Throughout their evolution, poet, artist, musician Mykki Blanco has continuously blurred genres - pulling rave, trap, grunge and punk influences into a swirling pool of experimental hip hop that celebrated queer and trans experiences. Their new full-length album Stay Close To Music, available today via Transgressive, is unlike anything they have released before. Adventurous and expansive, it shatters any previously held assumptions about Mykki’s artistry, leaving them free to define their sound for themselves. Calling Mykki a "genre-obliterating maverick" NPR's All Songs Considered included the album in their "best releases out today" podcast where they label it an "Afro futuristic hip-hop album." Fader calls the album ”a whole new dimension of the Mykki Blanco sound.” Brooklyn Vegan said the album, “is all over the place in the best way, seamlessly incorporating art pop, rap, soul, innovative electronics, and a variety of other experimental subgenres…it's Mykki's most musically ambitious album yet.” Pitchfork listed Stay Close To Music in their “most anticipated albums of Fall 2022 list” and the album was included in “albums of note” roundups this week by both Stereogum and Paste.
Stay Close To Music’s powerful focus track “Carry On” which features Jónsi (Sigur Ros) has been beautifully captured by director Barbara Anastacio in a video which follows the story of an HIV positive African refugee, a queer immigrant seeking asylum in southern Europe.
Blanco explains, “A goal of my entire career when its come to my visuals is to tell the stories and portray scenarios in queer life that are very real but rarely touched on. Is there room to be queer when your a refugee seeking refuge? Are you made to choose between being Black and Being Queer? Are you made to live a double life in this new country, new world, does it matter even to be openly queer when your fighting against White supremacy? It's a loaded visual and it plays upon these intersectional themes.”
“‘Carry On’ is a song of hope, as much as a song of victory.” Blanco continues, "Black and Gay, I wonder if they'll ever claim us, HIV, I have HIV can I still be famous, will they wait till I'm dead to give me credit, these thoughts run through my head I try and dead them and just bless God instead, begins ‘Carry On’. Oh Mykki Blanco, the words, the headlines they have used to describe you over the years: Mykki Blanco the tranny rapper, Mykki Blanco the gay rapper, HIV positive rap star Mykki Blanco. When I was a new artist in 2012, the world was a very different place. I faced so much transphobia, homophobia, I literally had to kick and scream to be heard, fought to be legitimized, while my music, the messages in my music videos, the never before seen themes, aesthetics, and juxtapositions were labeled too taboo for the mainstream. Most people who are pioneers rarely get to enjoy the fruits of what they pioneered. I helped create the culture that we currently live in, I don't need to be modest about the truth, I've been told to "stay in my place" for most of my entire 10 year career. This album represents the beginning of the second half of my career.”