Mykki Blanco is Back, Bending Genders and Video
by: Kate Messinger
October 18, 2012
Michael Quattlebaum Jr, aka Mykki Blanco, is a whole bunch of contradictions in one: a double trouble performer crossing and re-crossing the line between poet and rapper, classic thug gangster and styled drag queen, icon of queer rap music and truly multi-talented artist, gender aside.
In his new video “Haze.Boogie.Life,” Blanco takes both roles– the low pants, Ray Bans at night, chain sporting male rapper and the hair flipping, big hoops, skimpy dress, female rapper–to their perspective sides of the spectrum, and then combines them into a dreadlocked, shirtless character wandering the streets with a baseball bat: a bizarrely gender-neutral addition.
The video starts showing the character’s separate stories, filmed like you’re watching internet GIFS strung together in repetitive jerks, with Quattelbaum rapping in a car with his friends while Mykki sits in low light slinking on a couch. The other character wears the braids of Mykki but the swagger of Michel, and it’s hard to tell if this person is a vision or a crazy person, vandalizing the streets at night.
The character’s paths never physically cross but the lyrics give a context to the quick cuts and night shot feel: “Strobelight/blink, bla-bla-blink blink./I feel like somebody ruffied my drink, dra-dra, drink, drink.” The song, melodic rapping with minimal back beats, along with the flashes between scenes and images feels like a drug induced hypnotism or maybe a brief, rhythmic seizure.
As the video ends we see the transforming, or combining, of the two characters as Michel takes off his hat, revealing the braids, and Mykki takes off her dress, leaving a man in falsies and makeup. They have become the mysterious third character: the genderless roamer, the midnight lower east side crazy, the contradiction against pervious contradictions.