On her debut single “Gangsta,” Kat Dahlia made two things clear: She’s hustling hard and, on a related note, has zero time for dudes spitting weak game. Over nine million YouTube views later, the 23-year-old Cuban-American singer from Miami is still grinding, prepping her debut album, My Garden, for later this year. (The lames? Still hollering, no doubt.) In a moment of repose, Kat discusses how she blew up her own spot, fake foreheads, and why cheap tippers get the evil eye.
Interview by Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)
So I heard the last time we talked for your Who Is Kat Dahlia? interview, your mom read the interview and was just not happy with it because she didn’t know you were drinking when you were in high school and stuff?
Oh yeah, no it was heavy. It was super heavy.
I mean, she just didn’t think I’d be so honest. She had a freakout moment. I was in London so I didn’t really have to deal with it face-to-face. So I got to just kind of skip out, kind of like on that international shit. “Oh, I can’t pick up my phone, I’m not in the Wifi. I’m in London.” [Laughs.]
No, she was just a little bit unused to all the changes. She’s just getting more used to it, as time goes by. But I’m glad she read it and she knows now more of what I went through, because I do tend to be a little secretive with her just because I know that she is very sensitive and very religious.
So have you been partying lately?
My New Years was popping, we went to Puff’s house on Star Island in Miami. We were at Puff’s pretty much the whole night just because it was so dope. You know how he is. He set up a dance floor, Q-Tip was DJing the whole night, and Drake was there. It was just a crazy setup.
Inside he has this big ass pool, and he had slippers for everybody, and that one store inside the house where you can get something to eat. They had women inside of these gold frames and all they would do the whole party was pose inside the frames. It was just a lavish, extravagant party. He had his own fireworks on the docks of the house. It was intense. But of course, that’s how he would do it.
This girl I was with, Caroline, is obsessed with Drake so she was following Drake everywhere. We stayed there til I don’t know what time and then ended up going out to a couple other spots. It was an all-nighter for sure, but it was a good time.
So you basically spent your New Years following Drake around? Awesome.
No! I didn’t, that’s for sure. [Laughs.] That was my girl—she was making her rounds around the party like, “Where is he?” We were on the dance floor and somebody pushed her. And of course me, after a few glasses of champagne, I’m feeling a little bit protective. I’m like, “Yo, watch where you’re going.” And the guy’s like, “Oh yeah, next time I will, I will make sure that I get a match.” And I’m like, “Wow that was super lame, but okay, whatever.”
So the girl that’s with him starts getting in my face too and I start getting all aggressive, and of course the people that I was with pulled me back, saying, “Yo, Kat, relax.” I’m like, okay, whatever, I’m relaxing. And then I look back and Caroline, who I was protecting, and she’s just looking around, like, “Where is Drake?” I’m like, “You don’t even know what just happened right now.” She’s like, “What, what happened?” I’m like, “The guy almost knocked you over.” She’s like, “Oh yeah, I know.” I’m like, “Yo, seriously? Why are we friends? Are we really friends?” [Laughs.]
I’m in a restaurant right now so I’m trying not to raise my voice too loud.
No, you should just yell as loud as you want.
[Laughs.] And let everybody know what I was doing for New Years? As if they really care…Are we having an interview? I feel like we’re just chatting, which is great because I haven’t spoken to you in forever. [Laughs.] Did you have any questions for me?
I didn’t prepare any questions because I know that when we get together we kinda just talk.
We just talk shit.
Which is good. Good. Sorry, I’m at this restaurant. [To herself] Tip, 20%…
Damn, do you always tip 20%?
Of course, are you crazy? I was in the service industry for six years. 15% or more. It’s funny—if I’m ever on a date with a dude and they tip less than 20%, I tend to look at them in a certain type of way.
It’s kind of like, that’s that shit I don’t like. [Laughs.] It’s like, “Oh really, you’re that motherfucker that doesn’t just want to give me the 20%?” I take it so personally, I feel like they’re tipping me and then they’re just not.
What if it’s really terrible service?
If it’s really terrible service, I’ll still do 15%. Honestly, I can’t even remember the last time I tipped someone 15%. I always get terrible service at this place, I just love the food, and I never tip 15%. [Laughs.]
But sometimes it’s really bad, I will let the server know. I will let him know with my attitude that you’re doing a bad job. Like, “I’m going to give you this tip but I just want to let you know that you don’t deserve it.” [Laughs.]
What’s the point of that?
Because it makes them feel worse. I’m giving you my money and I’m also letting you know that you don’t deserve it. That’s actually worse than not giving them money at all.
If you don’t give them money at all, then they’re just going to be mad and then they’re not going to get any better at their job. So tip them, and you tell them what a crappy job they did, so they are a little bit more inclined to feel bad and try and step their game up. I’m just helping them in the long run. At the end of the day, even if it was okay service, I was going to end up tipping them 20% anyways, so what does it matter?
I know you were in Colombia recently, how was it?
I’d been there before but last time I went I didn’t have a lot of time to go out and explore. This time I was there for a whole week with only a one-day festival to perform at. One of my girls was traveling, too, so we made a nice trip out of it and chilled in Bogotá. My mom wanted me to get my nails done before I went to Colombia but in Colombia it’s, like, $3. In Colombia, you can get a boob job for, like, $30. [Laughs.]
Oh yeah, definitely. In like Colombia I bet if you go to a spa, it’s like $50 and you’ll get the full service there.
You go to the salon in Colombia and you can go get a boob job for like $30. [Laughs.]
Is that what you want? To get a $30 boob job?
I should take biannual secret trips to Colombia and tell people I’m going for a festival, but really I’m getting a butt lift. Competing with all these other beyotches, fucking Nicki Minaj and everybody. I feel like that’s what it is now, the fake butts and boobs are craved. [Laughs.]
My cousin went to Colombia and was like fake boobs and butts are very popular over there.
Oh, it’s so common out there. It’s like the girls walking down the street, almost half of them are. But that’s kind of how it is in Miami too. I think it’s almost like a type now. Guys have different types, like, “Oh, I like a natural girl.” Or, “I like a really plastic surgery girl. I like fake lips and fake boobs and I like a fake butt.” For some guys, that’s like a type now, like, “I only date girls with fake foreheads.”
[Laughs.] I don’t know.
I really don’t think they do that.
I’m sure they do. You know those girls who have really little foreheads, so they have to push their hairline back? So it looks like they have a bigger forehead. I mean, It’s still considered fake.
I know some girls have big foreheads and they get bangs or something to cover it up. That’s what most girls end up doing, no?
Yeah, they do, I’m sure. But if it’s so easy, I guess Rihanna would have. I don’t know the habits of herself. But not really, she kind of embraces hers. She doesn’t give a shit, she’s like, “Who cares, I have a big forehead.” That’s what makes her dope. There’s definitely not that many girls that are that confident.
Your mom is going to read this and really worry about what you’re up to.
She’s be really mad, maybe at you. Thank God I didn’t tell her I was talking to you on the phone because she’d probably like to have a couple words with you. She’d definitely want to have a phone call with your mom.
[Laughs.] “Let me talk to your mother, Insanul.” I’d die. Sometimes my mom has an idea [what I’m up to], sometimes she’ll play stupid. But she knows what exactly I’m doing, there’s things she doesn’t want to know. Then things like the Complex interview will come out and then she’s forced to kind of react. She’ll feel like she needs to react. She loves me though and I love her.
And now that you’re in the public eye, it’s hard to keep it a secret. If something happens, it ends up on the news.
And honestly, I’d rather it come out from me, as opposed to it coming out later on from somebody else. “Oh Kat, this is actually what happened, she’s a fucking crazy bitch and doing all this shit.” And then, “Oh, you guys found out. No, let me just let you know now what it is. I am not normal, I’m actually a little bit crazy.”
Does that happen a lot? Like the arguing on the dance floor you were talking about before. I could see that happening to you. There’s always one person who takes it too far, and I feel like you’re that person.
[Laughs.] I don’t take it too far.
You’re like the person who takes it too far, who’s really ready to pop off. There’s always that one person in the crew. Are you like that?
No, no, no. Fuck that. I’m patient and I’m cool—I’m from Miami, I grew up in the fucking clubs. We grow up in an incest pool of people bumping into each other and then accidentally hopping on each other’s dicks and having sex with each other, it’s fine.
But, there are times when some people will really nudge a little too hard and aggressively and won’t even acknowledge that they did that. Usually if things like that happen, maybe if someone steps close and will grab you by the arm, and say oh sorry, or give you a look.
So, you have to do some kind of acknowledgement—look at the person or just grab them by the arm and say sorry. But if it does get to a point where they shove you and you can sense it, that it feels almost too aggressive. Honestly, I care less if it’s done to me; I care more if it’s done to somebody else that I’m with.
Let’s talk business. Have you worked out a date for your album?
We don’t have a date for the album, but we pretty much finished cooking the album. It was hard, because we had so many fucking records. We’re pretty happy. I saw you guys did the [50 Most Anticipated Albums list] and I was on there. I made the cut, yay. I beat out Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks. That doesn’t say much, doesn’t really say much.
It’s still a good look.
For whatever reason these bitches are more famous than me, so I’ll take it. [Laughs.] I should just get a fake ass and just call it a day, right?
I mean you’re going to Colombia, you could get if for $30, why not?
[Laughs.] While I’m getting my mani/pedi done, I can get an ass lift?
They got deluxe packages in Colombia, you could get it all at once, you know? You don’t have to shop around.
And it probably comes with like party favor bags that have like a vial of cocaine and some other unknown drug that they’re experimenting with. I would totally take that shit, I wouldn’t even think twice about it. I’d be like, “Yeah, sure I’ll try it. I’ll be the guinea pig. Fuck that, yeah, definitely. What’s it do? Oh, you don’t really know? It’s supposed to make you feel good, though, right? Okay, cool, I’ll call you in the morning.” And just have a raging night. [Laughs.]