Asian Doll Talks Receiving Co-Sign From Erykah Badu, Premieres '1017' Featuring Gucci Mane & Yung Mal
Today (Oct. 12), Asian Doll premieres the first cut off of her forthcoming So Icy Princess mixtape, “1017” featuring Gucci Mane and Yung Mal. For Gucci supporters, Oct. 17 might as well be a national holiday, as the rapper has slated 10/17’s importance with tracks and references year after year. This year, however, he hands the baton to his newest signee by having her shine with the release of her So Icy Princess project.
Most up-and-coming rappers may need a minute to find their rhythm, but for the strikingly confident Asian Doll from Dallas, T.X., commanding the full attention in any setting is already an effortless feat. As the recently-signed first lady of Gucci Mane’s 1017 Eskimo Records, the 21-year-old's aggressively real bars paired with her show-stopping sense of style showcase her as one of the most promising acts. Her music and personality earned her co-signs from industry legends such as Nicki Minaj, Erykah Badu, and of course, her mentor Gucci Mane.
With Guwop taking the reins on the project’s production front, Asian Doll has the security of guidance from a legend, but still everything to prove. So Icy Princess comes at a pivotal moment in her career, but she’s certain she will deliver. She is surely no stranger to the rap grind, with six mixtapes already out under her belt. Asian Doll is also fresh off the Bhanned In The USA Tour, during which she and Bhad Bhabie lit up the stage night after night in various major cities across the country.
Billboard recently spoke with Asian Doll about her Dallas roots, why she signed to 1017 Records, and her upcoming So Icy Princess project. Get a first listen of "1017" below, and check out the full interview after the jump.
How would you say So Icy Princess is different than your other projects?
At the end of the day, my goal is to always get better and better. What I want my fans to see is that I’m constantly improving. I’m growing. I’m competing with my latest tapes and it’s really a competition with myself, basically. I just really want to keep going. I’d say each ‘tape is different type of music from me, and So Icy Princess is more hype, fun and exciting overall. It reminds me of when I first came out. For example, the song "YBN Nahmir" on it, it was so hype in the studio when we were doing it. We were just going back and forth, back and forth.
Among those hype studio sessions, what would you say was the best session or memory you can remember while making this project?
Definitely all my sessions in New York. When I was recording in New York, I always did my best. Sometimes, I don’t get a vibe in a certain city. But in New York, the vibe was always right and I was going super hard for weeks at a time and it was my favorite. I was in the studio back to back to back. I didn’t have any idea what the ‘tape would be, but I just did it. There were no throwaway songs because I’d always finish them and be like, “Oh, that’s going on the project.”
Another memorable one was in Miami. It was when I first got in the studio with Gucci Mane. It’s so crazy because when I came here, I had gotten so sick. Since it was my first time with Gucci, I was determined to show him how easy and natural it is for me in the studio to create. But I got so sick to the point where I couldn’t even talk. My throat hurt so much and it was really bad. Regardless, I made one of the best songs on the project. It’s called “Talk.” I seriously made that song while I was so sick. It was one of my favorite studio experiences because it showed me I’m strong and I have a drive for what I’m doing. I’m passionate about my work. I don’t give up easily and it showed me I can push through.
Up until now, you’ve dropped six mixtapes on your own. Your work ethic reminds me of Gucci, because he’s known for dropping full projects like nothing, like a workaholic. What is the most important thing he’s taught you?
To keep your word. Be on time. Work hard. Gucci would even be at the studio before me. When it’s time to hit the studio and he gives us a time to come, he’ll be there before me every single time. That’s just how he is.
In the 1017 world, Gucci Mane is the king, Keyshia Ka’oir is the queen, and now you’re the princess of 1017. I’m sure you had other labels knocking on your door, so how did you know for sure this was the right team to go with?
It was definitely because I got family vibes from them. From the start, I loved Keyshia. I was so nervous to meet her [laughs]. I was really shy but she was so welcoming and made me feel so at home and comfortable. As I keep going, we’re all getting to know each other more and the vibe keeps getting stronger. I definitely had opportunities to sign with other labels, but Gucci and them, I just felt it. I really had the gut feeling and I felt it in my heart. It was the first time I didn’t feel like I had to go to a different route and my whole body was just in agreement. This is the first time I didn’t care what anybody said and I just did what was best for me. I’m so happy in my situation and that’s what I was looking for, happiness, because I deserve it. I was looking for somebody I can learn from and Keisha is such a woman to look up to. She’s an inspiration and somebody that I look to as almost a mother figure. I can learn from Gucci for the music, and I can learn from Keyshia as a woman, and I feel blessed for that.
Although the South is such a big hub for rap talent, we don’t get a ton from Dallas. What would you say is your favorite thing about repping Dallas?
At the end of the day, I want everybody to know we have talent. I want to know everyone where I’m from and I love repping Dallas. It’s always been more of a Texas thing, though. Texas is so big, but I feel like we’re one. Texas is so slept on. I just want to put on for my city and state as much as I can and show everyone that we’re here.
I’m different. My swag is different. No one knows what to expect after I say I’m from Dallas, Texas. Erykah Badu is from Texas and she’s from the same ‘hood as me. She’s an OG. Erykah had actually reached out to me and the first thing I said to her was that we’re from the same ‘hood. And she asked me if I went to Madison High School and she knew. It was so exciting and she was showing love and said she wanted to meet me. We talked through DM and we talked so much to the point where when we see each other, it’s going to be a movie.
My favorite track of yours is “Real Bitch Anthem” because you’re just straight rapping about real, unfiltered things that girls actually think about. What would you say is your realest track?
I actually would agree with you on that. Any type of beat like that, such as “Queen of Nightmares” or “Miami," I’m just so unfiltered. When I make those types of songs, I feel like someone made me mad and I really wanna go off and let it all out. It’s also a message to my girls out there. I want to let them know, just fuck all the bullshit. I really want to let them know how to get a bag. I know girls are looking at me and following me, so I’m giving them stuff raw and uncut. Those are my favorite types of tracks. I really feel it.
You always make sure people know your goal is to represent young black girls and help them feel more confident. Based on what your supporters say to you, what would you say is the best way you got this message to stick?
I’ve been doing this for about four years, and people are watching me grow into the woman I am. People are seeing me transition into this person I knew I would be. When I first came out, I was in high school. I had local fame and I didn’t know what was going on. I just kept going and going, and things just kept happening. I feel like my fans are attached to me because they grew with me. Still to this day, when I look in my tags, I see fans that have been with me since years ago. Some people I recognize from 2015.
This one girl I specifically always notice, she has dark skin and she wears colorful hair just like me, and her swag was like mine. It makes me so happy because I see the confidence I help these girls get and the impact I have. So many people every single day in this world will criticize you for being yourself, and so me being myself and living what I talk about, I can show them I’m real and I can relate. I’m not a commercial and I’m not a cartoon. At the end of the day, what I speak about and what I rap about is real and my message is real. I want them to follow my footsteps to get to where they want to in life because I achieved all of this by being smart, being myself, never taking no for an answer, and proving people wrong.
Your confidence level is through the roof. How do you keep on track despite the haters?
Whether it was me dressing crazy, or anything, I’ve always gotten hated on. I’m one strong-ass person, though. I’m not a bully, and I consider myself a girly girl, but I’m never ever intimidated by anyone. Never. I just simply don’t stay around people who don’t like me and if I catch a vibe I don’t like. I can catch vibes really quick and I feel like it’s a privilege for you to be around me because I’ve worked so hard to get so much, you can’t be around me if you don’t like me. I just don’t care and I’ll just be myself. But the great thing is, I get way more love than I get hate. I don’t get as much hate as I got when I was first coming up. Once I really started making moves and shit started happening, people really respected me. I try to focus more on the love than the hate. There’s no hate in my heart and I don’t walk around mad.
A J. Cole bar I love is, “Keep grinding, your life can change in one year.” Take me back to exactly one year ago -- where were you at during that point in your life, and how does it feel to look back from where you are right now?
One year ago, I had one or two deals still on the table and I was trying to figure it all out. I was still independent. I had a mixtape called Kill Bill in the process. I had a sold-out show in New York around Halloween. I was just working so hard and I was booked a lot around that time. Looking back, I was really truly working. Right now, I’m chilling in Miami and I’m on the 49th floor of where I’m staying at and it’s an amazing view. Gucci just came and dropped off some food. I’m really living the life I’ve wanted, and a year ago, I was working my fucking ass off. I was running on stage to perform and I was in the studio trying to come up with a project to feed my fans some good music to stay relevant and show them who I am. I was really working to get to where I am right now at this moment. I can finally chill out and just eat.
I’m proud of myself for being a young, smart, black woman. With So Icy Princess, this is my first time ever dropping any mixtape with a budget or anything behind it. When I dropped Doll SZN, within minutes, it was in the Top 20 on iTunes. You can’t hate on it and you can’t knock it. I’m so happy, man. Now, I have resources for videos, and I just have so much production coming that I deserve. With everything coming together and everyone working together, it’s going to be a TNT bomb. We’re going to go the fuck off.