Pap Chanel is ready to introduce the world to the different personalities she portrays in songs detailing her life experiences, goals, and flexes. The small-town southern rapper from Milledgeville, GA, a town of fewer than 20,000 people, has big dreams and is ready to put in the work to make them her reality.
“I’m finna shake the world, baby,” Chanel declares on a Zoom call with VIBE. “We just [getting] started.”
The 22-year-old Georgia native released Pretty And Paid 2.0 on Nov. 19 as an extended version of her 2020 debut project. The new version of the project features eight additional songs and includes “Gucci Bucket Hat” featuring Future and Herion Young, and her breakout record “2 Way Street” featuring Blac Youngsta.
Pretty And Paid 2.0 was released via a partnership between 4th and Broadway and 1865 Black Flag. It features Pap putting her different “PAPonalities” on display, showcasing six alter egos and a variety of themes and messages. On the album, she embodies “Papiana,” “Paprika,” “Tupap,” “Papi,” “Papatouille,” and “Papillion” all with different styles and inspirations.
VIBE caught up with just one of the many sides of Pap Chanel to discuss Pretty And Paid 2.0, and how her upbringing has influenced her career. Read our conversation below:
This interview had been edited for length and clarity.
VIBE: What are some of the songs you’re most excited for fans to hear on this project?
Pap Chanel: I’m really excited for my fans to hear all of them. It’s a no skip project. It’s an introductory project to a lot of the things that I’ve been working on over the past year and a half. I’m super excited about all of them because it’s like a different side to me on every song speaking on things I’ve never spoken on.
What was your creative process behind the “PAPonalties” introduced on the project?
I’m really inspired by Nicki Minaj. She really helped me pick up my pen in the first place. My style is in that genre of just showing fans a different side of yourself every time. The six personalities that I have, all of them are on the project, Pretty And Paid 2.0. I have “Papiana,” she’s the cocky one; “Paprika,” the spicy one; “Papatoullie,” she’s very creative; “Papi,” the godfather, the dad; “Papillion,” my soft side; and “Tupap,” the storyteller. They’re not gonna be hard to identify. I’m really excited.
From the title, Pretty And Paid seems to be about looking good, getting money, and doing your thing. Is that what the phrase means to you?
It started as a movement for females when I was in sixth grade. I wanted to come out with something that represented females and brought females together with women empowerment. I’m big on confidence. Through my lyrics, I always make sure you got to wear your weave in your hair like you wear your confidence. I’m all about walking in your face and just doing the things that are not done, casually. People don’t really be confident about the things that they do. When I created Pretty And Paid, I wanted it to be a thing of motivation for females. Again, I’m really, really big on confidence and self-esteem, so I make sure that is one thing that’s very understood in this movement. It started in sixth grade, now it’s something really, really big.
Being a Black woman from the south, do you think you have to do anything to prove yourself more because of who you are and where you are from?
Yeah. I grew up in a household being the only female so my biggest goal was always to be the best at what I do. I don’t see competition, because the only competition is myself. Me being in a small town, it turned up my work ethic. I had to hustle to get everywhere I’m at. I just moved to Atlanta a year ago, and nothing has changed. It’s time for a new city so I’m working hard to keep elevating. My background really shaped me into the artist that I am today. I feel like I’m going to be relatable to a lot of small-town girls. The City Girls out here reppin’ for the city girls, but I feel like the small-town country girls outnumber the city people. We just need somebody to represent and I’m here to do that, and I’m gonna speak on some things I know a lot of people are just gonna be drawn to.
Is there anything that you have trouble translating to your music? Are there any topics that took you longer to be able to rap about?
When I first started making music, it was just fun for me. It was seriously a hobby. I started out in the sixth grade. I’ve always just had fun with it. But now that I see I can use my voice for the betterment of people, I just try to make sure that you can hear my pain. Sometimes that’s something that I really press the issue about in the studio. I’m trying to be that person that has different sounds. I don’t want to always just be having fun [making] popping twerk music. Me putting my pain in it is something that I really want to make a big point about. There’s not really a female Meek Mill, Lil Baby, or Lil Durk out here. I wanted to be that voice. Me putting my pain in is something that I’m working on in my music, and so far [it’s] been good. I have two songs on my project 2.0 that exhibit that.
You were inspired a lot by Nicki Minaj but who are some other artists that you would listen to growing up that inspired you?
T.I., Lil Wayne, Tupac, Foxy Brown. I grew up with a lot of brothers. Everything in my life has just been male-dominated. My brothers are six years older than me. They were around in the 1990s and early 2000s. They made sure that I was digging some flavor and that I got the taste of all of it. Tupac, he’s a big inspiration to me when it comes to storytelling.
What do you hope people who are listening to you for the first time are able to take away from this album?
I’m hoping [they] can take away the fact that my talents and how I’m going to present them are totally different and it’s about to start a whole new wave. I want people to feel confident when they first hear my music. I want them to always think about what’s next. I’m gonna give what needs to be given but I’m always needing them wondering. I’m so excited for new fans to know that I always get better and it’s always gonna be something new… With six alter egos, I have a lot to talk about.