Mykki Blanco, the drag rapper persona of New York-based Michael David Quattlebaum Jr, also dabbles in poetry and peformance art. With a new album coming out in November, an art show in Sweden, and a European tour with DJ Physical Therapy, these are busy days...
MykkiBlanco is not just a shock rock persona. It’s very much my life. I love that I can be dressed as Mykki and do poetry readings and also rage out and be wild
Dazed Digital: So how did the idea for Mykki Blanco come around?
Mykki Blanco: I had this idea for a video art project about a teenage female rapper. I chose the name Mykki Blanco as an homage to Lil’ Kim’s persona Kimmy Blanco and also because I loved the name DeeDee Ramone- a feminine name on a punk rock singer. I did not know that I could rap, but it just happened so organically. I did not grow up rapping; I grew up in the riot girl queer core scene.
DD: And this drag persona turned into a musical project?
Mykki Blanco: I’m in the process right now, even though it’s just been a year, Mykki Blanco has gone through so many transformations. It’s been a dual thing between the masculine Michael and hyper-feminine Mykki. But Mykki Blanco is not just a shock rock persona. It’s very much my life. I love that I can be dressed as Mykki and do poetry readings and also rage out and be wild. I love that Mykki allows me to flirt with the glamour of fashion world and also be true to myself and do noise shows and weird hip hop shows.
DD: You have accomplished a lot in a matter of a year.
Mykki Blanco: This whole year has been nuts! I’ve always been really focused, and I always knew what I wanted to do, but I have been broke this whole entire time. Dead broke. I’m at the Black and White Ball drinking champagne with Linda Evangelista and then I walk over to St. Marks and I’m eating dollar pizza for dinner.
DD: What has the public response in NY been like?
Mykki Blanco: People in NY are so competitive, I came into this scene as a freak, I worked my ass off, a lot of people come to NY thinking that if they are a socialite, they’re gonna get famous. Number one: it’s not about being famous, it’s about work, if you don’t have work that’s interesting and that speaks to people on a certain level, nobody is going care what you are doing. To be a successful in the city you have to size it up, you have to learn. All these people are trying to make me seem like an outsider in hip hop culture, but if you watch early Busta Rhymes video where he is using wigs and makeup, Missy Elliot, Eminem, Bushwick Bill, there used to be theatricalities and artistry in hip hop. It’s coming back with Odd Future and Lil B.
Text by Irina Makarova
Photos by Sandy Kim