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Chippy Nonstop
Chippy NonstopPhotography by Katrin Braga, Styled by Rhiannon Blossom

Why Chippy Nonstop wants to inspire a generation of rebels

After being deported from the USA, the riotous rapper returns with a renewed sense of purpose

Refreshingly open, Chippy Nonstop is a woman brimming with barely-contained energy and charisma. Whether it’s through her music or Twitter ­feed – a never-ending monologue in permanent caps – she comes across as fearless and unapologetic; somebody that is aware of the sheer power of her voice, and uses it accordingly.

After leaving home at 16, followed by a brief stint at art school, Chippy made her way to San Francisco where she fell, head first, into making music. With a sound that sits somewhere between the bubble-gum pop beats of PC Music and the brash, riotous rap of M.I.A., she was quickly discovered by the latter who snapped her up to work with her in LA (but more on that later).

Since rising to underground fame for super-charged twerk anthem “Money Dance” in 2011, she has been making waves as one of rap’s most eccentric forces – at least until her unexpected deportation from the US earlier this year made her halt in her tracks. Despite a #freechippy twitter campaign – supported by friends Kreayshawn and Kitty – and a failed petition to the White House to renew her visa, Chippy remains in Vancouver for the foreseeable future. Instead of being silenced by this setback, Chippy’s unique voice has only become louder. With new music on the horizon and books in the making, we talk to Chippy about changing the status quo and stealing the stage.

How did you get into making music?

Chippy Nonstop: It’s a pretty crazy story actually. I was living in San Francisco when me and my friends started a blog called T Tauri Traphouse. The blog was discovered by M.I.A. while we were working on it, and we moved to LA to work with her. That didn’t pan out too well, but I stayed living in LA. After a few months of being in there, Paul Devro from Mad Descent saw me dancing and asked me to make songs with him, so I did. We never really did anything with the songs though.

You got deported from the US earlier this year. What happened?!

Chippy Nonstop: I honestly just fucked up. I moved to America with my family when I was 11, and have had different visas my whole life. One of my visas was six months when I went to Japan to play a show. On my way back, they wouldn’t let me into the country, even though I grew up in America and my entire family lives there. I was put into detainment and harassed by TSA. TSA held me in a room for 12 hours. They gave me five minutes to decide where I wanted to go, and even though I didn't know anyone in Vancouver, I thought it was the closest place to LA that's safe for me to go to. I’m living in Vancouver right now.

You’re quite open about this story online. What do you hope to achieve with this openness?

Chippy Nonstop: I’m pretty open about everything honestly. I feel like, as humans, we are ashamed and scared of so many things that we shouldn’t be. Being scared has really fucked up humanity. Even my deportation is because of fear and greed. They are scared I might harm their country when I just want to be with my family. They are greedy because they are upset I didn’t pay enough tax dollars. It’s honestly so idiotic. I'm not the kind of person who gets very angry – I just like to be proactive. I'm not saying I'm going to change the world, but if I can, I want my voice to be heard. So that one day, if I do have children in this fucked up world, they won't have to deal with this bullshit. 

How has the whole experience influenced the music that you’re making now?

Chippy Nonstop: I have grown and matured so much in the last year, which I am really grateful for. The music that I drop is really going to evoke that. I’m taking some time right now to myself to work on it. I don’t want to rush anything, but it’s going to be massive, beautiful and filled with so many more emotions. I was scared to put my emotions in my music before. I had a crazy life; dark and beautiful things have happened to me, but this story that I'm going to tell now with my music is just some other shit. 

How are you finding Canada? What’s the rap scene like there in comparison to America?

Chippy Nonstop: I honestly love it. I'm not going to compare it to all of America, but I will compare it to LA. It’s a lot of fun because in LA people are just trying to impress one another. Here, people love the music. They come to listen to the music and appreciate it. It’s dope as hell. I love Vancouver. 

What’s the craziest thing you‘ve ever done?

Chippy Nonstop: I don't know if the craziest thing I’ve done is appropriate to publish, but once when I was on tour with Kreayshawn we played “FUN FUN FUN fest” in Austin, and I got too fucked up after the show. I got carried out on a stretcher and put into a medical tent at the festival. Then I ran away from the medical tent to get to a Flosstradamus show, which I ended up hitchhiking to with strangers. When I walked in they were playing my song, “Money Dance Remix,” and I ran in and went on stage! It was pretty iconic.

Why did you choose to go to art school, what did you study and what did you learn?

Chippy Nonstop: I was young when I started college; I was 17. I honestly knew I wanted to make art, but I didn't know what. I switched majors a bunch of times, but my last major was graphic design. I didn’t learn shit. Art school is a scam. 

You were born in Dubai, right? There aren’t a huge amount of Middle Eastern rappers recognised in the west. Why do you think this is?

Chippy Nonstop: Yeah, I was. There are a lot of dope Arab rappers in France actually. They are amazing. I think it’s just because of the language barrier. Also, the culture doesn't really allow it, even though most Arab men live the lifestyle of rappers. I think that’s changing though. 

You’ve often been compared to M.I.A. – what do you think about this comparison?

Chippy Nonstop: I’m flattered. I’m a huge fan. I don’t really see it, so I think it’s just because we are brown, and also maybe because we are both of strong opinions and make dance music. People love finding familiarities in things to make themselves feel comfortable. 

In “Riot” you rap “Imma fight for my freedom, cos I need this shit / Imma fight for my freedom / Imma fight for my power I deserve it bitch” What are these lyrics about?

Chippy Nonstop: I’m always just feeling like there are so many barriers in life, and people are bound down by the dumbest fucking societal rules. I’m just frustrated. I’m not getting my point across to you eloquently right now, but I’m just fucking done. I think a lot of young people feel like this. We are just fed up of this same old shit, same old laws, same old people telling us what we can and cannot do. Corruption, wars, gender roles – all that shit is manmade and I hate it, and so does everyone around my age, unless they are idiots. It needs to end. 

I read that you’re planning on writing a book. Can you tell me a bit about that? What do you feel you can say via a book that you can’t express through rap or don’t want to?

Chippy Nonstop: I’m writing a few. It’s too early to speak about though. Sometimes it’s hard to express everything through music because I love dancing, so I just end up making dancing slaps. A book is another outlet of expression, and it’s freeing – I think it helps other people be less scared to express themselves too. 

What advice would you give to your 16 year-old self?

Chippy Nonstop: Honestly, nothing. I’m too stubborn to take advice and I love everything that has happened in my life – good and bad. I probably would just tell myself to treat my ex-boyfriend C.Z. less like shit after we broke up. 

What are your plans for 2016?

Chippy Nonstop: To be a better person, to make more music, to make more videos, to be creative, to have fun, to make money, to empower females and to do charity work. I have a lot of plans. I think it’s going to be an amazing year.

I know I can be crazy and reckless a lot of the time, and my ‘turnt up-ness’ can overshadow my ultimate message, which is for people to care less about dumb shit and for people to care about how we treat each other and our planet that that has been so kind to provide us with food, water and so many resources. I think I come off as crazy to a lot to people, but it’s out of frustration of not being able to change the world. Saying that, I think the next generation is ready. I feel positive about the future.