Lil Debbie might be one of the best-branded flowstresses. Not only because her stage name is similar to that of a well-known female who rules the snack-cake world, but also because her style is ideal for an age of music-lovers whose palettes are supplanted by A$AP Rocky and Odd Future. She's a hybridized mash-up, existing somewhere between the streets and the salons.
"Honestly, the fashion is the main part of my music. Without the fashion, people wouldn't really be able to grasp things like the style of my music," Lil Debbie says.
Growing up as Jordan Capozzi in the Bay Area, she had a family unit that seems bred for the pursuit of style. "My grandparents used to own dry cleaners in New York when they were younger," she says. "My mom went from a hat designer to a children's-clothing designer. I've always been in fashion--I was a child model for my mother, for her line--and I've always loved taking pictures. Fashion is literally in my bloodline."
As a stylist, Lil Debbie worked with everyone from Kreayshawn to Souljah Boy. But her interest in the field soon waned. "I was trying to further my career as a stylist, but it's just so hard to get rappers--especially male rappers--into different clothing, and I kind of didn't want to style rappers anymore," she says. "I don't really know if I ever really want to be a stylist again, but I've taken what I've learned from my own personal style, styling Kreayshawn, and what I've seen from styling other people, and I've furthered it."
Her love of fashion and her experience in the industry served as a catalyst for building a rap career, which started with her friend Riff Raff's desire to have her work with him. "I was hanging out in Oakland, and one day, Riff Raff gave me a call. He hit me up, and he said, 'I really want a girl on my song, and I think you have the perfect voice for it. Will you please come down to LA and record with me?' So I said, 'Fine, I'll do one song.' I came down to LA, did one song, did a video, did very well, and I just ended up getting managed by his same manager at the time."
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It's been more than a year since that call, and Lil Debbie now has the release of her "California's Sweetheart" mixtape on the horizon, with its time of arrival slated for "end of July."
The rapper prefers to take things step-by-step, without the iron fists of labels, and she seems to take a lot of care in crafting how her work translates to the listener and its underlying theme.
"I do this music for an outlet for others to be able to see that they can do it also," she says. "I do it for the underdog. I do it for a great beat that's sent to me. I do it for myself; I have things that I want to accomplish, and this is definitely one of them." Lil Debbie performs on Friday with Riff-Raff at the Observatory. For full ticket info, click here. Follow us on Twitter @OCWeeklyMusic and like us on Facebook at Heard Mentality.