on the “Chiraq” remix, but I didn’t know there was more that you made.

Dreezy: And “Chiraq” was the song I took off on, but it was never, you know, the beginning.

Technique: In a previous interview, you said you felt like you needed to get out of Chicago. Why do you feel that way?

Dreezy: Because Chicago violent as f***. … A lot of people dying. A lot of people who I know dying. And it’s not a lot of people, it’s like crabs in a bucket. N***as just hate on you, and you can’t flex out there even if you do come up.

If you really wanna be successful – I feel like, you could do it in Chicago but it’s – I don’t feel like you’ve reached real success until you make it out of Chicago. When people see you out of the city, then you’re not local no more. When you stay around like that, long, then people start thinking, like, you’re just like them, and you just a local ass motherf***er. You gotta get out of the city.

Technique: Do you still feel like you represent Chicago then?

Dreezy: Hell yeah! I got so much in store for Chicago that I’m working on. And everywhere I go, it’s Chi. We got the best food. We turn up the hardest. We got the best delivery in rap, and it’s like real motherf***ers, you know? We got the best finessers, and we got tough skin. A lot of people came from nothing, so we hold our own. I rep Chicago all the way through.