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A Straight Man's Respect Doesn't Mean Shit to Rapper Mykki Blanco

mblacnodoggood.jpgMykki Blanco has been on the road for the past two years, touring nonstop. He's blown through far eastern Russia, London, Berlin and back to New York City, becoming more of a transcontinental experimental artist than just a rapper.

His new mixtape Gay Dog Food, which comes out Oct. 28, showcases a complete picture of Blanco, piecing together the dynamic, cohesive sound his previous releases have only flirted with, from punk and noise to industrial and Riot Grrrl. The album is aggressive and woefully grimy -- track "Moshin In The Front," features Memphis rapper Cities Aviv as well as Blanco growling  "all the white boys in the pit scream," over thrashing production by Naked.

We caught up with Blanco to hear more about recording with Kathleen Hanna, performing in Vietnam's only hipster bar and where to buy the best human hair wigs.

On Gay Dog Food:

Gay Dog Food came about because I wanted an alias that would enable me to pursue other sounds outside of the image I'd already created for Mykki Blanco. At the time when I'd create music that wasn't specifically Mykki Blanco, I'd go by the name, 'Gay Dog.' The direction on this project is closer to what I was making when I first started in the New York scene with more hardcore music. It's still a Mykki Blanco record, but I'm beginning to bridge this new wave sound that I've been making.

On recording with Kathleen Hanna:

It was amazing -- I had no idea she was going to come by the studio. My manager was emailing with her, but nothing had been set in stone. All of the sudden, midday, we heard from Kathleen saying she was down to come by the studio for a few hours, so I started freaking out and running around. To be honest, there was no game plan, but we had about five hours and I thought, 'Okay, how can I utilize this amazing talent, right now?' I thought that me rapping, while Kathleen sang R&B vocals would be too outrageous, so we made the track more of homage to her. I had Kathleen write for about an hour and recorded this spoken word piece. I come in at the beginning and end, but the track is supposed to be her collage sound piece, which we've called, "A Moment with Kathleen."

On his weirdest touring experience:

The strangest place I've ever had a show was a tiny, tiny bar in Hanoi, Vietnam. When you talk about a corner of the world, this was literally the tiniest corner of the world -- it's the one hipster bar in all of communist Hanoi. But to be honest, my show stories are kind of inimitable, so this could go on forever into a black hole.

On the saying, "The future is stupid:"

That came from a phrase that my best friend and I used to say many years ago. He had a hat that he got from somewhere in Wisconsin that said across the front, 'The Future is Stupid.' We always thought that it was really funny because saying, 'the future is stupid,' is derived from the same place as that whole punk mantra, 'fuck tomorrow, live for today.' It's really anarchist, but it's also more playful. I integrated the saying into my show because it's saying, 'Yes, the future can be many things and the future will likely be stupid, so it's always good to be here in the moment and engage as much as you can now and not wait for some future filled with fake opportunities.' You need to explore your ambitions, now.

Why "a straight man's respect doesn't mean shit" to him:

That's really important to me. No matter what crossover I may have, no matter what genders or backgrounds the people that enjoy my music have, a large part of my fan base is gay and those are my people. They're the people I represent. I always want to reinforce to my fans that regardless of any issue with homosexuality that people want to debate about, it's about owning your sexuality and not allowing the heterosexual world to think they can critique it -- no one is critiquing heterosexuality. Don't allow society to put who you are into this petri dish like it's a topic for discussion. That's why I say, 'A straight man's respect doesn't mean shit to me,' because so many people will condescendingly say to me, 'Oh you really are a good rapper.' What they're really trying to say is, 'You're a really good rapper for being gay.'

On his Portugal arrest:

I think that got a bit blown out of proportion in America because so many different people began to write about it. When I say it was blown out of proportion, the experience was still fucking awful. It wasn't so much the arrest and me being in jail that was the most awful thing -- a local Portuguese paper wrote about my show and then I had all these bigots, homophobes and really hostile people coming to my Facebook page. The racist, homophobic rants, the slurs and hate speech that came from that country -- it was one of the most eye-opening, scary experiences I've ever had in my life.

On what makes a good wig:

My favorite place to get wigs is where the big girls go, which is Helena Collection in Meatpacking. That's where Eryka Badu and Nicki get all their bomb wigs. I can actually have them for the next nine months. But I also need to get better at not destroying them so quickly.

On the Gay Dog Food bonus track, "Solange in the Elevator," featuring Katie Got Bandz:

The song is just basically a bad girl anthem about letting people who think they can manipulate you know that they can't. The title comes from one of the first lines in the song, 'I'm Solange in the elevator; watch your ass. You're phony, faking in my face; that shit don't get a pass.'

On moving to Los Angeles:

I have to go back to Europe quickly to do some shows, but then I'm coming back and I'm finally getting my own place December 1st. I haven't had my own apartment since June of 2012. Traveling so much these past two years has been so spiritual. Touring has become about so much more than just the shows. The soul travel is what I've gotten really into, but the difficult part is riding on the road. Doing things like laundry can become super difficult if you're on the road for so long, so that's why I feel really good about this move to Los Angeles. Once I'm really settled, I'll have mastered my own domain and my life won't always be dictated by a cattle call to and from the stage. 

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