With millions of followers and videos amassing millions of views, Brooklyn’s own Chinese Kitty is making her name in rap. Her debut album, SMD released last year, taking her to festival stages and the top of the charts with collaborators like French Montana, Dave East, and Fivio Foreign. Kitty is stepping into the life she has always dreamed of and is analyzing all her moves to make sure her dreams stay a reality. After waking up from a late night studio session, Chinese Kitty spoke with us about New York, confidence, female rap, and being unstoppable in 2022.
How did you find your rap style? Do you think it’s just a New York thing to pair grit with femininity?
Chinese Kitty: The way I rap is very much New York but, I can get versatile. Growing up, I would listen to a lot of Nicki Minaj obviously, and I loved how she was able to play with different tones which is not only relatable to New York. My hard lyrics and my tone is more a Lil Kim thing. Not to say I got my raps from them but, there are people that set the tone and that inspires you.
“I put money on your head, then put money in my purse.”Thot Box by Hit Maka featuring Chinese Kitty, Dreezy, Latto, Dream Doll, and Young MA
You often reference female artists in your lyrics, with bars about SZA, Rihanna, and Saweetie. How important is it to support other women in music?
I think it’s very important because I feel like females, we get so competitive with each other that we don’t realize we are all in it for the same reasons. When I talk about women, whatever I mention is a viral song or something everyone knows. Or how I was feeling in the moment. It’s crazy my favorite person is Rihanna so, I do mention her a lot.
She might be everyone’s favorite person. Speaking of these artists, any dream collaborations?
The dream would be Rihanna but, up and coming? I would do songs with a couple people. I definitely would say Doja (Cat), City Girls, I would like to do a record with Saweetie, it’s a couple people. I f*** with Coi Leray, Mulatto is cool too. I just feel like the female rap game is just amazing right now.
True, there are so many different styles to choose from. In owning your sexuality in your music, do you think there are any similarities in succeeding in nightlife and in music?
Yes, confidence is really just the key in this whole industry. No matter what it is, either you’re not too sexy or you are sexy. Whatever it is that you are, you just gotta be you and rock that for real. Just follow your own code and I feel that’s how you build your own fanbase and the people that love you for you.
Was rap always the end goal? Is there a specific moment you knew it was time to make the shift to a career in rap?
Growing up it was always something I played with. It wasn’t really until I let life hit me and I was like “okay you have to follow your dreams and aspirations”. I really didn’t want to do anything else but this. I started out on Instagram posting pictures, I just didn’t know what lane I wanted to choose. I was like “you know what this is what I want to do” and I just followed through with it. This is my end goal now.
A lot of people are trying to find their way, especially in the last few years. How did the pandemic change the dynamic of being an artist?
Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t get to work because of Corona. I feel like it was a kind of a reset for me. I got to relax my brain a little bit and actually plan out how I wanted to come back strong. I had time to sit there and be with my son, and just chill out, relax and give my brain time to analyze what I really wanted in life. It hit me a lil’ differently.
Are there any interests your supporters may be surprised to know you have?
I don’t know, my main focus is dropping music. I’m open to all ventures and I got a lot of things in place but, nothing I can mention right now.
Before the interview, we spoke about sharing upbringings in Brooklyn and Guyanese backgrounds.
Maybe some dancehall, soca, calypso, GT vibes?
Oh that for sure! We are already working on that.
Your first album, SMD, released in June 2021. How was this process different from creating a mixtape or singles?
During the whole pandemic I was just working on SMD. I had nothing but time to sit there and create so many different records. SMD was something I made during the pandemic. I had time to just sit there and focus on my craft to come out with stuff I never came out with before. It wasn’t a rush or ‘lets just put something out’ but we had time to really body some records. I made my hit single “Lit Bitch” before the pandemic happened, it just all came together during 2020. Everything happens for a reason, that’s how I think of it.
We saw you on the Rolling Loud stage last year, do you have a stage or city that gives you the best energy when you perform?
The energy I had from Rolling Loud in New York, I don’t know, people understand it. Especially in my lyrics when I’m like “I’m from New York, hoe suck my …” I feel like they get it. My city gets it. Other people feel the energy for sure but, I feel like my best shows are in my city. The energy is just lit.
What is next for Chinese Kitty?