BURN OUT #017: FT. BACKXWASH
"It's very different to be in such freedom. If I had released this music back home, I don't think anyone would play it. You have to keep it on the real real real down low for your own safety. You have to be careful because it can get real bad for you, because if you don't go to jail — someone is going to try to kill you." — Backxwash
This episode was recorded live on location at Long Winter, hosted by Workman Arts in February 2020.
Backxwash is any incredibly prolific rapper and producer from Montreal by way of Lusaka, Zambia. She first caught my attention in late 2018 with a record named "Black Sailor Moon," and then with her spiritual rap opus "Deviancy," which came out in 2019. Backxwash's music is equally inspired by punchline rappers like Papoose, the bravado of the Dead Kennedys, and the repetitive, revelatory chants of her tribe, the Tumbuka. We had this conversation in front of a live audience, so you can hear people laughing and shuffling, and bands playing next door. Even though she had a show to play a few hours later, Backxwash was in high spirits and game to chat about everything from her early love of backpack rap to making creative choices as a trans musician, as well as the legacy and impact of British colonialism and American imperialism on her home country of Zambia.
Music: Backxwash, "Bad Juju," Backxwash, "HETERONOMY"
Theme song: "Dark Beings" by LAL
Original music provided by Jahmal Padmore
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