Name: Saweetie

Age: 21

Hometown: Raised in the Bay Area and Sacramento, Calif.

I grew up listening to: “I grew up listening to a lot of 2Pac and a lot of East Coast, West Coast rap; Bad Boy, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Biggie, 2Pac. Super hip-hop, super listening to that raw era of music.

“So I was always into listening to music and my best friend was like, ‘You got to listen to this chick called Nicki [Minaj].’ So I hear her spit and I was like, ‘What?’ I’m thinking the only people that can ever rap are like Foxy and Kim then I hear Nicki rap and I was like, ‘This is tight!’ I was writing poetry so I was like, I’m going to try it. And ever since then I fell in love with it.

“I started taking things seriously over the course of these last couple of years. I was into school heavy. I went the University of Southern California. I graduated last year and after I did I was kind of figuring my life out. I ran into my manager at a Puma event and ever since then I’ve been taking rapping seriously. This was May of this year.”

My style’s been compared to: “I would describe my music as very honest. I just rap about myself, and not in a narcissistic way. I feel like I have a story to tell. I feel like a lot of young adults can relate to me, about some of the stuff I talk about in my songs. I get compared to Kim, Foxy and Eve, those are the main ones. I don’t feel like I sound like them but my demeanor comes off like them.”

Most people don’t know: “I think a lot of people don’t know I went to college. I went to homecoming this year and a lot [of people] was like, ‘Yo, that’s dope. You inspire me to go to college.’ I like giving hope.

“I also recently been posting pictures of my mom and people didn’t know that I was half Filipino and Chinese. People are really shocked by that.”

My standout moment to date: “‘Icy Girl.” I wasn’t going to record ‘Icy.’ I used to record raps on my phone and send them to my home girl. I recorded ‘Icy Girl’ to her and she was like, ‘This shit is tight.’ And I was surprised. I didn’t think that much of it when I recorded it but she was really messing with it. After I made a video for it, it really took off. The concept of ‘Icy Girl,’ I was going through a lot in Los Angeles and I was going through a stage of my life that I needed some motivation.

“I really wrote that rap on a mattress in my room sitting on the floor. I was in for the weekend so I was like, ‘I’m going to rap about the things that I want and the things that I need.’ I was looking in the mirror and rapping about the person I’m about to be. I’m not there yet, but I’m going to be there soon.”

My goal in hip-hop is: “My goal in music is to share my story. I feel like we don’t have that many storytellers nowadays. I don’t want to be super serious but I want to have fun with my platform. I want to touch people, I want to be relatable and let girls know that you can go to college and still pursue what you want after that. I didn’t want to go to college. I went to college because I didn’t have a plan but I feel like I want to share my victories and my problems through my music and hopefully that can help other people. No matter what you’re going through, you can further your life and your career.”

I’m going to be the next: “Inspiration. I feel like I get that a lot from feedback and I’m just constantly trying to inspire people who look at me. People have told me my music has inspired them on getting through types of relationships and their finals and their tests.”

Even though Saweetie’s career is just starting, it’s already off on the right foot. The 21-year-old Bay Area native went from unknown artist to viral star when her video for “Icy Girl” made its way around the internet in October. The catchy vibe of the record (“’Cause I’m icy, wifey, haters wanna fight me”) plus Saweetie’s boss-like style made “Icy Girl” impossible not to like—the beat is a sample of Khia’s classic “My Neck, My Back” and the visual is at 4 million views and counting.

To follow that up, Saweetie dropped a short clip of herself rapping a verse to her song “High Maintenance,” all while chilling in her kitchen—that video went viral on Instagram and Twitter as well.

The budding artist had goals of being rapper ever since she was young, but focused on school instead of following her dreams. She would eventually attend the University of Southern California but while she was there, she performed covers of other artists hit songs such as A$AP Rocky’s “F**kin’ Problems.” After graduating, she focused on a rap career and began to go to work. Now with momentum on Saweetie’s side, she’s planning to release a project next month.

“I’m working on my EP,” she tells Face 2 Face the Magazine. “I do a lot of covers but this is the first time I’m actually doing original content. I leave the studio and I come home wanting to listen to really myself. I feel like that’s a good sign. If I want to listen to myself as much as I want to listen to Drake or Beyoncé, I feel like that’s a good sign.”