The world of rap and hip hop has traditionally been a sphere characterized by hypermasculinity, aggression, and anti-gay sentiments. But here in 2018 queer artists are making room for themselves and infiltrating spaces that have long considered them enemies or outsiders.
Following the internet success of his 2017 songs like “LaCroix Boi” and “Meat Quotient,” Chicago-born queer rapper Big Dipper is releasing his debut LP, Late Bloomer, this week and is ready to ascend the ranks of rising LGBTQ talent. OUT was lucky enough to not only get an exclusive early streaming premiere of Late Bloomer, but to also sit down with Big Dipper and talk about this exciting moment in his career.
OUT: This is your debut LP – what was it like working on something so massive on a personal and professional level?
Big Dipper: Initially it was really intimidating to think about such a big project, but as the ideas and work began to flow, we started making more and more music and all of a sudden I looked up, and I had too many songs. It was my first experience cutting music, editing down the track list, and really crafting the album in a way that was especially about the story arc and the listener’s experience.
Late Bloomer is the most personal and authentic project of mine to date, and I feel like it’s a great representation of me as an artist. There is every kind of version of Big Dipper on this album and it’s super fun to listen to start to finish. I can’t believe it’s finally out!
Those collaborations though. Tell us about getting such recognizable queer talent as Shea Couleé, Uncle Meg, and Peppermint on this album.
I’m friends with every single featured artist on the album (which I love), but I also have talent crushes on all of them. I met Uncle Meg when I first moved to Brooklyn when he was in a band called Hand Job Academy. We recorded his feature on Cut Up early in his transition and so his voice hadn’t fully dropped yet. We talked about the option of re-recording it months later, but he wanted to keep it and honor the moment in time when it was recorded.
I met both queens who appear on the album years before they were on season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race; Shea Couleé and I are old friends from Chicago’s queer performance art community and I met Peppermint when I performed at her party in NYC. It’s so exciting to see their careers take off!
The album also features Divoli S’vere, a sickening producer and vocalist from Atlanta, Will Sheridan, Rena, and Show You Suck.
What would you say the theme of this album is? What emotions are you trying to draw out of listeners?
I haven’t really thought about what I want people to feel. I guess the way someone consumes art is such a personal thing… I’m open to whatever reactions people have to the album. My main objective in everything that I do is to bring joy to someone’s life.
Thematically, Late Bloomer is about my own personal evolution. I’ve always been a late bloomer in my life; my sexuality, my confidence, my music career. I’m kind of slow to take on new things and I hve to really marinate ideas.
What are some of your favorite tracks on the album?
I’m obsessed with “Snooze.” I just like how hard and aggressive I am on the track. I’m a fairly nice person in real life and kindness and respect are big priorities in both my personal and professional life. But on “Snooze” I really tap into that cocky side of myself (which is so much that we love about rap music).
“Waiting” is one of my favs as well. It was a song that developed over many months and making it with Mike Malarkey was like this really fun on-going experience where we kept fucking with structure and adjusting lyrics and ideas and reworking the hook until finally it landed where it is.
Listen to “Snooze,” “Waiting” and more below, and watch for Late Bloomer’s official release August 24.
This interview has been edited and condensed.