Exclusive: Don't Hate Chanel West Coast for Keeping It Real
Anyone who watches MTV’s Ridiculousness knows that one of the show’s defining features is a laugh; an infectious giggle that has become notorious in its own right. It belongs to none other than Chanel West Coast, a girl who has somehow found the time to kickstart her own rap career amidst co-hosting a reality show. She’s on her grind this year with her first full album being prepped for release and her own TV show in the works, all possible thanks to some mad love to the city that raised her.
You may have caught her here back in April at the Milk Jam Room where she performed at our Milk Made x FRANK151 Femmes party. The blonde hip-hop bunny was already on our radar, but seeing her rock the stage and get our fam partying, Milk Made’s Karenna Insanally had to catch up with her for a quick chat. Despite her hectic schedule, CWC filled us in on some of her craziest career moments thus far, what it was like interviewing the Fat Jewish, and how she manages to keep it so fuckin’ real.
The Fat Jewish was recently on Ridiculousness. What was it like working with him?
Fat Jewish is hilarious. I actually did an interview with him way before he was a guest on our show. He made me a picture of us as trolls sliding down a rainbow coming out of a unicorn. He’s definitely one of my favorite guests we’ve had.
Your laugh is recognized across the country, is there anyone else you know who can do it better?
Maria Menounos had a funny weird laugh that stood out more than mine. Other than that I think I’m holding the laugh crown for now.
You rep the West Coast to the fullest. Tell us why you love Cali and how your hood has helped shape who you are today.
Yes, I definitely rep the West Coast to the fullest. Growing up in LA helped shape me because I was exposed to so many different people and things at such a young age. When you go to school with a bunch of rich kids with famous parents it can make you feel unimportant or depressed about your family situation. I went to school with a lot of people like that, but also with a lot of kids who were struggling. I didn’t want to struggle like my mom and a lot of my close friends’ moms and families did. I wanted the finer things, and living in LA made it easier to get those things.
I also saw a lot of bad shit growing up in LA, which taught me to be more responsible. My ex-boyfriend and his best friend were shot and killed when I was 17. That made me realize how easily life can be taken away and how you need to make the most of every minute. My friends were making music in the studio every day up until they died, so I wanted them to live on through music and through me. LA was the perfect place to be to start pursuing my dreams and that is why I love it so much here.
What’s been one of the most epic moments in your career/life so far?
OMG there are too many to name only one. I would say winning a BET award for best group with Young Money last year was one of the best moments so far. Falling on stage while I was on tour with Riff Raff was pretty embarrassing but so funny—that was an epic fail.
You’ve been rapping since you were 14, what was the track that ignited your career pursuit?
It was a track called “Crazy,” and I rapped and sang the hook. I actually recorded it at Marvin Gaye’s house. That’s a whole other story in itself, but I haven’t stopped writing music and recording ever since.
You like to play characters in your music/videos, but you’re also known for being really real.
I played a character in my “Alcoholic” music video, so people wouldn’t think I’m a real alcoholic. But who I am in my music is very much me, not a made up character. I’m almost too real sometimes. My friends make fun of me because I always say ‘I’m just gonna be honest’ and ‘I’m just keeping it real’ so much. I’m known for being very blunt and outspoken. I’m the friend who’ll tell you that your outfit looks stupid, and helps you pick a new one instead of not saying anything. I’m the friend who will tell you when it’s time to get your life together, knowing it will hurt you but also help you. I always speak the truth when I feel the need to. I’m super honest no matter what. I think that’s a good way to live life.
You performed here at the Milk Jam Room for our Femmes Party a few months ago, what’s the difference between getting in front of an NYC crowd versus an LA crowd?
I love performing in New York over LA. You’d think I’d like performing where I’m from more, but NY shows me so much love. LA crowds don’t get into the music the same way that NY crowds do. Don’t get me wrong, I love LA, but the performance vibes are different in NY. My dad is a DJ from NY and growing up I would go to work with him and hide in the DJ booth. Even back then I knew I liked the NYC nightlife.
What’s the best thing about being femme?
Being an inspiration to other women. I always say I aspire to inspire.
What do you like to do/how do you like to prepare before you get on stage?
On the day of a show I try to not smoke weed. I drink lots of water and eat healthy, so my voice is fresh and I have more energy to give a great show! The struggle is real being a rapper/singer/stoner.
Your music is definitely very party-oriented. From start to finish what’s an epic Saturday night for Chanel West Coast?
Let’s just say I can make any night epic. I know how to party.
If you could go back in time and see anyone perform, who would it be, and what would you wear to see his or her show?
Tupac. I would wear my white bandana tied in the front of my head the way he rocked it with a cute white summer dress and white high top Chuck Taylor’s. All white everythang with red nails, red lips, and a daisy necklace.
What do you have going on in the works right now?
I’m working on a mixtape as well as my debut album, another season of Ridiculousness, and my own TV show, which is in the works, plus an upcoming college tour. I have so much going on it’s hard to keep up! But I love staying busy.
Chanel West Coast photographed exclusively for Milk Made by Aysha Banos
Check out Chanel’s Soundcloud here