For those who believe that they have Dreezy all figured out, we can confirm that just one conversation with the multi-hyphenated artist will change your view completely. The Southside Chicago native is celebrating a decade in the industry and her contributions to music go far beyond standing centerstage; when she isn't penning witty rhymes that stand out from her peers, the songwriter is working with her fellow artists to propel their careers or collaborating on famed television projects. 

dreezy

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Her launch into entertainment is also quite different than other women occupying Rap spaces, as many stumbled upon fame with the help of social media. Dreezy began writing before she was a teenager and found solace in poetry as she dealt with changes in her home life. She dabbled in singing and soon, she was tapped into jazz as she learned how to scat—and those talents were accomplished alongside her learning how to play several instruments while in band. Clearly, there isn't only one lane that Dreezy navigates, and she emphasized her diversity in our interview with her for our Ladies First series. 

"I feel like I’m an emotional gangster. I been through so much stuff and I know I’m very hard, but I feel like my music tells it all. My R&B tells my softer side and my rap shows my harder side. So, you get the best of both worlds. If you really a true fan of Dreezy, then you know, I’m just a real person. I’m not no gimmick. I never made it off clout. I made it strictly off talent and my story. So, I feel like this year, they just gon’ tap in with me a lil’ more. I hope people get to know me on a personal level."

The 28-year-old told us that she's crafting a masterpiece project with Grammy-winning producer Hit-Boy, and this Friday (April 1), the pair will unleash their collaboration, "They Not Ready." Ahead of the track's release, Dreezy spoke with us about what it was like making magic in the studio with Hit-Boy, penning a Grammy-nominated track for H.E.R., receiving her flowers from Coi Leray, and being inviting into Issa Rae's Rap Sh*t writing room.

There is much more to this multifaceted artist than meets the eye and during our interview, Dreezy allowed us to scratch the surface. Read more of our Ladies First conversation with Dreezy below.

This interview had been slightly edited for clarity. 


HNHH: It’s so good to get you on the line. I’ve really been looking forward to this so thank you so much for just taking some time today.

Dreezy: I know right? Thanks for having me. We back outside.

I really want to pick your brain because you are a seasoned artist that has been around for a minute. You’ve worked with some great people, you’ve released some great music, and we're interested to know how things have been for you as a woman in the industry. So, before we jump into that, tell us about everything you’ve got going on and what you have coming up musically.

hit-boy and dreezy

Image provided by the artist. Photo credit: Courtney Paul (@itsbycp) 

I think right now, I’m at a point where I was just perfecting my craft. Getting back into that hustling, hungry zone of just working. ‘Cause like, the business and everything could be complicated, and it could be hard, maneuvering and staying creative when it’s so many other things that you gotta worry about. So, I mean, right now I think I’ve just been focusing on my craft, my marketing, and taking everything up a notch with the visuals and the fashion and the beats and the songs, overall.

"We're about to drop this project with Hit-Boy right now, top producer out right now. He ain’t working with no females on the collaboration album but me. So, this gon’ be a special moment for Hip Hop and for me, and I just wanna kick the doors down and let everybody know what we doing, and stay consistent."

Now, I'm at the point where I’m ready to go. I've got so much music I've been writing for other artists. I've been writing for TV shows, I’ve been writing for myself. I’m already working on three projects for myself because during the pandemic, I have just been recording so much that now, I’m just at the point where I’m ready to have fun and just put out this music. We're about to drop this project with Hit-Boy right now, top producer out right now. He ain’t working with no females on the collaboration album but me. So, this gon’ be a special moment for Hip Hop and for me, and I just wanna kick the doors down and let everybody know what we doing, and stay consistent.

It must be exciting having this new vision for your career. Working with Hit-Boy sounds amazing, so I want to touch on that, as well. How has that process been for you collaborating with somebody like Hit-Boy?

I think at first, it was a little bit challenging because me and him kind of come from two different worlds, but not really. He’s from L.A. I’m from Chicago. A lot of the female rappers that come out right now, a lot of people box them into one category and Hit-Boy is such a versatile producer. I think we was really just getting a feel for each other and we had to just go in. Once I got there and he said—‘cause I had a list of producers who I wanted to work with. Hit-Boy was on my top five. He was one of the first producers to respond and say, 'I want to do this with you.' So, I was excited and I didn’t overthink it. ‘Cause I overthink a lot of stuff. I’m a real writer. I’m used to writing and taking my time and being by myself in a house so, my main goal with this project was to go in there and not overthink it.

"'We did our first song in like, thirty minutes, and the first song we did is actually one of my favorite songs. Yeah, we just kept going after that. After that, he was like, 'We might as well do a whole project'"

I know Hit-Boy works with a lot of artists. I know he’s probably an ‘in-the-moment’ type of producer, so I just wanted to go in there and say whatever was on my mind. I wanted to come out of my shell. I didn’t want to be in the corner just writing for hours and then when I’m done, I come and say my whole verse and it’s all perfect and stuff. I wanted to just go in the booth and just go spit a bar and let Hit-Boy see me really come up with the lines in my head, and once I did that with the first song, he was like, 'Oh, you hard.' We did our first song in like, thirty minutes, and the first song we did is actually one of my favorite songs. Yeah, we just kept going after that. After that, he was like, 'We might as well do a whole project,' ‘cause he was supposed to come at first to be an executive producer for my album, but after we did that whole song he was like, 'I wanna do a project with you.' I was like, 'Aight, let’s do it.' It’s history.

hit-boy dreezy

Image provided by the artist. Photo credit: Courtney Paul (@itsbycp)

I think that’s such a great story because the core of what Hip Hop and collaborating is, it’s like, we came in to do one thing, we’re just gonna do something else and just see how creativity flows between two people. I really admire you as a writer, as someone who really has a strong pen game. How do you balance being an artist but also working as a writer for television and in other aspects of the industry? ‘Cause we have 24 hours in a day and it seems like adding something else on as a performer and as an artist, other things can pull from that time.

It is. Honestly, I’ve always been a writer. So, even before I knew I would be a rapper, I was a writer. I was writing poems, I was doing spoken word, I was singing jazz, and just doing intimate things. So, I’ve always had melodies, like even the instruments I used to play. I used to play the piano, the saxophone, the flute. I’ve been in the jazz band. I used to scat. So, I’ve always been musically inclined and I think as I started getting comfortable with what my sound was, I was also making other sounds that I wasn’t comfortable with, but I knew it was dope.

Sometimes, I go in the studio and I have these melodies in my head, and I try to sing my little heart out, and then when it come out, it don’t sound like, oh this is a hit...but it’s a hit. So, I started realizing, okay, maybe I’m not Beyoncé, but maybe I could write for Beyoncé. The first time I started thinking about that, I hit up my publishing company because I ended up going independent right when the pandemic started, so that was a real hard time for me just trying to figure out what I was gon’ do next, and I knew I had to tap in with everybody that I met in the industry. All the connections I made while I was signed to Interscope and everything, I knew I had to keep those people close and start talking to them directly if I was gon’ be independent.

"I started realizing, okay, maybe I’m not Beyoncé, but maybe I could write for Beyoncé."

So, I hit up my publishing company and I’m like, 'Hey, I’m independent. I’m ready to work. If y’all got anything, y’all need me to write for anything, I would love to. Just try me out. Any opportunity or whatever.' And they put me in the studio with this producer named Chi Chi, he makes all Lil Baby’s beats. He's a dope ass producer. The first song me and Chi Chi made was called 'Find a Way,' and I sent it to my publishing company and he was like, 'Yo, can we put H.E.R. on this? Can I play it for H.E.R.?' And I said, 'Hell yeah you could play it for H.E.R.' [laughs] I swear to God, two weeks later, they said, 'Yeah, the single’s on H.E.R.'s album.' I’m like, 'You’re lying!' Because I’m so used to being a rapper and just making my own music, I always felt like I had dope melodies but nobody ever told me, ay, you should try to write for people. So, the first time I went in the studio, I wrote for somebody. I got on H.E.R. album and it’s Grammy-nominated. And the Grammy’s is next month so, we turnin' up [laughs].

"So, the first time I went in the studio, I wrote for somebody. I got on H.E.R. album and it’s Grammy-nominated. And the Grammy’s is next month so, we turnin' up [laughs]."

I just did another song, I wrote it. Now, I’m like, me and Jacquees is super locked in. Now, I’m experimenting. I just told Quee, I’m like, 'I got this song I wrote a long time ago, it’s for myself, but I’m probably not gon’ use it.' I can’t really sing and hit those notes like I want to but I’m like, I really wrote it thinking about Chris Brown. I’m like, 'I don’t know if maybe you could sing it but let’s see. I don’t know if the notes is too high for you but let’s try it,' and he was like, 'Stop playin’ with me Dree.' That made him want to go into the studio that night and he recorded it. He called me back the next day, he said 'Dreez, This sh*t is a hit. I’m puttin’ it on my album. This is one of my favorite songs on the album.' So, Jacquees next album, be looking out for that song. I just wrote that, too.

That’s crazy [laughs]!

Yeah, so I got some sessions lined up next week. I just did some stuff for Issa Rae’s new show Rap Sh*t. I sent them one song, and they asked me for eight more songs, and then they flew me out to Miami and had me working the writer’s camp and everything. So, for me, it’s just fun for me to be in the studio and just create, create, create. And if I like it for myself, I put it over here. If I don’t like it for myself, I sell it. 

I love that. Having that happen for you, as a young Black woman in the industry, is phenomenal. I’m excited to see how that just continues to develop, and you taking the initiative on your own and saying if there’s any place for me to work and anything for me to do—I think that’s super inspirational. I want to shift focus a bit to shaping your team. Do you find it important to keep a certain number of women on your team? Answers to this question from other artists have varied, so how do you form the group of people that work with and for you, and is having women on your team important?

I definitely think it’s important to have a woman, especially with female artists, because who understands a woman more than a woman. So, I definitely have women on my team and I would say that...I’ve been in the industry for so long, [and for] myself, my biggest challenge was me being more feminine and presenting myself as quote-unquote female rapper instead of just a girl from the streets. I think over time, I’ve kind of learned how to do things myself. A lot of the women that’s on my team, they don’t even really—I appreciate them more for their organization and just getting stuff done. It’s just something about women, they just get stuff done.

I wouldn’t say, because when I initially went to Sal, because Sal & Co is my management. When I initially went to Sal & Co, I didn’t know how big the team was. I just knew Sal, and I was going through Gordon. Shout out to Gordon and shout out to Shake. And when they brought me in, inevitably, it’s gonna be women behind the scenes just because that’s what makes the world go 'round. So, if you go to Sal & Co, of course, it’s a lot of the top boss males, but behind the system, it’s always females and that’s who I usually…well, I talk to both of them. It’s crazy for me ‘cause, like I said, I’m from Chicago, so I naturally hang around guys, I naturally attract to guys. I don’t know, I’m not really a feminine type of person but it’s just like, I naturally just blend in with guys. The type of humor. The type of energy. Being in the studio 'til three, four in the morning. So, I know how to do both. I know how to adapt to both.

But I feel like women, they’re needed. They’re needed for sure. But, I am just saying it shouldn’t just be like, oh we need women only. Men play a big part, too. I think it’s an even exchange. We're all humans. We all bring different stuff to the table. I feel like women think a little further than men sometimes when it comes to dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and everything.

I also do want to ask you about, as far as other women in the industry that you’ve either worked with or collaborated with or just are friends with or looked up to, who is somebody that has given you a piece of advice that you’ve carried on throughout your career, or something that you’ve held onto? Whether it be another rapper or just another woman in general that is in the industry that taught you something.

I’m cool with all the females in the game, but I really don’t have too many that I’m super, super close with. The ones who I am super close with, well not even super close with, who I’ve had in-depth conversations with, I’ll probably say, Coi Leray. Asian Doll. Me and Megan Thee Stallion just talk on a regular thing. But I think, me and Coi Leray, we not—I’m not gon’ make it seem like we best friends or anything, but we recently just made a new song together, and I feel like we really kind of had a little bonding moment in the session. I just appreciated her just telling me—and this isn’t something that I’ve kept throughout my whole career ‘cause we just linked up a couple months ago [laughs]. But it’s something that I feel inspired me, and she was just telling me about myself. She was saying I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it’s a lot of girls that’s coming in the game and they try and act like they ain’t seen what you did, and I appreciate people like Coi. It’s a lot of female rappers who do show me love behind the scenes like, 'Dreez, I used to be a fan of you growing up, like I used to watch you,' and Coi really kind of put some fire under my ass.

"I appreciate people like Coi [Leray]. It’s a lot of female rappers who do show me love behind the scenes like, 'Dreez, I used to be a fan of you growing up, like I used to watch you,' and Coi really kind of put some fire under my ass."

She gave me my flowers, but then right after that, she’s like, 'You gotta stay consistent, like, you harder than all these b*tches [with] even natural things, like you cooking and stuff. Show you cooking more, like you funny as hell bro. I didn’t even know you was this funny. Start going live and doing stuff like that.' ‘Cause I’m such an artist. I’m such a studio rat. I love being in the studio. I don’t ever have to post on Instagram ever again if I could just make money. But, I understand what I want to be. I want to be bigger than just a writer, so, you gotta tap into those things, and it’s some people that come in early in their career like Coi Leray. She’s still, I guess, a little fresh in her career. It’s so easy to just take risks. Everything is just so spur of the moment, like let’s do this, let’s do this, let’s do this. After a certain amount of years in the game, you overthink everything. You’re just like, is it good enough? Is it perfect enough? It’s not dope enough. And it ends up stopping you from putting out sh*t like, I got this song this week, it’s called 'Covid Flow.' I’ma probably end up just dropping it this week anyway instead of overthinking it. But, yeah. I f*ck with [Coi's] free spirit. She was basically telling me, have a free spirit and stay consistent ‘cause I’m that b*tch.


She seems like a very supportive person when it comes to other women in the industry, because she’s so new, hungry, and kind of a sponge just soaking up wisdom as she continues to grow, and we really appreciate what Coi’s been doing in the industry, too. Okay, this is my last question. You’ve been in the game for so long and artists such as yourself, they’re seen as one thing because of the expectations and assumptions that are placed on them. People think of Dreezy as maybe, she’s a beast in the booth or whatever your audience or your fans or the world sees. What is something about Dreezy, as a person, that doesn’t always translate? There’s Dreezy the rapper, there’s Dreezy the writer, there’s Dreezy the this and that, but as Dreezy as a person...what’s something that you would hope that the world would know about you?

I think I gotta build it up more but I’m a very...I think I’m a deep person. I love real conversations. I love talking about life. I’m spiritual. I’m emotional. I’m just, really a deep person. I’m really a poet, and I’m really like an emotional gangster. That’s really the name of my next album now that I’m thinking about it, matter fact, you might have to delete that [laughs]. Nah, for real, because b*tches have no creativity! They don’t. And they will try me...or maybe we should keep it on there so we could save it for the record, like, now y’all know damn well Dreezy said this the name of her next album! [laughs]

But that’s really what I feel like I am. I feel like I’m an emotional gangster. I been through so much stuff and I know I’m very hard but I feel like my music tells it all. My R&B tells my softer side and my rap shows my harder side. So, you get the best of both worlds. If you really a true fan of Dreezy, then you know, I’m just a real person. I’m not no gimmick. I never made it off clout. I made it strictly off talent and my story. So, I feel like this year they just gon’ tap in with me a lil’ more. I hope people get to know me on a personal level.

That’s amazing. I appreciate you. Everything that you said is really insightful and helpful, and I thank you for taking the time with me today.

Thank you too. What’s your name again?

Erika. Erika Marie.

Okay. I’ma remember that. Thank you sis!