Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. (born April 2, 1986), better known by the stage name Mykki Blanco, is an American rapper, performance artist, poet and activist.
Quattlebaum was born in Orange County, California. Her father, Michael Quattlebaum Sr., was an IT specialist before becoming a psychic. Her mother, Deborah Butler, was a paralegal at the North Carolina Patent and Trademark Office. Her father's side is African-American Jewish. Quattlebaum's parents divorced when she was 2 years old. As a child, she lived in San Mateo County, California, near her paternal grandparents, before moving to Raleigh, North Carolina.
At the age of 15, Quattlebaum won an Indies Spirit Award for the performance collective she founded, Paint In Consciousness Experimental Theater, in Raleigh.
When Quattlebaum was 16, she ran away from home before moving to New York City. She then spent time in California, before winning a full scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but dropped out of college after two semesters in 2006. She also briefly attended Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Blanco has used different pronouns throughout her career.
Quattlebaum's book of poetry, From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys, was published on OHWOW's imprint on June 17, 2011.
In 2012, Blanco made her debut with Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels EP.
Then in November 2012, Blanco released the mixtape Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss. The mixtape was produced by Brenmar, Flosstradamus, Gobby, Le1f, Boody, Matrixxman, and Sinden. She makes an appearance in the album Junto by Basement Jaxx.
In 2013, Blanco released her second EP Betty Rubble: The Initiation. May 2014 saw the release of the Spring/Summer 2014 EP, followed by her second mixtape Gay Dog Food in October. Gay Dog Food features a spoken word track with Kathleen Hanna, and contributions from Cities Aviv, Cakes Da Killa, and more.
Blanco's debut album, Mykki, was released on September 16, 2016.
In 2018, Blanco collaborated with Kanye West on the track "Bye Bye Baby" for West's scrapped album Yandhi; the track was later leaked.
Quattlebaum's persona Mykki Blanco began as a teenage girl character for a YouTube video in 2010, but evolved into a musical and performance art piece. Blanco's name is inspired by Lil' Kim's alter ego Kimmy Blanco. her influences include Lil' Kim, GG Allin, Jean Cocteau, Kathleen Hanna, Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, Marilyn Manson, and Anaïs Nin. She is also inspired by the riot grrrl movement and queercore, namely the director Bruce LaBruce and the drag queen Vaginal Davis.
Blanco has been called one of hip hop's queer pioneers; although she struggles to identify with the label of "gay rap" or "queer rap", she has begrudgingly "accepted it". Blanco also disagrees with those who portray her as a drag artist, saying "You can't tag me as the rapping transvestite. I never vogued in my life. I'm from a punk and Riot Grrrl background." Blanco has often described herself in terms of other artists, saying that she's not a "Marilyn Manson" or even a rapper, but rather says she wants to be Yoko Ono. In fact, her album Mykki was originally going to be named Michael in reference to Michael Jackson. Blanco, along with Rosie O'Donnell and Anderson Cooper, presented Madonna with the GLAAD Advocate for Change award on May 5, 2019 in Manhattan.
Blanco has also tried to bring her "persona" closer and closer to her non-artist self Quattlebaum, having to repeatedly say through interviews and alike that she is indeed transfeminine, and that the aesthetic evolution of Mykki Blanco over the years is the aesthetic evolution of her entire self, rather than just a "drag performance". Mykki Blanco places a lot of emphasis on her music videos and art performances, often taking complex and fresh new takes on her ever-moving aesthetic, and is constantly trying out new looks and performances just as genre-defying as her musical style.
In June 2015, Blanco revealed via her Facebook page that she has been HIV positive since 2011. Blanco initially worried that being HIV positive would be detrimental to her career, saying of the decision to make finally that information public, "I did it for myself. At a certain point, my real life has to be more important than this career. She made this information public via Facebook during Pride season. Over 12,000 users liked the post and over 700 shared it. Through coming out with this hard-hitting information, Blanco says that she feels like a good person when she hasn't felt that way in a long time.
Mykki Blanco says that before coming out as HIV positive, she thought she might not continue her musical career in the future. Blanco expressed concern that the music industry would shut her down because of her public announcement: "I thought when I came out that was going to be the end," she says. "Mykki Blanco is fun. Talking about HIV is not fun. How could I be fun and have HIV?" She mentions that during that time period she had made plans to become an investigative journalist to report on LGBT issues on a global scale, yet that the flood of positive reactions in response to her coming out as HIV positive have made her determined to continue her artistry.
As of 2019, Mykki Blanco identifies as transgender and uses she or they pronouns.
|Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels||
|Betty Rubble: The Initiation||
|Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss||
|Gay Dog Food||
As lead artist
|"Head Is a Stone"||2012||Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels|
|"Join My Militia"|
|"Wavvy"||Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss|
|"Kingpinning (Ice Cold)"|
|"Feeling Special"||Betty Rubble: The Initiation|
|"She Gutta"||2014||Spring/Summer 2014|
|"Wish You Would"|
(featuring Princess Nokia)
|"Runny Mascara"||Gay Good Food|
|"High School Never Ends"||2016||Mykki|
|"The Plug Won't"|
(featuring Jean Deaux)
|"I'm in a Mood"||2017|
As a featured artist
|"Ring Around The Moon"||2013||Sinden||Ring Around The Moon|
|"Femmebot"||2017||Charli XCX, Dorian Electra||Pop 2|
|"My Sex"||Brooke Candy, Pussy Riot, MNDR||Non-album single|
|"Play"||2019||J-E-T-S, Machinedrum, Jimmmy Edgar||ZOOSPA|
|"Collide"||2020||Shea Couleé, GESS||Non-album single|
|"Join My Militia"||2012||Mitch Moore|
|"Head Is a Stone"||Nick Hooker|
|"Feeling Special"||Danny Sangra|
|"The Initiation"||Ninian Doff|
|"She Gutta"||2014||Jude MC|
|"High School Never Ends"||2016||Matt Lambert|
- From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys (2011)