FAULT FOCUS: Keeping Up with Mykki Blanco



It seems that everything is falling into place for Mykki Blanco, a poet, rapper, and performance artist who is on the verge of dropping her debut album. Those who have been following the North Carolina and California native turned New York tour de creative force shouldn’t be surprised. Her 2012 single “Wavvy” was just a small albeit impressionable preview of Blanco’s eclectic rap persona; the compelling body of work that has followed is fueled by a mixture of urgency and determination that Blanco (27-year-old Michael David Quattlebaum Jr.), has not denied. The genesis of Mykki Blanco was sparked by a consistent connection to the arts from childhood to young adulthood; she moved to New York in 2008 and took on performing as her main career in 2010. Her diligence has catapulted her across both ends of the globe, from national and international music festivals (Afropunk, Distortion Fest, Roskilde, to name a few) to fashion campaigns and artist residencies. While staying in Copenhagen, Blanco had a few minutes to chat about the current state of culture in addition to reflecting about her artistic trajectory.


FAULT: Hi Mykki, where are you at the moment?

Mykki Blanco: I’m in Denmark right now; I’m in Copenhagen.


Are you working on new songs?

MB: Not yet. When I go to London next week, I’ll start recording.


That’s awesome.

Yeah. I’m taking-we’re taking about a nine day break before I start to go to Australia, so it’s gonna be a nice, relaxing time.


It seems like you’ve been all over the place…and I saw that you’d played the Distortion Fest last weekend in Copenhagen. Was that the biggest festival you’ve played so far?

Oh, not at all. I played Roskilde last year and Slipknot and Rihanna played that festival. I played–last year, when my EP came out, I played almost like every size, I literally–almost every festival in Europe…so this year, I’m playing a few festivals and more club shows. Basically I’m touring all summer because in September I start working on finishing my album.


Speaking of festivals, are you going to be at Afropunk this year?

Not this year. I did it last year.

Photographer: David Lotri?

In the process of working on songs….who would you say is your current inspiration or inspirations?

MB: I’ve been listening to Ghostface, who I always listen to, I always listen to—-I’ve been listening to Nicki Minaj and and The Carter…One of the critical things about myself that I wanted to work on was I felt like all the songs I’ve written are kind of long, so I wanted to try to get better at closing a song out at like….2:40, 3 minutes…in-out but it still packs a punch.


Blanco is quite active with her fanbase via Twitter and Facebook, in addition to vocalising her opinions concerning the politics of the music business and pop culture. Knowing this and the way that the social media can start activism, I ask:

Do you think that those kind of things help awareness or do you think that they cause more problems than intended?

I think to have such a rigid opinion actually would be the wrong thing. I think that intelligence breeds awareness and I think that people are more socially intelligent now than ever before. If intelligence and awareness goes hand in hand-I’m not saying that there are more geniuses in the world than there were 10 years ago or 20 years ago, I’m not saying that, but I do think, in my opinion, that people, in general, are a little bit more socially intelligent. I don’t think it’s this rigid back and forth between between whether it trivializes or whether it shows awareness, obviously it’s both, obviously both are in symbiosis with each other.


When I ask Blanco about upcoming projects planned for the near future, she is hesitant to reveal too much. However, she does say that she’s thinking about going to Moscow to collaborate with a “secret weapon” of a producer. She also confirms that she will be shooting the video for “Wish You Would” with the track’s co-MC and fellow downtown underground visionary, Princess Nokia, in Paris. The most revealing of all: before we share our goodbyes, she tells me the name of her album: Michael.


Words: Vanessa Willoughby