So it’s finally dropped. After a year of watching, stalking and gauging the evolution of Mykki Blanco’s mutant hip hop with a dash of shock rock, Cosmic Angel: Illuminati Prince/ss hit computers everywhere. Out on NYC label UNO, it’s a fine culmination of work begun with the dark and freaky auto-tuning of ‘Join My Militia (Nas Gave Me A Perm)’ of May to the most recent ‘Haze. Boogie. Life.’ The latter video features Blanco swinging her purple hair extensions about a deserted East London market road over a deafening bass line, all while declaring war on the ordinary.
That same track resurfaces at the beginning of Cosmic Angel: Illuminati Prince/ss following the perfectly apt vox pop opener of, “Today the downtown area was rocked by another outbreak of violence. The fact that the perpetrator is believed to be a mutant has fuelled anti-mutant hysteria”. It’s a byte lifted from the first episode, of the first season of 1992 cartoon X-Men: Night of the Sentinels and for Mykki Blanco too, it’s only the beginning.
A poet and New York transplant from Raleigh, North Carolina, Blanco (aka Michael David Quattlebaum Jr) first adopted rap as a medium for her performance art. Following the release of Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels download earlier this year her ascent into the wider public consciousness has been unstoppable. Positioning herself at the vanguard of this growing army of freaks challenging the status quo, dressed in drag and flexing her biceps, Blanco messes with every stereotype. There’s riot grrl influence in the growling, distorted guitar of early track ‘Head is a Stone’ transferred this time to the pitch-shifted affectation of ‘MB’s First Freestyle’. Then she bleats “the real came in lipstick, dressed like a girl” in ‘Virginia Beach’, all set within a backdrop of shifting gender and genre paradigms, no doubt affected by the interconnected, hybridised global culture of the internet.
The thing about Mykki Blanco is that, although the mixtape is packed with so many influences and references it could be overwhelming –from Katy Perry in ‘TeenageDream’ to Le1f in ‘Fuckin the DJ’ –she never loses focus. And that’s because it’s all about her words. After all, it’s language that shapes convention and Blanco aims to destroy it through deliberate provocation as she condenses a raft of social sore points into just seven syllables with “Bitch nigga’s gone retardo” in ‘YungRhymeAssassin’. That’s because, as she snarls “welcome to hell bitches” Mykki Blanco’s is an assault on convention, while naming herself the Mutant Messiah come to set things right, by making them all wrong.
Mykki Blanco’s Dream On was out on UNO November 13, 2012.