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Saweetie’s ‘My Type’ Is a Smash, but Is it Too Provocative for Top 40?

September 20, 2019

Read the full interview on Variety.com!

Saweetie’s “My Type” is a smash. The high-energy, up-tempto, bad bitch anthem has proven to be an undeniable force. Having won the hearts of TikTok users, radio (rhythmic, urban and now Top 40, logging more than 81,000 combined spins, according to Mediabase) and streaming, where BuzzAngle Music records 160 million U.S. streams to date and her label, Warner Records, counts over 315 million global streams, the song is now poised to cross over and truly scale.

For 26-year-old Bay Area native Saweetie, the accomplishment feels even sweeter considering the song from her “High Maintenance” EP wasn’t intended to be a single, but it’s turned out to be her breakout hit.

This in spite of some provocative and sexually explicit lyrics that are at the same time empowering and brow-raising. As the hook delivers in an almost double-dutch beat: “Rich n–, eight-figure, that’s my type!” The chorus became a TikTok call to action, then climbed into the Top 10 at the Urban format and now sees momentum building at Top 40. Boosting “My Type” mid-run was a standout remix with Jhene Aiko and City Girls, bridging the gap between R&B and hip-hop. And adding to Saweetie’s own public profile, she recently hosted a show at New York Fashion Week to debut her new collection, PrettyLittleThing. Accompanied by performances from Lil Kim and Ashanti, it served as another testament to Saweetie’s old school R&B roots.

Did you think “My Type” would be a hit?
I always feel like all my songs are going to take off. [Laughs] They’re my babies and all my babies are equal, but when I put that out to the world, the world kind of decides from there.

Was there a plan to release or work it as a single? 
No, the plan was to work on “Emotional.” “Emotional” was my favorite song. But, you know, sometimes another record raises its hand.

What is it about that song that connects with people?
I think it’s the chorus. It has a lot of great and flamboyant energy, it makes people feel good. Literally people who don’t even understand the lyrics love the song.

Lyrically speaking, the N-word is all over the song. Were you worried that a clean version would lessen its impact? 
That’s a really good question. When I was making the song, I was thinking about changing the word — but that’s just how I talk. I didn’t wanna hold back. What you hear is just the raw emotion I was feeling when I was in the studio. But don’t say it if you ain’t black! [Laughs] If you can’t say it, then don’t say it.

The clean version is expertly edited, it should be noted.
It’s done really well at radio and it draws people to the original version, so I’ll let those who hear both versions decide on that.

Bring us back to the studio session.
London on da Track and I made that, really late [at night]. I was about to leave the studio but my EP was due and I felt like I was missing something. I’m like “I’mma just go hard and we gon’ figure it out tonight.” I wanted something that made me appreciate music when I was a little girl, so I’m like “What better than a “Freek-a-Leek” [by Petey Pablo]?” That’s something I really enjoy and the fact that I made it my own hit just goes to show that it’s a great song.

You had a sample with “ICY GRL” too, what is it about that time period?
To be honest, I consider this a sample — “ICY GRL” no because “ICY GRL” was a car rap. “ICY GRL” happened on accident, it wasn’t a song I recorded. It was me sitting in my Toyota Corolla, I was rapping over beats. “ICY GRL” was just me chillin’ in my car.

The visual is at over 35 million views on Youtube alone. It’s very Bay Area, with Kamaiyah and Kehlani in it.
I really wanted to show my childhood, but a grown version of it. The hairstyles, the styles — those are all looks I would have worn as a little girl. I basically lived out my childhood fantasy: me having my own poppin’ video and bringing it to life.

How was twerking on the basketball hoop? Were you scared at all?
No. Everybody around me was scared though. I had a harness and it was ruining my outfit, so I took it off. Nothing was holding me up, but I have a really good balance. I got very good knees, I’m very athletic. It wasn’t as hard as people thought it was. I was just enjoying myself. That’s something I’d do as a child, I was climbing up trees and fences.

Whose idea was it to get Jhene Aiko and City Girls on the remix?
I really wanted to think outside the box and feature two different vibes. I think it’s really dope when R&B goes rap. So I went to Jhene, she did her thing, and then Yung Miami from the South. So I brought the West Coast and down South together.

What’s your favorite lyric from the song?
From Jhene: “You ain’t never met a bitch from Slauson!” Miami: “Hop out the foreign car, swingin’ my inches!” I felt that on a personal level. [Laughs]

Congrats on this collab with PrettyLittleThing. What made you want to partner with them?
They’re rich in quality and have a very rich aesthetic. As a little girl, those are the things I was into: good quality and pretty things. The fact that I was able to partner with somebody who really cares about their brand, their aesthetic, and the message they’re sending out — PrettyLittleThing is body-conscious. If you watch the fashion show, we got girls of all shapes and sizes. I’m happy to be a part of a brand that’s not only dope, but who’s also aware.

What’s your favorite item in the collection?

The one I came out and performed in, the diamond dress sold out in a couple hours. They sold out really quick. 70% of the collection sold out in two days so it was just dope to see how strong my influence is.

And your best memory from New York Fashion Week?
Meeting Lil Kim and Ashanti. They’re very supportive and the fact they came and performed at my show… they’re great role models to how women should be. They easily could’ve been like “we past that,” and they are past that — but the fact they came through and showed love, it meant so much to me because I grew up listening to them.

Anything else you want to let us know?
I’m just really proud of the direction ICY is going in, because ICY isn’t limited to music. As a brand and a team, it’s what got me in the fashion industry. Like I’m an upcoming rapper and I had my own fashion show, that just goes to show how strong we coming. We not playing around. Our team is very solid, they see the vision. We got acting coming up as well, we got music.

What movies are you doing?
Ooh girl, I’ve already been on the screen! [Laughs] We just haven’t released it. What I will tell you it’s not a movie, it’s a TV series. It’s really big, stay tuned. We music, we fashion, we acting, we business! You know, I’m a college girl.

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