The West Coast has a new rep making waves all over the countryside in the little ball of spitfire known as Kreayshawn, and with success as well as controversies aplenty, this is only her beginning.
by Chad Ghiron Photography by Bradley Meinz
From her current residence in Los Angeles, California, Kreayshawn’s forceful, somewhat sarcastic drawl that punctuates her breakout single, “Gucci Gucci,” is reduced to a slow, assertive tone, a likely side effect of her crammed press schedule.
But the self-proclaimed “bad bitch” is taking it in stride. The last six months have been a whirlwind as she’s been shoved headlong into stardom after the video for “Gucci Gucci” blew up on YouTube with three million views in less than two months. Soon after, she inked a “million-dollar deal” with Columbia Records and hosted the red carpet event for the 2011 MTV VMAs on the same night as being nominated for the Best New Artist award alongside Wiz Khalifa, Tyler, The Creator and Big Sean. Needless to say, there’s no rest for the weary.
“Things have been moving pretty quick for me,” Kreayshawn says about the last few months and the work on her upcoming debut album, due out by the end of the year.
Flashback to a year earlier and Kreayshawn wasn’t a name anyone knew and was just showing off her first video for “Bumpin’ Bumpin’” to the public. But even now, the breath of notoriety is growing with more video releases, articles and songs popping up on a daily basis. Her most recent feat is a collaboration with Snoop Dogg and V-Nasty on the cut “Keep It Craccin’,” as well as a commercial for Bing that interviews Kreayshawn and shows the hits you get from searching her using the engine.
Despite her recent success and newfound fame, the public is still relatively clueless about who this tattoo-toting 22-year-old is, leaving room for the tabloids and blogs to run wild with rumors such as Bruce Willis being her uncle and that her newest tattoo, a cartoon-style fried chicken leg with a bite taken out of it, exploits black culture for her own personal gain. She dismisses the claim, branding it ridiculous and saying it wasn’t her intention at all.
“Most of the time, the rumors are pretty hilarious, but my tattoos are all really cartoony, like everything’s all goofy, you know? I have a hamburger with Mickey Mouse as the burger and Daisy Duck with a gun, so I don’t think my tattoos could offend anyone,” she explains.
The truth about Kreayshawn is that she is an alter ego created by Natassia Gail Zolot, born in San Francisco and relocated to East Oakland at age 10 with her mother. By 17, she was already flirting with the arts, directing videos and making songs and beats on her computer. “I came up with Kreayshawn, a girl that was always creating something, to make sure I was creating something every day – paintings and drawings, music, it didn’t matter,” she says.
Her creativity, recognizable in her music, is visible in her style and tattoos, which hang mostly on her right side, save for a Libra and diamond tattoo on her left wrist. But it was her first tattoo, a big ice cream cone on her neck, that got the ball rolling, applied when she was only 15 years old. Ever since then, she’s been hooked. “I think tattoos are highly addictive,” she admits. “For me, personally, they’re almost like therapy sessions, like if you go through something bad or good or a big moment you’re like, ‘I wanna get a tattoo!’ You know, for me, they’re almost like landmarks.”