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Snow Tha Product at The Ritz

In Music
SNOW RIGHT: Rapper & San Jose native Snow Tha Product comes back home for a headlining gig at The Ritz.

SNOW RIGHT: Rapper & San Jose native Snow Tha Product comes back home for a headlining gig at The Ritz.

Prior to signing with Atlantic Records, booking concerts nationwide and gaining millions of followers on social media, Bay Area native Claudia Alexandra Feliciano spent the first 10 years of her life in San Jose.

Better known as Snow Tha Product, the hip-hop queen who raps circles around a mostly male-dominated scene has worked alongside some of the biggest names in music and come a long way since early mixtapes like 2010’s Run Up or Shut Up.

With rapid-fire rhymes that keep pace with the likes of Busta Rhymes or Eminem, and a bilingual flow, Snow has not only built a music career but a cult following.

“I’ve had to jump through hoops,” Snow says over the phone from her home in Los Angeles, where her Pomeranian can be heard trying to escape halfway through our call. “Proving myself as a Mexican woman rapping, I don’t think that’s a very easy task because there’s not very many of us.”

Snow’s musical catalog demonstrates she’s not afraid to write about the disadvantages and stereotypes she’s encountered during her career, including being called “too pretty to rap fast.” Her style of music is blunt and often discusses serious issues such as immigration, social stigmas and anxiety.

These days, Snow’s collaborators include artists like Ty Dolla $ign, Tech N9ne and Hamilton playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, but her first collabs date back to her early childhood. She first publicly expressed her passion for music by singing alongside numerous mariachi bands and with her grandfather, who played violin and guitar.

“Everybody just kind of knew me as the little girl who sang with the mariachi,” she says. “Eventually, in high school, I started liking rap.”

Snow then spent years “slowly but surely grinding away” to prove she didn’t fall under just one musical genre. “I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into a Latin rap category,” she says. For her, this meant striving to break away from what others expected of her. “It’s been a lot of work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

While newer tracks like “Myself” are full of immediate positive messages about self love and working hard to get ahead, sometimes it takes a second listen to hear the deeper context. Party anthems like “Help A Bitch Out,” where she speaks about independence and female empowerment, offer more than just the song’s catchy chorus—with lines like “I don’t need no help, I don’t need a man.”

“People don’t take into consideration how much I actually said on it,” she says of the track. “Once you really dig into my verse, you kind of hear a lot of issues being tackled.”

Her bold method of writing often makes her seem fearless, but there is still an undeniable sensitive quality about her. “I’m more scared of being vulnerable than talking crap,” she says before she explains there are a number of songs she’s found too personal to release. “I wouldn’t want to be so vulnerable and not have it come out the right way.”

Not that she isn’t working to put those songs out. In fact, she hopes to spend time recording and release new material after her current tour, which includes her first show in San Jose, the city where she was born.

While the area is pegged to many fond childhood memories and holiday visits, Snow says she’s still disappointed by San Jose’s dearth of all-ages venues. Though she’s excited to play The Ritz this July, she wishes the venue wasn’t 21-and-over because she doesn’t want to exclude any of her fans, whom she credits with her success thus far.

“I’ve never really had too much radio promo or press,” she says. “It’s always basically just been me going out there, touching the fans and talking to them—that’s kind of how my career got built.”

For Snow, there is no feeling comparable to the thrill she feels on stage, and she is excited to perform where a large portion of her family lives—plus she loves the food and is looking forward to eating some good tacos.

“I feel like if it hadn’t gotten so expensive, I would have always lived in San Jose,” she says. “I love visiting my family, and it’s always a party whenever they’re there. Hopefully, San Jose shows up.”

Snow Tha Product
Jul 27, 8pm, $20+
The Ritz, San Jose

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