When Fendi Da Rappa started rapping in 2012, she says “no one knew” she could really rap.
“It was really easy growing up trying to rap because I had an engineer in my face literally telling me, ‘come to the studio and do this and do that.’ If I would have just literally stuck to it and did it in like 2012, I probably would have been farther.”
Despite having an engineer that let her record for free every day, Fendi says she didn’t put her all into music at that time, but she never stopped believing her dreams would come to life.
Fast forward to 2023, and her moment has arrived. Fendi has one of the biggest female rappers, Cardi B, featured on her breakout viral single “Point Me 2.” The video has now garnered over 5 million views on YouTube and produced thousands of fan-made reels and shorts highlighting the song. But according to Fendi, she had no idea this song would be the one.
“It was all a surprise,” she tells Complex. The song went viral on TikTok shortly after its release. Thinking back on it now, the Midwest rapper explains that the idea for the song was inspired by one of her friends during an IG Live session.
“When I thought about the song, I was living in Chicago [and] my friend was going live with her boyfriend and she was like, ‘he got a gun. He got a glizzy with no bullets.’ She just kept saying it, [and] saying it. She was like, ‘you're not going to do anything to anybody.’ I'm like, ‘that's crazy. That's crazy.’ But I already had ‘Juke Song’ out. So I'm like, I want to do some more juke-drill stuff.”
Women are leading the charge in hip-hop right now, and it’s setting a positive precedence. “Point Me 2” is another example of feminine unity in the current rap game. Cardi B has been consistent when it comes to delivering notable features, and according to fans, this was another great delivery. In fact, we placed her recent collaboration with Fendi at number 5 on our list of Cardi B’s 10 best features, ranked.
Growing up in Chicago, Fendi says she used her environment as inspiration and despite the violent image the media often displays about the windy city, it wasn’t all bad, it was fun.
“It's really not how they say it is. Chicago is really a fun place to be,” the rapper asserts. “All kinds of good things go on in Chicago, it's not really all about guns, violence, and shootings. We have festivals and the Taste of Chicago. We have Fendi who’s making Chicago fun again with the drill and the juke music,” she says with a smile. “You just gotta elevate and you gotta watch.”
Surprises seem to be the theme of this season for Fendi; shortly after her song started buzzing all over social media, Cardi B’s team reached out to inquire about doing the remix.
“When I first found out Cardi wanted to get on the song, I was shocked. I'm like, wait, this is the biggest female rapper! I was so excited,” she remembers. “There were tears of joy and excitement. And I was just so happy.”
We caught up with Fendi Da Rappa to talk about her rise as a female rapper from Chicago, her hit song, “Point Me 2,” the future of juke-drill, and more.
Talk to me about a young Fendi. How did you start rapping?
I started rapping in 2012. When I was growing up I was in this all-girl group called Pink Savage. We used to just be rapping, going to the studio, doing a lot of little things that kids do. We came up with some names. I came up with Fendi, it all had to have “savage” at the end of the name so it was like Fendi Savage, Tinka Savage. But as we grew older, we just took the “savage” off and left it regular like Fendi or Tinka or Marie.
What would you say your sound is? Would you say that you are drill or are you more of a mixture of things? Cause your sound is kind of juke too.
I think drill and juke, I combined them together. So it's just like, boom, like a firecracker.
When you started really taking it seriously, how easy or how hard was it to break through with everything? Talk to me about the evolution of everything up until right now.
When I first started even rapping in 2012, nobody knew that I could rap, but it was really easy growing up trying to do it because I literally had an engineer in my face telling me, “come to the studio and do this and do that.” If I would have just literally stuck to it and did it in like 2012, I probably would have been farther.
But I waited. It's cool. It's OK. But it was a really easy back then because it was free. We had people that, you know, my friend, my cousin, he’s like, you know, come do it. It was free. And it just got a little harder because once that went away, you know, after he went away to jail, I had to start paying for it. Getting back and forth to the studio, getting on a bus or even walking; it was just so much going on. Like people fighting, people not paying a bus driver. I saw somebody getting put in a garbage can just for the fun of it, like this is what they were doing in Chicago for the fun of it. We witnessed and saw a lot. That was the only bad part. The good part was [that] all that stuff was free when we went. Overall it was like a kid walking into a candy store.
How do you feel about the rep that Chicago gets with the violence? And what do you want people to know about the city besides the stuff that they constantly see on the news?
It's really not how they say it is. Chicago is really a fun place to be. You can actually grow there. It depends on you though. You can do so many things in Chicago. It's just not about the shootings. I danced in the Bud Billiken Parade. We have all types of good things going on in Chicago; it's not really about guns, violence, and shootings. We have festivals like the Taste of Chicago, we got Fendi who’s making Chicago fun again, Chicago is good. It's good.
"Chicago is really a fun place to be. You can actually grow there. It depends on you though."
Let's talk about your new single “Point Me 2.” How did it all come together? Talk to me about the writing process. Let's start from the very beginning because even before Cardi jumped on it, it was already on TikTok going crazy.
I ended up moving to Houston. I was doing armed security before and I quit my job to work on my craft. I went straight to Houston and I started writing. I was listening to instrumentals every day on YouTube. And there was this one instrumental that stood out to me, turns out it was the “Point Me 2.” I heard it, and I just, I listened to it. I started writing to it, writing about what's going on in Chicago, that's how my hook came about. You know, “he got a glizzy with no bullets. Do he even kill?” Then I went to the juke part, combined it together. And then I just, I wrote, I wrote, I worked on that song in Houston for like a week straight. I wrote so many parts to it and it didn't sound right. So I had to get it all together. I worked on it for like a week straight. I went to the studio, put it down, and I just kept it. I didn't put it out. I didn't do anything with it. I'm just like, I don't like it ‘cause it sounded like two songs, I didn't like it. I sent it to my sister and she was like, it's OK.
So I moved from Houston, back to Chicago, and I'm like, I need this right. So I went to another studio and I recorded it over and it sounded perfect, but I still didn't drop it. I'm like, I'm gonna just wait, so I waited it out. I had the song for like a year. So December 5th came and every year in December, on the 5th, I drop a mixtape. I had all the songs ready for my mixtape. So I'm like, I'm gonna just drop one song from the mixtape. So I just picked that one song and dropped it on all platforms. I remember like it was yesterday, I put it on TikTok and I went to sleep. And I just woke up and I had so many views, so many followers, and I'm like, what is going on? It was just God. It just went so smoothly, everything went so good.
So you never knew, you never had an instinct that this was the one. It was all a surprise?
No, it was all a surprise. I never thought this was going to be the one. I got so many songs. I never thought “Point Me 2” was going to be that major. I was just writing to it, putting drill and juke together, it came out perfect. I got the song idea all from my friend, she still doesn't even know to this day.
How did Cardi end up on the song? So Chapter 2, song takes off on TikTok and then boom. Cardi B is in Chicago shooting a remix and it's viral. How did that all come together?
First, when I first found out Cardi wanted to get on the song, I was shocked. I'm like, wait, this is the biggest female artist, I was excited. There were tears of joy and excitement. I was just so happy for that moment. I had a lot of artists reaching out to me for the remix like Sexyy Red, Asian Doll and a few more, but I waited. You know, sometimes when you wait. That's even better because God has something coming. I just waited and Cardi’s manager reached out to me.
"Cardi did not cross my mind not one time, I even wanted the City Girls. But for Cardi to even hear my song and reach out, that was the perfect person."
I was already on my manager telling her who to reach out to. I'm like, call Chief Keef, call Lil Durk. I'm telling them to call everybody. I'm not even thinking about it, Cardi did not cross my mind not one time, I even wanted the City Girls. But for Cardi to even hear my song and reach out, that was the perfect person. It was a really big stepping stone for me. When her manager ended up reaching out, I was just like, I want to do it, that's perfect, that's the perfect person. We ended up getting on a call and I'm like, “we can shoot the video in LA.” Cardi was like, “no. I'm coming to Chicago,” I was really excited about that. We did it in Chicago and it was just a blast.
Y'all turned the city up. It was all down my timeline; it was all over.
It was supposed to be a surprise! But no, people were too excited and couldn’t keep it low. I was getting calls from everyone and Cardi’s team like “tell them to take this and that down,” but it was too late. We couldn’t even control it at that point.
Talk to me about how the video shoot went. Because it looked lit.
The video shoot took hours and hours; for me, this is what I love to do so it was very interesting to just be changing that many times, you know, going on set, acting. And, just doing so many things at once, like perfecting your craft and you have so many people out there supporting you, watching you, you know, rooting for you. And, to do it in my city was major; that's something I want to do again, continue to do—to do it bigger and better. It was well put together for me, we had Portillo's for Cardi. You know, Italian beef, chicken… Everything turned out perfect.
So talk to me about what was your favorite scene? What do you think was the most impactful scene from the video?
My favorite scene was the white room. It was a private room. We hand selected the dancers; me, Cardi, my sister, makeup artist, and that scene was lit. It was private and it was comfortable.
I don't know if a lot of people caught it but the beginning of the video is an ode to the movie Rush Hour, right?
Yeah. I love that movie. I don't even think they caught it. I keep saying every day, man, tell Chris Tucker to call me.
Did you think the video would take off the way it did?
Yeah, I didn't even think that it was gonna be this major, when I dropped the song everybody was like shoot the music video, shoot the music video but I didn't want to wait too long and I didn't want to rush it either, but that was just the perfect timing for it. I hate when I'm getting rushed on things, especially my videos, [but] it was just perfect.
"I'm rooting for all the girls. I'm glad that we literally can show, just not the men, but everyone, we are leaders."
It's honestly the song of the summer in my opinion and it's only the beginning for you. What’s next?
I’m really trying to work with a lot of artists [like] Sexyy Red, Asian Doll, I just want to be the one to work with all the female artists, continue to climb to the top and be major.
How do you feel about the Chicago scene right now? What's your relationship like with the other women artists in Chicago?
They love me and I love them too. Shoutout Mellow Buckz and Pretty Liyaah. We literally turned Chicago up. And Little Sammy. I love Chicago girls that's really on top and doing everything they gotta do because we all are on the same level of looking up to each other, doing the same thing. So, you know, I love my Chicago girlies.
What do you want your fans to know about everything that you got going on? Are we going to see you performing live with Cardi anytime soon?
Soon, we're gonna get y'all something special soon. I'm actually working on a mixtape now, I'm going to drop another single before I drop the mixtape. I'm going to just keep coming with major moves and features.
What do you think about girls running rap right now in general? Because not only in Chicago, it's everywhere. The girls are on top right now, and here you are, slipping right in.
I'm really happy and excited about it. I'm rooting for all the girls. I'm glad that we literally can show, just not the men, but everyone, we are leaders. We really run this, like what Beyoncé said, who runs the world?