By / Jeremy Allen Photos / Joshua Spencer. Stylist / Natalie Toren. Makeup / Victoria Aronson. Hair / Taylor Bond Stevenson Stylist Assistant / Chuck Willis.
I get off at the Pershing Square Red Line stop and race toward the downtown loft for an interview with, Kreayshawn, rumored millionaire and confirmed hot commodity.
In order to interview the Oakland native about her struggles and growing pains of a fresh found fortune, I must pass through LA’s homeless population on Skid Row. She is late. So the stylists, photographers and I wait. And as we wait, I fight not to judge or label her in my mind, and my effort pays off. There’s a lot to like about Kreayshawn, and a lot to learn. She exudes positive energy and displays enthusiasm for what she’s doing in this weird world. She may still be learning where she fits but has no doubts about who she is.
LADYGUNN: What’s in your wallet?
Kreayshawn: Oh shit. Here. Get me my yellow bag – my wallets in there. (It’s a Doraemon wallet in a yellow vinyl Sesame Street Bag. She also carries an I-phone in a Hello Kitty case).
You own a driver’s license?
Yeah. I took that picture when I was 15. I was a baby then.
And now I’m a Grown Woman.
How much money is in your wallet?
Uh I have some quarters and welfare subway tokens. But look what else I have in my wallet- its a crazy story. So I got a fortune cookie- and I’m always checking my fortune- and I got this like maybe a couple days before we put out “Gucci Gucci” and everything happened.
It says, “Your financial outlook is excellent.” And it’s been excellent since then?
Yeah, and then I signed the deal.
So, talking about your financial situation, do you drive? Do you bike? Do you walk? You have some tokens.
Um I was taking the bus when I first moved out here. I was on food stamps and everything.
Do you own a car?
I used to. I had a pink 92 Mustang with Hello Kitty decals, but it broke down and I just left it.
Are you a shitty driver or a good driver?
I’m the best, man. I drive like I’m from Oakland though.
Nope. Never got in an accident yet, so that’s good. I know how to swing.
Do you have health insurance?
I think so? But I haven’t for like hella long. They cut it off cause I had it for a minute, and then on my 21st birthday, on my birthday, I got a letter in the mail that said ‘Go to a clinic.’ I’m like “A free clinic in LA? What the fuck would I wanna do that for? I gotta be dying.” Crazy. Health insurance is all fucked up.
You live in a house or an apartment?
I live in an apartment right now, I just moved into it a couple days ago. I was living in like a studio in Koreatown with no kitchen, no rooms. It was really weird. When I look down it’s right on ______ street, so I got a good view of all the crazies down there. Sometimes I smoke on my porch and there’s like people fighting and drunk girls staggering and falling everywhere. It’s hilarious.
Do you play any instruments?
I played violin for 4 years and I won some awards. I was pretty good at violin, I’m thinking about getting one.
Did you ever play in a band?
Um, well my mom was in a punk band called The Trash Women, and I did a song with her and I always wanted to start a band. And Me and a couple of my friends were staying at my aunt’s house and she’s really bitchin, too. She was in, The Glamor Pussies and a whole bunch of random stuff. She had a room full of like basses, guitars, mics, drum sets, like a whole setup. And um, Me and my friends would go there after school and we’d try to make a band called, Breakfast After School. And um, It was horrible. No one knew how to play any instruments. We all would think different things you know. It never went anywhere.
If you were going to pick an instrument now, what would it be?
Fuckin’ shit I’d love to do some violin.Well, yeah, if you know how to play violin you can play guitar, cello, bass, and all kinds of stuff.
You’re from Oakland. Do you know who Rickey Henderson is?
Rickey Henderson, why does that sound so familiar?
Hall of Fame baseball player.
Oh yeah. I’m not such a sports fan. What did he do- did he fight pit bulls or something? Oh I know where I heard of Rickey Henderson because that’s the name of my partner’s album. My friend DJ Upgrade, that’s the name of his new album, it’s called Rickey Henderson. Now you gotta go get his album.
Now you gotta go look up Rickey Henderson.What do you watch on TV?
Um, I just got cable for my first time, I haven’t had time to watch it. When I do watch TV I watch, I watch really bad things. I have Netflix. I’m known for watching really horrible movies. The worse the show the better. Like fuck that “Lost” shit. I refuse to watch one episode of “Lost.” I’m not getting sucked in to that.
You know, where you live, you’re gonna run into “Hurley.” He’s your neighbor.
Yeah. So I gotta ask a couple of kinda big picture questions. First, is the ‘Big Change’ coming or has it already happened?
Like money, people are gonna know who you are.
Yeah yeah, that’s definitely pretty much already happened. Um, it’s just crazy like hustle, like celebrities and like people like that are hitting me up like “Hey, let’s kick it, lets make a song.”
Are you scared at all?
I just get anxiety when like stupid stuff comes up every day. But once I get there and start doing it I feel fine. It’s just overwhelming to think of everything. Like I can’t even count how many interviews and things that I’ve done. It’s like crazy.
See for me, It’d be scary the thought that you can’t control everything.
Yeah well that’s how I feel even though everything is in my control sometimes it’s just like ‘What’s going on?’ like ‘I never thought this would happen’ you know what I’m saying? You know, definitely getting into some things and then you don’t know what’s going on until it happens and you’re like “Whoa- what the hell?”
Who do you go to for advice?
My manager, all the time. Stretch. They wrote about him in LA Weekly, they said “Kreayshawn’s manager, Stretch, very likeable and black…” so we we’ve been making fun of him and calling him a likeable black for a minute now. He’s the man. He’s from Baltimore, but like put out a lot of Mac Dre stuff, and he’s just a gifted rap manager. He’s definitely made his mark in this world.
So I’m not going to ask you to look into the future, but I am going to ask: When you do look in the future, you, a 21-year old, is “the future” like 3 months, or is it like 3 years, or 30 years?
I’ve got things planned for when I’m 25, and you know I just wanna be a person with my hands in everything. You know what I mean? So I definitely see myself in the future being some crazy power-woman, maybe start a magazine or write a book.
Do you have any new rules for yourself, or for other people?
New rules? Man, I’m trying to quit smoking but it’s really hard cause all the stress makes me smoke more, and like being around more people. As far as new rules I’m just trying to keep my head on straight. Trying to get 8 hours of sleep all the time.
Kreayshawn plays tonight at the Highline Ballroom. Find out more about Kreayshawn in the Fall issue of Ladygunn!