Ever since her breakout single "Gucci Gucci" went viral back in 2011, rapper/designer/blogger/DJ/tastemaker Kreayshawn has remained an undeniable It-Girl on dashboards across the Tumblr-sphere. The Oakland-born creative (real name: Natassia Zolot) shares content on the daily to her personal Tumblr — among them emoji-emblazoned selfies, all-neon everything, and '90s-throwback GIFs.
Aside from using Tumblr and other Web tools to build her brand, as she’s been doing since her early teens, Kreayshawn's been spending her time on new music and contributing her style smarts to popular online jewelry shopfront OK1984. She took the time to chat with Yahoo Music about the Internet, its power to influence, Tumblr culture, and what’s really "basic" as of late.
Your Tumblr layout pays homage to the “old school” Myspace — and you first made a name for yourself on Myspace back in the day under the nickname "Payasita." What’s the story behind that?
My persona on there was definitely like the tough, cute, white, Mexican-looking girl. Payasita, which means "little clown girl." [When people recognized me once or twice in public], I was like, "What the hell? These people I don’t know know me from the Internet."
I mean, I guess I realized that the Internet wasn’t so anonymous. You know, back in the day when you would chat with people — there were so much less people on the Internet when you’re 10. It was way more anonymous back then, too, because you didn’t have all these profiles everywhere. The more people started using it, the less anonymous it was.
So, about your line with OK1984: A lot of young women are building their own e-commerce brands through Tumblr. How did you get involved with these guys?
They approached me to do a collaboration piece with them, and then I just started getting more involved with the whole business as a whole. And right now, I’m helping them expand and get different people’s products in there — like how you said, have a little online store type of thing. We’re definitely trying to build that brand up to something. I don’t really have any advice because I don’t really know 100 percent the successful plan, you know? You just kind of hope everything works out, you know?
What about the Internet drives you, and why has Internet culture continued to be part of your aesthetic?
I’ve been using the Internet since I was like, 10. It’s definitely something that I grew up with and it definitely grew up with me. It’s always changing and getting better and more advanced all the time.
There's plenty of content out on Tumblr that throws users back to the early years of the Web. What would you consider the Internet’s "golden age"?
Probably when I got a hold of AIM Instant Messenger. I remember when I was in middle school I had already been using MSN and Yahoo and all that, but I didn’t know what AIM was ‘cause I didn’t use that to sign online, you know? People who used AIM for a while were people who used AOL. Until I was at school and people were like, "Oh, what’s your AIM?" And I said, “What the f--- is AIM?"
Everyone from school had each other's AIM name: You get the boy that you like, you do your profile, and your away message. I used to make mine into a perfect box with all these spaces between the words… double ii’s after every s that you did. I think that was the prime Internet time for me.
What do you think of a lot of the youth culture surrounding Tumblr?
Being on the Internet wasn’t necessarily cool for a while, and now it’s cool to be like, that lonely, you know? It’s cool to be lonely and on the Internet all day. Honestly, the generation below us now is really weird to me. Like, the way they use the Internet, a lot of them are on the Internet like, saying mean things to each other and s--- like that. There’s a lot of shock value, what people do. Just over-the-top, weird things.
I noticed that you wear kandi bracelets when you perform sometimes. I was curious: Has EDM culture played a role in your life at all?
I used to go to raves all the time. I definitely went to raves a lot in Oakland and San Francisco and stuff. That was a dope-ass part of my life. PLUR, man. PLUR. For me, it wasn’t always the music. It was the whole experience. I liked the underground raves. It was definitely a whole package type of deal, you know? They just stopped happening at one point and I just stopped going. I feel like it’s one of those things where it’s only gonna be as cool as it was for me like, when it happened, you know? I feel like now, EDM is different from raves, right?
So, as far as the Web, what’s "basic" to you these days? What do you think is stale?
There’s definitely a surge of people who make music just for the purpose of being signed, you know? You can tell they’re putting up this video saying, "This is gonna be my viral smash! This video’s gonna change my career!” Instead of just saying, like, "People are gonna like this video" or "I think this video’s dope too." That’s one thing. And there's a big difference between people who are just putting out music and people who are putting out music with the intention of trying to get some money because they see it happen to other people. With the Internet, it’s quantity, not quality, sometimes. You end up seeing the same bulls--- everywhere.
For you, what musicians are doing it right - who can’t you get enough of lately?
I just got into this guy named Spooky Black. His video went viral the other day; that’s basically how I found out about him. He’s like, this white kid who wears a do-rag and sings R&B. It’s brilliant. It reminds me of witch house mixed with Yung Lean or something.