Categories Interviews

Trannilish: “Every queer artist needs to knock down doors just to get noticed”

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The New York-based queer rapper told us about her last video Bounce with Ms. Boogie, her projects and the discriminations she faces as a Black trans artist and a sex worker.

How and when were you introduced to hip hop for the first time?

My first introduction to hip hop happened in the new millennium, as a lower case I took a liking to artists like Ja Rule, Jay Z, Nas, Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes, just to name a few of my favorites.

How did you start rapping? 

Three years ago, out of fun with my first song That Boy Likes To Party, it started with me putting together rhymes with parody.

You just released the video Bounce with Ms. Boogie. You two already worked together on the track Fem Queen in 2020. How did you meet and decide to collaborate?

Ms. Boogie and I are day 0 sisters, before the transitions. Life took us both in a different direction. And in 2020, we reconnected and it was a full circle moment.

With her being already in music and me just starting, it was a perfect match. Everything was organic, everything you hear and see is us just having fun like we always do.

How do you usually write? Do you have any routines or favorite topics?

I try to write every day, whether it be a verse or just a bar. My favorite topics are getting money, being that it-girl I created myself to be.

People often think that hip hop is the most LGBTQIAphobic music genre. How do you reply to that?

It is, there’s not much of us that get included in the mainstream hip hop because of our lifestyles and how we identify. I feel like every queer artist has a major task of trying to knock down doors just to get noticed. As an artist and not a gimmick in a part of the hip hop genre.

What are the major hardships and discriminations Black trans artists have to face in the music industry today?

Well, I can only speak from experience the hardship and discriminations I have faced are being too sexualized, especially being a well-known sex worker. A lot of people only see that part of me, they don’t see the artist I am. To this day, I come across producers and people in the industry who only see me for how I look.

Do you identify as a queer artist? What does the term “queer” mean to you?

I do identify as a queer artist, the term queer to me means different and unique.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

No I don’t. I’m all about women first but feminism doesn’t always include trans.

Who are your role models?

Kelis, Grace Jones, Jhene Aiko, Ms. Boogie and Gia Love.

How does the Covid pandemic impact your activity?

COVID has kinda put a damper on all of my projects. Not sure how everyone is going to respond, especially due to something always happening in the news with the pandemic.

I have my first solo single coming in March and also another project with me Boogie.

What do you think of Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?

I love Madame Rap, serving as a platform for women in rap. That’s fab and not done often and I live. Don’t change a thing, keep supporting us women in rap.

Find Trannilish on Instagram and Soundcloud

© Femme Daddy

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