After a brief hiatus, Dreezy is back and ready for action. Her latest album, HITGIRL, was released on Friday (May 20) and delivers ten tracks executive produced by Hit-Boy. Ahead of the official drop, the rap star sounded the alarm with “They Not Ready” in March, introducing one of Hip-Hop’s newest dream teams.
“‘They Not Ready’ felt like a warning shot,” Dreezy explained to VIBE in April, clarifying the track was not a single but an introduction. “I wanted it to strictly be a warning. A statement. Just let me clear the air real quick, let me bar y’all up real quick. I’m going to come with them vibey bops that y’all want, but just real quick, I want y’all to put respect on my name, especially with me working with somebody like Hit-Boy. I knew certain people would be paying attention. It’s a bigger scale when you working with Hit-Boy. I didn’t want to come out with no twerk song with him or nothing as the first song. I wanted to set the mood.”
She followed that introduction with “Balance My Lows” featuring Coi Leray on May 10. Additionally, Future, Jeremih, and INK appear as guests throughout HITGIRL.
On the album, Dreezy introduces a new persona, exploring new styles and sounds outside of her comfort zone. HITGIRL comes as the Chicago rapper’s first full-length project since she issued the album Big Dreez in 2019. It’s also her first major offering as an independent artist, officially launching a new era for the four-time Grammy-nominated artist.
Ahead of the album’s release, VIBE spoke with Dreezy about her creative process, working with Hit-Boy, collaborating with Future, and more.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
VIBE: Can you talk about where you are now versus where you were In 2019 and the differences in sound, goals, and the creative processes with the new project?
Dreezy: Well, I feel like this HITGIRL project, because that’s the name of it, it’s called HITGIRL, I think the sound is super different from what my fans and everybody’s used to. It’s very Hit-Boy-influenced for one, because it’s completely produced by him. For me, it was an experiment of me trying different sounds and just coming into Hit-Boy’s world and seeing what we could do together. It’s different from what you will usually hear from me because I’m usually like a live instrumental type person, or I’m like on that talking sh*t real heavy, cocky, club bangers, or it’s R&B. My music, it’s like either heavy on the R&B or heavy on the trap, but this one is really heavy on the lyrics, rap, production and it’s just different. I think it’s a different side of Dreezy that y’all going to hear. That’s why I wanted to call it HITGIRL so it could be kind of like my alter ego.
How collaborative was the process between yourself and Hit-Boy?
I’m so glad I brought my camera with me. I had a little camera that I set up in a lot of the sessions. I’m going to put together a studio vlog for everybody so y’all can see the process, but Hit-Boy was completely hands-on with everything. Even when we first started, I had just moved to Atlanta, but my management and Hit-Boy were in LA. So, when he said he wanted to do it, I had just moved from LA, but I’m like, I’m finna fly out there every two weeks or every month until we get this done.
The first week I flew out there, I think we did maybe four songs. It wasn’t a full week. I just came out there for like a couple of days, but we did like, four, five songs. I came back again two weeks later we did another four, five songs. Then I ended up moving [back to] LA, and once I moved here, we really kind of polished everything up, and started adding features. The process was really hands-on. Literally, I wouldn’t be there if Hit-Boy wasn’t there and all of his beats are by him. I might have did one or two songs without him being there but I still call him before the session. He picked the beats and sent them to me. So, it was hand-in-hand. It’s really collaborative.
Did you feel like there were expectations for this collab project with Hit-Boy? Did you have any intimidation going into it?
I’m not intimidated by nothing. If anything, I will say expectations for myself because I’m so used to making my own music and knowing my sound, I feel like Hit-Boy kind of learned my sound as the process was going on. So, that kind of scared me. I was just like, dang, I hope he knows who Dreezy really is so we could really tap into that for my fan base. But eventually, I just let it go and I told myself, I’m a real artist. So, whether the typical Dreez or not, it’s still going to be a work of art. You know what I’m saying? Maybe I do put [it] out, maybe I do need to challenge myself and do something different, you never know what you could come up with. So, I think this whole experience was something new for me and Hit-Boy, but I think my fans going to like it because it’s still that core Dreez, it’s just on a different sound.
How did the collaboration come along with Future?
Well, actually with me and Future, I was out of the country and he had hit me in my DMs and he was like, “Yo Dreez, pull up to the studio,” and I’m like, “What the f**k?” I’m like, “Okay.” I don’t know where it’s coming from, but okay. I’m going to get back from this country as soon as possible. As soon as I got back, I hit him like, “What’s up bro? Let me know when you’re free, I’ll come to the studio.” He was like, “Pull up today at this time.” And I just pulled up and I ain’t going to put too much of what he [was] working on out there but he had an artist that he wanted me to do a song with and that was the whole reason for him telling me to pull up.
When I pulled up, I killed the sh*t on the spot. I made sure like, I didn’t want to take it home and write to it because I’m like, no matter what, before I leave this session, I’m going to make sure me and Future work [together] and he always been a fan of my music and always supported me since I was in Chicago. That was the first time I met Future. I knew I was working on this Hit-Boy project so I called Hit-Boy. I’m like, “Yeah, Future telling me come to the studio. I don’t know what he finna tell me to do, but I need a beat,” and he sent me the beats.
Next thing you know, we was vibing for a minute. He was like, “Man, don’t nobody got no beats in here? I can’t prepare.” I was like, “Yeah, I got some beats.” I pulled out them Hit-Boy beats. He instantly got on the mic and just rapping, literally off the dome, just got to rapping to it and I was just so happy because I’m like, this is going to go on my project. Then next thing you know, DJ Esco had pulled up and he pulled up another beat. Future rapped to that beat too and then when we was done, he was like, “You can have both of these.” I’m like, good looking bro. So, I got another Future song in the stash, but we ain’t going to talk about that right now.
What are your favorite songs on HITGIRL and what is the overall message you want listeners to receive?
I think I had the most fun making my song with Coi Leray. That was super fun and in the spur of the moment and I think we really kind of bonded with each other just on a personal level. We had fun and I really love that song. It’s energetic. Another song I like, it’s the complete opposite, it’s called “Phases.” It’s a personal song to me and I like it because I feel like I was venting and I said a lot of real sh*t that I could relate to so I feel like [fans] are really going to love that one.
As far as the message, it’s not a deep project or nothing. I don’t want anybody to think like, oh it has a [deeper] meaning. I was just thinking of me and Hit-Boy making a moment in music and when I thought about HITGIRL, I started thinking of an assassin. I started thinking about a character and really marketing this as a bada** bi**h. Really, my alter ego because I got a soft side too. But my confident side is just a go-getter, a hustler, and I don’t hold my tongue, bad bi**h. I could stand next to the guys, that’s what HITGIRL is. She’s just that person and I say she aimed for what she want and she go get it. So, that’s really what it is. A kick-a**, bad female that stands for what I stand for and I feel like it’s a lot of hustlers and girls out there that stand for the same thing.
What are some of your inspirations to go so hard in your music and how do you think that you’ve progressed from your previous releases to now?
I think just the people who I studied. I studied some of the cockiest people in rap, like [Lil] Wayne, like Kanye [West]. I’m from Chicago so I grew up seeing Kanye tell people you can’t tell me nothing. I grew up seeing him with the pink polo and the flipped collar, just exuding confidence. I think I always use my music as a way to… Because as regular human beings, we got our insecurities and stuff, but I always got good feedback on my music. So, I always used it as my shield, like my confidence shield. Not liquid courage, but my raps just give me courage to walk in the room and be that girl, because I know ain’t nobody messing with me when it comes to that, but that’s something I had to grow over time.
Even though I used to be one of the coldest female rappers, I didn’t know I was that cold. I think the difference between me back then and now is I know who I am. I know I can out rap these ni**as and these bi**hes. So, now when I walk into the room, it just comes off like that when I start rapping. My energy, everything. It kind of changes my lyrics. I used to come in second-guessing and rewriting my verse and stuff, and I still might rewrite my verse at times, but I feel like I’m way better now because I come in, I’m so confident.
What else is coming this year?
Just know that I’m dropping music for the rest… I’m never stopping again. I think that was my biggest downfall. Like my last album did real good, but I think if I just would’ve stayed consistent, stayed consistent, we’d be way further than where we at right now. So, that’s what they can expect from me.