The Untold Truth Of Saweetie

Have you heard of Saweetie yet? 

For those who don't spend hours per day on the internet, they might think the only female rappers in the industry are Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. But the truth is that the rap game has expanded exponentially. One of the most promising artists to land on our radars is Bay Area rapper Saweetie — thanks to her infectious breakout single "ICY GRL." The song, which is a freestyle over Khia's 2002 hit "My Neck, My Back (Lick It)," went viral in 2017, propelling Saweetie to stardom and earning her praise from some of the most legendary artists of all time. In just a matter of months after the song's release, she signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records and created her own label, Icy, which shows that she's definitely one to keep an eye on.

But before she grabbed our attention with "ICY GRL," Saweetie was known for her in-car freestyle sessions, her ties to other artists, and her enrollment at one of the biggest universities in the United States. Let's get into it as we explore the untold truth of Saweetie.

She's a barb

Every artist has that one musician who helped influence, shape, and solidify who they are and the style of their music. In Saweetie's case, that person was Nicki Minaj. Though she admits she grew up on other rap heavy hitters — such as Lil Kim, Trina, and Foxy Brown — it was the "Super Bass" artist who inspired her to get out and start making her own music. "Who really influenced me was Nicki Minaj. Before her it was Trina and I loved Trina, but I was a little too young to relate to her," she explained to Billboard. "When Nicki came out, she had great punchlines and was rapping about a bunch of different stuff. She reminded me of myself and I remember being a kid saying, 'I'm a barbie, too.'"

She also revealed to Interview Magazine that it was Nicki's 2007 hit "Can't Stop Won't Stop," which featured Lil Wayne, that made her fall in love with the Trinidadian-born artist, and honestly, same.

Granny knows best

Rappers generally pick their rap name. Rick Ross created his name based on the notorious drug kingpin Freeway Rick Ross, and Drake simply pulled his from his middle name. But there are other cases when rappers look to those who know them best to help create their rap moniker. Gucci Mane, for instance, named Waka Flocka Flame during the time the "Hard In Da Paint" rapper was signed to his label. And Snoop Dogg gifted Lil Bow Wow with his unforgettable stage name after falling in love with the then-pre-teen's sharp lyrical prowess.

The latter was kind of the case for Saweetie. In an interview with Teen Vogue, she claimed that her grandmother was the first to give her the nickname, and, thankfully for her, it worked. "My name came from my grandmother actually," Saweetie confessed. "It was just a nickname and I had put it on my Myspace. I had a lot of friends on there. I was extremely social. A lot of people knew me as Saweetie and it kind of just stuck."'

She also told HipHopDX that the name was officially solidified during her sophomore year of high school when her stepmother gifted her with a "Saweetie" chain. 

Apparently, what's meant to be will be.

College grad

Given the many, many celebrities who've dropped out of school (Drake is one worthy example), it's become quite the trend in the music industry to be without a degree. Saweetie, however, is a college graduate, having earned her bachelor's degree in communications and business from the University of Southern California in 2016. Though the California-native told Billboard that she didn't initially plan on going to college, she eventually made it happen for the sake of her future. She explained, "I knew Sacramento was what it was and I wanted to go somewhere else. I originally wasn't going to go to college, though. I missed the deadline for my dream school, USC. It was still opened for state schools, though, so I applied to one of those." She continued, "I chose San Diego State because they had the highest transfer rate to USC. So I started there and after 2 years transferred to USC [where I studied] communications and business."

She expounded on her comments to Interview, saying she decided to "thug it out and get this degree" because "nothing was touching a USC diploma."

Smart woman.

Haters wanna fight her

There are few musical forces as unrelenting and savage as Tampa, Fla.'s Khia, whose 2002 hit "My Neck, My Back" was flipped and remixed for Saweetie's 2017 hit "ICY GRL." Khia has infamously feuded with some of the top female artists — from Remy Ma to Trina — for some of the pettiest reasons. So, it's not too surprising that she allegedly wasn't feeling the newcomer's freestyle either, regardless of it being an ode to her earth-conquering 2002 hit.

"There was a post but she don't know me like that," Saweetie explained when asked by HipHopDX about Khia's reaction to her song. "It was like a little shade here and there but she don't know me so I don't take it personally. It's the game. It's entertainment so I took it with a grain of salt. I still love 'My Neck, My Back.' It is what it is."

Who knows if Khia will ever get over it, but at least Saweetie has been a good sport about it.

Independent woman

If you were hoping to see Saweetie boo'ed up anytime soon, it's probably not gonna happen. In April 2018, she told Madame Noire that dating is "dry" for her because she's extremely focused on her career and building her brand. "Dating is very dry for me right now, only because I work a lot. So it's a lot of touring, a lot of traveling, a lot of interviews. I haven't really been dating. I'm really focused on myself. And I feel like it's really early in my career, and I'd like to make sure all the attention is on me," she explained.

She also told Genius that, since she's able to provide for herself and has certain standards set, she's not into giving guys the opportunity to waste her time. Considering how easy it is for upcoming artists to get overshadowed by their love lives, we can't blame her.

Staying positive

Saweetie wasn't always the "ICY GRL" that we see and love today. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, she revealed that when she first wrote the dynamic party anthem, she only had a few bucks to her name. "I had $40 to my name," she explained, reportedly wincing at the memory. "I was disgusted with myself. I went from being a hustler, working different jobs to renting rooms off Craigslist, and I just wasn't happy." She added that she wrote "ICY GRL" when she was sitting in her room, which only contained a mattress, in an attempt to speak everything she wanted into existence.

Saweetie told Billboard, "I was very prideful when I was going through hard times and didn't want to ask my family for money. I had a few dollars in my bank account, not going out, sitting in my room, and eating a peanut butter jelly sandwich. So what I had to do was stay positive, keep writing raps and know someone was going to see it — and they did."

She's high maintenance

Though Saweetie might have gone through some tough times in the past, the bougie lifestyle that she boasts about in her smash single "ICY GRL" has truly become her life on a day-to-day basis. She told Teen Vogue that she "really" loves Chanel, Gucci, and Philipp Plein and that her lifestyle is the reason why she named her very first project High Maintenance. "I feel like when people see me, they can tell that I'm materialistic and I like keeping myself up. That's where [the title] comes from," she explained to Billboard.

However, she also said that there's a deeper meaning behind it all. She continued, "But the deeper meaning is I'm a traditional person when it comes to my relationships. The relationships I have with people are very high maintenance, meaning I nurture them. Essentially, I care for them. I also pray a lot, work out, and eat well so all aspects of my life are high maintenance. Since it's an introductory to the game, I feel like it's [an] appropriate way to brand myself."

Music is in her blood

Like the Jacksons or the Jonas Brothers, musical prowess runs in Saweetie's family. She's apparently cousins with Grammy Award-winning producer Zaytoven, who has worked with the likes of Migos, Future, and Gucci Mane. According to Saweetie, Zaytoven often contributes to her projects, producing some of her most hypnotic tracks, such as "EXPEN$IVE"or "AGUA." But most recently, he worked on her very first EP High Maintenance, which dropped on March 16, 2018, and earned favorable reviews.

But Zaytoven isn't her only famous relative. Saweetie is also reportedly related to MC Hammer. She opened up about her familial ties to musicians in an interview with Billboard, saying, "Our family grew up with the Burrell's [MC Hammer's family]. My cousin's dad is MC Hammer, and another one of my cousins is Zaytoven." She added, "We all grew up together and it's interesting to see how we turned out."

She loves Rihanna and Rihanna loves her

Aside from Saweetie's materialistic delights, she has amazing taste musically, too. In an interview with Power 106 Los Angeles, she revealed that her ultimate dream collaboration would be the one and only Rihanna. "Only because she's just super dope, super stylish, and she's just a vibe. And I love her voice. And she'd definitely bring that edge I would need on a song," she gushed. While no collaboration has happened yet, as of the time of this writing, that didn't stop Saweetie from tossing in a playful Rih reference in the fiery 2018 track, "B.A.N." She rapped, "Ever since I cut you off, my skin glowin' like Rihanna's." 

But clearly the "Kiss It Better" singer is also a fan of Saweetie's, as Rihanna handpicked the rapper to star in an ad for Fenty Beauty that aired during the Super Bowl in early 2018. Saweetie later raved about the experience and Rihanna's brand in an interview with Teen Vogue, saying, "I really love Fenty Beauty ... I love Rihanna and what she's doing with her line."

What a role model

We've all heard stories of female hip hop artists being asked or encouraged to pump up their images to fulfill the sex symbol stereotype, whether it's dressing provocatively, dancing in a sexual manner, speaking seductivel y, or penning sexually-charged lyrics. Just take a look at Nicki Minaj or Lil Kim, for example. Though the aforementioned behaviors are often used as one of many tactics to secure dominance and attention in the entertainment world, Saweetie has made it very clear that she's not into reducing herself to eye candy for clout.

"When I show skin it's gonna make sense. I don't just show skin to show skin. It's ok when other female rappers do it, however, that's just not my demeanor," she explained to HipHopDX. "If you look at my Instagram, I don't come off that way. I wasn't raised that way and that's cool. Sometimes I'm sexy and I'll put on a bikini. The boobs might be out a little here and there but I don't ever do it when it don't make sense. I feel like we should always represent ourselves as the truest and most authentic way possible. I don't have no problem doing that, it just has to make sense."