Fans of Snow tha Product love this powerful emerging artist for her exquisite rapid-fire flow and feisty, genuine personality. Since her 2011 album release, Unorthodox, Snow has dropped almost a dozen mixtapes and embarked on several tours, blessing crowds with energetic stage shows (even Tech N9ne has admitted to missing out on signing her to his Strange Music label). Snow also always does free meet and greets after her sold-out shows (a rare occurrence for an act of her stature nowadays), because she wants to connect directly to her fans.

Perhaps creating one of the strongest niche movements in the last few years with her Stay Woke brand, Snow has tapped into one of the most vibrant yet uncultivated fan bases in the Hip Hop game: young Latinas. Serving as their unofficial spokeswoman and figurehead, Snow is leading her army of fans to the future with her no cookie cutter attitude.

This week the L.A.-based artist will jump off her 2016 tour and release a new EP, Half Way There Pt. 1. She wants fans to know her as simply a rap talent, an emcee that can hold her own on the mic with any of the greats—not someone constantly labeled as a ‘woman’ and a ‘Latina.’ Snow sat down with us to discuss her new tour, new EP and her desire to be known for more than just “rapping fast.”

There’s no doubt you’re on an elite level when it comes to women on the mic. Your lyricism, cadence, delivery and showmanship are all top notch. Your talent is undeniable, but it can come across like you still hold a lot back at times. Would I be wrong in saying that?

I think so. Obviously from the outside looking in, I want to know what you guys think because if you’re saying that then maybe yeah, maybe I still have more potential that I haven’t really used up or gone through or had the courage to tap into yet.

You’re a proud Latina, and you speak openly on important issues pertaining to the community. While you have no problems publicly representing our people, does it sometimes get frustrating to forever be labeled an additional something other than just a general ‘rapper’ or ‘artist’?”

Yeah. Mostly because whenever artists like myself try to break away from that, ‘don’t look at me as a female rapper, don’t look at me as a Latino rapper, just look at me as a rapper,’ our own community starts to be like, ‘Why aren’t you repping?’ so you can’t win either way. You’ve got to break away from just having the one particular lane or you try to represent but either way, there’s something bad that comes with it. Honestly it’s kind of better to build and try to reach people and show that you’re representing by just being yourself. No, it’s going to take away my Mexican card, but when you’re kind of assessing the whole situation like, ‘I’m still here, I’m still on, si habla Espanol pero,’ with no help at all, I’m just going to have to take it a little broader and represent everyone, you know. I got to do it and I can’t hold myself back anymore.

Recently King Lil G told Vlad he feels Latinos need to collaborate more, he specifically said he wanted to work with you, do you think there is a level of division in the Latin rap community?

Yeah, I definitely do. I didn’t see very many Latino rap people support me when I was on BET Hip Hop Awards, and I was rapping in Spanish. When I drop singles or drop videos, etc. When I drop songs, I haven’t seen that many people that are rappers support me. I honestly hope that everyone uses their platform and their interviews to support each other, not just put an idea out there. I’m one DM or text message away, I’m in L.A. There definitely will be some more collaborations happening, but I hope that other Latin people take my lead and and also support, not just see what can benefit them and what kind of support can help them.

And also, support me because I have been in this game for a long time. And I feel like a lot of times people think, ‘Oh she’s good, she’s alright, so she should support me’ but I think it goes both ways. I think Latinos need to see that especially being a female, a male rap artist can’t ever compare their struggle to my struggle. There’s no way. We’re automatically written off as women. We’re supposed to be submissive, you know? Mexican cha-cha, ‘I’ll call you Papi,’ all this s*it. No man can ever compare their struggle. I need to remember that I’m a woman in this s*it and I got a double negative, like you said, and I’m still trying. At this point I think let’s have a conversation about it, not have an interview about it, and let’s really support each other like we say we support each other.

You’ve also worked with Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko and more recently Joell Ortiz. Do you wish you could collaborate with more female acts at your level?

Like I said, I’m not trying to just do the Latinos. Not just the females. I’m trying to collaborate with more people in general. It’s hard, it’s difficult, because no dude wants to get killed on their record. Sometimes people are scared to send me some s*it. Or they take me off their s*it, so it’s one of those things. It sounds cocky, but it’s not. I literally have to be in a session with you and we have to work together; otherwise if you send me something and I feel I killed it, you’re going to be like, ‘I don’t want to put the s*it out.’

It does get a little bit like that, so when people be like, ‘I want to collaborate with Snow,’ some people are scared to get on the track. I know how the internet works now. I’ve been on tracks with Tech N9ne, Crooked I and many rappers and at the end of the day, fans are going to talk. That’s why I’ve been singing and doing all kinds of s*it ’cause I want to work with more people, but I don’t want people to come to the plate like, ‘I gotta rap fast because I’m collabing with Snow.’ That’s not what it is. I rap fast ’cause I talk fast! I’m not trying to outshine people, I just talk fast, so I’ll sit back and do your hook and we can work something out. [laughs]

Your style had typically been double-time speed in delivery (as you mentioned) and recently on “Nights” you used a slower pace. Is that what you were just talking about?

Pretty much. Like, I have ADD and when things get boring to me, I lose interest. And for a while there I just didn’t drop anything because I feel like whenever I do try to slow down or do something different, som’e ones like ‘Is this is it? Did Snow sell out?’ Can dudes let me live? Let me drop some melodic stuff! Since “Drunk Love” I’ve been doing the same kind of singing thing. For once instead of worrying about what people say, I’m going to do what I want. If you f*ck with it cool, if you don’t, then cool. I’m trying to do my own thing and feel the freedom to do so and I’m honestly very proud of “Nights” and I’m proud people liked it. That song was very easy to record; within the next week it was like, ‘what’s up, let’s shoot a video.’ I was like wow, that’s all it took— one song? Tight.

So it had the desired effect you wanted?

It definitely did. I feel like a lot of people will look into it more than they need to, though. This is just a fun song, it came out good and things just happened from it. It’s coming out at the right time and I’m about to go on tour, I’m dropping an EP, videos, a bunch of stuff again and I think my fans are excited I’m picking it back up where I left it.

In between your last release you worked with a very talented producer named Jomeezius the Genius, who is just great, and he produced a track with the classic “Suavemente” song sample, what did you think when you got that in your inbox?

I had that for so long and I’ve always known he was super dope! And I was nervous because I knew that song was such a big song and everybody knows it. Even if you don’t speak Spanish you know that song, so I was a little nervous to do it, because I didn’t want him to get in trouble or get me trouble. But one day I was just like, f*ck it. I did it and I think it was awesome and I really wish we could clear those samples and shoot a video. I think Jomeezius is really talented and I’d really like to get some stuff popping with him. Even get a video for that, I think Corona should sponsor it. I think it could be some real Latino major stuff in that video [laughs].

You’ve announced a new tour, what if anything will be different? In the past you incorporated water guns, the giant bear and a bunch of other stuff. What should fans expect?

Obviously there’s going to be craziness but I do want to slow down a bit. I always try to make it a point to perform songs where everyone’s got their hands up and are bouncing, and I use the crowd’s energy to boost my energy and get crazy. But I definitely at one point want to have some more intimate stuff, talk about the process of the EP since it’s dropping while I’m on tour, etc. A lot of these songs will be brand new to them, and they’ll be previewing some stuff and I’ll have stuff that’s not going to be on the EP. I just want to sit down and see what my core fan base messes with; that’s going to help me figure out what’s coming next. I really want to get some insight. I do my free meet-and-greets after every show, so I’m just going to talk to them. I was going to be like, ‘what are y’all f*cking with and what do you like?’ I’m going to do whatever I like but on some tracks, I want to do what they want. I feel like it’s going to be really awesome and I can’t wait for that.

The Source is obviously “the Hip Hop Bible” and we’re proud to cover artists like you. Would you consider yourself a student of Hip Hop Culture and who are some of your most influential teachers?

Of course I’m a student of Hip Hop. This is all I know at this point. I feel like I’m coming into my own as far as my style and respect. And like, I could walk into a room and most people in the industry have at least heard my name. I feel like I really have grown a lot and it’s all thanks to whomever I was listening to: Lauryn Hill, Big Pun, Eminem, Ludacris and Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Timbaland and all these great influences I had growing up that I still listen to religiously. I wouldn’t be who I am without them, I wouldn’t have the sound that I have and I’m enjoying that now, because it’s definitely a lot of inspiration. I have styles I’ve lightly tapped into but I’ve never had the courage to release. Ultimately I think there’s going to be evidence I have some of these great influences, because I love the 90s stuff, the Golden Era. Between that and the beginning of the 2000s, that’s some of the best music ever. I’ve always been a student and I’ve been paying attention.