- Words Matilda Carnall
- Photography Chad Lawson
Fresh from releasing her brand new EP, 'PAPTIVITIES', Pap Chanel shares her dream collaborations, musical inspirations, and rise to success.
Pap Chanel’s the latest artist to come firing out of Atlanta’s red-hot rap scene with her high-energy tunes and intoxicating character. Her most recent release, ‘PAPTIVITIES’ is a project of self-love, which she extends out to her ever-growing fanbase. Channelling the “Pretty & Paid” mantra through and through, the EP tracks the star’s rise from freestyling through to today, being signed to a major record label and collaborating with the likes of Future and Blac Youngsta.
Taking a look back at the rapper’s evolution, Pap – real name Jaida – was born and raised in a small town in Georgia, just 90 minutes outside of Atlanta. Raised around five brothers, she was surrounded by the sounds of hip-hop greats, including T.I. and Lil Wayne, and began writing her own bars aged six – in the form of poetry.
Inspired by female rap legends including Nicki Minaj and Foxy Brown, she started to set her sights high. In her teens, she adopted the name “Pap Chanel”, and turned her poems into menacing freestyles. It wasn’t until 2020 mid-pandemic, following her first-ever feature on Quan DaKing’s “Add It Up”, that she released her debut project, ‘Pretty & Paid’.
Where things took a turn was with the sequel, ‘Pretty & Paid 2.0’ in 2021. Boasting collaborations with Future and Blac Younsta, the release evidenced her ever-expanding versatility. It shot up to number one on the US iTunes hip-hop/ rap charts, a total game changer for the Atlantan newcomer.
Today, with the steam of ‘PAPTIVITIES’ still driving her forwards, we caught up with Pap Chanel to discuss dream collaborations, songwriting being an outlet, and what’s on the cards this year.
Let’s start with your newly-released EP “PAPTIVITIVES”, could you talk us through what the EP means to you and how it came about?
Over the years, I’ve noticed that all my queens out here loved saying they’re ‘Pretty & Paid’, and this is something I stamped a long time ago. So when I created ‘PAPTIVITIVES’, I wanted everybody to know it’s a lifestyle. ‘PAPTIVITIVES’ is the art of exhibiting the characteristics of being ‘Pretty & Paid’, so I’m just welcoming people into my world and letting them know that I’m here to stay. It took a minute for me to create this project because last year, I had to really tap into my creativity and my artistry to present the best version of Pap Chanel.
When people hear your new release for the first time, how do you want them to react?
I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into my music and want them to react and know that I put my whole foot in that thang. I want them to know that I’m here to stay, and I want them to react in a way where they want to hear what else I’m doing for the rest of my life. I have a lot to bring to the table, and I’m happy that my fans are pulling out those chairs.
What’s your favourite track off the release right now?
I would say “Pap Stories” because one thing that I don’t do a lot of in my music is open up and be transparent with my fans. I’ve learnt that it taps into a whole new audience because a lot of people are going through the same things.
And, when you were making the EP, did you come across any challenges or setbacks?
I go by this saying all the time, “Whatever is worth having in life is going to take some time, and it’s not going to come easy.” When I was creating this project, I was going through a time where I was also trying to fix myself. It’s beautifully said in my music, though, because I appreciate those challenges. I appreciate the setbacks I experienced over the last year creating this project because I can now exhibit them in this project. They helped me create a nice body of work. Those challenges and setbacks set me up to win.
Moving away from the EP and more towards you as an artist, we’d love to know a little bit more about the name. So, ‘Pap’ stands for ‘Pretty & Paid’, could you explain where that came from and what it means to you?
When I was in sixth grade, I noticed that men come together and work together quicker than women. I feel like we have to be so superior buy it’s hard for us to lean on each other sometimes because we have to figure ourselves out. So, when I created ‘Pretty & Paid’, I wanted to bring women together. It means a lot to me.
You grew up surrounded by five brothers, which meant listening to some of the hip-hop greats, including T.I. and Lil’ Wayne, early on. Were there any other musical influences you had growing up, or artists you started listening to on your own?
All of my brothers were born in the early 90s, so they made sure that I knew about many of the historical hip-hop moments that happened before I was born. Over that time, I also fell in love with Foxy Brown, she speaks to my inner Queen. And Nicki Minaj, I just love how you can never get bored of her. She’s paved the way for many female artists to this day. I love how Tupac puts pain into his music, that really spoke to me.
You’re based in Atlanta, and grew up just 90 minutes outside of it, how do you think the vibrant music scene there has affected your sound?
When I was in my hometown, I had to put myself at the top of the food chain because many other people were making music as well. I created a big name for myself, and once I made the music, I just had to make sure that I presented it well to my audience. I used to rap from my diaphragm, so my voice used to be really deep, that’s why Foxy Brown is one of my inspirations because when I first started rapping, I wanted my voice to project like hers.
When I came to Atlanta, and I started working with producers and different people in the music industry, I learnt that in Atlanta, their way of making music is more fast-paced than where I’m from. So I loosened up my voice and started freestyling more. Other than that, I didn’t change too much.
And how do you think being a rapper from the South on a more general level has impacted your come-up and how other people within the music industry view you?
I’m noticing that in the music industry up north is taking a lot of wins. Down south right now, we are trying to make the sound bigger than what it is. So, when I meet a lot of different artists, I notice that our background affects how we make music. Being from the South has its challenges, but I love to make sure that people know I’m taking what I’m doing seriously. I’ve got the bars, and I’m giving the bars.
You’re currently signed to Def Jam, alongside some massive acts including Pusha T and Jhené Aiko. How did it feel to sign to the label, coming from your freestyle background?
Being signed to a prestigious label is beautiful and I’m ready to carry on the legacy while doing my thing.
I read that you started writing poems as young as six, and progressed into rap. How do words allow you to express yourself as an individual, and as a musician?
So over time, I learnt that my words and lyrics took me a long way and when I am transparent and speak about my trials and tribulations, my audience gravitates to me more. So I’ve learnt to use my words in a way that affects people and gives them substance. As long as I keep putting into my music, my fans will forever love me because I’m helping them get through things.
You have previously teamed up with some huge names, including Future and Blac Youngsta. Is there anyone else you’d love to team up with?
I would love to make a record with Ice Spice, she seems so fun. I’m open to working with any female rappers, let’s work together because we can get some beautiful things done. I’d also like to make more songs with Future because he’s a great creator.
What’s been your best career moment so far?
Walking out on stage and hearing my fans sing my songs, so much so, that I can just put the mic down and join them. Hard work pays off!
And to finish off, is there anything we can look out for beyond ‘PAPTIVITIVES’ this year?
Merchandise is on the way, cooking shows are on the way, and a cookbook is on the way too. It’s a year of consistency for me. I’m trying to drop three more projects this year, and I’m ready to show my fans how focused and how creative Pap Chanel is.