Snow Tha Product is the socially-conscious raptress the world needs right now.
Born Claudia Alexandra Feliciano in San Jose, California, to undocumented Mexican immigrant parents, the rapper is set to the judge the US Finals of Red Bull Batalla, the world’s largest Spanish rap battle, this weekend.
Despite more than a decade in the music industry, she sounds like she can hardly believe she’s involved.
“I’m honored to be able to be there and be invited as a celebrity judge.” she told CNN. “I don’t even know if I should be judging people with their freestyles. I’m honored.”
The woman who started out as an independent artist who just wanted to be heard, now has millions of followers on social media and a Video Music Award win, courtesy her appearance on “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “The Hamilton Mixtape.”
She said she encountered skepticism early on.
“Most of my peers laughed at me like ‘You really think you’re going to be a rapper,'” she said. “It was like ‘You’re a Mexican chick from Cali, what do you know about rapping?’ I’m glad I stuck with it.”
Snow, who identifies as lesbian and Latinx, uses her platform to talk about things like immigration and social justice. “Putting the medicine into the candy” is how she describes some of the messaging in her music.
The bilingual rapper credits Nicki Minaj and Cardi B among the artists who have raised the platform of women in hip hop, and she celebrates the range of style among current female rhyme artists.
“Thanks to the internet we all have a lot more visibility,” Snow said. “It’s awesome. It’s a great time.”
There’s also plenty of cross over.
Trap music, a subgenre of hip hop which began in the South and often focuses on urban living, is growing in popularity in Latin America and Latinx communities, Snow said.
“I think there’s a lot of similarities in what the subject matter is in trap music and what Latinx people go through,” Snow said. “I think Black and brown have always been in kind of the same neighborhoods and always gone through similar struggles. It’s very relatable, the rags to riches story.”
It’s a story, she said, we love to see in films and on TV. She knows a bit about television having starred as Lil’ Traviesa, known as Lil’ T, on the crime drama “Queen of the South.”
“I loved it, I loved every bit of it,” she said. “I’d take acting lessons just to be able to do that again.”
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