Trans hip-hop artist Chae Buttuh talks sex, the male-dominated industry, and reclaiming the hoe trope
By Sound Check
October 27, 2017
By Lighting Pill, AFROPUNK Contributor
Sometimes, the best feminist art is the one that winds up confronting the males hunger to both destroy and embrace femininity on a shallow level. For every songs about a man fucking your bitch, there are one or two songs from women talking about how his sex game was desperate and weak. For everyone who writes about the disrespect women show themselves, there is a song women will write about boosting their own self-esteem (since men wouldn’t) and men’s own ability to fall from grace.
Chae Buttuh is one of those artists. The difference being that she is a transwoman. So, through this, she is able to not only tell stories about her own experiences with men, but with her new album, she winds up immortalizing and deifying the “hoe” trope.
In this interview, we discuss her new album Ho-Fi, her new crew/label, her longstanding love of hip hop, the male’s general fear/hatred of femininity, and the new wave of sexuality being used as a weapon.
Lightning Pill: How have things been with you? (The most important question to answer to anyone.) 🙂
Chae Buttuh: Things have been interesting to say the least lol. Since transitioning and releasing HoFi creeps from my past keep trying to throw me off track. I’m just trying to stay focused on my goals and stay cute.
LP: Nice to hear. While it would have been easy for me to break down your aesthetic in our own words, what is your own best description of Chae Buttuh?
CB: I’m just your fun, fly, sexy, sometimes innocent black trans girl.
LP: If people were to grace your Twitter, they would notice that your “main focus” would be on topics such as sex and fashion. Let’s tackle fashion first. Who are some of your favorites?
CB: My favorites right now are Telfar and LaQuan Smith. I’ve always adore classics like Chanel, Moschino, and Versace. When it comes to style icons my all time faves is Lil Kim and Anna Nicole Smith. But lately I’ve been finding myself in live w more modern style icons like Amber Rose and Blac Chyna. They mix high and low so well it’s such a look.
LP: Another constant topic is sex, which you amongst many other females in and out of the LGBT community has had either used against you or shamed here and there. What inspired you to openly make sex a focus in your music?
CB: I choose to make sex a focus because it’s something that has played a huge role in my life. So much of a huge role that I feel more comfortable to speak about it freely. I noticed that during these times if I speak freely about sex. there are still ppl that feel uncomfortable about the topic. These are grown ass people! It’s like I had better conversations about sex when you had no business doing it than now when I’m grown, and it’s suppose to be more socially acceptable. I’ve always heard sex is overrated but how can it be overrated when you have adults who shy away from the topic and adults who still don’t know what an orgasm is? Sex, as powerful of a weapon it is, is still very misunderstood.
LP: Would you say that your music, along with many other queer/female artists of color such as Junglepussy, Cupcakke and BBYMUTHA, is helping to give a more conscious voice towards black female sexuality? After all, in the past, POC sexuality has been (and still is) vilified and envied in equal measure.
CB: Conscious like…?
LP: Thinking outside of the mere action of having sex, but also looking at the political and social aspects and controversies tied into it. For example, when people think of a black woman, they think of an immediate sex doll who pops out multiple babies. Just every stereotype under the sea having to do with demonizing the black female or LGBT’s libido or using it as a scapegoat of sorts.
CB: Ok…yea…mos def! My music and image is very important because 1) I’m a voice that rarely gets heard. Transwomen and esp transwomen involved in any form of sex work are rarely heard. My story is s look through a different window. But, 2) although it’s a different window it the same house as other women both trans and cis. My music and image should be used to show others, most importantly cis heteros, that trans woman experience and face some of the same obstacles and scenarios that cis women do and in fact are women. This being said my music should enlightened and create sisterhood between trans and cis women.
LP: Transitioning from that over to your new album Ho-Fi. First off, what was it about lo-fi music that made you want to take your music in that direction?
CB: Well studio cost was getting to be too much, which is why i hadn’t released any music for a while. I was listening to a lot of old Three 6 Mafia, and the sound (omgggg) is so raw/lo-fi, and I guess tangible. Tangible meaning it had weight. A lot of the music now is too crisp and radio ready that it loses it substance, it’s too commercial. With the lo-fi sound you can hear and feel the emotion. Sometimes, you need to take it back to basics.
LP: In the album cover, you are found in knee high denim boots, booty shorts, and a bra in front of church doorways. In keeping with the church theme, you also had an opening “hoe’s prayer”. Would you say that your album is, indeed, humanizing the “hoe” character or telling a story that most males wouldn’t allow?
CB: lol I didnt think people noticed it was church doors but yes they were. Humanizing? No. Mythifying, immortalizing? Yes. I’m putting hoes on a pedestal while pissing off the men who worship us. But don’t get it twisted sex workers are human and should be treated as human, but we’re much more resilient, which makes us godly or immortal. We also see the world differently.
LP: The reason I say humanize is because oftentimes in hip hop like I say, femininity and sexuality are the source of men’s fascination and disgust. Where GLBT people and women talk sexuality, it’s a sense of dishonor, while men talking about it gives them a sense of clout. In the track “Hey Baby”, you managed to reveal that while a man expects a woman to drop everything and cater to his needs and hunger for attention, the how character is annoyed at not being able to just live her ordinary life.
CB: This is true to hip-hop and history in general. Even religious text show disgust towards women and femininity. It’s simply “battle of the sexes” survival technique. Men know the power women have over them, so what do you do? You tell women that being sexy is a sin. You shame women for their natural feminine powers. Oh and as a black trans OMG, l’m like public enemy number one! Because not only do you have men demonizing you, but you have cis women doing the same. These are cis women who are so unknowingly deep in patriarchy that they forget or are not aware of their feminine/sexual powers, so they police other women for it, not realizing that their policing is a result of patriarchy. I’m doing nothing but reclaiming it. It’s time to embrace it. It’s time for matriarchy.
LP: Hip hop being a mostly cishet male-dominated field, did it used to frighten you taking on hip hop?
CB: Never. I always been feminine. I’ve always been a princess. When I was rapping on the activity bus in 10th grade (I was a cheerleader), and the football players were going off and wanted me to rap too. I knew I could do it! Never been scared of hip-hop.
LP: When did you know you wanted to do music?
CB: I always wanted to do music. The earliest I can remember me writing a song was in 3rd grade. I only remember because I got in trouble for it lol. One of the lyrics said “I wanna rock your world” and my mom found it. Lol she beat my ass, and through all my Spice Girl stuff away because she said they were a “bad influence.” lolol
LP: One of your current music videos can be found on Pornhub. What inspired you to want to go down that route for the music video?
CB: It was only necessary. I mean like why not? Like we discussed I’ve been influenced by sex, not just the act but the look, the sound, the vibe. I can be heard moaning all over HoFi. My most recent video was for “Yellow”, a song about masturbation and loving yourself better than some man can. It just made since to premiere it on Pornhub. “Yellow” was from Some Like It RAW, the first installment of the Daddy Issues era.
LP: You had a short era where you named it Daddy Issues. Tell Afropunk a little about that.
CB: The Daddy Issues era is still in effect. That also influenced me to focus on sex. HoFi was the second installment. Next is the final installment, Daddy Issues: So Eye-C Vol. 2. Vol. 1 was Trust Issues with songs like “Shady Phat” and “Stranger Danger”. Daddy Issues era exudes sex and show me in vulnerable state sometimes. They always say hoes have Daddy Issues, I’m playing with that.
LP: Tell me about the collective of LGBT artists that you are involved with.
CB: I have recently began working w FUTUREHOOD, a queer POC indie label based out of Chicago. I met them in NY at the SS2016 Givenchy after party and we’ve stayed in touch online since then.
LP: What are some examples of stuff the group has gotten done?
CB: The relationship is still very fresh but we have a lot in store. Just wait… the future is now!
LP: Outside of hip hop, feminism has been back and forth in the inclusion of transwomen. Do you feel like it would have been defeating the purpose to even think of leaving you out or do you think GLBT movement has inspired enough strength for you to stand on your own without them?
CB: Hmmm, very interesting questions. I’d say they have equally inspired enough strength. LGBT community given me strength to be myself where the feminist movement has given me strength to stand against men of all sexual orientations. Leaving transwomen out would have defeated the purpose. ain’t I a woman? Lol Some would argue and say I’m more woman than most, but transwomen are not here to compete. We just want to live and by living, our lives will bring enlightenment to other lives.
LP: Did you learn anything after making your album?
CB: I learned that I can still make good music, studio or not.
LP: Ok. What plans do you currently have in the works right now?
CB: Right now I’m working on Daddy Issues: So Eye-C Vol. 2. It will be released next year in the spring. Planning to take my pussy international next year too!