So, you’re kicking back and talking about contemporary hip-hop. Does Snow Tha Product come up? Maybe not. She isn’t a household name yet, but don’t blink too long: She has been steadily climbing up for the underground since she pressed “go” on her career as a wicked MC.
On her current Vibe Higher tour that kicked off last October, she has been packing rooms for the high-energy live experience. Her YouTube video gets views that hover around the 5 million mark, and she’s increased her presence with peripheral activities, like starting the Woke and Stay Woke product lines of apparel and accessories.
Spreading woke-ness is also part and parcel of Snow’s career. She’s outspoken about a variety of issues, including immigration, and was featured last year in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)" video.
The Mexican-American rapper was born in California as Claudia Alexandra Feliciano, and has had music on her mind since she was a tiny human. Around age 6, she started performing at school talent shows, like a lot of kids, but also with her family’s mariachi band.
Getting into hip-hop and rap came later, in her teens. She dove in — started freestyling with friends and recorded a number of tracks in Spanish.
Blending traditional roots with cultural loves, she was just setting the stage for the swagger-filled, bombastic raps she has been dropping prolifically over the past eight years. Plenty of her songs feature sweet or slow soulful parts that show how easy it would be for her to blast out a full R&B record without effort.
It’s not just the fearless, don’t-give-a-fuck ’tude that hooks you. It’s the delivery. Snow knows how to create some clever and twisty verbiage, and then shoot it at you fast and furious. It’s like getting pummeled with a blast of pellets, the kind that sting and get stuck in your skin.
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And that sassy bluster? Yep, that has been there from the jump. In 2011, she released her first studio full-length called Unorthodox, and tracks like “Woke Wednesday” showed off her early ferocity, tinged with some subtle humor: “So I don’t compete with bitches, I just kill ’em then collect ’em / We the shit homegirl, watch where you steppin’/ Only time I seen a hotter chick, that bitch was my reflection.”
“Cookie Cutter Bitches,” released in 2015, was a big hit for the artist. The name may make it sound like the song is all about throwing shade, but it’s Snow’s way of encouraging empowerment by having some individual flavor.
The video for that track, peeped more than 8 million times, is a good way to see the rapper’s humorous side.
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As the self-proclaimed baker whipping up a batter of cookie-cutter humans to send to the oven, she is both cocky and cheeky. Swirling that rolling pin while sporting a vintage-y checkered apron, her eyes tell you that you’re in on the joke together.
It’s those flashes of funny that make Snow Tha Product seem grounded and ambitious, and maybe it’s because she is. Her song “I’m Doing Fine” might sum it up the best.
“I got a backpack, shades, and a heart that’s made of gold / And the title of my life: ‘The Best Story Ever Told / And I think that I’m doing all right / So what if I wake up late and party all night / I’m doing fine.”
Snow Tha Product performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 29, at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street. Tickets are $23 to $90 for ages 16 and older. Smeared Lipstick Crew opens. Visit thevanburenphx.com.