Veronica Cooper is something of a triple threat – Rapper, Songwriter, & Creative Director. A female rapper who prefers to be called an artist, in an industry overpowered by the there can only be one female rapper narrative, is pushing the status quo by being herself and not taking no for an answer. Her music career began a few years ago with mixtape I Got Good News, I Got Bad News(2018) – part Hiphop, part Pop, part EDM – creating a world of her own. Her 2018 mixtape, released the same year her girl group S.M. departed, went on to chart on the Billboard Heatseekers Mountain charts. Changing the course of her life during a time where she considered quitting.
Now, amid the fight against Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the storming of the capital and increased suicide cases — Veronica is in the studio working on her next project. All of this while trying to cope with the news of her mother and stepfather having stage 4 cancer. “The hate war is real. It saddens me deeply to have to experience it daily. I feel like prayer just isn’t enough anymore,” says Veronica. “Damn if we do, Damn if we don’t. How do we win this ongoing war that we didn’t even start or ask for?”
Born Jazmyn Jones, Later adopting the last name Akins; Vee grew up on a melting pot of music from P!nk, Sarah Machlalin, Cyndi Lauper, Missy Elliot, Eve, and Ludacris. Originally born in Las Vegas, NV spent most of her childhood moving around between the west coast, eastcoast (VA & NC), and midwest (Oh).
On the release of her 1st single of 2021 “Sorry Charlie”, Veronica opens up about depression, why art is important, and how to create an environment for self love and reflection.
How are you coping with the pandemic that is going on right now ?
“Coping,” She laughs. “When the pandemic started I was living in Los Angeles. I was preparing to go on tour and open up for a few different artists. I was devastated when I found out that tour season had been canceled. I’ve been on tour before but this was supposed to be the biggest one I have done to date. Shortly after the shut down I moved to Iowa hoping to hide from the pandemic for a min. Boy, was I wrong – the city I was in was no better then the next. I wasn’t coping at all. Being inside the house was killing me slowly. I felt like my whole life came to a stand still and I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. I ended up hopping over to Ohio to my mom’s house to go back to school and I spent the summer getting my nail tech license. Between the music studio I built there and school I was able to cheer myself up for a few months and kinda get back into the groove – giving some type of order in life.”
What was attending school like and why nails?
“Honestly, It wasn’t too bad. There were 3 people in the classroom. We sat at different tables. When working on clients we used plexiglass between us. Ya know wore out masks” Veronica smiles, “I went to school for nails because I wanted to start a nail care company with my cousin Alexea. She graduates this year with her masters and I just want us both to be successful in life. GldnChldBeauty has been in soft launch for a few months. It’s doing pretty good. We keep selling out of our press-on nails. We just created our own line of acrylics, monomer, and cuticle oils. Our huge launch is Feb 5th.”
Will your new music touch base on what is going on in the world?
“Honestly I have a song called “Shame” it went viral on Tiktok for a moment after the George Floyd murder. It’s a very woke song and I meant every single word I said in it. People were using it to showcase the BLM protests and remembrance of those kings and queens we lost over the past decade. As for my new music – as always- it’s a mix of storytelling, self-reflection, a couple turn up anthems, throw in some serious topics and blend it with hiphop – edm- pop.
Speaking of self reflection and coping you went live about having self love recently…
“Yea, it’s important more than ever. I can’t speak for others but I have been in a constant battle with myself for like my whole life. You gotta look at yourself in the mirror and learn your worth. It took me a min to find my path, music guided me. I always make sure to take a break from social media to get my grounding back when I start to fall back down that rabbit hole. Everything is digital and right there in your face – people have become so lifeless. If you don’t post, people think you’re doing bad. If you do post, you’re showing off. And don’t get me started on the haterd. Trying to love herself in a world where you are hated is a nightmare. Everytime you post anything you have to prepare yourself for what the world might do. I have seen body shaming and racial slurs more times than I ever care to admit. “
How do you protect yourself from that?
“The real question is how do you make sure you’re not a part of it. Some people don’t even realize they are hurting people – especially those that are around them. Being mindful of your words and actions come first. From there don’t fight fire with fire. Inform. Speak up if they are willing to learn. This doesn’t apply to every situation because the racist people that are out there still hanging people, wrongful shootings, brutal beatings, unethical arrests, and everything in between that seems like maybe being peaceful isn’t enough. After that capital building attack, my heart and mind is on a completely other wavelength.
As for the body shaming, everyone is beautiful and the quicker we realize this the better we will be. The magazines still love showcasing unrealistic body types. We can talk to 100 men and women and have them describe the love of their life and they are gonna be all shades, shapes, and backgrounds. This is just facts. Everyone feels like they have flaws, whether you know it or not. Some physical, some emotional, some spiritual. Everyone has a part of themself they don’t like – scars, height, freckles, nose, teeth, the list goes on. Some can afford to change it, some accept it but what you shouldn’t do is dwell on it. We have one life and it should be spent being as happy and carefree as possible.”
What are some of the issues you have faced as a female rap artist?
“The 3 things that come to mind for me are my weight, my inability to stay in one genre and how working in a male dominated field has some drawbacks.
Honestly, I don’t care about what anyone thinks about my weight. I’m healthy, the doctors say I’m healthy, and guess what I aint met a man yet that didn’t like me the way I was. I have had managers and labels tell me that I would go further if I lost some weight – got my body done- whomp whomp whomp. Something about sex sales in this industry and I’m being to goofy about it. I ain’t tryna hear none of that. Lizzo was proof that size doesn’t matter; Performance does. Cupcakke was proof that size doesn’t matter, Skill does. Meagen thee stallion proved that height doesn’t matter, Attitude does. I, Veronica Cooper am going to continue to prove that determination, creativity, and a little faith is what matters. All this while doing rap, pop, and edm because I’m not the only person in the world who listens to more than one genre.
Also this narrative about only one female can reign at a time needs to be deleted forever from our minds. Why is it okay for 300 male rappers to call themselves number 1 and all is good but if a female does its beef among the next. Why is it taboo for a female to talk about being sexually empowered and be told she is degrading but men can write about abuse, sexual exploitations, and everything in between and we don’t even bat an eye. It’s weird sometimes when I work with men cause I don’t want to say something in a song and they believe that’s all I’m about. I think it should be acceptable to feel sexy every now and then and be able to express that however you see fit – just like with any emotion.
Veronica Cooper’s Latest Single “Sorry Charlie” is out now on all streaming platforms.