Mykki Blanco, Mykki, Dog Food Music Group/!K7
New York-based hip hop artist, and acclaimed figure in the NYC Afropunk scene – Mykki Blanco – is the alter ego of gender fluid performance artist, Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. Mykki came to life as a series of Youtube pieces of the teenage girl protagonist vlogging and rapping in her bedroom. Gradually, Mykki became merged with the identity of Michael – who cites Lil’ Kim‘s Kimmy Blanco alter ego and riot grrrl as inspiration for Mykki. In 2014 she released mix tape Mykki Blanco presents Gay Dog Food, wherein she offered an enticing sample of the beats she had to offer as well as make her label known to one and all. This artistic declaration/manifesta was Mykki’s coming out to the world as the fierce powerhouse that she is. Now, with the release of her first LP, Mykki proves naysayers that she is not a gimmick, she is a swaggering razor-tongued Furiosa, and she is here to slay.
The plodding synths of opener ‘I’m In A Mood’ is a declaration of self-ownership as well as a celebration of not being what others want her to be. She unapologetically declares: “Dress like a woman/Fuck I love women”. ‘Loner’ (featuring Jean Deaux) carries on the feeling of simmering frustration as well as ownership of her outsider status.
Album masterpiece ‘Highschool Never Ends’ (featuring Woodkid – who along with Jeremiah Meece co-produced the album) strikes a perfect balance between sweet and sour, creating a hybrid of genres: chamber pop, hip hop, DIY into a pitch perfect ode to growing up queer in a classist and racist society.
Hilarious and bouncy, ‘For The Cunts’, punctuated by manic high-pitched giggles creates yearnings for fantasy future collaborations between Mykki and fellow weirdo soul sister, Grimes to create some magic together. Equally bouncy ‘My Nene’ features finger clicks paired with vocal acrobatics as Mykki gushes about her boo in this slyly subversive playground rhyme.
The infectiously upbeat tracks are finely balanced by Mykki’s more melancholy, introspective moments found for example in ‘Interlude 2’ in which she speaks frankly about her desire to find a serious love as well as addressing her own self-worth. Equally riveting ‘You Don’t Know Me’ is a candid exploration of Michael’s HIV Positive status as well as existing as a gender fluid person in a misogynist landscape.
‘Rock and Roll Dough’ carries the same upstart, arty punk spirit of Patti Smith. Blanco calls out bougie art culture powerfully when she lists a litany of used to’s from another life. “ I worked at galleries without a salary,” she sneers, casting shades of Kathleen Hanna defiance at ridiculous, bobo posturing.
Rough around the edges, Mykki is at times a jagged pill to swallow, but she gives zero damns at how easy she is to digest. She’s a fresh, original voice that is a welcome conversation-starter in the dynamic world of contemporary hip hop. With her debut album, she has declared her place and she isn’t about to back down.
Check out Mykki Blanco live:
27 Oct Meet Factory Prague, CZ
28 Oct Grelle Forelle Vienna, AT
29 Oct Jameson Urban Routes Lisbon, PT
4 Nov Gretchen Berlin, DE
5 Nov Rote Sonne Munich, DE
11 Nov Het Bos Antwerp, BE
12 Nov Sonic City Kortrijk, BE
17 Nov Exil Zurich, CH
18 Nov Saint Ghetto Festival Bern, CH
19 Nov La Romandie Lausanne, CH
24 Nov Astoria Turin, IT
25 Nov Teatro Quirinetta Rome, IT
26 Nov Transmissions Festival Ravenna, IT
1 Dec Lilla Vega Copenhagen, DK
2 Dec Yaki-Da Gothenburg, SE
3 Dec Sodra Teatern Stockholm, SE
18 Dec Day For Night Houston, TX