"Being pigeon-holed as just a trans artist sucks"
The 2010s have given us a new group of hip hop artists – such as Junglepussy, Mykii Blanco and now Quay Dash – who are diametrically opposed to the hyper masculinity that’s often tied to rap’s roots, paving the way for a new wave of queer and trans MCs.
“Fuck him on a leather recliner / Smudging all my lipstick and my matte make-up liner,” Quay Dash raps on her track ‘Decline Him’. In the video she wears red PVC trousers and sparkly heart chokers while posing on a roof with prop guns. The video, much like her others, is an example of 2010s DIY glamour. An aesthetic championed by artists like Mhysa, Klein and Charli XCX.
With lyrics about Gucci and Bentleys you could be led to believe she lives the life of a lame manufactured pop star, but Quay had a tough upbringing in New York, spending time in foster homes and experiencing a tonne of transphobia after she came out at the age of 19. And despite being formerly a signed artist she is now self-managed and has complete creative control of her output. “I manage myself, I pick my own beats, I write my own music – I do everything.”
Formerly a London-based artist, I ask her about the decision to leave the underground label Perth Records (who released her ‘Transphobic’ EP in 2017), which she says she can’t tell me much about. What she does say is: “I needed to be independent again… Once I gained my independence back I wouldn’t really need a record label.” She adds that she felt it was mandatory to release a LP whilst signed to a label, and much prefers releasing music in a mixtape and EP format.
Born in the Bronx, being a rapper wasn’t her childhood aspiration, and yet Quay has shown a huge amount of versatility. As an MC, she’s rapped old school, club trap and recently collaborated with SOPHIE on the leather infused club rap banger ‘Queen of this Shit!’.
“[SOPHIE] hit me up via email and we talked about working on a track together,” she explains. “We got in the studio and I wrote down some lyrics to the beat she had, and we ended up fucking it up. ‘Queen of this Shit!’ was a really good experience – working with SOPHIE is just like magic; she is just really talented when it comes to engineering, sound and producing. I really appreciate her for looking out and helping a sister when in need.”