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Mykki Blanco

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Mykki Blanco
Mykki Blanco performing in 2017
Mykki Blanco performing in 2017
Background information
Born (1986-04-02) April 2, 1986 (age 36)[1]
Orange County, California
Genres
Occupation(s)Rapper
InstrumentsVocals
LabelsUNO
Websitemykkiblancoworld.com Edit this at Wikidata

Mykki Blanco (born April 2, 1986) is an American rapper, performance artist, poet and activist. She[a] has collaborated musically with artists including Kanye West, Teyana Taylor, and Blood Orange.

Early life[edit]

Blanco was born in Orange County, California. Her father, Michael Quattlebaum Sr., was an IT specialist before becoming a psychic. Her mother, Deborah Butler, was a paralegal at the North Carolina Patent and Trademark Office. Her father's side is African-American Jewish.[2] Blanco's parents divorced when she was 2 years old.[3] As a child, she lived in San Mateo County, California, near her paternal grandparents, before moving to Raleigh, North Carolina.[4] She attended Enloe High School.[5]

At the age of 15, Blanco won an Indies Spirit Award for the performance collective she founded, Paint In Consciousness Experimental Theater, in Raleigh.[6][7]

When Blanco was 16, she ran away from home before moving to New York City. She then spent time in California,[8] before winning a full scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but dropped out of college after two semesters in 2006.[3] She also briefly attended Parsons School of Design in New York City.[7]

Career[edit]

Blanco's book of poetry, From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys, was published on OHWOW's imprint on June 17, 2011.[3][4]

In 2012, Blanco made her musical debut with an EP, Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels.[9]

In November 2012, Blanco released the mixtape Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss.[10] The mixtape was produced by Brenmar, Flosstradamus, Gobby, Le1f, Boody, Matrixxman, and Sinden.[8][11] She makes an appearance in the album Junto by Basement Jaxx.

In 2013, Blanco released her second EP Betty Rubble: The Initiation.[9] May 2014 saw the release of the Spring/Summer 2014 EP,[12] followed by her second mixtape Gay Dog Food in October.[13] Gay Dog Food features a spoken word track with Kathleen Hanna, and contributions from Cities Aviv, Cakes Da Killa, and more.[13]

Blanco's debut album, Mykki, was released on September 16, 2016.[14]

Blanco's ad-libs appeared on Teyana Taylor's song "WTP", from her June 2018 album K.T.S.E.; she also has writing and production credits on the track. Blanco notably was not paid for these contributions until July 2020, more than two years later.[15]

In 2018, Blanco collaborated with Kanye West on the track "Bye Bye Baby" for West's scrapped album Yandhi; the track was later leaked.[16]

Blanco released Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep through Transgressive Records in June 2021.[17]

Artistry[edit]

Blanco performing at Glasslands, 2014

The persona Mykki Blanco began as a teenage girl character for a YouTube video in 2010, but evolved into a musical and performance art piece. Blanco's name is inspired by Lil' Kim's alter ego Kimmy Blanco.[18] Her influences include Lil' Kim, GG Allin, Jean Cocteau, Kathleen Hanna, Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, Marilyn Manson, and Anaïs Nin.[7][19] She is also inspired by the riot grrrl movement and queercore, namely the director Bruce LaBruce and the drag queen Vaginal Davis.[3][20]

Blanco has been called one of hip hop's queer pioneers; although she struggles to identify with the label of "gay rap" or "queer rap", she has begrudgingly "accepted it".[21][22] Blanco also disagrees with those who portray her as a drag artist, saying "You can't tag me as the rapping transvestite. I never vogued in my life. I'm from a punk and Riot Grrrl background."[21] Blanco has often described herself in terms of other artists, saying that she's not a "Marilyn Manson" or even a rapper, but rather says she wants to be Yoko Ono.[22] In fact, her album Mykki was originally going to be named Michael in reference to Michael Jackson.[23] Blanco, along with Rosie O'Donnell and Anderson Cooper, presented Madonna with the GLAAD Advocate for Change award on May 5, 2019, in Manhattan.[24]

Blanco has also tried to bring her "persona" closer and closer to her non-artist self, having to repeatedly say through interviews and alike that she is indeed transfeminine, and that the aesthetic evolution of Mykki Blanco over the years is the aesthetic evolution of her entire self, rather than just a "drag performance".[23] Mykki Blanco places a lot of emphasis on her music videos and art performances, often taking complex and fresh new takes on her ever-moving aesthetic, and is constantly trying out new looks and performances just as genre-defying as her musical style.

Personal life[edit]

In June 2015, Blanco revealed via her Facebook page that she has been HIV positive since 2011.[25][26] Blanco initially worried that being HIV positive would be detrimental to her career, saying of the decision to make finally that information public, "I did it for myself. At a certain point, my real life has to be more important than this career".[27] She made this information public via Facebook during Pride season. Over 12,000 users liked the post and over 700 shared it.[27]

Blanco had expressed concern that the music industry would shut her down because of her public announcement: "I thought when I came out that was going to be the end," she says. "Mykki Blanco is fun. Talking about HIV is not fun. How could I be fun and have HIV?" She mentions that during that time period she had made plans to become an investigative journalist to report on LGBT issues on a global scale, yet that the flood of positive reactions in response to her coming out as HIV positive have made her determined to continue her artistry.[28]

As of 2019, Mykki Blanco identifies as transgender and uses she or they pronouns.[29] Blanco has used different gender pronouns throughout her career.[25] She began hormone therapy for her gender transition in 2019.[5]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details
Mykki
Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep[30]
  • Release date: June 18, 2021
  • Label: Transgressive
  • Formats: Streaming, digital download, CD

Extended plays[edit]

Title EP details
Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels
  • Released: May 15, 2012
  • Label: UNO
  • Formats: Digital download
Betty Rubble: The Initiation
  • Released: May 21, 2013
  • Label: UNO
  • Formats: Digital download
Spring/Summer 2014
  • Released: June 20, 2014
  • Label: UNO
  • Formats: Streaming, digital download

Mixtapes[edit]

Title Mixtape details
Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss
  • Released: November 9, 2012
  • Label: UNO
  • Formats: Digital download
Gay Dog Food
  • Released: October 28, 2014
  • Label: UNO, Ormolycka
  • Formats: Digital download

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Song Year Album
"Head Is a Stone" 2012 Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels
"Join My Militia"
"Wavvy" Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss
"Haze.Boogie.Life" 2013
"Kingpinning (Ice Cold)"
"Feeling Special" Betty Rubble: The Initiation
"The Initiation"
"She Gutta" 2014 Spring/Summer 2014
"Wish You Would"
(featuring Princess Nokia)
"Runny Mascara" Gay Good Food
"New Feelings" 2015
"Self Destruction"
"High School Never Ends" 2016 Mykki
"The Plug Won't"
"Loner"
(featuring Jean Deaux)
"I'm in a Mood" 2017
"You Will Find It"
(featuring FaltyDL and Devendra Banhart)
2020 Non-album single
"Free Ride" 2021 Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep
"Love Me"
(featuring Jamila Woods and Jay Cue)

As a featured artist[edit]

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Ring Around The Moon" 2013 Sinden Ring Around The Moon
"Unclassified" 2014 Etnik Unclassified EP
"Buffalo" Basement Jaxx Junto
"Femmebot" 2017 Charli XCX, Dorian Electra Pop 2
"WTP" 2018 Teyana Taylor K.T.S.E.
"My Sex" Brooke Candy, Pussy Riot, MNDR Non-album single
"Play" 2019 J-E-T-S, Machinedrum, Jimmmy Edgar ZOOSPA
"Collide" 2020 Shea Couleé, GESS Non-album single

Music videos[edit]

Song Year Director
"Join My Militia" 2012 Mitch Moore[31]
"Head Is a Stone" Nick Hooker[32]
"Wavvy" Francesco Carrozzini[33]
"Haze.Boogie.Life" Danny Sangra[34]
"Kingpinning" 2013 Clarence Fuller[35]
"Feeling Special" Danny Sangra[36]
"The Initiation" Ninian Doff[37]
"She Gutta" 2014 Jude MC[38]
"High School Never Ends" (feat. Woodkid) 2016 Matt Lambert
"My Sex" (Brooke Candy feat. Pussy Riot, MNDR and Mykki Blanco) 2018 Pastelae

Published works[edit]

  • From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys (2011)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mykki Blanco uses she/her and they/them pronouns. This article uses she/her pronouns for consistency.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Michael David Quattlebaum". California Birth Index. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  2. ^ Schulman, Michael (July 17, 2012). "From Runaway Teenager to Hip-Hop Queen". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c d Sauers, Jenna (April 10, 2013). "The Making of Mykki Blanco". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Chapman, Alex (April 4, 2012). "The Multiplicities of Mykki Blanco". Interview. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Blanco, Mykki (July 10, 2020). "Rapper & Activist Mykki Blanco's Lockdown Diary Is The Most Powerful Thing You'll Read Today". British Vogue. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  6. ^ Hornburg, Mark (June 26, 2002). "Michael Quattlebaum". Indy Week. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Schulman, Michael (July 17, 2012). "The Evolution of Michael Quattlebaum Jr., a k a Mykki Blanco". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "The Come Up". XXL. April 10, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "The Wind Up Series of After-Hours Events Presents Performance by Mykki Blanco" (PDF). thejewishmuseum.org. The Jewish Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Battan, Carrie (November 16, 2012). "Mykki Blanco: Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  11. ^ Battan, Carrie (November 9, 2012). "Listen to Mykki Blanco's New Cosmic Angel: Illuminati Prince/ss Mixtape". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  12. ^ Minsker, Evan (May 28, 2014). "Mykki Blanco Shares "She Gutta" Video, Releases New EP, Announces Tour". pitchfork.com. Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Camp, Zoe (October 28, 2014). "Mykki Blanco Releases Gay Dog Food Mixtape". pitchfork.com. Pitchfork Media, Inc. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  14. ^ Murphy, Sarah (July 20, 2016). "Mykki Blanco Details Debut Album, Shares "The Plug Won't"". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  15. ^ Justin Curto, Mykki Blanco Has Finally Received Payment for ‘WTP’ After Calling Out Teyana Taylor, July 20, 2020, Vulture
  16. ^ Jael Goldfine, Hear a Scrapped Kanye West-Mykki Blanco Collab From 'Yandhi', December 19, 2019, Paper
  17. ^ "Mykki Blanco: 'I've helped to push open some closed doors. It's a cool feeling'". the Guardian. June 20, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  18. ^ "New World Order - Mykki Blanco". Clash. January 21, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  19. ^ Empire, Kitty (March 2, 2013). "Mykki Blanco - review". The Guardian. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  20. ^ Oliver, William (February 12, 2013). "Mykki Blanco: This is not Queer Rap". District MTV. Archived from the original on April 16, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  21. ^ a b Moa, Johnsson. "Werkin' girls: a critical viewing of femininity constructions in contemporary rap" (PDF). Södertörns University. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  22. ^ a b Lynskey, Dorian (September 15, 2016). "Mykki Blanco: 'I didn't want to be a rapper. I wanted to be Yoko Ono'". The Guardian. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  23. ^ a b Geffen, Sasha (October 19, 2016). "Mykki Blanco Is Her Own Problematic Fave". MTV News. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  24. ^ Spencer Harvey (May 5, 2019). "Madonna Declares "It Is Every Human's Duty To Fight, To Advocate" at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York". GLAAD. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  25. ^ a b Flanagan, Jack (June 13, 2015). "Queer artist Mykki Blanco reveals he is HIV positive". Gay Star News.
  26. ^ Allen, Samantha (June 16, 2015). "Mykki Blanco, The Rapper Challenges Rap's HIV Stigma". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  27. ^ a b Reynolds, Daniel (October 9, 2015). "The Exclusive Interview With Mykki Blanco You've Been Waiting For". HIV Plus. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  28. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (September 15, 2016). "Mykki Blanco: 'I didn't want to be a rapper. I wanted to be Yoko Ono'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  29. ^ Azzopardi, Chris (January 6, 2020). "Mykki Blanco Finds Power in Transparency". POZ. Retrieved May 22, 2020. In that spirit, Blanco disclosed in November 2019 on Instagram that they started transgender hormone therapy. “I’m not gay,” Blanco wrote, “I’m trans.”
  30. ^ "Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep – Album by Mykki Blanco". Apple Music.
  31. ^ Chapman, Alex (May 14, 2012). "Exclusie Video Premiere: 'Join My Militia,' Mykki Blanco". Interview. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  32. ^ Catarinella, Alex (July 23, 2012). "Backstage Pass: Mykki Blanco". Elle. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  33. ^ Michelson, Noah (August 24, 2012). "Transgender Rapper Mykki Blanco Premieres 'Wavvy' Video". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  34. ^ Friedlander, Emilie (October 12, 2012). "Video: Mykki Blanco, "Haze.Boogie.Life"". The Fader. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  35. ^ Zeichner, Naomi (January 25, 2013). "Video: Mykki Blanco, "Kingpinning" (Prod. by Brenmar)". The Fader. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  36. ^ Hogan, Marc (April 18, 2013). "Watch Mykki Blanco's Noir-Nodding 'Feeling Special' Video". SPIN. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
  37. ^ Battan, Carrie (June 5, 2013). "Video: Mykki Blanco: "The Initiation"". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  38. ^ Minsker, Evan (May 28, 2014). "Mykki Blanco Shares "She Gutta" Music Video, Releases New EP, Announces Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 11, 2014.

External links[edit]