INTERVIEW: Asian Doll talks about signing to Gucci Mane's 1017 Eskimo, female rappers, touring with Bhad Bhabie & more with HNHH.
Gucci Mane made a historic add to the 1017 family when he announced Asian Doll as his new signee to the label earlier this year. "IM THE 1st EVER FEMALE ARTIST TO SIGN WITH @gucci1017," she tweeted in June.
Asian Doll already had a major following prior to signing with Gucci Mane. The self-proclaimed "Queen Of Teens" released a steady stream of projects for the past two years but 2017's Outtaspace and Kill Bill Vol. 1 is what really put everyone on notice. Earlier this year, she released her latest project Doll SZN which showcased her versatility better than ever and brought her name to the forefront of this era of female MCs.
Since the release of Doll SZN, Asian Doll's been everywhere. She recently wrapped up tour with Bhad Bhabie and was also spotted on the VMA Red Carpet this past Monday. We recently caught up with Asian Doll to speak about the impact of Nicki Minaj's co-sign, female rappers and why she feels like the female Gucci Mane when it comes to the rap game.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
HNHH: Thanks so much for doing this today. Off top, I wanted to congratulate you on signing a 1017. So my first question for you is, how did you first connect with Gucci Mane? How has the relationship evolved since you two met?
Asian Doll: I connected with Gucci Mane through social media. I feel like Gucci had ran across my page like once or twice but when you look at my page, you would think I’m a signed artist because of what’s going on and I just have a million followers and people listen to my music, I have a lot of fans. So when me and Gucci connected, I know his management, her name is Amina. When we connected from social media after posting, saying I wanted to sign with him… I feel like I been known Gucci, I been a Gucci fan since I was younger, so I just feel like it was meant to be. Our relationship is the best. He gives me big brother vibes. I just feel like with me, where I came from and my background, Gucci understands it and he’s been through the same thing so we relate on so many levels. It wouldn’t be a better fit for me to work with anybody but Gucci.
It seems like Gucci has a strong emphasis on hard work with whoever he signs. What's your work flow in the studio is like?
I work really really hard. I go off vibes. So when I’m in the studio with Gucci Mane, I really freestyle most of my stuff because he just brings it out of me. I work really hard. I just want to say I work the hardest than everybody on the label put together. I’m like no joke when it comes to studio, when it comes to songs, all of the above. I’m a female so I have to do photoshoots everyday, I have to be glammed everyday, so it’s just a 24/7 type of job. And with Gucci too, he’s a hard hard working person. He’s always on time, he’s always on point. So I’m going to respect you as my team, so I’m always on point, I’m always on time, I’m always doing what I gotta do regardless. Um, studio, we just go off each other’s vibe. It’s a really hard working job. I do real good. That’s why he had no problem signing me because he’s like, “This girl is no joke. She can rap. She can do all this and on top of that she works really hard”. I literally do everything myself. I know what I gotta do. I know what I’m supposed to bring to the table, I know what it takes so, I’m doing it. I’m executing everything that comes my way period.
What’s the progress with your collaborative tape with Gucci Mane and how are those sessions like. What is the chemistry in the studio with you two?
The chemistry in the studio is great. When we do studio sessions, we don’t have like one studio we’ll record at. He’ll rent out multiple studio sessions throughout the building so we’ll go back and forth. We’re not just in one session, we’re in multiple sessions in a couple hours. And I just want to say, I’m kind of like the female Gucci when it comes to this rap shit. I’m fast with it. I know what I gotta say. I’m an authentic person. Everything is authentic, everything is really natural. But it’s a lot of hard work. Our mixtape is going to be crazy. We’re working on a couple songs but we’re both artists, we both have so much going. It’s crazy when I went to Miami, he flew me out to Miami like two days before our studio session. I got so sick. It was an uncontrollable sick. My throat was closing up, I had strep throat. I took medicine and it went away, then my sinuses were real bad. It was just bad. All the good stuff that was happening, something bad had to happen. So, the tape would have been finished but now we’re just going back and forth through email because we’re both so busy right now, but I’m telling you, It’s just the best. We have a vlog coming out soon where we were in the studio recording, so everybody can really see for themselves how we vibe out but it’s just amazing. I want to take my chances, you never know what you’re going to get, you never know what we’re going to say. You just never know.
The intro of Doll SZN had a snippet of Nicki’s co-sign and I was just wondering, how did that feel when you first heard she bigged you up? I know you’ve said she’s a big inspiration to you.
Yeah, it really felt great. I really want to say that people tried to make me feel so bad that I was overlooked and not paid attention to so when Nicki said that, I was ecstatic, I was so happy, so grateful, it was inspiring. It made me go harder because I really felt like people do know who Asian Doll is, people do listen to my music. Not only my fans, but a person who’s been in this game for so many years and sold millions of records, who’s been on TV, who’s done so much to actually notice me and know what I’m doing, I just felt so happy about the whole situation. I was the first person out of the whole new generation of female rappers to come out and say, “Nicki Minaj is my inspiration, I listened to her when I was younger”. And I never said it to get clout or to gain anything from it. I just said it because I felt like that’s what I wanted to do. I’m that type of person. Whatever I want to do, I’m going to do it. I don’t ask questions. I do it and I ask questions later. That’s really how I am. So, I just said it one day. One day, I’m just like “Wow, I really like Nicki Minaj, I got the look like Nicki Minaj. Why am I scared to let the world know?" So, I just did it. To know that she acknowledged me.
I was also wondering, have you guys met since she gave you the call? Are there any talks of you working on something.
No, we haven’t met. We talked through Instagram DM. We haven’t met. We’re going to meet though soon.
Since you said she’s one of your biggest influences. I noticed that you’re an incredible rapper but you are also capable of doing much more than rapping, so I was just wondering, who are some artists that influenced you to be this versatile?
When I came out, I was really hardcore, I had no skill at all. I actually never thought I would be versatile, I just thought I would be like a straight gangster ass bitch but with me being in the music industry and me learning and being around so many different mainstream artists, I knew that’s what I had to do. I started growing as an artist. The first person was PNB Rock. His music, he sticks to it, but he does it in a different way. I was learning. So when I saw PNB Rock be so versatile, I was like, damn I want to know if I can do it. Not jocking his shit, but basically..
Like using it as a template.
Yes, using it as inspiration. You have to learn somehow and some way and I was learning from PNB Rock with the melodic music. I had a song where we remixed a Lil Uzi song, it went down. Then PNB Rock, he wanted to remix that with me but it was already remixed, so he hopped on a song called “Poppin’.” I listen to a lot of Lil Uzi. He’s the biggest influence of my versatility. Lil Yachty, PNB Rock. I’m not even the type of person who pays attention to other people’s stuff. I just really do me. So, I really want to give the full credit to PNB Rock and Lil Uzi. I’m a fast learner so I really just gained knowledge.
More female MCs are getting more recognition in the rap game than ever before. How does it feel being one of the women at the forefront?
It’s fucking dope. I want to say, I would be one of the reasons why people are taking female rappers more seriously because literally I be going crazy. I been doing this shit. I bring the wildness to the whole industry. Asian Doll would not be a cartoon anymore. There’s no more cartoon. It’s straight, it is what it is, real talk. I really want to say, the shit is getting serious 100 percent. I’m getting serious on a whole different level. I have Gucci behind me. I have the power to be myself. That shit is going crazy. It feels so amazing to be apart of this whole wave. I feel like it’s more fun into it. Back then, we was kind of being manipulated a little bit. But this generation, we have Instagram, we have Twitter. We have all this social media, it’s not being manipulated as much. I really feel like this generation can be themselves. We can be who we are. We can inspire. We can be ourselves. I’m really happy with that.
I know you’ve probably been asked this question a few times but, I feel like this year alone, there’s been a lot of female rappers with the name “doll” in it. I read in another interview, the only female rapper you knew, with the name doll of was “Kash Doll”. So, I was wondering if you could break the name down and what inspired the name?
Asian Doll was really my inner personality. I really made her up and created her in my head on some animated shit. On some futuristic shit, [laughs]. As I’m talking to you, in my head, I’m going back to when I did her. On some futuristic shit, it’s so amazing how big Asian Doll has come.
You just capped off your tour with Bhad Bhabie. What's your relationship with her like? You two seem very close.
I love her. That’s my shorty. We lit. We did that tour. It was sold out. That shit was dope as fuck. It was fun. Bhad Bhabie is crazy. But it’s much love. We’re really close. Her album is coming out. I’m going to be on it. Affiliated. It’s going to be dope.
What was your favorite part and least favorite part of that tour? Actually, let me rephrase that, what was the most memorable part about touring with Bhad Bhabie?
Memorable part? I had a show in San Francisco, and I had pulled hella girls up stage and this one girl was dancing and her whole skirt came up. Her whole shit came up. It was crazy.
Yeah, it was so dope.
So yeah, my last question for you is what else do you have planned for the rest of the year?
A lot of music videos. A lot of awards. A lot of Asian Doll.
Perfect. Any final words?
I want to say, all my dolls, doll gang, follow your dreams. Never take no for an answer. Be yourself. Be who you are and everything will happen, everything will unfold. Just keep being you. Keep grinding. That’s it.