In this week's Dallas Observer, we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.
Claudia Feliciano has lived in Fort Worth for the past three years, but she's flown under the local-music radar. Google her alter ego, Snow Tha Product, though, and you'll find a wealth of YouTube videos with hundreds of thousands of views, a handful of mixtapes and a Twitter account with 25,000-plus followers.
"When I started about five years ago, female rappers were dying out," the 24-year-old says. "I started putting stuff on YouTube and Myspace, and people started paying attention."
Her video for "Drunk Love" just reached a million views on YouTube, which she's used to shape her image as an awkward, funny, fierce rapper. Some of her songs get on the real-talk tip, such as "Unorthodox," which is about combating stereotypes. "That song was me saying, I'm a girl, but I can hold my own," she says. "I'm Mexican-American, but I grew up with a normal American life. I don't have a low rider. I drive a Honda. I guess I don't fit into any category."
Earlier this year, she signed to Atlantic Records, home to Wiz Khalifa and Cee-Lo. The mixtape she's recording, Good Nights and Bad Mornings, should be out in July and will reveal how the label plans to market her.
"A lot of female rappers are supposed to be flossy and bougie," she says. "Sometimes I get in a room with other female rappers and they're like, 'I'll have a glass of wine.' I'm the awkward one, drinking a beer. So I'm just trying to relate to the girls who don't always feel like they're the beautiful one.
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"In this game, there's always just room for one," she adds. "Male rappers never get compared to each other, but with women, it's, 'Well, is she better than this other one?' I thank Nicki Minaj. There was a time they didn't think there was money in female rap, and now they see there is."
Meanwhile, Snow grinds while we sleep. Her motto: "Wake ya game up."
"When I first started, I felt like people were sleeping on me," she says. "Everyone was like, 'You go so hard, why doesn't anyone know about you?' And I said, 'Well, I'm gonna wake their game up.' I want people to feel like they're part of a movement."
See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.