If there’s anyone who knows the importance of being well-connected, it’s raunchy Philadelphia-based rapper and Baltimore club-scene mainstay Amanda Blank. The 26-year-old MC has already collaborated with the likes of Spank Rock, M.I.A., and Ghostface Killah. After appearing as a guest vocalist on the Spank Rock track “Bump” back in 2006, Blank garnered three years worth of hype before dropping her hotly anticipated debut album, I Love You, a collection of foul-mouthed party anthems with production by the likes of Diplo, Switch, and Spank Rock’s XXXChange. In anticipation of Blank's show at The Black Cat tomorrow night, The A.V. Club caught up with her to talk about the pitfalls of being a female MC, Pitchfork’s reception of her debut album, and making “music for girls and gay boys.”
The A.V. Club: How did your parents react to your more X-rated lyrics?
Amanda Blank: At first they were like “whaaaat the fuuuuck?” My parents are really cool. Both of them are artists and pretty open-minded. Ideally I wouldn’t rap about stuff like that. If it was up to them, I never would have had a boyfriend, I never would have had sex, and I never would have left the house. Parents never want their kids to grow up. But, they’re cool. They’re not judgmental people—they are really sweet and super supportive of everything I do.
AVC: So, they were okay with hearing you rap “my pussy’s tastin’ the best?”
AB: My dad won’t even listen to it. I have to tell him when the song is safe to listen to. He’s my dad, so there’s some things he’s never going to be able to handle, you know?
AVC: How did you react to Pitchfork slamming your album?
AB: I was a little bummed, I knew that they wouldn’t like it. I just knew. They don’t like me. I don’t like them, so whatever. The people that run that site are like the saltiest people on the planet. That’s the only way I can describe people like that. They are just so, so salty. I don’t know if it’s because they all wish they were in bands. They bring up the fact that I’m friends with M.I.A., I don’t. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal to them. To be totally honest, I really don’t give a fuck. I always joke around that the people I make music for are girls and gay dudes. I don’t expect them to like it and I don’t care if they do or if they don’t.
AVC: Music for girls and gay dudes?
AB: They like party music and they like club music and the things that I’m saying. I am forever 21. There are no problems like the problems of a 21-year-old. I feel like I relate more to the younger people and definitely gay boys way more than straight men.
AVC: What are the unique challenges in being a female MC?
AB: People taking you seriously. People want to think that you’re stupid if you make party music or if you’re a girl and you’re rapping about sex or rapping about partying and just having fun. Because I deal with light topics, people assume that I don’t have anything to say or that I must be a vapid idiot. That’s kind of frustrating because if a guy does it it’s a different story. I don't think Soulja Boy is any more profound than me, but people fucking love him.
AVC: You’re also known for having a minimal stage set-up—why just you and the mic?
AB: For a few reasons. I really just wanted to be able to do it. I just wanted to be able to say that I don’t need all that help. I really admire other artists that can just get up there and do their thing. Also, it’s really hard to put a stage show together and I wouldn’t want to do it unless it was perfect. It’s not something you can half-ass and I wouldn’t want a show that was shoddily put together. You know, if you want something done, you just gotta do it yourself. So, for now, this is what I want.
AVC: What’s one artist comparison that you never want to hear again?
AB: I think it’s really interesting that people compare me to Lady Gaga and I’m like, “really?” because I rap. She’s weird and white and I'm weird and white, so I guess it makes sense. You know what? I’ve never gotten any bad comparisons, I don’t think. I’m flattered. If people want to compare me to pop stars, that’s fine. I don’t really care.
AVC: What’s your favorite song on the album?
AB: That changes daily. Lately it’s been “Make It, Take It.” I have a lot of fun performing that one.
AVC: What makes it fun to perform?
AB: It’s so fast and jumpy so I really get to freak out on that one. You know, I’m no Madonna. I don’t have choreography. I couldn’t be Lady Gaga if I wanted to. That stuff is just not me. But that song is fun cause I get to thrash around a bit and really freak out.