Last year, the music world welcomed Tierra Whack with open arms and even rewarded her gifts with a Grammy nomination. St. Louis rapper pinkcaravan! has been paving her way in a similar fashion with catchy songs bursting with a youthful energy that are super soaked in nostalgia. Her name comes from the first car that her grandfather gave to her, a Caravan.
“People usually think of Caravans as ugly so if I paint it pink it won’t be so ugly,” she says. “I feel like that’s what I do with my music. It’s usually behind happy production, or I say it in a way where you won’t really know that I’m talking about what I’m talking about. It’s covering up the ugly with the pretty.”
When she’s not making specific references from her childhood, pinkcaravan! hits the point home by dropping in sounds like ice cream trucks. Growing up in a small midwestern town, she turned to artists like Missy Elliott for inspiration. She also cites Dr. Seuss as a huge influence, though she can’t choose between the books – she merely explained that reading became less fun once she had to leave Dr. Seuss behind. That era left a deep impression on pinkcaravan! that she hopes to emulate with her own music.
“Building and creating his own world in those books, that’s what I want to do with my music,” she says. “I see how the video is supposed to go when I’m writing or I try to see what I’m writing when I’m writing it.”
We caught up with pinkcaravan! to chart her rise – check out our interview below.
What was the process like for you putting a very sad happy birthday together? How long had you been working on it and what was it supposed to be about?
I was looking for a producer to produce three tracks for me. I was asking around and then someone recommended Namesake and that’s who produced most of the newest EP. We got it done in like a month. He was in Columbia, Missouri at the time just going to school and I was in St. Louis so it was only two hours away so we met up that way.
What is one of the most valuable things you learned from the experience of putting that first project together?
Take your time with a project, don’t rush it.
Was it a smoother process for you with 2002 after having that EP done?
This one was weird because I haven’t put out music in so long and I didn’t know what to do next, what style I wanted to go with… I still don’t know what style this EP is. I think the first [EP] was easier because it was only three songs. [With] this one, I feel like I needed to do something else. I was just really indecisive about what I should do with this project, but I think it all makes sense now.
With the new EP, I would love if you could talk about the sounds that you were going for or if there are any themes.
There’s a lotta early 2000’s references. When people hear it, I want them to think about the early 2000’s. I reference VIP, Nelly, and TLC. I really just hope it makes sense to somebody ’cause this really is everywhere.
I feel a lot of the music that’s coming out right now is making references to the late ’90s and early 2000s. For whatever reason that’s one of the most pure times for a lot of millennials even though I don’t remember that much of it. With that said, what did that era mean to you?
What it means to me? I just think things were so much simpler; fun was fun. I don’t know. I’m an adult now so I have responsibilities, but when you hear an ice cream truck, you’re gonna get happy. I feel that at that age. Or, it’s gonna ring a bell at any age.
When I saw the title “purple dinosaur” I was immediately like “Oh my god, she’s talking about Barney!”
It was my favorite toy.
Barney was the best. I saw this BuzzFeed article about how teens now are nostalgic for 2015 and making all of these weird mood boards… There’s nothing about 2015 for me that stands out. I was graduating college and trying to get a job.
Yeah, that’s the year after I graduated high school so I’m not sure about that.
Right? I can’t think of anything past 2008 because I was still listening to pop-punk… When I think about where we are right now I wonder what people will look back on from this era. I don’t really know what it will be.
Yeah, there’s just so much now… What is gonna be legendary?
Do you keep goals for yourself or is there anything that you’re working toward as an artist?
I’m always working at bettering myself before anything else. I wanna be more consistent.
What else will you have going on now that the EP is out?
I hope I tour, but I don’t really have management right now or anything pushing me so it’s just what opportunities come up I take them. So that’s how that’s going…
How has being an independent artist been?
It’s been a roller coaster. I can do what I want, but sometimes I don’t want to do anything… I don’t know, maybe things will change after the EP.
Take a listen to pinkcaravan!’s 2002 EP below.
For more of our features, take a look at our interview and editorial with chill-master Toro y Moi.