Bump To This is BE’s monthly curated list of the tracks that we’ve had on heavy rotation. This special edition is in celebration of Pride month, which is not just for queer folk who are out and proud, but also for the people who aren’t sure yet, people who can’t safely come out and people that just don’t want to label themselves. Scroll through the list featuring some of the LGBTQ+ artists we love including King Princess, Tyler, the Creator, Miss Blanks Kehlani and Bad Bunny. Link up to our Spotify to hear more!
1950 by King Princess
Brooklyn born King Princess is more than just a singer – she is the queer representation mainstream pop was missing. She also writes, produces and plays multiple instruments including bass, guitar, piano and drums. The genderqueer artist only came onto the scene last year after signing with Mark Ronson’s label, Zelig Records, but her first single ‘1950’ made major waves and is currently sitting on over 250 million Spotify plays. The song was inspired by the 1952 book, ‘The Price Of Salt’ by Patricia Highsmith, and pays homage to hidden queer relationships of the past. In an interview with i-D magazine, King Princess recalled toying with gendering her songs before her first release and ultimately decided to release the song how it was intended, about a lady. “Yeah, I’m gonna put fucking female pronouns in my songs. It doesn’t make any sense for me to hide that part of myself. I needed to do it to help love myself and get through shit,” she said. Her soulful vocals, synth-heavy production and passionate lyricism came together to form the perfect pop, queer anthem of 2018.
EARFQUAKE by Tyler, the Creator
Over the past ten years, we have seen Tyler, the Creator’s musical style and personal character cultivate through his six solo, full-length albums (including his first mixtape, ‘Bastard’). His latest instalment, ‘IGOR’, opens the door to even more personal development than the private artist ordinarily discusses. While he is not so direct in interviews, Tyler’s lyrics have been divulging his infatuations and relationships with men since ‘Flower Boy’. In a 2018 interview when asked why he started talking about his sexuality, Tyler explained, “It's a literal question and the thing about humans is we hate not having an answer. We hate not being in-the-know. So, people will bullshit answers, make shit up, instead of being just, like – I don't know. There are some things that are just unexplainable.” It’s a good reminder that you don’t owe anyone a label. ‘EARFQUAKE’ is the lead single off ‘IGOR’, which Tyler produced, wrote, and arranged himself. In the heartfelt song, Tyler pleads with his male lover not to leave him to return to his ex-girlfriend.
Clap Clap by Miss Blanks
Miss Blanks is a fierce rapper from Brisbane who uses her music to amplify gender and racial diversity. The trans woman of colour is known for her demanding stage presence, confident sexuality, liberating lyricism, stylish fashion and her activism. She has given talks at NYU in New York, TEDx in London and brings much-needed visibility to trans people and women of colour. She uses her intersectionality and music to reclaim her voice and disrupt Australia’s predominantly white, male hip-hop industry. “Stuff like empowerment and body positivity are important to me,” She told Beat Magazine. “You can rap about sucking dick and still be an articulate and educated person. We have the power to do that.” Recently, her love for fashion and hip-hop collided when she had the chance to work with Alexander Wang. ‘Clap Clap’ was featured on Alexander Wang’s Instagram for the Collection 1 2020 campaign, showing models like Kendall Jenner and Kaia Gerber dancing to the track backstage before the runway show. You can catch Miss Blanks across Australia at Listen Out this September.
Caro by Bad Bunny
Bad Bunny is a Puerto Rican rapper and singer who been breaking down barriers left and right. His huge hit song ‘Mia’ featuring Drake was the first full Spanish-language song to go to No. 1 on Apple Music’s Top Songs Chart in the United States. He also uses his influence and success to break down gender roles in a genre laden with toxic masculinity. While the Latin trap and reggaeton star is not the first rapper to rock painted nails, he often speaks up about current LGBTQ+ issues such as homophobia, gender-based violence and his disdain for societal gender roles, as well as the body positivity movement and other political issues affecting his home country. Whether Bad Bunny himself identifies as gender fluid is somewhat unclear and somewhat irrelevant because as we’ve stated before, Pride is not only for those who are out and proud. His representation, while some would say is only mildly transgressive, is still met with hostility and prejudice. “There's people who say, ‘Thank you for sticking up [for us], thank you for defending [this].’ There's others that say I'm an opportunist,” he told GQ magazine. ‘Caro’ which translates to “expensive”, is a track from his 2018 sophomore studio album ‘X 100PRE’. The music video was released in early 2019 and explores gender and self-love. The film clip begins with Bad Bunny getting his nails done but his character is quickly substituted for a female counterpart, Puerto Rican model Jazmyne Joy. She dons the same haircut, same outfit, moves as he does and raps his lyrics. One scene also shows a diverse catwalk, something rarely seen in real life. Towards the end of the video, the two Bad Bunny’s are seen together, suggesting the masculine and feminine energies that are in all of us. They look into each other’s eyes, move around each other and eventually kiss, signifying self-love. “It does not matter … your situation, your belief, who you are, your sexual orientation ... The question is that we are all expensive, we are all valuable, and as I said already: that value is not given to you by anyone, that value is given by yourself, you as a person ... hence the theme "Expensive",” he told Genius.
Honey by Kehlani
Kehlani has always been one to be open and outspoken. Whether it’s about her sexuality, identity, mental health, emotional pitfalls, failed relationships, or struggles growing up, her honesty is what makes her music so raw and powerful. An active social media user, like most millennials, we have seen her identity mould and flow as she grew from an unsettled teen to young adult in the public eye. Always feeling the pressure of outdated binary systems, she now identifies as fluid, changing her style with each day, depending on how she feels. As for sexual orientation, Kehlani says she identifies closest to pansexual than any other queer label. In an interview with Paper Magazine she stated, "When you truly understand the humanness of queerness, there are no rules to this shit." From ‘First Position’, to ‘Undercover’ and now ‘Honey’, you can hear her journey of love, confidence and self through the songs. ‘Honey’ is like the soft, warm, content expression of her refined identity. It’s soothing and sure. Her gentle voice floats among guitar strums as she sings “I like my girls just like I like my honey/Sweet, a little selfish.” Once afraid of being defined as “the gay artist”, Kehlani said, “I stopped being scared of letting it define me because it does define me. It is who I am. If you look up my name in a dictionary, it'll probably say Gay Ass next to it. I'm all for it."