Bhad Bhabie was once a divisive meme star, but now she’s off to a viral start as a rapper. In September, the 14 year-old Florida native released her debut song, “Hi Bich,” and since then she’s been adjusting to the music industry while navigating a constant flood of criticism. During a recent visit to The FADER, Bhabie talked about becoming a rapper, haters, and why she thinks you can't "act a color."
Watch the full video above and read the interview below.
When the Cash Me Outside meme blew up, what did think was going to happen to your life?
When that meme blew up, I didn’t know. I had just got home [from a program], I hadn’t been on social media for months. I hadn’t seen a phone for months. I didn’t even know how to say the word “meme.” [Laughs] At first I was just like — my instinct was to cuss out everyone who said anything to me. If a fan came up to me and wanted to take a picture of me, I’d be like, “Why the fuck do you want to take a picture with me? I don’t even know who the fuck you are, you’re just coming up to me saying this wack ass shit to me?” But, now I’m like, “Okay.” As soon as I realized, I’m famous, I wasn’t big-headed about it, I was just like I need to be sort of respectful.
How and when did you first start rapping? What made you start taking it seriously?
They came into the studio and were like you should record a song. I was recording this song called “Fake Ass Bitch,” and an A&R walked in and was like, “I fuck with this. I want to work with her.” From there, everything popped off. I had to realize, I’m going to really do this and I’m not just sitting here rapping someone else’s song. I had to realize, This is my shit, my music, words and thoughts. That whole move from social media to the industry is crazy and makes you look at everything differently. Music is a whole other world so you have to pack your shit and move into that world.
How did “Hi Bich” come about?
This is the second time I was in the studio. They were like "We have this beat and then we have this hook." All it said was, “Hi Bich” but the whole "sniff it, roll it" thing wasn’t there, it was some other wack shit and I’m like, “No we need to change that.” It killed me when I really found that some people don’t write their hooks, and verses too. I was like, “So they don’t really mean that?” I had someone in there that was coaching me through certain things, because like I said it was the second time I was in the studio. So he’s like, “We can change this” and then it became the “Hi Bich” that we know it to be today.
Did you expect for it take off so quickly?
Being so young and being a female it’s like are they going to look at this like, “Look at this little ass girl trying to rap, what the fuck is this?” So it was scary for me to put out at first. I’m not saying I wasn’t confident because I was, I was just scared for the stupid people who always have something negative to say and something negative out of everything.
Why do you think people hate on you so much? Or have so much criticism?
People are going to hit that dislike button but there are more people who are going to hit that like button, that’s all that matters to me. If there’s going to be 30% haters and 70% of people who like me, I’m totally fine with that. I’m going to be completely raw with this: Artists fight to get where they are, like started off with 10 views on SoundCloud. And I put out my first single and it’s 1 million views in one day, and I think some of them don’t like that. It’s because they think they watched other artists grow up and I just jumped into this shit. I’ve worked to get where I am still, I put in the same amount of hours in the studio and working my ass off like whoever else is doing. Just because they didn’t have that kick-start doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve to be where I am.
A lot of people have said that sometimes the way you talk and act isn’t genuine and is an exaggerated portrayal of black culture. What do you say to that?
I look at that cultural appropriation shit and I just ignore it because it’s ridiculous, it really is. You cannot act a color. Do not tell me I’m acting black because I’m not. I’m acting “urban,” or whatever you want to call it. I don’t even have a name for it, I call it, “me.” How I act is me. I get braids all the time, you can’t tell me I’m acting black because I braid my hair. That makes no sense whatsoever. One race does something more than another race. Honestly, Asians started tattoos. Every single race has tattoos. How come they don’t tell me I’m culturally appropriating because I have a tattoo? If someone wants to do something they should just do it, as long as they’re happy with it. If you’re not happy with it then don’t do it. Do what you’re happy with and not what you think who ever else is going to tell you about you “acting a color.” You don’t act at all, you just do what you think is best. There’s no way to act a color, that shit’s ridiculous.