Whether it’s her “Icy” calling card or her “I know that’s right” catchphrase, two-time Grammy-nominated rapper Saweetie has been cementing herself as a branding queen since she first hit the Billboard charts with “Icy Girl” back in 2017. In the years since then, she’s notched a bevy of platinum singles — “Tap In,” “My Type” and “Best Friend” (with Doja Cat), among them — and collaborated with everyone from John Legend to Gwen Stefani.
For her latest partnership, Saweetie has joined forces with Tinder — the dating app used by millions of love-seekers around the world. Dubbed “Swipe-Off,” the collaboration is a nationwide challenge where the college with the most Swipe activity on Tinder wins a free double feature concert headlined by Saweetie and special guest and fellow rapper Baby Tate. “She was definitely one of the top choices and I’m happy she went with us,” Saweetie gushes.
Swipe-Off — which alludes to Saweetie’s “Tap In” lyrics, “You better get the card and make it swipe like Tinder”— is the latest step in a busy year for the “Icy Chain” rapper. Earlier this year, she released a pair of singles titled “Shot O’ Clock” and “Birthday” (with YG & Tyga), the latter of which peaked at No. 16 on Billboard‘s Rhythmic Airplay chart. Before she debuted those two songs, Saweetie also hopped on the remix of Baby Tate’s viral hit “Hey Mickey,” which the pair will “absolutely” perform at the Swipe-Off concert. Just last month, the rapper and USC alumna co-hosted the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show.
In a lively conversation with Billboard, Saweetie speaks on new music, that VMAs teleprompter gaffe, a return to acting and her dating tips for a Tinder home run.
What can fans expect to hear and see at your Tinder Swipe-Off concert, should their campus win the competition?
Icy Girls love to have fun, and I’m a college girl, so I would love to bring my energy to whatever campus wins. I think it’s a great way to bring communities together in such a fun and youthful way. I’m jealous too, I wish I was still in college. It’s been some time! I’m really happy to go to the students. I’m happy that they’re excited to see me with my new music. I just dropped “Birthday” and “Shot O’ Clock,” which is doing really well right now. So, I’m excited to see who’s gonna go up because they can expect a really fun show. The surprise is out now, I’m bringing Baby Tate, who is also amazing. So, we’re going to bring all of that!
The focus on college campuses in this Tinder collaborations lines up with your advocacy for education. What are your long-term plans and goals for your ICY Baby Foundation?
My longtime goals and plans is to give back to Black and brown communities, and to come back and to be a living example for what they could become. Whether it’s music, business, education, whatever their heart desires. I want them to know that accomplishing their dream is possible. I think it’s important that somebody who looks like them is coming back and speaking on this, just to give them the fuel they need to engineer their dreams.
My goal is to go back and to inspire and to help them not only learn about financial literacy, but to discover what their passion is. I think that when we used to have career fairs as children, we were often only shown the traditional careers, but it’s 2023-2024. There’s so many more opportunities out there. So, I think it’s important to show them that someone that looks like them did it, and they can do it too.
As you prep for the Swipe-Off concert, what have you found are your favorite songs to perform live?
So there’s two songs. For a popular cut, I love to perform “My Type,” of course. The energy is always so crazy. A deep cut I love to perform is “Back Seat,” it’s such vibe, it’s so special, and it just puts me into this magical trance on stage.
You put out “Birthday” and “Shot O’ Clock” earlier this year, which of the two do you prefer?
I feel like every day is your birthday. I’m the type of person that celebrates my birthday the whole month. So, “Birthday” was really special to me, because I feel like everyone should celebrate life for, if not the whole month, then — I don’t know what’s more dramatic than that — but give me a whole month and I’m good.
What I love about “Shot O’ Clock” is that it’s a triple entendre. It could be alcohol shots, but it could also be like healthy and wellness shots. They could be NBA shots. There could be some type of other shots! [Laughs.] It can go in so many different ways. What made those two songs the perfect combination is that they’re a celebration of life. I’m an Icy Girl, I love to have fun. I like to work hard, but I also like to celebrate hard as well, and I feel like those are what those two songs exhibit.
Those two songs were your first releases (as a lead artist) of the calendar year, why return with those particular tracks?
I think it was all about getting new music out. It was the summertime — you know, summertime is for the girls stepping out, getting ready and having fun — so I think it matched that energy. Now, as far as my next couple of releases, I’m still deciding on what those are, but I just wanted to give the girls something to get ready to and to party to.
In terms of new music, where is your head at sonically? What sounds and styles are inspiring you right now?
I don’t want to give the name of my sound out — because, you know, people be studying and they be stealing, girl. But this music I’m creating…
I literally tell people that I don’t like writing camps. Don’t do any writing camps without me, because I have to be in the room. I produce my own music and I also write my own music. It’s a co-production between me and the creatives, and I think once I put my foot down in that way, the music got so much better. I need to be in the room. My soul and my spirit needs to be in the production. All I can say is when you hear this sound — it’s just gon’ be that Saweetie Sound. So, I’m really excited to share that with the world. It’s that Saweetie Sound, baby, let’s just call it that!
Let’s get into your Tinder history for a bit. When you use the app, do you do so as Saweetie or Diamonté, or are you a lurker?
Honestly, I was a lurker for one day. I was like, “Oh no, this is a new world for me. I gotta come back to this.” But I never came back to it, so I’m excited that I’m actually able to work with them in a bigger way.
What are you green flags and red flags on a Tinder profile?
Green flags are somebody who’s well-traveled, who likes to have fun, who has a job…? A J-O-B. [Laughs.] A job that makes tangible money, not just social currency. A red flag is someone who has no other hobbies besides partying. I think that’s a very one-dimensional personality, and for a girl like me, you need to be multi-dimensional to keep me interested. That’s definitely what I’m looking for: someone who has more to offer than just one side.
What was your approach to dating in college and how does that differ from how you move in the streets now?
I definitely recommend that people shouldn’t be tied down to one person in college, I think college is all about experience — which is why Tinder is great because, you’re able to see what you like and what you don’t like. Hopefully, the girls are out there vetting because we’re the prize. So, who wins the prize? We’re gon’ see!
In the Swipe-Off ad, you were giving us some acting vibes and you’ve done that in the past. Is a return to acting on the table for you in any capacity?
Well, before the writers’ strike, I actually filmed with a really big TV show, so I’m really excited for whenever they decide to release it. I know it’s going to be a huge moment. They stripped me down: no lashes, barely any makeup, I had this wig on! They were like, “No lashes, take ‘em off!” And you know, I’m a lash girl, so I’m just like, “All right, cool. Let’s get into this acting bag, what’s up?!”
Obviously the SAG-AFTRA strike is still ongoing, but could you give fans any hints as to what the show could be?
I’m going to give you one of my lyrics: “Cocaina tiptoes/ Ride it like the whip stole/ Benjis in my bra when my titties need a lift though.” The answer’s in there!
Outside of the Swipe-Off concert, where else can fans expect to see you performing?
That is something we are working on when it comes to this top-secret rollout we’ve been planning, but they gon’ see me outside!
Now, I have to get into the VMAs because obviously everybody had a lot to say. Take me inside your head while you were hosting the pre-show and reading off that teleprompter. Do you have anything you’d like to say to the commenters at home?
I do have a response for that actually. I think a simple response is no matter what happens, baby just keep going. Imma always keep going. I love to motivate. I love to inspire, and because I got back up on that stage, makeup still intact, hair still intact, outfit still intact, still on my Icy Girl ten white toes — I just keep going no matter what happens. That’s all I gotta say about that.
I know your DMs probably be flooded daily, what’s the corniest pick-up line anyone’s ever tried on you? And have you ever used a pick-up line on somebody else?
I think my brand is so strong that the way I’m approached or the way fans — you know, fans shoot their shot — I think I don’t get corny lines cause I think people just know me so well. They be like, “You want some crab legs? You want a Birkin? What you wanna do?” It be cute stuff!
I think that I don’t get corny pickup lines, I get creative pick-up lines. The pickup lines I be getting to see have me laughing. And I think that when people are trying to link on Tinder, make them laugh, be creative, don’t do the “Yo,” “Hey,” “Wassup.” Don’t do the simple stuff. It’s Tinder, baby! Let’s spice it up and let’s have fun in life. It’s something about making the girl laugh. If you could make me laugh, what else can you do?
You puttin’ everyone on game, I know that’s right!
I know that’s right! You know what I love? I love when a man come up to me and they do that line and they go, “I know that’s right.” I be like, “Look at you!” It makes me giggle because to hear a man say it in my tone?! [Laughs.]
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