Spitfire rapper Snow Tha Product is “vibing higher” when it comes to the women’s movement. It’s not that she doesn’t want to be associated with it — in fact, as a Mexican-American woman building serious cred in the male-dominated hip-hop sphere, it could be argued that she embodies the movement. But she’s practical.
Foremost, Snow is a creator, and the idea of vibing higher speaks to her inclination to make art despite any preconceived notions that, as a woman or a Latina or a bisexual, she can’t.
The recording artist, actress, clothing designer, and, now, record label owner will perform poolside during Clubskirts’ Dinah Shore Weekend, March 30 at Hilton Palm Springs. The annual music festival and lesbian gathering runs March 28 to April 1.
• Find out who else is appearing at Clubskirts’ Dinah Shore Weekend.
“I try to pick artists who have a really great story,” says Mariah Hanson, founder and producer of The Dinah. “That has been a recipe for a lot of the successes of artists throughout the weekend’s history. We’ve had a great roster of talent — Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Kesha. They all have these great stories.”
According to Hanson, Snow will blow up in 2018, and her gig at The Dinah may be the last time any of us will have a chance to see the 30-year-old performer in such an intimate setting. If you can call an event with an average 20,000 attendees “intimate.”
Palm Springs Life caught up with Snow (née Claudia Alexandra Madriz Meza and formerly known as Snow White Tha Product) during a rare moment of downtime. Speaking by phone from her studio, she says she’s juggling “a bunch of different things,” which is a total understatement.
Fresh off winning a 2017 MTV Video Music Award for the collaboration “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done),” released by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Snow, who is signed to Atlantic Records and raps in English and Spanish, has a lot on her plate. She just dropped a video on YouTube for her single “Anyway,” featuring Castro Escobar and LexTheGreat; she is prepping for her Vibe Higher tour and working on designs for her Vibe Higher clothing label; and she’s gearing up for another season of Queen of the South on the USA Network, in which she guest stars as a drug trafficker.
“I’m super ADHD,” she says. “That’s why I have so many thing that I do. I rap. I shoot my own videos. I do my own clothing. I graphic design most of it. I record … I think I do it all just to keep sane.”
We spoke with Snow about performing, her responsibilities as a woman in the music business, and a certain buzzword she helped put on the map.
This is your first time performing at The Dinah. What do you have planned?
I’m really excited, honestly. I just came off tour, so I have a solid set. But I am dropping new music, and I do want to turn it up. Usually we throw water, but it’s a pool party, so … it’s going to be crazy!
It’s nearly impossible to keep up with your lyrics. Have you always been such a fast talker?
(Laughs) Yeah. I’m Mexican, so that’s just natural. We talk really fast. People say, “You rap fast!” I don’t know any other way.
Immortal Technique makes a cameo in your 2016 track “No Cut,” saying that when women are heard from in the music business, “it’s usually by a female that’s trying to sell you her rhymes with sex.” But you have made it a point to defy that. Why is that important to you?
I think my dad instilled a lot of that in me. He was very traditional Mexican — a little macho, respectful, a gentleman. He taught me that you can’t be … oversexualized. You can’t get men through this. You have to respect yourself.
Growing up, I wanted to be a social worker; I always believed in outreach. The best thing to prevent people from becoming criminals, or just living a shitty life, is to teach them when they’re teenagers, when they feel like, “Nobody understands me.” Start teaching them then.
My advice comes from caring. It became political [because] the people who are leaders in this country don’t care. You know what I’m saying? Why are there people like me who care, giving any bit of energy or time or money into a certain cause, and these people don’t? That’s when it became, “Okay, I’ve got to say something.” But I’m not going to lie to you — it does get tiring. It’s exhausting when there are so many people who don’t care.
And as a public figure, there are expectations placed upon you to fill that void.
Now people are like, “You’re the one who needs to do that. You got it, right?” They get to go on and have regular careers and do whatever they want, and I’m the one now beholden to being consistently positive. It’s kind of weird.
That’s why I’ve been dropping some vibes, dropping just regular stuff — so people know there’s the undertone of caring and wanting to help change how people look at women and how people look at people of color, but at the same time, I’m not going to overdo it. I’m trying to teach a level of practicality in caring about things. You can do little things to help change the world. You don’t have to completely dive in and not have a regular life.
“You can do little things to help change the world. You don’t have to completely dive in and not have a regular life.”Snow Tha Product
I’m going to make it so that everyone can care and everyone can have fun, and then it just invites more people to join the movement. With something like The Dinah, representing women who a lot of times are ostracized, it’s like, fuck yeah, you should be allowed to have fun. You should be allowed to celebrate.
Have you experienced people trying to box you in, to turn you into something you’re not?
Of course! Social media is a bitch … Being Mexican and caring so much about people of color, and doing what I do but being lighter-skinned, it has become this weird thing. You’re not dark enough to represent or to know the real struggle. You still have white privilege. It pisses me off.
You helped establish the buzzword “woke” through branding efforts like a clothing line by that name. But you’ve shifted your focus to “vibe higher” — the name of your latest album, tour, and apparel company. Why make that semantic change?
Ultimately it means the same thing. I just don’t like buzzwords. I didn’t necessarily give it up — there’s a reason I own those trademarks — but I stepped away from it to give [the word] to the culture, to the world. I need to vibe higher than the issues, to just continue about my own way.
I’m still woke. I still do all of the things that I did before. There are hundreds of kids who have [“woke”] tattooed on them because of me, and I’m never going to let them down. I’ll always represent that. I’m glad so many people are aware and woke and awakened and vibing higher — knowing about a higher frequency and living better.