Can you imagine a female rapper coming out of The Valley? Most people would say no. In fact, most people would not only say no but would probably be laughing while saying it. The image of a Valley girl throughout the years have been painted as one who is a spoiled, ditsy little rich girl who is completely oblivious to the world around her. But Raven Felix completely destroys that image in her new mixtape Valifornia. Recently, Raven was nice enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to talk with the Delerme Discussion about her new mixtape, Valifornia, working with Snoop Dogg and breaking down the misconceptions of The Valley .
Tony Delerme: You rep The Valley pretty hard in your music. What part of The Valley are you from?
Raven Felix: I grew up in Tujunga and Pacoima.
Tony Delerme: The general perception of The Valley is that only people with money live there but you know that to be otherwise. Explain to us what life was like growing up there.
Raven Felix: There is a huge misconception that only rich people live in The Valley but I haven’t seen anything like that. Growing up, a lot of my friends lived in single parent households, on welfare and food stamps. The town I grew up in wasn’t wealthy at all and we in fact had some real hard times.
Tony Delerme: When did you start rapping and who were your influences?
Raven Felix: I started rapping about two years ago. Funny enough, I didn’t exactly grow up with hip hop though. When I first got to listen to it I was in 9th grade. At that time Nicki Minaj was huge. She was one of the first artists who were brought to my attention. Nicki was a huge influence on me. Rah Digga is also one of my favorites as well as MC Lyte and Lil Kim.
Tony Delerme: 9th grade is pretty late in the game for someone to have just started listening to rap. What kind of music was being played in your house growing up?
Raven Felix: My mom was super into heavy metal, hair metal and punk rock. So I grew up listening to Sex Pistols, Sublime and Jane’s Addiction.
Tony Delerme: Is Valifornia your first project?
Raven Felix: Yeah, Valifornia is my first mixtape.
Tony Delerme: For it being your first mixtape, you had some pretty big name features like Snoop Dogg and Smoke DZA. How did you hookup with them?
Raven Felix: A lot of it was just my music being brought to their attention. It was all pretty natural. I’m just lucky to have people around me that have the ability to spread my music to others. Snoop and DZA liked what they heard from me and wanted to get a verse in… which was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for anything more cause it truly made my mixtape that much better.
Tony Delerme: Do you have any future collaborations coming up with other major artists?
Raven Felix: Not right now, me and Snoop wanted to do a video for “Six In The Morning” at some point. But I’m just playing it by ear.
Tony Delerme: What do you want people to take away from Valifornia?
Raven Felix: I think more than anything I want people hear what I’m saying about The Valley and how I grew up.
Tony Delerme: I watched an interview of yours recently where you stated that you were still working at Coffee Bean. Have there been any major changes since then? Are you still working there?
Raven Felix: No, I’m not at Coffee Bean anymore. It was very recent that I left because I wanted to dedicate more time to my music.
Tony Delerme: I thought that was pretty brave of you to admit you still worked at Coffee Bean because a lot of us subscribe to the fake it till you make it mentality. Most people would never admit that they still worked a day job.
Raven Felix: Well, I’m a hustler and I put in work every single day. I’m out here making money no matter if it’s working at Coffee Bean or making music. I’m not ashamed of that.
Tony Delerme: What was the grind like from when you first started, up till where you are now?
Raven Felix: I actually didn’t do music for a really long time because I was focused on working. My mom lost her job and I just wasn’t interested in putting out music. Fortunately enough I hooked up with people that pushed me to put out music. They pushed me to be confident and to keep working at it every day. Since then it’s all been really positive and I’ve been able to keep moving forward.
Tony Delerme: You have a show coming up in Philadelphia on November 6th. Will that be your first time you preforming on the east coast?
Raven Felix: Yeah, it’ll be my first time.
Tony Delerme: Are you nervous about it?
Raven Felix: Well, I’m more nervous about the flight because I’m scared of flying. But yeah, I’m nervous about the show too because I’ve done them here (Los Angeles) and its cool because all my friends, family and people that fuck with my music can come. But when you go to a place where nobody knows you and have to perform in front of them, it’s a nerve-wracking thing to think about.
Tony Delerme: You recently put out a new song called, “Like That“. I personally feel this song is your best work to date. Do you feel the same about this track?
Raven Felix: Honestly, I’m not one to listen to my own music because it’s a little awkward for me to hear my voice. But I find myself listening to this song a lot. It’s honestly one of my favorite songs.
Tony Delerme: Hip hop is an African American, male dominated genre. What is it that makes you think that you can compete with these guys?
Raven Felix: The way I see it is that I’m just speaking for the people that relate to me. I wanna be compared on the same level as everybody else. But I understand that there’s going to be a certain level of difficulty also. It’s hard for females to prove ourselves in hip hop and it’s especially hard for females who aren’t black. As for me, I’m working my ass off every day to prove myself.
Tony Delerme: Do you see yourself as trying to compete with other artists like a Nicki Minaj.
Raven Felix: I think that competition is healthy. It’s good to look at what other artists are doing and feel like you should be doing more. You should always feel the need to step it up. I think that’s really important.
Tony Delerme: Why are you rapping, outside of the obvious? What’s your ultimate goal?
Raven Felix: Obviously I want to provide for my family and make sure my mother and grandmother have a house. But outside of that, I wanna represent The Valley on a large scale, like Snoop did for Long Beach, and put on for the west coast as a female rapper. I love where I’m from and I just wanna rep it hard.
Tony Delerme: I once heard you say,” I wanna get the Valley Movement started.” What did you mean by that?
Raven Felix: The Valley can stand a little bit divided at times. I wanna unify The Valley and make it one. We’re all working towards a common goal which is to put ourselves on the map in a big way. I personally just wanna put the Valley on the map.