Snow Tha Product knew exactly what she was doing when she threw a video for a song titled "Holy Shit" on You Tube back in 2011. Her 90-second clip showcased a blizzard of bars and similes that had the average hip-hop fan echoing the song title while staring slack jawed at their computer screen. Within days, it became a viral sensation.
But there's more to Snow than just rapid flows. Claudia Feliciano started off performing at a very young age in a genre far removed from rap. "When I was little I used to sing with my dad and grandpa because they were in a mariachi band," she says. As she got older, charro suits and gritos didn't play into her musical destiny. "In high school, I just wanted to freestyle and people seemed to like it, so I just kind of went with it." And since then, she's been off and running assembling her street team– a.k.a. "Product Pushas"– to spread the gospel associated with her signature tag line "Wake Ya Game Up."
Born to undocumented parents from Mexico, Feliciano's commitment to her hip-hop career has been tireless. Originally from San Jose, she's now a Tejana based in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2011, the rapper also dropped Unorthodox, and independent album that showcased her speedy skills while also slowing things up for clever and hilarious storytelling songs. It didn't take long for Atlantic Records to come calling after that as Feliciano signed with the label. She quickly entered the studio, churning out Good Nights & Bad Mornings 2: The Hangover, a 22-track mixtape, keeping the momentum going as fast as her rhymes. The collection features standout tracks like "Fuck the Rent" and "Fuck your Phone," and now Feliciano is on tour telling fans "Fuck Your Plans (Come Kick It)" with shows coast-to-coast. "This is my first national headlining one," she says. "It feels good to see what I'm building is real. I'm definitely on the right path."
Taking her inspiration from the likes of Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot and Da Brat, Feliciano says she refuses to market her sexuality and for the sake of mainstream popularity. "I don't like doing the obvious. I think the fact that every girl does that is corny," Feliciano says. "It's the easiest thing to do, just like I don't want to be talking about tacos and burritos every fucking song!"
Amidst all the flurry of holding down a career on stage and in the studio, Feliciano says she also enjoys her downtime. "I try to not do rap, music, partying, clubs or anything at all," Feliciano says. "I do the most normal stuff ever, like when I want to watch Rosanne. I like to balance both aspects."
It will be awhile before Snow Tha Product catches a break with a new EP planned and the Fuck Your Plans tour in full effect. "It's never the same show everywhere. I like to interact with the crowd. A lot times that's really what switches everything up," she says. "There's a funny aspect to it. We bring out the [ninja] turtle or the water guns or whatever it is we have that day. It's an experience! I want to give people what they came for so when they leave they can talk about it."
Feliciano is blazing new trials and growing as an artist, but she still sees herself as that young rapper with a dream hatched in her bedroom in 2007 as she headed out with a backpack full of CDs and Product Pushas by her side."Whether I'm partnered up with a major, they're always going to have to respect the fact that this was homegrown [and] has always been an indie thing."
Snow Tha Product performs at the Constellation Room at the Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.observatoryoc.com. Fri., 8 p.m. $13. All ages.