Getting to Know Saweetie, the ICY GRL Behind High Maintenance

The college-educated rapper who’s shaking shit up and making her own rules.

With 45 million views and counting on her breakout hit ICY GIRL it’s clear that rapper Saweetie is no stranger to the importance of hard work and focus. From earning a bachelor’s degree at USC, to killing freestyles on the gram and hitting stages all over the world, the Sacramento-native took a little time out of her busy schedule to give us a few first-hand pointers on how to keep it High Maintenance and what it takes to follow your dreams.

How did you first get into music and freestyling?

I was already writing poetry so the transition to music was easy to me. I was a very introverted child so I felt like poetry helped me express myself. I began writing music as a Freshman or Sophomore in high school. What I liked more about music was that I could write over a beat. Music has more of a variety.

When did you start to realize that you could really turn it into a career?

I was doing it since I was 14 years old and it became more of reality for me when I did a visual for “ICY GRL.” I had a lot of press and great reviews for that, so I felt like I was really on to something.

How has it been transitioning from “ICY GRL” blowing up the way it did with the video and streams to now performing it around the world and seeing fans in real life connecting with the song?

It’s great. When I’m performing sometimes it can get a little emotional because I have that train of thought like wow, I was once in my car rapping this and now I’m in front of hundreds of people. It’s surreal. But I work a lot so I think that’s what keeps things realistic for me.

“I was once in my car rapping this and now I’m in front of hundreds of people.”

You recently graduated from USC, congratulations! I read that you had a 3.6 GPA– how was your college experience? Do you feel like it has affected the way you approach your music career?

It definitely taught me a lot of invaluable skills like being organized, setting goals for myself, being responsible with my time management. It’s something I wouldn’t take back and it’s something I’m extremely grateful for because it gave me a different set of skills that I wouldn’t have gained if I hadn’t gone to college.

What inspired you to go to college instead of jumping right into a more creative field?

My mama. I didn’t really want to go but she made a really good point–she was like, why don’t you go to college since you don’t have people looking at you for music right now, and you don’t have the resources for music so you might as well get your education.

Would you ever go back to school?

I’ve wanted to, I’d like to get my MBA. NYU has an accelerated business program for your Masters so if I ever have the time, I’d like to do that.

That’s amazing. With a college degree under your belt and your High Maintenance mixtape out and making its rounds, you’ve had a lot of success and you make it look really smooth. What kind of challenges have you faced along the way and how did they push you forward?

The thing I learned early on is that you can’t say “yes: to everything. I had a nervous breakdown because I was doing too many things–I wasn’t sleeping or eating properly. It’s important to have self-care, sleeping and eating good and getting some time for yourself. You have to recharge.

“The thing I learned early on is that you can’t say ‘yes’ to everything.”

What is your definition of an “Icy girl”?

She’s a girl boss, she’s a hustler, and she’s educated. I think it’s important for a girl to know her business because that’s what sets anybody apart.

If you had to describe your style in three words, what would that be?

Kimora, mood, and authentic.

What do you mean by Kimora?

I love what she did with Baby Phat. I feel like she was one of the first people with a really dope clothing brand. The cat is forever going to be an iconic symbol. I’d love to create a clothing line that has the same success and same mood she had.

So Kimora’s one of your style icons–are there any others you look to for inspiration?

I like Cher–her style was so simple…I don’t know how to describe it. I could look at her pictures forever. I don’t even think “simple” is a good word for her–it wasn’t busy. It was almost angelic. Kimora, Cher, and my grandma. She’s really fly. I lived with her for a year and she would get her hair and nails done every Thursday an hour away. She was always fly and she always smelled good.

Vintage or new?

Vintage. For some reason, vintage clothes fit my body size. It’s interesting. On one of my tours, I wore a vintage Versace two-piece and it fit my body perfectly. I love the material of vintage clothes.

Sneakers or heels?

If I could be hurt-free from heels, I’d choose heels.

Leather or fur?

Fur–I love me a good fur.

What advice would you give young girls looking to pave their own path and follow their dreams?

I would definitely encourage them to take their time. I feel like social media has people doing outlandish things for attention. Trusting your journey is important. I feel like I built a strong foundation because it wasn’t an overnight thing, it was a day by day thing.

For more from Saweetie, be sure to check her out on Spotify.

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