Pap Chanel is the definition of Pretty & Paid, also the name of her debut project. Hailing from a small town in Georgia called Milledgeville, the rising star is here to represent all the talented, beautiful, bad b###### in the world, exuding nothing short of confidence and good energy at any given moment.
In describing herself, Pap states she’s “a girl that’s Pretty and Paid, real country girl. I’m finna be a spokesperson for all bad b######. I’m a storyteller, I’m a poet. I don’t like to say that I make music, I like to say I’m an artist. I create visual representations of things that I’ve experienced. And hey, I be painting pictures! I’m a female Picasso. [laughs]”
Boasting an enormous social following of 369K followers on Instagram alone, Pap creates music based on real-life experiences, wearing her heart on her sleeve with each release. To date, she’s had major collaborations with all your favorite artists, including “Gucci Bucket Hat” featuring Future, “Talk 2 Cheap” featuring Lil Baby, “2 Way Street” featuring Blac Youngsta, and she hopped on Jim Jones’ “How You Love Dat.”
Most recently, Pap unveiled her newest project Pretty & Paid 2.0, as she continues on her quest to make timeless music.
AllHipHop caught up with Pap Chanel in downtown Los Angeles to discuss her roots in Georgia, her biggest influences, going viral, her new project, how she ended up in the studio with Future, her label, working with Jim Jones, advice from Blac Youngsta, goals, and more!
AllHipHop: Being from a small town in Georgia, what was that like growing up?
Pap Chanel: Growing up in Georgia, it was a different type of grind because there weren’t that many resources for me. Especially since I’ve been chasing this dream, it’s not a common thing. Me being from Georgia, being from the country, I just had to think outside the box and be resourceful. Hey, it built me into who I am today, so I appreciate all the hardships. [laughs]
AllHipHop: What part of Georgia are you from?
Pap Chanel: Milledgeville, it’s an hour and a half away from Atlanta. It’s the middle part of Georgia.
AllHipHop: Did you go to Atlanta a lot then?
Pap Chanel: Yes, I used to drive back and forth. I moved about two years ago, so I’ve been in Atlanta for two years.
AllHipHop: Do you love it?
Pap Chanel: It’s okay. Atlanta is fast. Music is live there, I will say that.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences growing up?
Pap Chanel: Nicki Minaj, Foxy Brown, and Lady Gaga. I love Lady Gaga, I love her whole aesthetic. She is just amazing. One reason why I felt like I fell in love with Nicki Minaj so much and she inspired me, is because Lady Gaga is one of her inspirations as well. Isn’t that crazy?
AllHipHop: Does that mean you might make more pop records, not just hip-hop?
Pap Chanel: Yes, show stopper. I’m finna come like Lady Gaga, do the awards shows and all that.
AllHipHop: When did you start to pursue music? Was there a turning point?
Pap Chanel: Yes. I was trying to go to college, and it just was not coming together. Girl I was putting in the universe that it’s not for me. Every time that I tried to go, something happened. So I sat out a semester and I focused on creating freestyle. One of my freestyles to Tee Grizzley’s “First Day Out” went dumb viral, in a week. I’m like hey now, say now. I need to do this!
AllHipHop: I love that! Even Saweetie, she got her start freestyling in the car.
Pap Chanel: Yes! She did.
AllHipHop: Were you ready for that moment when it went viral?
Pap Chanel: Yes I was ready for it. Because I’ve always said whatever I do in life, I want to be the best at it. I knew it was going to end up manifesting, I just didn’t think it was going to be that fast. When it happened, I’m like [gasps] What the f###? I guess I’m not going to be a news anchor now, I’m a go be a f###### rapper. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Were you studying journalism in school?
Pap Chanel: Yes! I majored in Broadcast Journalism.
AllHipHop: Did Tee Grizzley catch wind of it?
Pap Chanel: I’m pretty sure he did. But you know, a lot of artists be seeing a lot of things. They don’t say nothing. I know I did it better than you did, don’t lie! [laughs]
AllHipHop: Where did it go viral first? Was it Instagram?
Pap Chanel: It was Facebook. I started out on Facebook, I didn’t even have Instagram at first. And that’s how I knew it went viral viral, because it got to the point that other people was getting my video posted on Instagram, so it could go viral on their page. You know what, nuh uh. Let me get Instagram, I need all my fans to come to me. Not to y’all. [laughs]
AllHipHop: How was it building your following from there?
Pap Chanel: It was actually kind of easy. After that Tee Grizzley style, I said I’m finna be more consistent with freestyles. So I started posting them on Instagram more, my s### was going up 10K a week. I’m like okay. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Do you write or do you spit off the dome?
Pap Chanel: I do both. I prefer to write so it can get more complex. You can get down to the nitty gritty, really explain it and have the whole thought process of how you want to approach the song. But hey, if I’m in the studio and the vibes are there. We got a bottle in there, the weed going. Let’s go off the dome, I’m Jay Z today! [laughs]
AllHipHop: Pretty & Paid 2.0 the project, out now. How are you feeling?
Pap Chanel: I’m excited because that project Pretty & Paid went dumb. My fans just loved it. And that music from Pretty & Paid 2.0 is old music. It’s music I made a year and a half ago. Once I get this next project I’m releasing this fall together, it’s dumb. It’s dumb lit. I want to make Pretty & Paid 2.0, 3.0. I want to keep doing it. You know how Lil Wayne had his Carter’s? I’m a keep mine going.
AllHipHop: We gotta talk about “Gucci Bucket Hat” with Future. How did that happen?
Pap Chanel: So the label that I’m signed to, my CEO, he’s really cool with Future. He was putting me in rooms that I needed to be in. I got close to Future, I let him hear my music. He’s like “oh, shawty hard. I want to help in any way I can.” You know me, you say you want to help? We do the same thing, what you really gonna do?
Because at this point, once you’re a great artist like Future, you gotta put your hand out and lift somebody up with you. Big shout out to him because he didn’t have to do that, and the fact that he gave me a feature opened me up to a bigger fanbase. I’m a just say this, your girl did just not get one. Okay?
AllHipHop: There’s more coming!
Pap Chanel: There’s more coming. [laughs]
AllHipHop: What did you learn from being in the studio with him? That’s a legend!
Pap Chanel: He’s great. How he makes music, he doesn’t use no pen, no paper. He sits there and perfects it, just makes sure what he’s trying to explain is understood. Future will be in the studio on one song for 12 hours. And that’s the beauty of it, because you gotta put time into your craft.
AllHipHop: What was your reaction when you heard “Gucci Bucket Hat” back, with his verse?
Pap Chanel: You know what’s crazy? He sent it to me done, with an open verse. When he said “I’m a send to something,” I didn’t think he was going to send that. Because before he sent the song, I already got a snippet on Twitter and everywhere. Everybody said “oh my God, you need to drop this.” So the fact that he sent me the song, [jaw drops]. I was just stuck, what in the hell?
AllHipHop: How was it shooting that music video?
Pap Chanel: That was super fun. That was super fun. I learned that Future does not play when it comes down to visuals. [laughs] He said “I should not have worn this,” this that and the third. We gotta shoot the video again, or shoot one for the next song. I said, “hey, you got the say so. As long as I get me a video out this s###.” [laughs]
AllHipHop: Damn, so he was critiquing it?
Pap Chanel: Yeah he was critiquing it. He’s like “we could come harder.” I’m like “okay, we can come harder. Let’s do it then.” I love it.
AllHipHop: Y’all shot a whole video, then had to shoot another whole video?
Pap Chanel: Yup. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Was it the same treatment or different?
Pap Chanel: Different. The first treatment for “Gucci Bucket Hat” was a scary movie, it was fun.
AllHipHop: Talk about the label you’re signed with.
Pap Chanel: The independent label that I was with first, 1865. I’m still with them, we just combined with Def Jam and 4th and Broadway. My CEO, he always wanted to sign me for years. Once I finally moved to Atlanta, he just stayed on me. He said “you need to do this, you need do that. Come to me with a hit, I’ll sign you.” I did exactly what he said, and now we’re here.
AllHipHop: How was the independent grind before that?
Pap Chanel: It was super hard because I wasn’t staying in Atlanta, I had to drive back and forth every day. I was always trying to make sure I was at my best to get my name out there. You know when you’re independent, you gotta do everything with your money. At the same time, me trying to chase my dream, I also had to make sure I had different sources of income to make sure one stuck. Hey, we gotta do what we gotta do baby.
AllHipHop: Did you feel the pressure?
Pap Chanel: I didn’t feel the pressure because he makes the environment very very less tense, than a lot of other artists. I was in there making it and he was just chillin’.
AllHipHop: How’d it feel hearing your song in Hulu’s “Woke?”
Pap Chanel: That was an iconic moment because it showed me hey girl, I can make commercial music. I need AT&T to hit me up now. I need Chipotle, McDonald’s. [laughs] It was iconic. It felt like the new age, I just heard my song on the radio feeling.
AllHipHop: How was it working with Blac Youngsta? Because he’s funny as hell.
Pap Chanel: He’s a character! You know what’s crazy? He just tapped in before I got here. Literally 5 minutes before I pulled up. It was great working with Youngsta. He’s one artist outside of us working, he tried to put me in different doors. He gives me opportunities and gives me advice. It was one night, he was giving me advice. “You need to do this. You don’t need to not take one picture on no iPhone!” [laughs] I said “okay, I got you captain.”
AllHipHop: That’s real! He’s looking out for you.
Pap Chanel: It was dope, he has a huge heart. Outside of him being so goofy on the internet, he’s one of the most generous, charismatic, nice, lovable people I ever met. He’s so sweet.
AllHipHop: How did y’all tap in?
Pap Chanel: Same, my CEO. He’s just a plugged in guy! [laughs] He’s so plugged in.
AllHipHop: Is that how you got the Lil Baby feature too?
Pap Chanel: No, the Lil Baby was when I first started rapping. I got a cousin in the NFL, he’s like “I just want to help!” So he helped. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Do you have any goals for yourself?
Pap Chanel: Right now, I want to make that song with no expiration date on it. I want to make sure everything that I do is timeless. I don’t want to say I’m doing it for fun. I don’t want to make no song and be gone next week. [laughs] I got different things I want to put my hands in. I want to start modeling. I want to get a Pretty & Paid scholarship going for my ladies. I gotta get the song with Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga.
AllHipHop: Any female collabs we can look forward to?
Pap Chanel: Trina. Big legend, shout out to her.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next? What’re you most excited for?
Pap Chanel: Expect Pap Chanel to be the first female rapper/model. I’m going to be modeling, and I’m going to be rapping. I’m going to be doing that s### for YSL. I got a new project on the way this summer! Everybody follow me, Pap Chanel. All social medias. We finna go up. Hey, I’m a keep it coming. You can’t get bored with a girl like me.