Rap is one of the boldest, most unapologetic genres out there. So it follows that when rap done by those who identify as queer takes that abrasive energy and infuses it with the culture and ethos of the LTBGQ community, the result is stunning. Saint George, a local rap artist who dabbles in drag and makes raw rap music, gave us the lowdown on his sound and how he fuses queer and rap culture.
Who are some of your biggest musical and style influences?
In terms of my lyricism, I take a lot of influence from doom and stoner metal bands. The way they work references to horror cinema and paint really bleak, yet alluring pictures is something I strive for. Older Memphis rap too, the triplet flows and shit. In terms of style, I honestly love Kylie Jenner. A lot of the way I dress and do my makeup is inspired by her: satin bombers and dad hats. Shouts out, Kylie.
How would you describe your sound — what kind of music do you make?
I make dark rap music. It’s really sarcastic and hedonistic, I think, and hopefully horrific at times, too. There’s a lot of the standard stuff about buying clothes, doing drugs, being promiscuous in my lyrics, but I try to get across how much damage that lifestyle is doing to me and other kids like me. I want people to feel a little guilty when they party to my music.
How do you feel local cultural movements such as hip hop and rap treat the LGBTQ community? Is there a lot of inclusion? Is there any prejudice?
You know what? I feel so blessed in that regard. All the rappers that I’ve met so far have been relatively cool and understanding about my queerness, although to be fair, most of my experience is in Denver, New York, or L.A., which are all pretty progressive, almost sheltered places. I would imagine my experiences elsewhere might not be so kind. There’s definitely a lot of prejudice in the rap world, especially the further you stray from the mainstream, or from underground internet shit. A lot of the dudes who claim to be the most ‘woke’ say so much abhorrent shit about gays on their tracks. Or sometimes people in the crowds say nasty shit, and I get comments online.
How does identifying as queer in any way factor into or influence your creative expression?
I have so many friends who are like me, that don’t fit into any one box, who are very sexually fluid. I wanted to make music for kids like them, because I feel like no one is really doing it. I wanted to try and like carve a niche of some kind for all the kids like me, who stay up on the internet learning about clothes and designers, and love gangster rap and watch horror movies and don’t catalogue their sexuality.
What are some of your favorite ways to express yourself through drag?
For me, wearing makeup and crossdressing are two different things, rather than an extension of the same idea. When I wear clothing designed for women, it’s usually for performance. The outfits are outlandish or over the top. I love crop tops, though; I wear them all the time. Makeup, on the other hand, is something that I just love. I started to wear makeup and get my nails done regularly because I love the way it looks. I love the look of natural contours and lip liner and well-done eyebrows; I don’t think that should be a strictly feminine thing. I don’t understand that. If you like how something looks, do it.