As a fan of rap music, I got really excited in 2012 when artists like Mykki Blanco, Zebra Katz and Le1f started to get some recognition. At the time, their music—which had a lot more weight to it than your average run-of-the-mill rappers—was marginalized into a quasi sub-genre called Queer Rap (whatever that was supposed to be). Every kinda-alt publication hopped on it, asked questions that made the artists seem outrageous and as 2014 starts to settle in, a good deal of these talented artists are on the way to being forgotten; I guess teenagers getting shot up in Chiraq is a bit more juicy. What makes these artists worthy of being cherished is the unique narrative they have to offer to hip-hop. Have you heard anything like Mykki Blanco's shit before? Hearing someone spit as gutter as Cakes Da Killah over trip-hoppy ballroom-incorporating beats is some of the most entertaining shit out. Don't get me wrong, I love listening to traditional subject matter in rap but I'd be lying if I said the shit doesn't get boring.
At the end of 2013, I found out about Quay Dash. She's a transgender rapper from The Bronx whose rap style is of her NYC boom bap roots. Though her catalog is short, I heard enough to want to pay close attention to whatever she has dropping. As a part of Cunt Mafia—a collective of alternative kids who champion queer culture—her aesthetic is unforgiving and raw which never gets tired in rap. We spoke recently and I got to find out what unique narrative a transgendered woman can offer to hip-hop, what food spots are the best in the BX and where her style comes from. Peep it below:
When you decided to be a rapper, did you feel that it was already something you had to offer that would set you apart from the pack or are you still crafting it?
Quay Dash: I started off writing music three years ago. It started off as poetry and metaphors i wrote out of anger. I don't consider myself a rapper-- more like a lyricist. Being apart of the LGBT community and being a transgender rapper from the Bronx definitely sets me apart from the pack which is why I must come much harder than your average everyday female or male rapper . I don't feel the need to craft it because I already perfected what I needed to. It's pretty much a piece a cake for me.
At this point, a lot of active rappers are repeating a handful of familiar narratives. The story of a trans rapper is one that hasn't been heard on a large scale, though. Does that fuel you?
QD: It does which is why I am here to put it out there so people can understand the actual reality and life of a transgender woman. People will gag but they also will get the full effect on this lifestyle that they're totally unaware of instead of listening to all the false uproar and stereotypes of the trans community.
You’re a member of Cunt Mafia. As a family and a rap group, what unique values do you all have that help shape your aesthetic and identity?
QD: We're all just different in our own ways and we all have our own personalities, demeanors, style and originality .
How did you get down with Cunt Mafia?
QD: I met Contessa back when I used to party in whorehouse when I was 19. From there me and her became really good friends.
On the songs that I’ve heard from you, delivery seems to be a priority. Is that something you put a lot of work into?
QD: Of course. Delivery is one of the main things other than flow that I put lots of work into to become a beast as a lyricist (lol).
Your style is of New York’s traditional boom-bap sound. As someone from NYC, do you feel that it’s a responsibility to carry on that legacy or is that how you naturally flow?
QD: It's just how I naturally flow honestly being that 90's hip-hop always was a big influence on my music but it's not necessarily a responsibility .
Other than Nicki Minaj, there hasn’t been a strong female voice in rap for some time. Why do you think that is and what would need to happen for that to change?
QD: It's 'cause the industry is too busy co-signing these wack rap bitches talking about your everyday basic bullshit and the audience for these people are brainwashed and don't know any better so they follow that basic bitch aesthetic of female rap. For this to change the industry must co sign CUNTMAFIA.
What’s your process when putting a song together?
QD: I usually have to hear the beat I'm working with a couple of times to actually start. Usually, I'll have something written already and work it into the track .
What music in 2013 personally encouraged you to keep pushing?
QD: None .
Why does the game need Quay Dash?
QD: Put me in a room with my so called competition and you'll see ;)
Favorite food spots in the BX?
QD: I love Giovanni's near Grand Concourse. It's really tasty Italian food introduced to me by my best friend. I also love Crown Fried Chicken—typical around-the-corner grub food after you just finished blowing a couple of spliffs to the face.