Tina Turnup and Babylit met while they were studying in Freiburg, in Southwest Germany. After a few musical explorations, they decided to create the rap duo PALAS. The two artists told us about their punk, afro dance and neo-soul influences, their feminism and their first upcoming EP called “ballert”.
Why did you choose to be called PALAS ?
PALAS is a proper name, which combines both a noble feeling and a tough vibe. As we see our music and beings as multifaceted and operating between contrasts, we found it as the perfect representation for our project.
How and when did you create the project PALAS ?
It just happened when we were having fun as friends and making music. But soon, we realized we both had big dreams and wanted to go for them. The first jams which led to the project PALAS took place in 2018 in Tina Turnup’s room in her shared flat.
How and when were you introduced to hip hop for the first time?
We both grew up in the suburbs and first discovered hip hop from TV shows in our youth. For Tina Turnup, it was love at first sight, while Babylit also spent a lot of time in punk, gothic and metal subcultures.
How and when did you create the characters of Tina Turnup & Babylit and how would you define them?
We don’t think we created them. We rather found names for what we are and want to be rap-wise. We don’t want to define them, as it feels cheap and limiting, and we are free beings, limitless and ready to evolve daily. Namaste bitches!
Your music mixes different sonorities, ranging from punk and trap to R&B. Which artists inspire you?
Yes, we think our sound has so many mixes/variations in it because we are two individuals and we both have many facets in our beings, our personalities and also our tastes in music. In addition to hip hop (gangsta rap, trap, cloud rap …), we both listen to other styles of music such as afro dance (pop), neo soul or R&B… All of these different music love affairs of ours certainly unconsciously have a little influence on our sound in one way or another, even if we don’t try to imitate or copy anyone.
The list of our celebrated artists is long, so we’ll only name a few here: Haiyti, Keke, Ebow, Ufo361, Doja Cat, Iamddb, Princess Nokia, Tierra Whack, Cardi B, Beyonce…
Which of your songs best represents you and why?
We wouldn’t say that a single song of ours reflects us completely, as we are all these facets. But if you ask, at the moment, it would be the next song that comes out: Vallah. Because it combines a lot in itself: darkness, sensuality and humorous playfulness at the same time. We especially celebrate our songs Nie wieder Broke, our first track and a feature with DOP, our EP Intro, Bossy and Vallah. But every track has its own charm ;-)!
How do you usually write? Do you have any routines?
We started writing our first PALAS rap songs together. In the beginning, for example, we even traveled to Morocco for a month to be inspired by the magic of the country and to write together every day. First, freely flowing in fantasy language or freestyle rap with text ideas and then, we created the songs out of it during long creative brainstorming sessions. Later our texting and rap skills got better and faster.
Now we sometimes write our parts separately at home. Some parts of the songs from the EP came up spontaneously in the studio (freestyle). We don’t have a schedule for writing, but we do something regularly when the muse kisses us.
As female artists, what issues did you have to face throughout your career?
We’ve had situations where men tried to patronize us a bit or push us into girlish pop rap music. We think they did this unconsciously because those stigmata are still in their minds. Some men still behave like they force their opinion on us as if we wouldn’t know what we’re doing. This is the old role of the men who wants to rule over women… But it was kept within limits, probably because we are already very self-confident and also now just surround ourselves with music business partners who are intelligent and not sexist.
In addition, we often get hater comments, because some men still don’t want to see women rap, or inappropriate harassment via social media. Women are still much more compared to each other or reduced to their appearance, in music and society in general, but luckily we get a lot more love from all sides than hate.
Do you consider yourselves feminists? If so, how would you define your own feminism?
We just speak our truth. The term “feminist” is sometimes still incorrectly associated with dogged women who hates men. But we are not. We just want women/lesbian/homosexual/transsexual people to be able to live a free life, free from ideals of beauty, patronizing men, free from sexual violence and all that freedom…
Yes you can say we are feminists. Because these are just people who want justice. We also want justice for all living beings. So our feminism consists of freely doing what we want and expressing our opinions.
What are your upcoming projects?
Our next single Vallah from our EP “ballert” is coming soon, with a music video. And then (pretty soon) our EP itself. Then, let’s see!
What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?
We think it’s a really cool project and love the effort to highlight female and queer rap talent. We can’t think of anything to improve. Maybe you could host some online events?