Let ’Em Know
Interview: Robby Seabrook III
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
Coming up as a child musical prodigy alongside her younger sister Halle, Chlöe is now a 24-year-old woman who is walking her own path. The young sisters signed to Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment management, production and entertainment company in 2015, establishing a relationship that continues to this day. Now, stepping out as a solo act, Chlöe exists in a world where she mixes R&B, pop, dance and more into one package. Hailing from Atlanta, Chlöe is quickly becoming one of the “it” girls, shining both in the studio as she prepares her self-titled debut album, and on-screen on ABC’s Grown-ish, plus upcoming films Jane and The Georgetown Project. She took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her hip-hop roots, how she chooses which songs to cover and her favorite rappers.
XXL: What were your early experiences with hiphop? You’ve lived in two states—Georgia and California— that are huge hotbeds for rap music.
Chlöe: My earlier memories of living in Atlanta, I’m so proud, especially as a musician, to say I’m from Atlanta, all the different artists like OutKast, Missy and Ciara. Missy’s not from Atlanta, but that was all I really heard when I was down there. The whole Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik [OutKast album] was really like my soundtrack, and Toni Braxton and Jill Scott, that’s what I grew up on. In Little Five Points in Atlanta, I would constantly hear neo-soul, rap and spoken word and it really just fuels my spirit.
Who was your first favorite rapper?
It was OutKast. It was André 3000, for sure. That was my first favorite rapper. As I started broadening my horizons, definitely Missy Elliott. What inspired me about her is how incredible her pen is and her production. Me being a female producer, I have always been inspired by that. No matter if she’s making music for herself or with Timbaland or Aaliyah or Tweet, you could always hear her part of the music. She always puts her stamp on everything.
Your debut solo single, “Have Mercy,” is certified gold and almost a year old. You chose Murda Beatz as the song’s producer, someone who’s known for working on hip-hop. How did you decide to use his production?
We became friends online. One day he sent me this beat and I was like, Whoa, this is fire. I really loved it honestly, it was like perfect for me in a weird way. I was so happy with how it turned out. I was really nervous when the release of it was about to happen, but I was happy with how big it was getting on TikTok. But you know, of course, no one really knows how the full song will sound, so I was nervous about that. Plus, my VMAs performance. So it was nerve-racking and exciting all at the same time.
You’re featured on two songs with rappers, Gunna’s “You & Me” and Fivio Foreign and KayCyy’s “Hello,” and both tracks feature the lead artist leaning into different lanes. How do you choose which songs that you want to sing on?
I’m huge fans of the artists that I work with and collaborate with. If they’re reaching out, I’m like, Hell yeah! I have some grit to me when it comes to music that hasn’t really been uncovered. They just base me off of the two songs they’ve heard from me. There’s so many different layers to me as a musical artist. I get to bring that part of me into the music.
You’re known for covering songs like Yung Bleu’s “You’re Mines Still,” Capella Grey’s “Gyalis,” Kanye West’s “24” and more. Do you see the covers as a way to show your versatility?
If there’s a song I love and it resonates with me, I’ll do it. The cool thing is, “Gyalis,” we actually did an official remix. I get to play with these songs and make ’em my own, and [they] eventually come out into songs. And you know Kanye [West], I am the biggest Kanye fan, I will tell the whole world. He has inspired me as a producer and as an artist because he has the hip-hop base and the hard things, but then he also layers it with like, musicianship and all of the sick samples, which is the heart of hip-hop.
What rappers do you listen to now?
I love Pusha T’s latest album [It’s Almost Dry]. I’ve been blasting that recently. I love Kendrick’s latest album [Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers]. I’m such a huge fan of Baby Keem. He’s just incredible. There’s a lot of people killing it right now that’s been like, really awesome.
Read about R&B singer Chlöe and her ties to hip-hop, on newsstands everywhere now. The issue includes additional interviews with the Freshmen featuring BabyTron, Cochise, Saucy Santana, Babyface Ray, KenTheMan, SoFaygo, Big Scarr, Big30, KayCyy, Doechii, Kali and Nardo Wick, 2022 XXL Freshman producer Wheezy Outta Here, Lupe Fiasco, Kevin Gates, NLE Choppa, D Smoke, Yvngxchris, producer Dahi and engineer Teezio, plus a breakdown of every Freshman Class from a numbers standpoint, a look back at what the 2021 XXL Freshman Class is doing, the story of why the 2016 XXL Freshman Class gets so much respect now and exploring rappers' most valuable collections. You can also buy the 2022 XXL Freshman Class issue here.