Australian rapper Miss Blanks isn’t just here to give you bops — she’s here to make sure that her voice is heard.
The transgender rapper historically takes a strong stance in her music, with lyrics that are overtly sexual and confident. While that remains true on the rapper’s newest track “Tommy,” (premiering below) Blanks says that her new song has some thematic differences, even if her signature sound is still stamped on the tune.
“I really wanted to take some of the traditional Miss Blanks themes and flip them,” she tells Billboard. “In 'Tommy', I'm talking about that stage you get to with a guy where you're really enamored and interested, but because you're blinded by puppy love, you're unable to realize: ‘Sis! He ain't all that great!'”
Blanks talked with Billboard ahead of the release of her new song about the making of the track, working with pop star Charli XCX, and the rap scene in Australia.
Talk to me about “Tommy” — what was the inspiration/goal with this song?
“Tommy” has been in development for the past year. I remember when Annika [“Tommy” producer Alice Ivy] sent me the beat, I was like, "Oh ok, so we're about to go IN on this one, huh?" The best part about getting in the studio with her and creating is that its a collaborative process, [with] open learning and exchange, and just really fun energy all-round. There was no inspiration or real major goal other than to create a fun bop that we could see ourselves listening to on the radio, at a festival, in a club, at the gym — even in our headphones while grocery shopping!
The lyrical content and theme, however, is another story. I really wanted to take some of the traditional Miss Blanks themes and flip them. In “Tommy”, I'm talking about that stage you get to with a guy where you're really enamored and interested but because you're blinded by puppy love, you're unable to realize: "Sis! He ain't all that great!" But it's fun while it lasts, and sometimes it’s nice to soak up those early experiences.
You also got to work recently with Charli XCX — what was that like?
It was a whirlwind! I remember Charli and [Australian pop singer] Banoffee were on tour with Taylor Swift for her Reputation tour, and then a month out before the Australia/NZ component, I'm on Instagram DM's discussing the Australian "1999" club experiences with Banoffee, and how we can make shit happen? I ended up performing Charli XCX's track "I Got It" on every leg with her, I curated, produced and performed for the Brisbane show — and Charli, Banoffee, and I did performances for VICE Australia's 15th anniversary. This was over the course of 2 weeks.
It was a lot, but both of them shared with me and had beautiful conversations with me that I reflect on even now. It was one of those rare moments where someone as big as Charli, took a moment to really see me, and recognized my talents, existence, and worth. It was a really beautiful thing.
Talk to me about the rap industry in Australia. How have you managed to fit in among your counterparts in that market?
Hmmm… I'm going to talk about the community, because the "industry" is still finding its feet back home. I'd say the hip-hop and rap community is pretty special. Our community, while there’s many different pockets, is very open to sharing and collaboration. I'm so lucky to have been introduced to the scene by a community of warm and welcoming Black and Brown women. The best part about back home is, because of the pressures of navigating "the industry," you have some of the hottest acts coming up are from these small pockets within our scene and community; carving out space, creating opportunities for themselves, and approaching their music and their business with hustle, grit, and rawness. The kind of depth we don't see from a lot of artists.
I like to think the best way I fit in is by not fitting in — by bringing lyrical content and themes that are rarely (if ever) touched on by Australian hip hop. I engage in social debate and I'm loud and often confrontational. I provide a sound, space, and experience that holds the community, peers, and fans in high-regard, and the intersection I offer is a first in Australian music, let alone Australian hip hop and rap.
What’s next for Miss Blanks?
Right now, I'm out here with my new single “Tommy,” and I'm really excited to finally have it out after a year in the making! I really hope everyone buys it, streams it, watches the video, and shares it around! Then I'm on tour with Alice Ivy across May/June with some friends, including Val Flynn — which is going to be INSANE!
Tickets for Miss Blanks’ Australian tour are on sale now — get them here.