Queering Hip Hop From The Inside Out

We chatted with pretty spitta Jay Boogie about Toni Braxton, being queer in hip-hop, and contributing to world peace. Text Sean Santiago. Photographed by Camilo Fuentealba.

You have mastered the cat eye, your nails are always on point and you're the supreme reigning goddess of crop tops. What does your beauty routine look like on the day to day?
Well! The usual hygiene run down...brush these teeth, wash the body, exfoliate this face and then of course comb my lashes. As far as getting dressed goes that's all freestyling, aka I don't put too much thought into the everyday look. Give me a good sweat pant, a wife beater, designer sunglasses, a Telfar hand bag and black uptowns and I'm goodie. I'd call it a "running to the bank" aesthetic.

"I'm the Editor-In-Chief / She just a contributor." How much does fashion influence your work? Whose style do you admire?
Fashion doesn't really influence me, but I do respect it and honor it. My style icon is Toni Braxton. It's just so soft, easy-breezy and flavorful. Her style to me reads, "Get into my body / but don't tell nobody I showed you my body."

Which Janet album would you be stranded on a desert island with?
Damita Jo.

I'm assuming you feel total ownership over your body and your sexuality, but at the same time your gender doesn't seem prescriptive, or tied up in the male/female binary. When did you become so comfortable in your own skin?
I became comfortable in my own skin around my sophomore year of high school. Right after my mother told me, "If you're going to do this then do it right." By "this" she meant my gender identity, and by doing it "right" she meant with dignity, class, and no remorse. That for me was all the strength I needed to be myself and not be sorry about it. That goes beyond an aesthetic.

I think soldiers recognize soldiers from whatever walk.

In hip-hop men operate so much in machismo and these kinds of classical constructs of masculinity. Your persona and presentation bring so much feminine energy to the table and fucks with all that, but you're not soft. Do you feel like you have to fight for acceptance in hip-hop?
I haven't felt like I've needed to fight for acceptance in hip-hop at all. I think soldiers recognize soldiers from whatever walk. At the end of the day, those who have chosen rap as a path share very similar tribulations and experiences. Oppression being one of them. What I do have to fight for is respect from the people curating and organizing hip-hop today. Too many artists are getting cheated out of what they deserve—and believe me that has nothing to do with money; I solely am referring to respect and courtesy. The right time and place to be queer will never genuinely come upon us...the average hip hop fan will never get it. However, if you want it that bad you'll make the time for it. Not just the time for labor, but the time for the movement and your spot in the evolution.

"I know my words penetrate like shanks / So I gave up packing pistols for lent." Did I hear this line right from So What? I love that song. What does your writing process look like? Is it a constant stream or do you get bursts of creative energy?
You sure did hear that right. I'm working on eliminating my gun violence rhymes; hopefully it'll contribute to world peace. I love that song too, shout out to Falside on the production. My writing process is more of a build up, I just document my thoughts and rhymes, then I listen to the beats and plug in my feelings accordingly. Sometimes you find that one beat that makes you feel a certain way and inspires you to write a track on the spot. If you're reading this and you think you have a beat that'll make me feel that way, get at me.

You can find Jay on InstagramTwitterSoundcloud and Vimeo. You can buy his latest album, Allure, on iTunes.