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Mykki Blanco

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Mykki Blanco
Mykki Blanco Performing in 2017
Mykki Blanco in 2017
Background information
Birth name Michael Quattlebaum Jr.[1]
Born (1986-04-02) April 2, 1986 (age 31)[2]
Orange County, California
Occupation(s) Rapper
Instruments Vocals
Labels UNO
Website MykkiBlancoWorld

Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. (born April 2, 1986), better known by the stage name Mykki Blanco, is an American rapper, performance artist, poet and activist.

Early life[edit]

Quattlebaum 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.[3] Quattlebaum's parents divorced when she was 2 years old.[4] As a child, she lived in San Mateo County, California, near her paternal grandparents, before moving to Raleigh, North Carolina.[5]

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

When Quattlebaum 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.[4] She also briefly attended Parsons School of Design in New York City.[7]

Blanco has used different pronouns throughout her career.[9]


Quattlebaum's book of poetry From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys was published on OHWOW's imprint on June 17, 2011.[4][5]

In 2012, Blanco made her debut with Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels EP.[10]

Then in November 2012, Blanco released the mixtape Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss.[11] The mixtape was produced by Brenmar, Flosstradamus, Gobby, Le1f, Matrixxman, and Sinden.[8][12]She makes an appearance in the album Junto by Basement Jaxx.

In 2013, Blanco dropped her second EP Betty Rubble: The Initiation.[10] May 2014 saw the release of the Spring/Summer 2014 EP,[13] followed by her second mixtape Gay Dog Food in October.[14] Gay Dog Food features a spoken word track with Kathleen Hanna, and contributions from Cities Aviv, Cakes Da Killa, and more.[14]

Blanco's debut album, Mykki, was released on September 16, 2016.[15]


Quattlebaum's 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.[16] her influences include Lil' Kim, GG Allin, Jean Cocteau, Kathleen Hanna, Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, Marilyn Manson and Anaïs Nin.[7][17] she is also inspired by the riot grrrl movement and queercore, namely the director Bruce LaBruce and the drag queen Vaginal Davis.[4][18]

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."[19][20] 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."[19] Blanco is self-described as transgender and multi-gendered.[5][19] 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."[21] In fact, her album Mykki was originally going to be named Michael in reference to Michael Jackson.[22]

Blanco has also tried to bring her "persona" closer and closer to her non-artist self Quattlebaum, 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.[9][24] 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."[25] She made this information public via Facebook during Pride season. Over 12,000 users liked the post and over 700 shared it. Through coming out with this hard-hitting information, Blanco says that she feels like a good person when she hasn't felt that way in a long time.[26]

Mykki Blanco says that prior to coming out as HIV positive, she thought she might not continue her musical career in the future. Blanco 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. [27]

Mykki Blanco at first considered undergoing transitional therapy, either Sex Reassignment Surgery and/or Hormone Replacement Therapy, but later decided that such treatment wouldn't solve her problems with gender and dysphoria, and rather would not engage with racist and patriarchal conceptions of race, gender, and sex.[28] Blanco using a variety of pronouns for similar reasons, earlier on only using she/her/hers but later decided that these pronouns failed to articulate her persona and artistry.


Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]



Song Year Album
"Head Is a Stone" 2012 Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels
"Wavvy" Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss

Music videos[edit]

Song Year Director
"Join My Militia" 2012 Mitch Moore[29]
"Head Is a Stone" Nick Hooker[30]
"Wavvy" Francesco Carrozzini[31]
"Haze.Boogie.Life" Danny Sangra[32]
"Kingpinning" 2013 Clarence Fuller[33]
"Feeling Special" Danny Sangra[34]
"The Initiation" Ninian Doff[35]
"She Gutta" 2014 Jude MC[36]
"High School Never Ends" (feat. Woodkid) 2016 Matt Lambert

Published works[edit]

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


  1. ^ Swartz, Tracy Rapper Mykki Blanco: I announced HIV diagnosis on whim Chicago Tribune. December 15, 2015
  2. ^ "Michael David Quattlebaum". California Birth Index. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  3. ^ Schulman, Michael. "From Runaway Teenager to Hip-Hop Queen". The New York Times Company. 
  4. ^ a b c d Sauers, Jenna (10 April 2013). "The Making of Mykki Blanco". The Village Voice. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Chapman, Alex. "The Multiplicities of Mykki Blanco". Interview. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Hornburg, Mark. "Michael Quattlebaum". Indy Week. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Schulman, Michael (17 July 2012). "The Evolution of Michael Quattlebaum Jr., a k a Mykki Blanco". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "The Come Up". XXL. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Flanagan, Jack. "Queer artist Mykki Blanco reveals he is HIV positive". Gay Star News. 
  10. ^ a b "The Wind Up Series of After-Hours Events Presents Performance by Mykki Blanco" (PDF). The Jewish Museum. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  11. ^ Battan, Carrie (16 November 2012). "Mykki Blanco: Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Battan, Carrie (9 November 2012). "Listen to Mykki Blanco's New Cosmic Angel: Illuminati Prince/ss Mixtape". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Minsker, Evan. "Mykki Blanco Shares "She Gutta" Video, Releases New EP, Announces Tour". Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Camp, Zoe. "Mykki Blanco Releases Gay Dog Food Mixtape". Pitchfork Media, Inc. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  15. ^ Murphy, Sarah (July 20, 2016). "Mykki Blanco Details Debut Album, Shares "The Plug Won't"". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  16. ^ "New World Order - Mykki Blanco". Clash. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Empire, Kitty (3 February 2013). "Mykki Blanco - review". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  18. ^ 12/02/2013 (2013-02-12). "Mykki Blanco | This is not Queer Rap |". Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  19. ^ a b c Moa, Johnsson. "Werkin’ girls: a critical viewing of femininity constructions in contemporary rap" (PDF). Sodertorns University. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  20. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (2016-09-15). "Mykki Blanco: ‘I didn’t want to be a rapper. I wanted to be Yoko Ono’". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  21. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (2016-09-15). "Mykki Blanco: ‘I didn’t want to be a rapper. I wanted to be Yoko Ono’". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  22. ^ "Mykki Blanco Is Her Own Problematic Fave". MTV News. Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  23. ^ "Mykki Blanco Is Her Own Problematic Fave". MTV News. Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  24. ^ Allen, Samantha (16 June 2015). "Mykki Blanco, The Rapper Challenges Rap's HIV Stigma". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  25. ^ Reynolds, Daniel The Exclusive Interview With Mykki Blanco You've Been Waiting For HIV Plus Magazine. October 14, 2015
  26. ^ "The Exclusive Interview With Mykki Blanco You've Been Waiting For". Retrieved 2016-03-06. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Mykki Blanco Is Her Own Problematic Fave". MTV News. Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  29. ^ Chapman, Alex. "Exclusie Video Premiere: 'Join My Militia,' Mykki Blanco". Interview. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  30. ^ Catarinella, Alex (23 July 2012). "Backstage Pass: Mykki Blanco". Elle. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  31. ^ Michelson, Noah (24 August 2012). "Transgender Rapper Mykki Blanco Premieres 'Wavvy' Video". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  32. ^ Friedlander, Emilie (12 October 2012). "Video: Mykki Blanco, "Haze.Boogie.Life"". The Fader. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  33. ^ Zeichner, Naomi (25 January 2013). "Video: Mykki Blanco, "Kingpinning" (Prod. by Brenmar)". The Fader. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  34. ^ Hogan, Marc (18 April 2013). "Watch Mykki Blanco's Noir-Nodding 'Feeling Special' Video". SPIN. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  35. ^ Battan, Carrie (5 June 2013). "Video: Mykki Blanco: "The Initiation"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  36. ^ Minsker, Evan (28 May 2014). "Mykki Blanco Shares "She Gutta" Music Video, Releases New EP, Announces Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 

External links[edit]