Mykki Blanco

Betty Rubble: The Initiation

“Rap music is good now because rappers aren’t afraid to be weird,” Dave Bry declared in an (excellent) essay on the website The Awl back in 2011. But even then, no one could’ve quite predicted the performance-art persona invented/inhabited by Michael Quattlebaum and now known as Mykki Blanco — a gender-fucked, generally fearless, self-described “acid-punk rapper” whose uniqueness merely begins with her sexual identity. In 2012, Cosmic Angel: The Illuminate Prince/ss introduced us to a fit of unbridled energy and fuck-you attitude, a performer with the lyrical talent of Weezy, the ambition of Yeezy, and the camp sensibility of a drag queen. And on her follow-up EP — said to be something of a teaser for a proper second album, hopefully to be released this year — Blanco manages, somehow, to take the whole thing to even weirder and more wonderful places. Much like the game it’s named for, “Angggry Byrdz” is frenetic, cartoonlike, and highly addictive, all trunk-slapping bass and blistering, inventive wordplay; “The Initiation,” meanwhile, pairs a stabbing synth and bleating, burbling, space-age effects with a rap in — wait for it — Latin. “Ace Bougie Chick” is uncannily like a late-Nineties or early-Aughts Top 40 jam, save for the tossed-off and very 2013 lyrics about “Instagram bitches” — except it’s glazed over with a perceptible self-awareness as well as all the discursive complications presented by Blanco’s own gender politics. Like much of Blanco’s work, it manages, at once, to be completely accessible and utterly unlike anything we’ve ever heard before. Stay weird, Mykki. (UNO)


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